Near the end of World War II, global politics were at peak level. The Allies: Britain, the US and Russia, otherwise not on the most friendly of terms, were united only in their quest against Germany and the Nazis, as well as securing victory in the war. In 1945, two conferences were held with the top political leaders of Russia, the United States, and Britain. The "Big Three", as they were known, met in February 1945 at Yalta, Crimea, USSR, and then again in July at Potsdam, Germany. These conferences, the Yalta Conference and the Potsdam conference respectively, were meant to decide the future of the world after the war--decisions made by the three most powerful men in the world at the time, from the three most powerful nations. While both conferences were meant to attempt a smooth transition into post-war life, the two summits still differed greatly, even though they were intended to accomplish the same things. The main differences between the Yalta Conference and the Potsdam conference were the changes in the Big Three between the conferences, alterations in the aims of the leaders, and a general heightening of tensions between the three nations.
The difference in the leaders involved in the two conferences was a major factor in the differentiation between Yalta and Potsdam. At Yalta, the Big Three was composed of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. At Potsdam, Attlee replaced Churchill after his defeat in the British elections, and Truman took Roosevelt's position. The only constant figure in the conferences was Stalin, the leader of one of the most controversial nations in the world. As previously mentioned, the only issue the three countries truly saw eye-to-eye on was eradicating the Nazi presence from the world. Two capitalist nations allied with a vehemently communist one already poses some problems with communications, and the change from Roosevelt to Truman between the...
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