The Cold War

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Harry Truman was the 33rd President of the United States from about the end of World War 2 and from the beginning of the Cold War in 1945 until he retired in January, 1952. Harry Truman was born in 1884, in Missouri. In April 1945 Truman assumed office as the President on the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. From the 16th of July to the 2nd of August the Potsdam conference was held in Potsdam, Berlin. Truman and Stalin and Churchill attended the conference until Churchill was beaten in an election by Atlee and replaced. Truman was worried about this encounter with Stalin as he was not very well informed on him, as Roosevelt had not involved him in political issues therefore he lacked the knowledge on how to handle Stalin. The main issue at the conference was on Germany. They established the principle occupations, which were to de-nazify,de-militerise, de-centeralise de-industrialise and democrasise all of Germany. Germany’s reparations were decided. They also established that Germany’s future would be jointly worked out, no separate development without consultation of forgien ministers. Also at Potsdam the Polish borders were defined, and Russia agreed entry to the Pacific War. Truman distrusted the Russians before the conference and by the end of the conference in August Truman had developed an even larger distrust towards Russia. He felt the Russians had been given too much at Yalta and he was adopting a harder attitude. He also felt that with the power he held with the Atomic bomb, USSR were under control. The relationship between the superpwers worsened considerably at Potsdam. On the 6th of August 1945 Truman authorised an Atomic bomb to be dropped on Hiroshima, a city in Japan and another in Nagasaki, two days later, they caused horrendous damage, and many thousands of people died. After the bombs were dropped US troops occupied Japan not allowing any other forces in. Truman had told Stalin little about the bomb, first informing him at Potsdam and when he authorised the drop, he had not consulted or warned Stalin, this angered him as he had wanted to gain some Japanese territory before the end of the war and the tension began to build. The rise of two new “superpowers”developed after the war, the USA and the USSR, both wanting to be the more powerful nation. There was a rising tension between Truman and Stalin, as Truman had a different attitude to the USSR and Stalin than Roosevelt had previously.

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