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To what extent was the Potsdam Conference responsible for the creation of East and West Germany?

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Introduction

Jensen Pon 13E To what extent was the Potsdam Conference responsible for the creation of East and West Germany? To what extent was the Potsdam Conference responsible for the creation of East and West Germany? Candidate Name: Pon, Chin Ching Candidate Number: 003257-041 Word Count: 1969 I s l a n d S c h o o l A Plan of Investigation The conferences at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam between allied leaders are often cited as the groundwork for a postwar Europe. While ideological tensions had always existed between the western powers and the USSR since the Bolshevik revolution, the division of Germany in two was unprecedented. This investigation explores the extent to which the Potsdam Conference was responsible for the creation of East and West Germany. This requires an evaluation of the actual agreements at Potsdam in comparison to other pre-Potsdam and post-Potsdam events which were also factors responsible for East and West Germanyâs creation. The significance of the Potsdam conference is investigated through Western and Soviet European perspectives, using primary and secondary sources such as the protocol themselves, “The Myth of Potsdamââ by Marc Trachtenberg and James F. Byrneâs plan. B Summary of Evidence Potsdam was directly responsible Myth of “Unitary Policies” at Potsdam I. The Byrnes Plan of July 23-25 1945, by James F. Byrnes, US secretary of State, formed the basis of the Potsdam agreements on unilateral administration1 in Germany.2 II. ...read more.

Middle

official documents- James Byrnesâ Plan, which provides a more objective view on the role of US policy at Potsdam. This differs from conventional interpretation that Potsdam agreement had agreed on maintaining a unified Germany 22 , where Germanyâs division was cause predominately by Soviets violation of 9 "Avalon Project - A Decade of American Foreign Policy 1941-1949 - Potsdam Conference." 10 Mee, Jr., p.210. 11 Trachtenberg, 1996, p.14 12 Wikipedia, “Percentages Agreement." 13 BL Tsybulevsky., 1969. 14 "Avalon Project – The Yalta Conference” 15 Grenville, J. A. S, p. 235. 16 Gaddis, p. 22 17 Gaddis, p. 22 18 Gaddis, p. 20 19 Trachtenberg, p.15 20 Trachtenberg, p.4 21 Trachtenberg, p.3 unitary agreements.23 However, the sourceâs usefulness is limited as its argument has not been completely endorsed by the majority of Cold War historian e.g. “pre-eminent and internationally celebrated24” US diplomatic historian John Gaddis, who Trachtenberg claims to have “not been privy to what had really gone on at Potsdam”.25 Thus this source only represents view of a minority of Cold War historians, and may contain an element of subjective bias. The second source is a compendium called “Tehran-Yalta-Potsdam, Collection of Documents” containing”, a collection of papers produced at the Potsdam conference on 1st of August, 1945, which is compiled by a Soviet historian SH.P Sanakoev, BL Tsybulevsky. As the source was published in 1967 by the “Moscow Publishing House „International Relationsâ”, the views it presents regarding Soviet responsibility at the Potsdam conference regarding the division of Germany is undoubted heavily influenced by Soviet authorities and censors. ...read more.

Conclusion

The percentages agreement implied “a division of Europe into spheres of influence” and left “little room for the Europeans to determine their future.” At Yalta, the Red Army occupation was densely spread across Eastern Europe. Poland in particular, had been seized by the Red Army, imposing a new government with the help of Lublin Poles. This suggests though the war had forced cooperation between the western allies and the Soviets, this “unnatural alliance” was only driven by a common goal of defeating the axis powers, and had not reconcile their ideological differences. Thus, the cause of East and West Germany creation may lie in the roots of ideological incompatibility, where Potsdam merely catalyzed Germanyâs inevitable division. E Conclusion In conclusion, Potsdam was directly responsible for the creation of East and West Germany, through laying a hidden framework of economic division of Germany on the basis of incompatibility of post-war economic interest. Although Potsdam had achieved many fundamental agreements, the nature of these agreements on Germany were on foundations of unilateralism and a silent confirmation their ideological could never allow for any real economic or political cooperation, and in the long run, would only lead to severe disagreements. In simplistic terms, the agreements of Potsdam “had agreed to separate Germany”. Ultimately, Potsdam was essential and indispensible in causing the creation of Germany into East and West since it created the permanent conditions for Germanyâs separation precluding the possibility of unified Germany in a future post-war Europe. ...read more.

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