World War II: Diplomacy & and Uneasy Peace

The Grand Alliance
The "Grand Alliance," as Churchill phrased it, was a shaky expedient held together by the common desire to defeat the Axis Powers. The principal goal of the "Big Three" Allied leaders President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet premier Josef Stalin was winning the war, and most of their early diplomacy focused on military issues. Wartime unity was difficult to maintain, however. There were, for example, heated disagreements over a second military front in Europe. The Soviets complained that the Americans and British were prepared to fight until the last Russian fell. For their part, the western allies were painfully aware that Stalin had signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler in 1939 and brutally occupied the Baltic States and part of Finland after the war began. A second important diplomatic objective, especially toward the end of the conflict, was winning the peace. There were fundamental ideological and cultural differences between the western democracies and the Soviet Union, and the Allied leaders had disparate visions for the post-war world. Stalin, recognizing that Russia was invaded by Germany twice during the twentieth century, was primarily concerned with securing his western borders. Churchill was opposed to Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, but he also was concerned with maintaining the far-flung British Empire and his nation's declining status as a world power. During the war, President Roosevelt was deeply concerned with keeping China and the Soviet Union fighting in order to tie up the bulk of the Japanese and German forces. Later in the conflict, he referred to the "Four Policemen" the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union, and Nationalist China when discussing the post-war world. He was also uneasy about the long-term goals of both Churchill and Stalin. A certain degree of distrust was inevitable under the circumstances, and effective diplomacy was needed to maintain the Grand Alliance until Germany and Japan were defeated. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Churchill crossed the Atlantic to meet with Roosevelt at the Arcadia Conference and discuss military strategy. They emphasized the "Germany First" plan, to the relief of Stalin, and laid the groundwork for the Combined Chiefs of Staff. On January 1, 1942, the Roosevelt administration drafted a "Declaration by United Nations," which endorsed the Atlantic Charter and called for a post-war peace organization. Ultimately, nearly 50 nations signed the Declaration, establishing a wartime coalition against the Axis. The chief point of contention between the Allied leaders during 1942 was the question of a second military front against the Germans. Stalin, whose forces were engaged in a titanic struggle on the Eastern Front, demanded a cross-channel invasion of Western Europe. American military strategists, led by General George Marshall, favored such an invasion because they feared the Soviets might be forced to conclude a separate peace. Churchill, however, won President Roosevelt's support for an invasion of Southern Europe through North Africa and the

Stalin declined to attend because of the battles raging in the Soviet Union. the military tide in Europe had turned. with Italy abandoning the Axis and joining the Allies. Churchill and Roosevelt pledged there would be no separate peace negotiations with Hitler. . and Soviet foreign commissar Vyacheslav Molotov discussed plans for a second front. The Cairo Declaration raised Chinese and Korean morale. The Germans subsequently occupied Vichy France. The Allied ministers also agreed to prosecute Nazis for war crimes. President Roosevelt traveled to Egypt to join Churchill and Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kaishek) in signing the Cairo Declaration. The Allied leaders reiterated their pledge to continue the war in the Pacific until the "unconditional surrender" of Japan. Agreement was also reached in principle on a second front. and the Allies recognized Charles de Gaulle as the leader of "Free France. Both military and political issues were discussed by the Big Three. although FDR interpreted his actions as signaling concern over the lack of a second front in Western Europe. and agreed on an independent Austria and the partition of Germany following the war. and added that "Korea shall become free and independent. The two met privately on several occasions. in an effort to assure Stalin that no private deals were being brokered between the western Allied leaders. including "Operation Overlord. The first meeting between the Allied foreign ministers was held in Moscow in October 1943. Roosevelt was impressed with Stalin's "very confident" personality and announced that they "got along fine" with one another. and that the war would be fought until the "unconditional surrender" of the Axis powers. and the Casablanca Conference cemented the Grand Alliance. By that time." the invasion of French North Africa. "Operation Torch.Mediterranean." In mid-January 1943. Stalin pledged that the Soviets would join the war against Japan after the defeat of Hitler. although its location was not determined. Roosevelt and Churchill then flew to Tehran. Stalin was pleased on both counts. was launched in November. A series of diplomatic conferences took place in the Middle East before the end of 1943. Roosevelt and Churchill met at Casablanca. A pleased Stalin renewed his pledge to join the war against Japan once Germany was defeated." Congress responded by repealing laws prohibiting Chinese immigration and naturalized citizenship. The Chinese ambassador in Moscow joined in the Declaration of Four Nations on General Security. Secretary of State Cordell Hull. The Tehran Conference gave the Allied leaders a chance to size each other up in person. British foreign secretary Anthony Eden. Late in November. calling upon "all peace-loving states" to establish an international organization to maintain "peace and security" in the post-war world." the codename for the cross-channel invasion to be launched in the spring. but FDR deliberately did not meet alone with Churchill during this summit. vowed to strip Japan of all its League of Nations mandates and military conquests since 1914. and assured the Soviets that there would be no separate peace with the Japanese. The long-awaited second front in Western Europe would be coordinated with another Allied landing in southern France and a Soviet offensive from the east. but it strengthened the resolve of the hardliners in Germany and Japan and possibly prolonged the fighting. in Morocco. This was to reassure Stalin. the Iranian capital. to meet for the first time with Stalin.

The negotiations included representatives from the United States. and China. When Roosevelt complained that Americans were concerned with the fate of the Baltic States. the Big Three decided to postpone that question.C. belied the fundamental differences between the western democracies and the Soviet Union that increased as Germany was being conquered. His first face-to-face negotiations with Stalin gave Roosevelt the impression that he was able to influence the Soviet leader. and resulted in a working draft for the United Nations. D. and each have a veto power. although the occupation zones had not been delineated. and Churchill envisioned incorporating part of Germany with Austria and Hungary into a Danubian confederation. Latvia. General Assembly. The apparent Allied solidarity at Tehran. Stalin wanted Germany to be completely dismembered. Canada. In late August 1944. the Jewish secretary of the treasury. The partition of Germany had been agreed upon. the Soviet Union." because the citizens of Lithuania. Secretary of State Hull. Stalin replied that he better get busy on some "propaganda work. Allied diplomats began a six-week conference at Dumbarton Oaks. A decision on membership of the General Assembly was postponed after Stalin insisted that all sixteen Soviet Republics receive equal representation. The president returned home to tell the American people that he "got along fine" with Stalin. FDR acceded to this. The Allied leaders also appeared to be united in relegating France to minor-power status in the post-war world. Roosevelt appointed General Dwight David Eisenhower to command Overlord. This was the last summit meeting that focused primarily on military strategy and winning the war. and Estonia had voted to join the Soviet Union. supported by Henry Stimson in . Roosevelt and Churchill met again in mid-September at Quebec. Political agreements were more difficult to achieve. while the Soviet Union would absorb an eastern region of Poland. Furthermore. the discussions with Roosevelt and Churchill probably strengthened Stalin's determination to seek territorial concessions in the latter stages of the war. For his part. particularly on military matters. Stalin pushed for the western boundary of Poland to include portions of Germany. The chief question at Quebec was whether Germany should become an agricultural nation or be reintegrated into the European industrial community. an estate near Washington. although he acknowledged that he could not do so publicly before next year's presidential election." forever eliminating it as a military threat. It was agreed that the Four Policemen and France would have permanent seats on the Security Council. The post-war peace organization would consist of a Security Council. Britain. The Big Three would work that out at a future meeting. to discuss post-war plans for Germany.Shortly after the conference. Roosevelt favored dividing the country into five autonomous districts. and an International Court of Justice. after the cross-channel invasion at Normandy put the Germans on the defensive in Western Europe. Secretariat. Henry Morgenthau. The final major issue under discussion at Tehran was post-war Germany. Unable to reach a settlement on the fate of Germany. favored turning Germany into "a goat pasture.

was far from won. the same percentage in Greece. The war against Hitler was entering its final stages. but with the Red Army sweeping into Eastern Europe. Churchill and Stalin also reached a more controversial deal known as the "Percentages Agreement. Roosevelt. the Allied leaders began focusing on winning the peace. So. although the city was wholly within the Soviet sector. warned that a revitalized Germany was essential to the economic well being of Europe. was preoccupied with the election campaign. This was a compromise. while Roosevelt wished to avoid the mistakes of the Versailles Treaty. Averill Harriman. Churchill and Stalin agreed to shift the boundaries of Poland to the west. however. with the Allies closing in on Germany and the Red Army controlling much of Eastern Europe. Berlin also was divided into four zones. He stated that the United States would not be bound by the agreement. Jr. It was agreed that Germany was to be divided into four zones of occupation. The Yalta Conference The second and final summit meeting attended by the Big Three was held in early February 1945. As the war was being won in Europe. attended the negotiations as an observer. During their deliberations. Churchill contrastingly sought sufficient reparations that would not destroy the German economy. The American ambassador to the Soviet Union. President Roosevelt. Roosevelt and Churchill nonetheless initially supported the Morgenthau Plan. Britain. Stettinius. Churchill flew to Moscow in October to confer with Stalin. With the post-war fate of Germany and Eastern Europe unsettled. received 90 percent control in Rumania. Stalin wanted punitive reparations to permanently eliminate Germany's military and economic capabilities. and the new secretary of state. and Stalin was already on record as supporting the dismemberment of Germany." Among the major issues settled at Yalta by the Big Three were the partition of Germany and future war reparations. with a French sector carved out of the British and American zones. . the two Allied leaders carved the Balkans into spheres of influence. opposed permanent spheres of influence. at Yalta on the Black Sea. Churchill warned Roosevelt that Yalta "may well be a fateful conference. however. The Soviets. Churchill urged another summit meeting with the Big Three before the end of the year. for example. Shortly before they met. Churchill was the driving force behind the decision to include France he was deeply concerned that the United States would withdraw from European affairs as it had after the First World War." In a classic example of realpolitik. R. and Stalin refused to leave the Soviet Union. giving the Soviet Union the territory it coveted in the east. Edward.the War Department. he had little political leverage. who was willing to accept a temporary division of authority until the Germans were defeated. Roosevelt's advisers included chief political troubleshooter Harry Hopkins. The conflict in the Pacific. The Big Three also agreed to a reparations commission and tentatively allotted 50 percent of about $20 billion to the Soviet Union. One of Roosevelt's objectives at Yalta was to get a firm commitment from Stalin that the Soviet Union would enter the fight against Japan once the Nazis were defeated.

. the western Allied leaders gained some concessions. the southern half of Sakhalin Island. Roosevelt and Churchill. The Dumbarton Oaks Conference left several significant procedural and organizational issues unresolved. Stalin. for example. and an equal number on the Asian mainland. Stalin. Port Arthur (Darien). Stalin expected to receive territorial concessions for entering the war in the Pacific within "two to three months" after the surrender of Germany. in turn. which was engaged in a bitter civil war against Mao Zedong's communists. agreed to recognize the Nationalist Chinese government led by Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek).The United Nations was another major topic discussed at Yalta. conceded on the boundary issue and acknowledged the communist domination of the Polish government. Yet. contributed to the general spirit of hopeful optimism that gripped western leaders following the Yalta Conference. The Soviets were promised the Kurile Islands. Roosevelt and Churchill prevailed. and the South Manchurian Railroad. the Red Army was occupying Poland. bowing to military reality. but they could veto any substantive action by the General Assembly." The chief point of contention was recognition of either the Polish government-in-exile operating in London. President Roosevelt informed the Congress. the Big Three agreed that post-war "interim governmental authorities" were to be "broadly representative of all democratic elements in the population and pledged to the earliest possible establishment through free elections of Governments responsive to the will of the people." The Declaration. the Allied leaders approved the Declaration of Liberated Europe. It was decided that the permanent members of the Security Council could not stifle debate. At the conclusion of the Yalta Conference. pushed for an unrestricted veto to prevent even the discussion of certain subjects. in late April. or the provisional government based in Lublin that was dominated by communists. The fate of Poland was the most difficult problem faced by the Allied leaders at Yalta. Spurred by Roosevelt. and Stalin wanted the post-war boundaries to be moved westward to compensate Poland for the eastern territory annexed by the Soviet Union. The Big Three further agreed that the first meeting of the United Nations would be held in San Francisco. however. Stalin made it clear that the issue was "a matter of life and death for the Soviet Union. that the era of "spheres of influence and balances of power" was ended. To further complicate the situation. American military analysts estimated that there were two million Japanese troops on the home islands. Stalin agreed that the Lublin government would include Poles from "abroad" and pledged to hold "free and unfettered elections as soon as possible. The atomic bomb was still in the developmental stage when the Big Three met at Yalta. For his part. and FDR believed that Soviet participation in any military invasion or naval blockade of Japan was essential to victory." Roosevelt allowed Stalin to dominate the discussions pertaining to Poland because he desperately wanted the Soviets to join the fight against Japan. after his return to the United States. coupled with the promise of a United Nations organization to maintain world peace.

Ernest Bevin succeeded Anthony Eden as foreign secretary. In the middle of the conference. called for compromise. however.The apparent solidarity and good will that permeated the Yalta Conference soon faded." Truman used similarly blunt language in describing the Soviets as "pig-headed. and the desire to bring the Soviets into the fight against Japan. and signed the U." He and his newly appointed secretary of state. with the atomic bomb as his "ace in the hole. 1945. Furthermore. charter on June 26. Truman. and Britain could do about it. Byrnes. Some historians equate Yalta with Munich and appeasement. gathered for a final time at Potsdam." and the Soviet premier replied that it should be used against the Japanese. President Truman received a report of the successful testing of the atomic bomb. the Senate overwhelmingly approved American participation in the United Nations by a vote of 89 to 2. Stalin. did not guarantee success at Potsdam for the Americans. Truman told reporters that he felt "as if the sun. The Allied leaders agreed to remove all vestiges of Nazism from post-war Germany and hold war crime trials "to bring these criminals to swift and sure justice. but he was determined to follow through on FDR's vision of a United Nations. there was little short of war that the U." vowed to "state frankly what I think. no doubt expected to use "atomic diplomacy" to sway the Soviets. In light of the ensuing Cold War. however. Final plans were drawn up at Potsdam to divide Germany into four zones of occupation. others blame Roosevelt's deteriorating health for his failure to take a hard enough line against Stalin.S. the Council of Foreign Ministers (including representatives from France and China) was established to settle unresolved territorial . near Berlin. however. Most of the settlements reached at Yalta especially those pertaining to Eastern Europe employed language vague enough to allow the Soviets to violate the spirit if not the letter of the agreements." Lastly. Harry S. the first day of the conference. President Roosevelt died suddenly. following the surrender of Germany in early May. had already arranged with the communist-dominated government of Poland to move the nation's boundary further west to compensate for territory annexed by the Soviet Union. The military situation in Europe. The Allied leaders. the partitioned nation was to be treated as "a single economic unit. Several days later. entered the White House. The Allied Victory On April 12. vice president for less than three months and untutored in foreign affairs. The president.N. for example. organized following the First World War. moon. including President Truman. and the stars" had fallen upon his shoulders. but Truman succeeded in allowing each of the victorious Allies to exact reparations only from their sector. the post-war agreements negotiated by the Big Three remain controversial. On July 17. Under the circumstances. James F. Secretary of State Stettinius met in San Francisco with delegates from nearly 50 nations. Unlike the League of Nations." ensuring that a revitalized Germany would contribute to the recovery of war-torn Europe. The development of the atomic bomb. he informed Stalin that the United States had a new weapon of "awesome destructiveness. whose Labor Party won the parliamentary elections. Winston Churchill was replaced by Clement Attlee. Potsdam was Truman's first meeting with Stalin.

On August 6. General Douglas MacArthur presided over the ceremonies. Nagasaki was virtually destroyed by the second atom bomb and another 35. Between the two bombs. and on his journey back to the United States.000 people were killed and "the whole city was ruined instantaneously." Three days later. On July 26. gave the final order to drop the atomic bomb. and Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) signed the Potsdam Declaration. a B-29 captained by Colonel Paul Tibbets. Attacking Japan enabled the United States to demonstrate the awesome force of the new weapon and keep Soviet military participation in the Pacific theater negligible. Secretary of State Byrnes ambiguously replied that "the authority of the Emperor" would be decided in surrender terms dictated by the "Supreme Commander of the Allied powers. Japan's eighth largest city and headquarters for the Second General Army. the Japanese government agreed to surrender although they insisted on retaining the emperor's role following the war. Truman was certainly aware of the political ramifications of atomic warfare. four days after the Potsdam Conference ended. ensuring American domination of the peace negotiations. Others claimed Truman should have demonstrated to Japanese observers the destructive force of the new weapon in a staged exhibition on a remote target. Truman. The controversy over the decisions made by the Allied leaders at the Yalta and Potsdam Conferences intensified as time passed. the Soviet Union declared war on Japan and marched troops into Manchuria. lifted off from Tinian with an atomic bomb nicknamed "Little Boy. 1945. Truman also considered the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in making his decision. precisely three months after Germany's surrender. President Truman viewed the Japanese diplomatic maneuvering as a rejection of the unconditional surrender terms. including waiting for the Soviet Union to join the fight and implementing a naval blockade of the home islands." The formal surrender took place on September 2. but President Truman's decision to drop the atomic bombs immediately drew mixed reactions. As the Supreme Commander of the Allied occupation forces. after conferring with Emperor Hirohito. Critics argued that he should have pursued other military options." Thousands of leaflets subsequently were dropped over Japanese cities calling for unconditional surrender. Churchill. Stalin did not participate because the Soviets were not yet a belligerent in the Pacific war." The five-ton bomb was released over Hiroshima.000 were killed. about 80. Supporters of the president's decision to drop the bombs argued that the alternatives were not . Without mentioning the atomic bomb.issues and draft peace treaties with the defeated powers. the Enola Gay. but military commanders held out hope that the Soviet Union could be persuaded to arrange a diplomatic settlement. which repeated the call for the unconditional surrender of Japan. the Declaration warned that the "alternative [to surrender] for Japan is prompt and utter destruction. MacArthur was instrumental in guiding Japan through the establishment of a constitutional democracy in which women as well as the emperor played significant roles. On August 10. in Tokyo Bay aboard the battleship Missouri. The destruction was devastating.

The post-war goals of the United States and the Soviet Union were similarly incompatible. an invasion of the home islands would be launched with a horrific loss of life on both sides. Ultimately. Total casualty figures. The nuclear age had dawned. Stalin rejected the American position in early 1946. It appeared that the Big Three were already going their separate ways in the immediate aftermath of World War Two. Contrastingly. President Truman understood that the impact of atomic warfare far exceeded its geographic targets. Truman ultimately authorized the bombings based on what he perceived as military necessity. The Soviets were angered by the delayed second front in Western Europe and the negotiated peace with the Italian government. Japanese hardliners would never surrender as long as they could resist. exacerbated by a traditional distrust that commenced with the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Actions taken by the Allied powers during the war likewise increased tensions within the Grand Alliance. He was convinced the Japanese would fight fanatically like "savages" to protect their homeland. Additionally. Truman's military advisers estimated that American casualties would be in the hundreds of thousands. and Rumania from the Germans but remained an occupation force after the war. would encourage democracy around the globe. with the world's strongest economy and a nuclear monopoly. He later declared that he viewed the "bomb as a military weapon and never had any doubt that it should be used. and a demonstration might not work as planned. Underlying the growing rift between the United States and the Soviet Union was a clash of ideologies and cultures. as evidenced by the kamikaze tactics employed late in the war. including Allied and Japanese losses. there was only enough material to build two bombs. despite the agreement to organize the United Nations. The United States. Britain was the dominant Allied power in Greece. The Aftermath of World War II The Grand Alliance was a military success Germany and Japan were defeated by the fall of 1945. nothing close to a lasting ideological or political alliance was formed among the Allies during the Second World War. However.realistic.000 prisoners of war held by the Japanese. claiming that global peace was impossible "under the present capitalist development of the world economy. especially as they related to Eastern Europe. The spread of capitalism and free markets. the United States controlled post-war Japan. although the British were fully apprised of the Manhattan Project." . they argued. the United States and Britain recalled Stalin's non-aggression pact with Hitler prior to the German invasion of Poland in 1939. American political leaders viewed international trade as the foundation of world peace. and were suspicious of Soviet intensions in Eastern Europe as the war wound down. Stalin was also kept in the dark about the development of the atomic bomb. Bulgaria. were estimated as high as one million. There were simply too many irreconcilable differences between them. which they viewed as setting a precedent they could exploit. could afford to champion the collective security approach embodied by the United Nations. in addition to the 100. Soviet troops liberated Hungary." Nonetheless.

the United States had embraced the "containment policy. the Allies had many important issues to address. The struggle was soon between the "free world" and the "godless communists. economic and physical rebuilding. in an effort to combat Soviet expansionism. and much of the country's infrastructure was in ruins. addressing issues such as the control of disputed territories. Leaders from the Allied countries attended. The end of the Second World War signaled more than the defeat of the Axis powers. the Marshall Plan. They had proven to be an extremely resilient enemy. A meeting was scheduled in Potsdam. which meant a communist Eastern Europe. 1945. In Churchill's memorable phrase. American bombers showered Japan with leaflets ordering Japanese citizens and soldiers to lay down their arms or face . and the leaders could not agree on many of the matters at hand. By 1950. Germany for July 17 through August 2. the Prime Minister of Great Britain. The Red Army." enunciated by George F. represented a combination of political. cultures. The United States also returned to a peacetime military draft. The Soviets also lacked atomic weapons. and greatly increased its military budget. but was recalled to England when his party was defeated in the election. and encouraged the "Red Scare" exploited by Senator Joseph McCarthy. Winston Churchill had been representing England at the conference. The Truman Doctrine." Such alarmist rhetoric poured fuel on the fire. Kennan. while massive. Twenty million Soviet citizens had fallen in the fight against Hitler.The Soviet Union remained committed to balance-of-power global politics and carving out its own spheres of influence. Given the disparate ideologies. was not a first-rate technological military force immediately following the war. Joseph Stalin. and punishing Nazi leaders became essential. Several divisive issues emerged during the conference. and Clement Atlee. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). it was almost inevitable that the Grand Alliance would crumble after the war was won. Now that the war in Europe was won and the war in Asia appeared close to a conclusion. an "iron curtain" soon descended across the European continent. Potsdam Conference Near the end of World War II. none of the leaders were eager to engage the Japanese. The Cold War remained a focal point of American politics and foreign policy for decades to come. The Cold War era was dominated by the United States and the Soviet Union. and national security imperatives. The leaders did unanimously agree that Japan must surrender immediately. Stalin therefore was concerned primarily with national security. and their fierce fighting in the Pacific as well as the increased use of Kamikaze fighters showed they seemed unlikely to surrender. the Soviet Premier. economic. Both of the two "superpowers" imbued their respective ideologies with idealistic and moralistic overtones leaving little room for compromise. who had become president upon the death of Franklin Roosevelt in April of 1945. including the "new" Big Three: Harry Truman. In spite of their bravado. and they proceeded to issue a stern ultimatum to Japan that it either surrender or be destroyed. and military adjuncts to the containment policy.

On August 6. another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki that killed 80. Neither Stalin nor Truman was willing to make concessions. The Potsdam Conference also created war crimes tribunals that would prosecute Nazi war criminals. Many countries had been attempting to develop atomic weapons. Leaders at the Potsdam Conference were also concerned about the Balkan countries. the future of Germany. located within the Soviet zone. aided by brilliant scientists such as German-born Albert Einstein and American J. Many countries. The most significant conflict occurred between the USSR and the western Allies. and the French zone.destruction. Japan inflicting 180. Truman received notice that an atomic bomb had been successfully detonated in a confined test. as they both realized the important role the Balkans . and education. as it was often difficult to monitor the inflows and outflows of German money and resources in each zone. zone. During the conference.000 casualties. The denazification extended beyond military and industrial applications. groups. The European conferees wanted to ensure that Germany would be unable to make a rapid return to economic and military power as they did following WWI. economics. but later.S. Robert Oppenheimer. The conferees also determined that war reparations from Germany would be paid to the Allies from each respective zone. was also split into four zones. and jurisdictions wanted to punish these criminals for their shocking deeds. and the U. The group decided to split occupied Germany into four zones: the U. and no one was quite sure what to do with them. the Soviet zone. Another difficulty was that each Allied power controlled its zone differently. The capital city of Berlin. Truman did not share this new development with his fellow world leaders. The conference leaders began drafting a plan to demilitarize and "denazify" Germany. many conference attendees would comment on the change in Truman's attitude. The plan called for complete disarmament and the dismantling of all industries that could be used for military production. Each had its own objectives and interests that often caused problems with other occupying powers.S. 1945. The U. the British zone. This region had played a key role in both World Wars and continued to be a European hotspot. an American B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. It was decided that an international court would hear the war crimes cases and sentence individual Nazis based on the extent of their involvement in the war and the atrocities committed during the war.S. Three days later. with the Allies exerting influence in German politics. A key issue the Potsdam Conference attendees needed to address was how to deal with a defeated Germany. originally intended the atomic bomb to be used as a weapon against Germany. This arrangement became a significant concern. The Potsdam Conference determined. was leading the race. to a large extent. but Truman began making plans to force Japan to surrender through atomic decimation.000 people. The European conferees wanted to ensure that Germany would be unable to make a rapid return to economic and military power like it did following WWI. Many Nazi leaders had been captured and many more were being pursued.

and France were appointed to the council. Finally. Great Britain. The foreign ministers of the United States.would play in the ever-increasing rivalry between America and the Soviet Union. . China. the Soviet Union. the group agreed to appoint a council of foreign ministers that would draft peace treaties for the Balkan countries.