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Explain why it was difficult to reach agreement at the Potsdam Conference. [6 marks]

Events between the Yalta and Potsdam conference made it difficult to reach agreement at Potsdam. President Roosevelt died in April 1945 and was replaced by Vice-President Harry Truman. Truman was much more anti-communist and was very suspicious of Stalin. The USA successfully tested an atomic bomb, and the Russians were informed of this at the start of the Potsdam Conference. Soviet forces were still occupying eastern Europe and by July, Stalin’s troops effectively controlled the Baltic states (Poland, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria). Refugees were fleeing out fearing a Communist take-over. Stalin wanted to cripple Germany completely to protect the USSR but Truman did not want to repeat the mistake of the Treaty of Versailles. Stalin wanted compensation from Germany: twenty million Russians had died in the war and the Soviet Union had been devastated. Truman, however, was once again determined not to repeat the mistakes at the end of the First World War and resisted his demands. At Yalta, Stalin had won an agreement that he could set up pro-Soviet governments in eastern Europe, since it was in the ‘Soviet sphere of influence’.  However, at Potsdam, Truman and Atlee became very unhappy about Russian intentions and adopted a ‘get tough’ attitude towards Stalin.  

Answered by Sophie B. History tutor

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Answered by Sophie B.
History tutor

284 Views

See similar History GCSE tutors