The main objective of the Potsdam conference was to put an end to the post-war period and to put into practice all that had been agreed in Yalta. While the Yalta meeting was rather friendly, the Potsdam conference was marked by differences of opinion that were the result of some important changes since the Yalta conference. The Potsdam Conference is perhaps best known for President Truman`s meeting with Stalin on July 24, 1945, during which the President announced to the Soviet leader that the United States had successfully detonated the first atomic bomb on July 16, 1945. Historians have often interpreted Truman`s somewhat firm attitude during the negotiations to mean that the U.S. negotiating team believed that the U.S. nuclear capabilities would strengthen its bargaining power. Stalin, however, was already well informed about the American nuclear program thanks to the Soviet secret services; he stood his ground in his positions. This situation has made negotiations difficult. The leaders of the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union, who had remained allies during the war despite their differences, never met collectively again to discuss cooperation in post-war reconstruction. President Roosevelt said: “If we try to avoid the fact that we have put a little more emphasis on Lublin`s Poland than on the other two groups from which the new government is to be drawn, we will expose ourselves to accusations that we will try to reverse the decision in Crimea.” Roosevelt acknowledged that, in the words of Admiral William D.

Leahy, the Yalta language was so vague that the Soviets would be able to “stretch it from Yalta to Washington without ever breaking it technically.” [20] The Yalta and Potsdam Conference was convened to help the Allies decide what will happen to Germany – and the rest of Europe – once Hitler was defeated and World War II was over. Each of the three heads of state and government had their own agenda for post-war Germany and liberated Europe. Roosevelt wanted Soviet support in the American Pacific War against Japan, particularly for the planned invasion of Japan (Operation August Storm) and Soviet participation in the United Nations; Churchill insisted on free elections and democratic governments in Central and Eastern Europe (particularly Poland); Stalin called for a Soviet sphere of political influence in Central and Eastern Europe as an essential aspect of the USSR`s national security strategy. Stalin`s position at the conference was one he believed to be so strong that he could dictate conditions. According to U.S. delegation member and future Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, “it was not a question of what we would leave to the Russians, but what we could do to the Russians” [9] Remember – you still have to learn what was decided (or not decided!) Despite many disagreements, Allied leaders managed to reach some agreements in Potsdam. Negotiators thus confirmed the status of Germany demilitarized and disarmed among the four zones of the Allied occupation. According to the protocol of the conference, there should be “complete disarmament and demilitarization of Germany”; all aspects of German industry that could be used for military purposes should be removed; all German military and paramilitary forces should be eliminated; and the manufacture of all military equipment in Germany was prohibited. In addition, German society should be redeveloped by the repeal of all discriminatory laws of the Nazi era and by the arrest and trial of Germans considered “war criminals” on the democratic model. The German education and judicial system should be purged of all authoritarian influence and democratic political parties would be encouraged to participate in the management of Germany at the local and national levels.