In Potsdam, little real progress has been made, beyond an agreement on fulfilling the commitments made in Yalta. 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. However, the re-establishment of a German national government was postponed indefinitely and the Allied Control Commission (composed of four occupying powers, the United States, Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union) would rule the country during the interregnum. In the statement of the Potsdam conference on Germany, it is stated: “The intention of the Allies is to enable the German people to prepare for a possible reconstruction of their lives on a democratic and peaceful basis.” The four areas of occupation of Germany, designed at the Yalta conference, were created, each to be managed by the commander-in-chief of the Soviet, British, American or French occupation army. Berlin, Vienna and Austria were also divided into four zones of occupation. An allied supervisory board, made up of representatives of the four allies, should deal with issues relating to Germany and Austria as a whole. Their policy was dictated by the “five Ds” decided in Yalta: demilitarization, denatalization, democratization, decentralization and deindustrialization. Each Allied power had to seize repairs to its own areas of occupation, while the Soviet Union was allowed 10 to 15 percent of industrial equipment in western Germany in exchange for agricultural and other natural products in its area.
Remember, you still have to learn what was decided (or was not decided!) The border of Poland became the Oder and the Neisse to the west, and the country received part of the former East Prussia. This required that millions of Germans be transferred to Germany in these regions. The Romanian, Hungarian and Bulgarian governments were already controlled by the Communists and Stalin stubbornly refused to let the Allies intervene in Eastern Europe. While in Potsdam, Truman Stalin spoke of the “new weapon” of the United States (the atomic bomb) that she wanted to use against Japan. On 26 July, the conference issued an ultimatum to Japan, which called for an unconditional surrender and, if not, threatened to launch more serious airstrikes. After Japan rejected this ultimatum, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The three governments took note of discussions in recent weeks in London between representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union and France to reach agreement on the methods of trial of major war criminals whose crimes do not present a particular geographical location after the Moscow Declaration of October 1943. The three governments reaffirm their intention to bring justice quickly and safely to these criminals. They hope that the London negotiations will lead to a quick agreement to that end, and they believe it is very important that the trial of these great criminals begins as soon as possible.