17 July – 2 August 1945
Potsdam Conference
Josef Stalin, Winston Churchill, and Harry Truman (who had succeeded Roosevelt as president in April) attended in July 1945 what would turn out to be the last meeting of the Allied leaders. Held just outside Berlin, the conference focused on issues related to the treatment of Germany. The three leaders agreed that Germany would be temporarily divided into four zones of occupation, but that the country would still be treated as a single economic entity under the authority of an Allied Control Council. Further, they agreed that the Soviet Union would keep the territory that it had taken from Poland in 1939, but that in compensation Poland would receive land in eastern Germany. Finally, the three also issued a joint “Potsdam Declaration” calling on Japan to surrender or face “prompt and utter destruction.”

The atmosphere at Potsdam was far more tense than it had been at Yalta (see location #2) just a few months earlier. Truman and Churchill were concerned about Soviet ambitions in Eastern Europe, where no real progress had been made toward the “free and unfettered elections” that had been promised at Yalta. Ultimately they decided to postpone a number of critical issues until a general peace conference could be called. However, because of the breakdown of cooperation between the Soviet Union and the West over the next several months such a conference never took place.

Links:
- The Berlin (Potsdam) Conference