August 2

1860 Klara Poelzl—later to be Adolf Hitler's mother—is born of a union between Hitler's maternal grandmother, Johanna Huettler, and the farmer Johann Poelzl, in the small village of Spital, just thirty miles north of the reputedly blue Danube. [For further details, Click here.]

1904 Death: Heinrich, a Herero:

It is intended to hold Courts-martial in German South-West Africa for the trial of natives who have been implicated in the massacre of German colonists or who have rendered assistance to the insurgents. The first of these trials resulted in the condemnation of a Herero named Heinrich, alias Egbert, who had been concerned in the murder of a German farmer, and who had also acted as a spy in the interest of the rebels. Heinrich, who is described as "a schoolmaster and Evangelist," was sentenced to death, and, according to intelligence just received, was hanged at Swakopmund on August 2. This case will produce a painful impression in German missionary circles, which have lately been in bad odour with the Government owing to the criticisms they had passed upon the conduct of some of the whites.

This "Heinrich" was thereby the first judicial execution for the January 1904 Herero raid that touched off the Herero genocide. Germany would secure the military scene just nine days later by routing Herero warriors at the Battle of Waterberg, and then proceed to drive almost the whole of the Herero nation into the deserts on pain of instant execution. (The Times of London Aug. 30, 1904) (

1914 Assistant Secretary of the US Navy Roosevelt writes to his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt:

Nobody seemed the least bit excited about the European crisis . . . . (Secretary of the Navy) Mr. Daniels feeling chiefly very sad that his faith in human nature and civilization and similar idealistic nonsense was receiving such a rude shock. So I started in alone to get things ready for what ought to be done by the Navy end of things. Friday I worked all day on these lines, and actually succeeded in getting one ship north from Mexico. These dear good people like WJB and JD have as much conception of what a general European war means as Elliott (Roosevelt's son) has of higher mathematics. They really believe that because we are neutral we can go about our business as usual. To my horror, just for example, JD told the newspapermen he thought favorably of sending our fleet to Europe to bring back marooned Americans! '

We should unquestionably gather our fleet together and get it into the highest state of efficiency. We still have twelve battleships at Vera Cruz . . . . The rest of the fleet is scattered to the four winds . . . they should be assembled and prepared. Some fine day the State Department will want the moral backing of a "fleet in being" and it won't be there. (Lash)

[See: Countdown to Infamy: Timeline to Pearl Harbor.]

General Helmuth von Moltke is appointed commander of all German armies in the field:

Germany occupies Luxembourg and sends an ultimatum to Belgium to allow passage of its troops across its territory. Reliable information has been received by the German Government to the effect that French forces intend to march on the line of the Meuse by Givet and Namur. This information leaves no doubt as to the intention of France to march through Belgian territory against Germany. The German Government cannot but fear that Belgium, in spite of the utmost goodwill, will be unable, without assistance, to repel so considerable a French invasion with sufficient prospect of success to afford an adequate guarantee against danger to Germany. It is essential for the self-defence of Germany that she should anticipate any such hostile attack. The German Government would, however, feel the deepest regret if Belgium regarded as an act of hostility against herself the fact that the measures of Germany's opponents force Germany, for her own protection, to enter Belgian territory. In order to exclude any possibility of misunderstanding, the German Government make the following declaration:

1. Germany has in view no act of hostility against Belgium. In the event of Belgium being prepared in the coming war to maintain an attitude of friendly neutrality towards Germany, the German Government bind themselves, at the conclusion of peace, to guarantee the possessions and independence of the Belgian Kingdom in full.

2. Germany undertakes, under the above-mentioned condition, to evacuate Belgian territory on the conclusion of peace.

3. If Belgium adopts a friendly attitude, Germany is prepared, in cooperation with the Belgian authorities, to purchase all necessaries for her troops against a cash payment, and to pay an indemnity for any damage that may have been caused by German troops.

4. Should Belgium oppose the German troops, and in particular should she throw difficulties in the way of their march by a resistance of the fortresses on the Meuse, or by destroying railways, roads, tunnels, or other similar works, Germany will, to her regret, be compelled to consider Belgium as an enemy. In this event, Germany can undertake no obligations towards Belgium, but the eventual adjustment of the relations between the two States must be left to the decision of arms. The German Government, however, entertain the distinct hope that this eventuality will not occur, and that the Belgian Government will know how to take the necessary measures to prevent the occurrence of incidents such as those mentioned. In this case the friendly ties which bind the two neighbouring States will grow stronger and more enduring.

A military alliance is arrived at between Turkey and Germany: Details of the alliance remain a secret with the consequence that Turkey's eventual entrance into the war at the end of October 1914 proves something of a disappointment (if not entirely a surprise) to the Entente Powers.

1. The two contracting parties agree to observe strict neutrality in regard to the present conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia.

2. In case Russia should intervene with active military measures, and should thus bring about a casus foederis for Germany with relation to Austria-Hungary, this casus foederis would also come into existence for Turkey.

3. In case of war, Germany will leave her military mission at the disposal of Turkey. The latter, for her part, assures the said military mission an effective influence on the general conduct of the army, in accordance with the understanding arrived at directly between His Excellency the Minister of War and His Excellency the Chief of the Military Mission.

4. Germany obliges herself, if necessary by force of arms Ottoman territory in case it should be threatened.

5. This agreement which has been concluded for the purpose of protecting both Empires from international complications which may result from the present conflict goes into force as soon as it is signed by the above-mentioned plenipotentiaries, and shall remain valid, together with any similar mutual agreements, until December 31, 1918.

6. In case it shall not be denounced by one of the high contracting parties six months before the expiration of the term named above, this treaty shall remain in force for a further period of five years.

7. This present document shall be ratified by His Majesty the German Emperor, King of Prussia, and by His Majesty the Emperor of the Ottomans, and the ratifications shall be exchanged within a period of one month from the date of its signing. 8. The present treaty shall remain secret and can only be made public as a result of an agreement arrived at between the two high contracting parties. In testimony whereof, etc. Baron von Wangenheim (for Germany). Said Halim (for Turkey)."

France: The Battle of the Frontiers and the Retreat to the Marne:

The first month of the campaign began with successes and finished with defeats for the French troops. Under what circumstances did these come about? Our plan of concentration had foreseen the possibility of two principal actions, one on the right between the Vosges and the Moselle, the other on the left to the north of Verdun-Toul line, this double possibility involving the eventual variation of our transport. On August 2nd, owing to the Germans passing through Belgium, our concentration was substantially modified by Marshal Joffre in order that our principal effort might be directed to the north. From the first week in August it was apparent that the length of time required for the British Army to begin to move would delay our action in connection with it. This delay is one of the reasons which explain our failures.

1915 World War I: Various:

List Regiment: Gefreiter Adolf Hitler's 16 Reserve Infantry Regiment continue to occupy a position at Fromelles—pictured above in a drawing by Hitler—on a level field with water channels, willow trees and willow stalks; in the distance towards the enemy lines lies an insignificant wood with barbed wire entanglements. Under the direction of their defense-minded commander, Lieutenant General Gustav Scanzoni von Lichtenfels, the regiment works ceaselessly day and night to further fortify their position at Fromelles while fighting off repeated assaults by the enemy. [For further details, Click here.]

Turkish Front: HMS Ben My Chree a former passenger steamer converted to a seaplane carrier and equipped with a steam catapult, takes up station in the Sea of Marmara. She launches two Short 184 seaplanes, built under contract by Mann Egerton of Norwich, powered by 260HP Sunbeam engines and armed with reinforced 14in naval torpedoes. The attack, led by Lieutenant Commander C. H. Edmonds, sinks a 5,000 ton Turkish freighter carrying supplies to Turkish troops opposing the Anzacs at Gallipoli; the first ship sunk by an aerial torpedo. On 17 August, Lieutenant Commander C. H. Edmonds and Flight Lieutenant G. B. Dacre were launched from the seaplane carrier off the island of Lemnos at the top of the Aegean. Edmonds sank another Turkish vessel, but Dacre suffered engine failure and had to put down on the sea, where a Turkish tug intent on his capture raced towards him. Dacre released his torpedo, which blew the tug out of the water, then remedied his engine fault, took off and returned to his ship.

1916 World War I: Various:

List Regiment: Gefreiter Adolf Hitler endures trench warfare in Flanders (Artois) with 3 Company, 16 Reserve Infantry Regiment. [For further details, Click here.]

Austrian sabotage causes the sinking of the Italian battleship Leonardo da Vinci in Taranto.

[See: Austria: The Other Germany.]

1917 World War I Various:

List Regiment (July 22-August 3): Dispatch Runner Gefreiter Adolf Hitler serves at the front with 3 Company, 16 Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment during Phase 2 operations in Flanders. Most of their time in the trenches gas masks are worn, while English bombers and tanks—a new terror witnessed for the very first time by most—attempt to advance over a long front through seas of mud. [For further details, Click here.]

Mutiny breaks out on a German battleship:

On August 2, 1917, with British forces settling into new positions captured from the Germans in the much-contested Ypres Salient on the Western Front of World War I, Germany faces more trouble closer to home, as a mutiny breaks out aboard the German battleship Prinzregent Luitpold, anchored at the North Sea port of Wilhelmshaven.

During the August 2 mutiny, some 400 sailors marched into town calling for an end to the war and proclaiming their unwillingness to continue fighting. Although the demonstration was quickly brought under control by army officials and the sailors were persuaded to return to their ships without real violence that day, some 75 of them were arrested and imprisoned and the ringleaders of the mutiny were subsequently tried, convicted and executed. "I die with a curse on the German-militarist state," one of them, Albin Kobis, wrote his parents before he was shot by an army firing squad at Cologne. As Willy Weber, another convicted sailor, whose death sentence was later commuted to 15 years in prison, put it: "Nobody wanted a revolution, we just wanted to be treated more like human beings."

Discontent and rebellion within the German Imperial High Seas Fleet continued throughout the following year, as things went abysmally for Germany on the battlefields of the Western Front after the initial success of their spring offensive in 1918. It was rumored that naval commanders were plotting a last-ditch attempt, against the orders of Kaiser Wilhelm II and the Reichstag government, to confront the mighty British navy and break the Allied blockade in the North Sea. The force of this rumor, combined with sinking morale, led to an even more significant mutiny at Wilhelmshaven on October 29, 1918, sparked by the arrest of some 300 sailors who had refused to obey orders.

The unrest soon spread to another German port city, Kiel, where on November 3 some 3,000 German sailors and workers rose in revolt, taking over ships and buildings and brandishing the red flag of communism. The following day, November 4, the rebels at Kiel formed the first Workers' and Soldiers' Council in Germany, defying the national government and seeking to act in the spirit of the Russian soviets. On the same day, the government of the Austro-Hungarian Empire asked the Allies for an armistice, which they were granted. An isolated and internally divided Germany was forced to sue for its own armistice barely a week later, and the First World War came to an end. (

1918 World War I: Various:

List Regiment (July 20-August 4):Gefreiter Adolf Hitler's 16th RIR is tasked with building a new line of defenses on the site of the failed Second Battle of the Marne. [For further details, Click here.]

Japan announces that it is deploying troops to Siberia in the aftermath of World War I:

Despite Russia's separate peace treaty with Germany ending the war on the Eastern Front early in 1918, Wilson hesitated to get involved in Russia's civil war even at the Allies insistence. By Summer 1918 things changed. The mounting Japanese occupation of Siberia threatened American business interests in the East. Piles of Allied military goods amassing to over 600,000 tons of war materials lay vulnerable around the crowded city. The plight of the stranded Czech Legion vulnerable to the merciless Red Army gave Wilson a much needed moral foundation for intervention. Intervention, Wilson realized, could be used later to pressure the Allies into adopting his ideas for a League of Nations. [For further details, Click here.]

Russian Revolution: The Soviet city of Archangel is occupied by the Allies:

[The] Government of the United States wishes to say with the utmost cordiality and good will that none of the conclusions here stated is meant to wear the least color of criticism of what the other governments associated against Germany may think it wise to undertake. It wishes in no way to embarrass their choices of policy. [For further details, Click here.]

1933 Various:

Antisemitism: Colonel Graham Seton Hutchinson begins publication of The National Worker, a pro-Nazi periodical. "There was not the smallest doubt that there was an international group of Jews who were behind world revolution in every single country at the present time. That fact a great many people in this country were inclined to pooh pooh."

Holocaust: The Breslau Jewish Community News is closed by the Nazis. (THP)

1934 Various:

Death: President Paul von Hindenburg:

Hindenburg's life was one immersed in the Prussian military tradition. His father was a Prussian officer, and Hindenburg fought in the Seven Weeks' War (with Austria) at age 19, and later in the Franco-Prussian War. He was eventually promoted to the rank of general before retiring from the military in 1911.

But it was during World War I that Hindenburg came to national prominence. He was asked to serve as the superior to Major General Erich Ludendorff, a prominent army strategist. Ludendorff succeeded in driving Russian invaders from East Prussia-but it was Hindenburg who was given the credit. As the war progressed, Hindenburg's stature grew to epic proportions, even influencing Emperor Wilhelm II to make him commander of all land forces, despite Hindenburg's rather dubious strategic skills. In fact, severe miscalculations on Hindenburg's part resulted in Germany's defeat, which Hindenburg then blamed on Ludendorff. (And which Ludendorff and the generals then blamed on the politicians.)

A monarchist fond of authoritarian regimes, Hindenburg nevertheless took the reins of the postwar republican government as president in 1925. Fearful of social unrest (from both the far right and far left), in light of the Depression and the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles, which demanded heavy reparations from Germany as the terms of its surrender, Hindenburg authorized his chancellor, Heinrich Bruening, to dissolve the Reichstag (parliament) if necessary and call for new elections-which he did. Those new elections ushered in the Nazi Party as the second largest party in the Reichstag.

Re-elected as president in 1932, Hindenburg had already lost the support of many of the more conservative elements in the government, who were flocking to Hitler's party, which they saw as the key to renewed German prestige and the bulwark against Bolshevism. After a succession of chancellors proved ineffectual in reversing Germany's economic slide, and gaining the Nazi support necessary to keep a coalition together, Hindenburg reluctantly named Hitler chancellor of Germany. Hindenburg was never an ardent Hitler supporter, but he did little to impede him as Hitler began employing terror tactics in his drive to consolidate power for the Nazis.

When Hindenburg died, he was still a respected figure nationwide and was buried, with his wife, at Tannenberg, the site of the great victory against the Russians during World War I. As World War II came to a close, their bodies were removed so that the advancing Russians would not get at them. They were ultimately reburied by Americans at Marburg. (

Hitler becomes Fuehrer:

With the death of German President Paul von Hindenburg, Chancellor Adolf Hitler becomes absolute dictator of Germany under the title of Fuehrer, (Leader). The German army took an oath of allegiance to its new commander-in-chief, and the last remnants of Germany's democratic government were dismantled to make way for Hitler's Third Reich. The Fuhrer assured his people that the Third Reich would last for a thousand years, but Nazi Germany collapsed just 11 years later.

Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria, in 1889. As a young man he aspired to be a painter, but he received little public recognition and lived in poverty in Vienna. Of German[ic] descent, he came to detest Austria as a "patchwork nation" of various ethnic groups, and in 1913 he moved to the German city of Munich in the state of Bavaria. After a year of drifting, he found direction as a German soldier in World War I, and was decorated for his bravery on the battlefield. He was in a military hospital in 1918, recovering from a mustard gas attack that left him temporarily blind, when Germany surrendered.

He was appalled by Germany's defeat, which he blamed on "enemies within"—chiefly German communists and Jews—and was enraged by the punitive peace settlement forced on Germany by the victorious Allies. He remained in the German army after the war and, as an intelligence agent, was ordered to report on subversive activities in Munich's political parties. It was in this capacity that he joined the tiny German Workers' Party, made up of embittered army veterans, as the group's seventh member. Hitler was put in charge of the party's propaganda, and in 1920 he assumed leadership of the organization, changing its name to Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers' party), which was abbreviated [by those who did not sympathize with it] to Nazi.

The party's socialist orientation was little more than a ploy to attract working-class support; in fact, Hitler was fiercely right-wing. But the economic views of the party were overshadowed by the Nazis' fervent nationalism, which blamed Jews, communists, the Treaty of Versailles, and Germany's ineffectual democratic government for the country's devastated economy. In the early 1920s, the ranks of Hitler's Bavarian-based Nazi party swelled with resentful Germans. A paramilitary organization, the Sturmabteilung (SA), was formed to protect the Nazis and intimidate their political opponents, and the party adopted the ancient symbol of the swastika as its emblem.

In November 1923, after the German government resumed the payment of war reparations to Britain and France, the Nazis launched the "Beer Hall Putsch"—an attempt at seizing the German government by force. Hitler hoped that his nationalist revolution in Bavaria would spread to the dissatisfied German army, which in turn would bring down the government in Berlin. However, the uprising was immediately suppressed, and Hitler was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison for treason.

Imprisoned in Landsberg fortress, he spent his time there dictating his autobiography, Mein Kampf (My Struggle), a bitter and rambling narrative in which he sharpened his anti-Semitic and anti-Marxist beliefs and laid out his plans for Nazi conquest. In the work, published in a series of volumes, he developed his concept of the Fuehrer as an absolute dictator who would bring unity to German people and lead the "Aryan race" to world supremacy.

Political pressure from the Nazis forced the Bavarian government to commute Hitler's sentence, and he was released after nine months . . . . An upturn in the economy further reduced popular support of the party, and for several years Hitler was forbidden to make speeches in Bavaria and elsewhere in Germany.

The onset of the Great Depression in 1929 brought a new opportunity for the Nazis to solidify their power. Hitler and his followers set about reorganizing the party as a fanatical mass movement, and won financial backing from business leaders, for whom the Nazis promised an end to labor agitation. In the 1930 election, the Nazis won six million votes, making the party the second largest in Germany. Two years later, Hitler challenged Paul von Hindenburg for the presidency, but the 84-year-old president defeated Hitler with the support of an anti-Nazi coalition.

Although the Nazis suffered a decline in votes during the November 1932 election, Hindenburg agreed to make Hitler chancellor in January 1933, hoping that Hitler could be brought to heel as a member of his cabinet. However, Hindenburg underestimated Hitler's political audacity, and one of the new chancellor's first acts was to exploit the burning of the Reichstag (parliament) building as a pretext for calling general elections. The police under Nazi Hermann Goering suppressed much of the party's opposition before the election, and the Nazis won a bare majority. Shortly after, Hitler took on dictatorial power through the Enabling Acts.

Chancellor Hitler immediately set about arresting and executing political opponents, and even purged the Nazis' own SA paramilitary organization in a successful effort to win support from the German army. With the death of President Hindenburg on August 2, 1934, Hitler united the chancellorship and presidency under the new title of Fuehrer. As the economy improved, popular support for Hitler's regime became strong, and a cult of Fuehrer worship was propagated by Hitler's capable propagandists. [For further details, Click here]

American Forward Movement: Asheville, NCA: A gathering organized by the organization, collapses when a rabbi attempts to attend the conference.

[See: Was America Complicit in the Holocaust?]

Spanish Civil War: The State Department urges Americans in Spain to leave.

1938 Switzerland: A major clash breaks out between Socialists and Nazis.

1939 Various:

United Kingdom: After a lengthy debate the House of Commons votes itself a summer holiday. It is not scheduled to return until October 21.

Einstein urges U.S. atomic action:

From his home on Long Island, New York, German-born physicist Albert Einstein writes to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, urging "watchfulness and, if necessary, quick action" on the part of the United States in atomic research. Einstein, a lifelong pacifist, feared that Nazi Germany had begun work on an atomic bomb.

Einstein's theories of special and general relativity drastically altered man's understanding of the universe, and his work in particle and energy theory helped make possible quantum mechanics and early atomic research. As a German-born Jew, Einstein fled Germany for the United States after Nazi leader Adolf Hitler seized power in 1934.

In the summer of 1939, fellow expatriate physicists Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, and Edward Teller, profoundly disturbed by the lack of American atomic action, enlisted the aid of Einstein, hoping that a letter from such a renowned scientist would help attract Roosevelt's attention. Einstein agreed to the venture because of his fear of sole Nazi possession of the deadly weapon, a possibility that became especially troubling after Germany ceased the sale of uranium ore from occupied Czechoslovakia. After reading Einstein's letter, Roosevelt created the Uranium Committee, and in 1942 the highly secret U.S. and British atomic program became known as the Manhattan Project. Einstein had no role in the Allied atomic bomb program. [For further details, Click here]

1942 Wunderwaffen: Wernher von Braun's team tests an A-4 that attains an altitude of 7 miles before exploding. (Piszkiewicz, Braun)

[See: Wunderwaffen: Hitler's Deception and the History of Rocketry.]

1943 World War II: Various:

Holocaust: Jewish uprising at Treblinka:

The plan was to cut the phone lines and overthrow the German soldiers within the camp. Using a locksmith to create a key to get into the Nazis' arsenal, the prisoners smuggled a number of weapons. Other resistance members stole wire cutters and axes from a tool shed. Unfortunately, 30 minutes before the attack, a prisoner was being beaten by a Nazi guard for having money. One of the resistance prisoners shot the guard and killed him. Because of this, the uprising began too early, and the entire attack was less coordinated. Some prisoners did not even know the attack started, and the German soldiers were able to call for reinforcements. Of the 800 prisoners who took part in the uprising, 400 were killed in the fighting, and 300 more were killed trying to escape into a nearby forest. One hundred prisoners survived to destroy the crematoria, but were later killed. Only forty German soldiers were killed.

War in the Air: August 2-3: Hundreds of Allied bombers once again bomb Hamburg:

Bomber Harris: In spite of all that happened at Hamburg, bombing proved a comparatively humane method. For one thing, it saved the flower of the youth of this country and of our allies from being mown down by the military in the field, as it was in Flanders in the war of 1914-1918. But the point is often made that bombing is specially wicked because it causes casualties among civilians. This is true, but then all wars have caused casualties among civilians.

General George S. Patton slaps a private at an army hospital in Sicily, accusing him of cowardice. Patton is later ordered by General Dwight D. Eisenhower to apologize for this and a second, similar episode.

Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., came into the tent with the commanding officer and other medical officers. The general spoke to the various patients in the receiving tent and especially commended the wounded men. Then he came to Pvt. Kuhl and asked him what was the matter. The soldier replied, "I guess I can't take it." The general immediately flared up, cursed the soldier, called him all types of a coward, then slapped him across the face with his gloves and finally grabbed the soldier by the scruff of his neck and kicked him out of the tent. The soldier was immediately picked up by corpsmen and taken to a ward tent. There he was found to have a temperature of 102.2 degrees F and he gave a history of chronic diarrhea for about one month, having at times as high as ten or twelve stools a day. [For further details, Click here.]

1944 World War II: Various:

Overlord: Advance of the US First and Third Armies toward the lower Loire river.

Turkey ends diplomatic relations with Germany: Like other neutral countries, Turkey was bound to the Nazis through trade, but that's where any similarities stop. Turkey descended from the Ottoman Empire and was primarily a Moslem nation. During the World War I, Turkey had aligned itself with Germany. Immediately following WWI, Turkey conducted a program of exterminating the Armenians, a charge that Turkey still vigorously denies. Moreover, Turkey began WWII bound to Britain and France by the military alliance of October 1939; declared neutrality in June 1940 after the fall of France; and ended the war allied with the Allies.

The Warsaw Uprising: The uprising continues as Polish insurgents seize two-thirds of Warsaw. For three days they await a German counterattack confident they can hold it off and achieve liberation before the Red Army arrives. (THP)

In the military field the demands of the Jews were directed towards obtaining arms and technical instruction for the preparation of the last, final battle for the Warsaw ghetto. The Jewish Fighting Organization took a decisive stand, saying that the fate of the Warsaw ghetto, like the fate of all the other concentrations of Jews, had been decided, and that total annihilation awaited it sooner or later. In view of this they asked to die with honor.

1945 World War II: Potsdam Conference concludes:

The last wartime conference of the "Big Three"—the Soviet Union, the United States, and Great Britain—concludes after two weeks of intense and sometimes acrimonious debate. The conference failed to settle most of the important issues at hand and thus helped set the stage for the Cold War that would begin shortly after World War II came to an end.

The meeting at Potsdam was the third conference between the leaders of the Big Three nations. The Soviet Union was represented by Joseph Stalin, Britain by Winston Churchill, and the United States by President Harry S. Truman. This was Truman's first Big Three meeting. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died in April 1945, attended the first two conferences—in Tehran in 1943 and Yalta in February 1945.

At the Potsdam meeting, the most pressing issue was the postwar fate of Germany. The Soviets wanted a unified Germany, but they also insisted that Germany be completely disarmed. Truman, along with a growing number of U.S. officials, had deep suspicions about Soviet intentions in Europe. The massive Soviet army already occupied much of Eastern Europe. A strong Germany might be the only obstacle in the way of Soviet domination of all of Europe. In the end, the Big Three agreed to divide Germany into three zones of occupation (one for each nation), and to defer discussions of German reunification until a later date. The other notable issue at Potsdam was one that was virtually unspoken. Just as he arrived for the conference, Truman was informed that the United States had successfully tested the first atomic bomb. Hoping to use the weapon as leverage with the Soviets in the postwar world, Truman casually mentioned to Stalin that America was now in possession of a weapon of monstrously destructive force. The president was disappointed when the Soviet leader merely responded that he hoped the United States would use it to bring the war with Japan to a speedy end.

The Potsdam Conference ended on a somber note. By the time it was over, Truman had become even more convinced that he had to adopt a tough policy toward the Soviets. Stalin had come to believe more strongly that the United States and Great Britain were conspiring against the Soviet Union. As for Churchill, he was not present for the closing ceremonies. His party lost in the elections in England, and he was replaced midway through the conference by the new prime minister, Clement Attlee. Potsdam was the last postwar conference of the Big Three. (

1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: One Hundred Ninety-Third Day of the trial: The question of the criminal organizations is considered.

Edited by Levi Bookin (Copy editor)

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