Potsdam Conference

On July 17, 1945, leaders of the "Big Three" - the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain - met in Potsdam, Germany to confer about and clarify how war-torn Europe would be handled.

President Harry S Truman also had an ace-in-the-hole concerning the war still raging in the Pacific versus Imperial Japan. He knew of the successful test of America's new wonder weapon the day before in the desert of New Mexico at Trinity Site. Eventually, an ultimatum was issued to Japan that it would face total destruction unless the nation surrendered to the Allies unconditionally.

During the conference (lasting until August 2, 1945) Truman, Joseph Stalin from the Soviet Union, and Prime Minister Clement Atlee of Britain hammered out the Potsdam Agreement, much of which was never followed through with due to tensions between the Soviet Union and the Western Allies after the war.

Photo Credit: National Archives via Navy.mil

Also check out this State Department document concerning the Potsdam Conference from the Avalon Project at Yale.

The Harry Truman Library also has some interesting info and a lesson plan/student activities concerning the conference.