- Created by: Niamhpickering0
- Created on: 05-06-19 22:00
Truman’s character and aims
- Truman was a plain speaking, hardworking Southerner.
- He was appointed VP on 20th January 1945 and within 82 days he had succeeded Roosevelt.
- He had a reputation as a staunch anti-Communist but had limited international affairs experience.
- He was less willing to appease Stalin like FDR and relied on the advice of Secretary of State Dean Acheson, a Democrat lawyer appointed in 1949, and Churchill.
- Acheson had been involved with NSC-68, released in April 1950 after the Soviet testing of the atomic bomb in 1949. It suggested an increase of defence spending to $50 bn rather than the original $13 bn.
The Yalta Conference, 4-11 February 1945
- Held at the Russian town of Yalta. Agreements were made to split Germany into 4 zones, controlled by the USSR, USA, Britain and France to allow free elections in liberated countries and set up democratic, self-governing nations.
- USSR agreed to join the war against Japan after Germany’s defeat. It was also invited to join the UN, which Roosevelt has discussed with Churchill in 1941. Stalin had a deep mistrust of the West and Churchill especially, so Roosevelt largely took control.
- It was agreed to put Nazi war criminals on trial, a commission was set up to look into reparations.
- Yalta was hailed as a success.
The Potsdam Conference (17th July – 2nd August 1945)
- Truman, now leader (FDR died in April) was determined to stand up to Stalin and establish his reputation on a world stage, but the resulting tension meant little was agreed.
- Poland’s borders were discussed, and Stalin had to be persuaded into conceding elections.
- German disarmament and reparations discussed. Stalin was allowed 10% of reparations from industry, Britain and France also
- The Nazi Party and laws were to be eliminated.
- The setting up of 4 zones was confirmed.
- Most significant was Truman’s failure to alert Stalin of the US atomic bombs. 4 days after a bomb was dropped on Hiroshima so the US denied them in any peace negotiations.
The Atomic bomb
- Personnel had changed, and tensions grew by the time of the Potsdam conference.
- The bomb had cost $2 billion to develop and was as a result of fear that Nazi scientists would achieve it first.
- Truman faced a difficult decision in using it with its social and environmental consequences.
- US army intelligence suggested that the Japanese were on the verge of surrender after they had attacked Pearl Harbour in 1941.
- Stalin had joined the war against Japan on 8th August 1945.
- Stalin became fearful of the West after the bomb.
- September 1945: first meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers to discuss treaties with enemy…