THE BEGGININGS OF THE COLD WAR: 1945 – 1949
The Yalta Conference, February 1945
By February 1945, Germany was losing the European War, so the Allied leader met at Yalta to discuss the future of Europe after Germany’s defeat. The Big Three, Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill, agreed on some points: - Stalin would enter the war against Japan once Germany had surrendered. - Germany would be divided into four zones: American, French, British and Soviet. Berlin, the capital, would be divided into four zones as well. - They would hunt down and punish war criminals that were responsible for the genocide. - Countries liberated by the German governments would be able to hold free elections to choose the government they wanted. - The Big Three agreed to join the UNO
- The border of the USSR would move westward into Poland.
The Potsdam Conference, July – August 1945
Three months after the Yalta Conference, Allied troops reached Berlin. Hitler committed suicide and Germany surrendered. The war in Europe was won. This second conference was arranged in the Berlin suburb of Potsdam, but in the five months since Yalta had taken place, changes had taken place that affected the relationships between the leaders. 1) Stalin’s armies were occupying most of Eastern Europe. 2) America had a new president: Truman assumed and was much more anti communist than Roosevelt. He was very suspicious of Stalin. 3) The Allies had tested an atomic bomb: (performed by the Americans at a desert site in USA).
Disagreements at Potsdam
The conference was dominated by rivalry between Stalin and Truman - They disagreed over what to do about Germany: Stalin wanted to cripple Germany while Truman didn’t want to repeat the mistakes of the Treaty of Versailles. - They disagreed over reparations: Stalin wanted compensation from Germany while Truman resisted this demand because he insisted on not repeating the mistakes made at the end of FWW. - They...
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