Why Did Tension Between Soviet And The West Increased After The Potsdam Conference ?
The Potsdam Conference attended by Britain, the US, France and Soviet Union was called to decide how to divide the territory of Germany, who had been defeated. The Germans had laid down the arm on 7th and 8th May 1945 and conference was held in July. It was during this conference that major differences between the Soviet and other western nations emerged. There was already no love lost between the Soviet and the other Allies; and the Potsdam Conference brought this to a peak.
Earlier, all the other conferences held between these nations were attended by President Roosevelt. However, with Roosevelt's demise, the office was taken over by Harry S. Truman. Unfortunately, the new US president did not know the agreement that President Roosevelt had agreed with the Soviet Union. So, Truman went ahead with matters as advised by his advisors.
Truman and his group adhered to a hard line when it came to dealing with the Soviet Union. Any official that wanted to suggest cooperation with the Russians or increase trade with the Russians was marginalized. It was also during the Potsdam Conference that the Americans mentioned something about an atomic bomb, but had not told the Russians that they had a working atomic bomb. Hence, the Russians were taken unawares when the US dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. This further deepened the distrust that the Soviet Union had for the US. Furthermore, immediately after the Germans surrendered, the US ended the Lend Lease pact that she had with Russia. This proved to the Russians that the US was supporting them just to meet their own objectives and not because they wanted genuine friendship between the 2 nations. This further deteriorated the relationship between the two nations.
Hence, it can be said that the foundation for the cold war that began after the Second World War was laid during the Potsdam Conference. The tension between the Soviet and western countries came to a head after the conference.
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