How (and to what extent) did the conferences at Yalta and Potsdam (1945) contribute to the origin of the Cold War?

Essay by mammol5High School, 11th gradeA+, May 2006

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The Cold War which started in the late 1940's and ended in 1989 was one of the most contentious events of the 20th century. Even today, new information is surfacing about the war and its causes. The term Cold War is used as the two superpowers USA and USSR never completely reached boiling point. One debating point that historians still argue over is the origin of the war. There have been different points of views which evolved during and after the war.

There are various reasons that are seen as the main causes of the Cold War and two events that continue to be discussed are the conferences at Yalta and Potsdam. Even though the war was quite imminent and something both the powers knew would ultimately happen due to a clash of ideologies, it was the two conferences that triggered the disagreements leading to the origins. The key players were World War II allies United Kingdom, United States and the Soviet Union.

The mood and tension surrounding the two conferences were very significant. The timing and setting were key as the second conference was held near the main debating point of Berlin and the atomic strike over Japan was being planned at the time of the conferences. At the same time, the Soviets had suffered more than 20 million casualties from World War II. This meant that both the USA and USSR were to treat the conferences as very important gatherings.

The first of the conferences was held in the resort of Yalta where Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill discussed about post world war issues. The major decisions that were presented at Yalta were the setup of the Untied Nations and the role that the Soviets would play in it, division of Germany into four different zones, bringing Nazi and...