Archive for March 11th, 2009

The Potsdam Conference question

Today, first hour class had a question about attendance at the Potsdam conference. As we discussed, at the Potsdam Conference, two of the Allied Powers had had a change in leadership. Franklin Roosevelt had died in the spring of 1945, elevating Truman to the presidency.

In England, elections had been suspended in 1935 as a wartime measure, but in July 1945 an election was held, pitting the Labour candidate Clement Attlee, against Conservative Winston Churchill. Attlee had been serving as deputy prime minister in a wartime unity or coalition government that was an attempt to put aside partisan politics at a time when Britain’s very survival was at stake. Surprisingly however, once the election was held, the voters overwhelmingly backed Attlee and the Labour Party, trusting them more than the Conservatives to rebuild after the war.

The election was held as the Potsdam Conference was underway, and the results were not finalized until July 25. Therefore, both Churchill and Attlee were at the Potsdam Conference, and the change in power happened midway through the conference.

Now we know.