The Reasons for the Conferences
The leaders of the USA, the USSR and Britain met in 1945 to discuss what
would happen when the World War Two ended. These conferences discussed the fate of Germany, what would happen to the countries of Eastern Europe and how to keep the peace in the future.
The Yalta Conference, February 1945
The leaders present were Stalin (USSR), Churchill (Britain) and Roosevelt (USA).
- All three countries agreed to join the United Nations.
- Germany was to be split into four zones.
- Berlin was also to be split into four zones.
- Stalin agreed to help in the war on Japan when Germany was defeated.
- Stalin was allowed to have a 'sphere of influence' in Eastern Europe.
- Free elections were to be held to decide on governments.
There was a dispute over Poland. The West demanded free elections in Poland, but Stalin ignored this. A communist government was set up in Poland without elections.
The Potsdam Conference, July 1945
The leaders present were Stalin (USSR), Attlee (Britain) and Truman (USA).
- It was agreed that the USSR would gain Eastern Poland and Poland would get some German territory to compensate.
- The border of Germany was decided.
- It was agreed that there would be trials for Nazi war criminals.
Stalin demanded reparations for the USSR. The Soviets weakened
the Soviet zone of Germany by stripping it of all equipment and machinery, then Stalin demanded $20 billion compensation. This was rejected by Truman.
There had been differences on the Soviet 'sphere of influence'. The USSR had moved 480km westwards and more than 22 million people were now under Soviet rule.