Revision Diary

Yalta and Potsdam


Decisions made at Yalta and Potsdam, and their importance



Make sure that you know about the background and decisions made at Yalta and Potsdam, so that you can write about either one at length, but that you are also able to treat them both together/compare them if asked.


Particularly, make sure that you know about the results/significance of BOTH Yalta and Potsdam.




Yalta and Potsdam





February 1945

July 1945

Stalin  •

Roosevelt (liked and trusted Stalin)  •

Churchill (hated Communism, but good-humoured towards Stalin)  •

•  Stalin

•  Truman (anti-Communist, anti-Stalin)

•  Attlee (disliked Stalin)

Stalin had broken through and was advancing on Berlin from the east -

Britain and America, from the west,  had still not managed to invade Germany

Germany had surrendered and Hitler had committed suicide.

Roosevelt wanted Stalin to help him against Japan

America had developed the atomic bomb - Truman did not need Russia's help against Japan

Protocols (Agreements)

to divide Germany into four ‘zones’, which Britain, France, the USA and the USSR would occupy after the war

to set up the four ‘zones of occupation’ in Germany, destroy the Nazi thinking, and build a democracy in Germany.

to bring Nazi war-criminals to trial

to bring Nazi war-criminals to trial.

to set up a Polish Provisional Government of National Unity 'pledged to the holding of free and unfettered elections as soon as possible'

to recognize the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity and hold 'free and unfettered elections as soon as possible'.

'The Declaration of Liberated Europe' - to help the freed peoples of Europe set up self-governing governments and hold democratic elections

(Stalin had arrested large numbers of non-Communist Polish leaders)

to set up a commission to look into reparations

Russia was allowed to take reparations from the Soviet Zone, and also 10% of the industrial equipment of the western zones.

America and Britain could take reparations from their zones if they wished.

that Russia would join the United Nations

Stalin offered to help the Americans defeat Japan .




Results of Yalta

  1. Many historians believe that Yalta was when the Cold War began.

  2. Germany remained divided until 1990.

  3. Certainly, tension was growing throughout the conference, notably about the fate of Poland and eastern Europe, and especially between Churchill and Stalin.   After the conference, Churchill wrote to Roosevelt that ‘The Soviet Union has become a danger to the free world.’

  4. Churchill was forced to make the 'percentages agreement' with Stalin - allowing him a 'sphere of influence' in eastern Europe.   Many historians have claimed that Yalta thus handed over eastern Europe to Russia, and condemned millions to Communist oppression - President George Bush described it as 'pone of the greatest wrongs in history'.

  5. Downing and Isaacs (makes of TV series on the Cold War) say: "Yalta revealed cracks in the Grand Alliance. Only the common objective of defeating Hitler had kept it together."

  6. Time magazine in 1945 said that - compared with the Treaty of Versailles - Yalta was a good peace.




Results of Potsdam

  1. Potsdam just repeated the decisions of Yalta

  2. The tensions of Yalta came out into open disagreement -  it arguable that Potsdam was the moment when the Cold War actually broke out.

  3. Truman and Churchill HATED the reparations agreement at Potsdam.   Truman presented it as a 'compromise', but really he was furious.

  4. The British were furious about Poland - Polish freedom was why they had fought WWII in the first place!   Soon after, Truman invited Churchill to Fulton, to give his 'Iron Curtain' speech.

  5. The Russian offer to help defeat Japan terrified Truman, who feared the Soviets doing in the far east what they had in eastern Europe)

  6. Stalin was FURIOUS that Truman did not tell him that he had the atomic bomb.



Finally, be aware of what Yalta and Potsdam did to Germany.

Can you see where BERLIN is?


Revision Focus

This is a Paper 1 topic, so concentrate on learning:

1.   WHAT happened

2.   EFFECTS/ Importance



e-book on Yalta and Potsdam deals with the general context



Online revision sheet  



•    Differences between Yalta and Potsdam