Cold War: The Potsdam Conference Return to the gallery menu
Worksheets Big Question  

What was the official view of the relationship between Britain, the USA and the USSR during the Second World War?

The leaders of Britain, America and the USSR met again in Potsdam, near Berlin, in July 1945. Germany had already been defeated. Victory over Japan seemed a short distance away. There were many similarities between Yalta and Potsdam but also some important differences.

Winston Churchill began the Conference as British Prime Minister but there was an election in Britain in the middle of the Conference. Churchill lost and was replaced by Labour leader Clement Atlee.

President Roosevelt died in April 1945. America's new president was Harry S Truman. He was a tough character who liked straight talking. His priorities were the defeat of Japan and rebuilding a shattered Europe. However, he also wanted the world to know about a terrible new weapon the USA had developed.

There was no change in the USSR. Stalin was still its leader. He was still determined to look after the interests of the USSR. His top priorities were getting reparations out of Germany and making sure that the USSR would not be invaded through Eastern Europe.

So would the Potsdam Conference see more smiles, handshakes and co-operation? Would this be a true reflection of events, or just posing for the cameras?

In this case study your task is to decide exactly how good or bad relations were between the wartime allies.

To do this, you are going to 'take the temperature' of relations between the Allies, using the temperature gauge provided in the worksheet.

The Case Study Worksheet will also help you to organise your answer to this question.

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