Primary results of conference

  • Reversion of all German annexations in Europe after 1937 and separation of Austria from Germany.
  • Statement of aims of Germany occupation: demilitarisation, denazification, democratization and decartelization.
  • The Potsdam Agreement, which called for the division of Germany and Austria into four occupation zones (agreed on earlier at the Yalta Conference), and the similar division of Berlin and Vienna into four zones.
  • Agreement on prosecution of Nazi war criminals.
  • The establishment of the Oder-Neisse line as the provisional border between Germany and Poland.
  • The expulsion of the German populations remaining outside the borders of Germany.
  • Agreement on war reparations. The Allies estimated their losses and damages at 200 billion dollars. On insistence of the West, Germany was obliged to pay off only 20 billion in German property, current industry products, and work force. The Cold War prevented the full pay off however.

On Stalin's proposal, Poland was to be excluded from division of German compensation to be later granted 15% of compensation given to Soviet Union (this has never happened).

  • In addition, the Allies issued the Potsdam Declaration which outlined the terms of surrender for Japan.
  • All other issues were to be answered by the final peace conference to be called in soonest possible time.

While the border between Poland and Germany was practically determined and made irreversible by forced population transfers agreed in Potsdam, the West wanted to see the final peace conference to confirm the Oder-Neisse line as a permanent arrangement. Since WW2 has never been settled by peace conference, Polish-German border was gradually recognized by mutual agreements: 1950 by East Germany, 1970 by West Germany and 1990 by united Germany. This state of uncertainty lead to greater influence of the Soviet Union over Poland and Germany.

The western allies, and especially Churchill, were suspicious of the motives of Stalin, who had already installed communist governments in the central European countries under his influence; the Potsdam conference turned out to be the last conference among the allies.

During the conference, Truman told Stalin about an unspecified "powerful new weapon"; Stalin of course knew already about the atomic bomb through his spies in the Manhattan project, and urged Truman to use it. Toward the end of the conference, Japan was given an ultimatum (threatening "prompt and utter destruction" without mentioning the new bomb), and after Japan had rejected it, atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Truman made the decision to use atomic weapons to end the war while at the conference.

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