The Potsdam Conference was the last of the wartime summits among the Big Three allied leaders. It met from July 17 through August 2, 1945, in Potsdam, a historic suburb of Berlin. Representing the United States, the Soviet Union and Great Britain respectively were Harry Truman, Josef Stalin and Winston Churchill (who was replaced midway by Clement Atlee as a result of elections that brought Labor to power). Germany had surrendered in May; the war with Japan continued. The purpose of the Potsdam meeting was the implementation of the agreements reached at Yalta. The atmosphere at Potsdam was often acrimonious, presaging the imminent Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West. In the months leading up to Potsdam, Stalin took an increasingly hard line on issues regarding Soviet control in Eastern Europe, provoking the new American president and the British prime minister to harden their own stance toward the Soviet leader. The issues that had to be discussed at the conference were many. However, by the time of the finish, America had still not used the atomic bomb on Hiroshima so Stalin, with a huge military presence in the east of Europe, could afford to be forceful and confident of getting what he wanted. All Truman would say at Potsdam was that America had a weapon of awesome power - but that meant little to a leader who had millions of soldiers stationed in Eastern Europe. One result of the conference was a 26 July joint proclamation by the U.S., Great Britain and China, the three main powers then fighting Japan. This Potsdam Declaration described Japan's present perilous condition, gave the terms for her surrender and stated the Allies' intentions concerning her postwar status. It ended with an ultimatum: Japan must immediately agree to unconditionally surrender, or face prompt and utter destruction. When Harry S. Truman told Joseph Stalin that the USA had a new powerful bomb he appeared pleased and asked no further questions about it....
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