Who was to blame for the Cold War? (Potsdam Conference, July-August 1945…
Who was to blame for the Cold War?
Yalta Conference, February 1945
Japan - Stalin agreed to enter the war against Japan once Germany had surrendered.
Germany - They agreed that Germany would be divided into four zones: American, French, British and Soviet
Elections - They agreed that as countries were liberated from occupation by the German army, they would be allowed to hold free elections to choose the government they wanted.
UN - The Big Three all agreed to join the new United Nations Organisation, which would aim to keep peace after the war.
War Criminals - As Allied soldiers advanced through Germany, they were revealing the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. The Big Three agreed to hunt down and punish war criminals who were responsible for the genocide.
Eastern Europe - The Soviet Union had suffered terribly in the war. An estimated 20 million Soviet people had died. Stalin was therefore concerned about the future security of the USSR and specifically the risk of another invasion from Europe. The Big Three agreed that Eastern Europe should be seen as a 'Soviet sphere of influence'
Stalin wanted the border of the USSR to move westwards into Poland. Stalin argued that Poland, in turn, could move it's border westwards into German territory.
Churchill did not approve of Stalin's plans for Poland, but he also knew that there was not a lot that he could do about it because Stalin's Red Army was already in control of Poland and eastern Germany.
Roosevelt was also unhappy about Stalin's plan, but Churchill persuaded Roosevelt to accept it, as long as the USSR agreed not to interfere in Greece where the British were attempting to prevent the Communists taking over. Stalin accepted this.
Potsdam Conference, July-August 1945
Stalin's armies were occupying most of Eastern Europe
America had a new president
The Allies had tested an atomic bomb
Germany - Stalin wanted to cripple Germany completely to protect the USSR against future threats. Truman did not want to repeat the mistakes of the Treaty of Versailles
Reparations - 20 million Russians had died in the war and the Soviet Union had been devastated. Stalin wanted compensation from Germany. Truman, however, was once again determined not to repeat the mistakes at the end of WW1 and resisted the demand.
Eastern Europe - At Yalta, Stalin had won agreements from the Allies that he could set up pro-Soviet governments in Eastern Europe. He said, 'if the Slav people are united, no one will dare move a finger against them'. Truman became very unhappy about Russian intentions and soon adopted a 'get tough' attitude towards Stalin.