Victory in Europe: End of WWII - Summary

The war in Europe was over when Allied leaders gathered in Potsdam, a Berlin suburb, during July of 1945. Meeting to talk about Germany’s future, the decision-makers (Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin and Harry Truman) had differing points of view on a number of issues.

Just two months before, Churchill rhetorically asked what Europe had become. Given the estimated statistics (55 million people who died, 45 million who were homeless and countless more who were suffering from starvation), his assessment was grim. Europe, he said, was “a rubble-heap, a charnel house, a breeding ground of pestilence and hate.”

As the negotiators debated the division of power in post-war Europe, what they decided changed the world for decades to come. Could they have predicted the Berlin Wall?

In this story behind the fall of Berlin and the Potsdam Conference, take a trip to the Russian Archives to see Berlin during the last weeks of the war. Visit the places in Potsdam where “the big three” drew boundary lines. Learn what happened to Churchill, mid-conference, as he discovered his country had voted him out-of-office.

Learn how Hitler came to power in the first place and see what he did to Poland after he decided to invade his eastern neighbor. Observe the staggering number of prisoners, and displaced people, which the Red Army transferred to Soviet soil after Hitler was defeated.

Step back in time to see construction of the Berlin Wall. Learn about the airlift which helped trapped people survive. Listen to President Kennedy talk to the citizens of Berlin (in 1963) and see his original notes (which aided his effort at speaking German). Hear President Reagan tell General Secretary Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” and examine the draft language which so worried his advisors.

See pictures of East Berliners as they tore down the wall, in 1989, and hear the music which West Berlin’s orchestra played to benefit them. And ... watch Leonard Bernstein, and the Berlin Philharmonic, in their freedom-celebrating concert (which was heard by an estimated one hundred million people in twenty-two countries).

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Nov 01, 2007

Updated Last Revision: May 20, 2019

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"Victory in Europe: End of WWII" AwesomeStories.com. Nov 01, 2007. Jan 19, 2020.
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