What was the Potsdam conference and what did it seek to accomplish?
The Potsdam Conference was the last of the three conferences that were held in which the “Big Three” leaders of the main Allied powers met during World War II. This conference was held in Potsdam, Germany, in July and August of 1945. The main participants were Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom, Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union, and Harry Truman of the United States (President Franklin Roosevelt having died in April of that year).
The main goal of the Potsdam Conference was to get the Allies to agree on how to set the world up after the end of the war. The major agreement that came out of the conference had to do with Germany. At the conference, the Allies agreed to break Germany up into occupation zones. Each zone was to be occupied by one of the Allies (France was also given a zone). The other major result of the conference was the Potsdam Declaration. This was a statement by the Allies that was transmitted to Japan informing the Japanese of the terms on which they were expected to surrender.
The Potsdam Conference was organised by the Allied Powers to discuss about the post-war order and the policy that should be adopted towards the defeated nations. It was agreed that Germany was to be divided into 4 zones of occupation, which would be administered by the British, the French, the Americans and the Soviets separately. Austria was to be separated from Germany, all German conquests in Europe after 1937 was to be forfeited and German territories located east of the Oder and Neisse Rivers were to be transferred to Poland, as well as the Soviet Union. The Allied Powers also agreed to achieve certain aims during their occupation of Germany. This included demilitarisation, denazification, democratisation and decartelisation. Nazi war criminals were also to be persecuted and tried in tribunals.