The Potsdam Conference was called to help the Allied Forces decide what should happen to Germany – and the rest of Europe – once Hitler had been all-but defeated and WWII had basically ended.
The Allied Forces met on 17 July 1945 for the conference. The summit, which lasted until 2 August, was attended by leaders of the Soviet Union, the US and the UK. By this point, Roosevelt had died, giving way to Harry Truman, and Churchill had lost the 1945 election, so there were quite a few open disagreements over the course of the conference. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the best way to go about punishing Nazi Germany, and to build upon decisions made at the Yalta Conference.
That being said, things didn’t exactly go as planned during the summit; while a lot of important decisions were made, anti-Communist US Vice-President Harry Truman made a bombshell announcement that forced relations between Stalin and the Western Allies to take a dramatic turn for the worse. What could he possibly have said, you ask? Well, he announced that America had the atomic bomb. While this was no surprise to Stalin, it raised his fears because of the implied threat against the Soviet Union. Pretty understandable, when you think about it.
So, what was agreed at Potsdam? In short, the world leaders decided to completely demilitarise, de-Nazify and democratise Germany, but that wasn’t all. Because a lot of important things were decided at the Potsdam Conference, here’s what happened in a nutshell:
Berlin was divided into four zones
It had been agreed at the Yalta Conference in February 1945 that Germany would be divided into four zones and the same applied for the capital. Berlin was of symbolic importance and none of the parties involved in the Potsdam Conference were willing to relinquish their claim to it. As a result it was agreed that, like the rest of Germany, Berlin was to be divided into 4 zones.
The Oder-Neisse line was created
This was a border between Poland and the Soviet Zone of Germany. Its existence saw Poland gain much land that had belonged to Nazi Germany during the war.
Germans in Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia were repatriated
One of the many agreements of the Potsdam Conference was that Germans who were living in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia at the end of WWII were to be repatriated back to Germany.