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What was the Potsdam Conference?

What was the Potsdam Conference?

The Potsdam Conference, which took place in Potsdam, Germany, took place between July 17 and August 2 1945. It involved the so-called “Big Three”: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Harry Truman and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, who met to decide on what was to happen to reconstruct the European continent after the war. The meeting was agreed upon after the Yalta Conference, when the heads of government decided they had to meet as soon as Germany surrenders to determine the new European borders. Famously, it was during this conference that President Truman hinted at America's possesion of a “new weapon,” the atomic bomb.

Decisions Made

The Potsdam meeting happened over multiple days, and many topics were discussed. The decisions involved mostly what was to happen with Germany and the German people, but they also discussed territories in Austria, Poland and Indochina. New borders were created, Germany and Austria, along with their capital cities, were divided into four occupation zones and all German annexations were reversed. There was decided that Germans that needed to expulsed due to the new border were to be treated humanely and that it should be done in an orderly fashion. There was also a lot of emphasis on getting rid of the German industries that made their militarisation possible and the reconstruction and rebuilding of areas in Europe that were affected by the war.