Palaces in the Rain
Potsdam Travel Blog› entry 4 of 9 › view all entries
Potsdam is undoubtedly one of Germany's most beautiful cities. Nestled in a charming cultural landscape dotted with palaces and historic gardens, which have been on the UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage list since 1990, makes the capital of the Federal State of Brandenburg into a great travel destination.
Key attractions and crowd pullers that we visit are the Sanssouci Palace, summer residence of King Frederick II - and the Cecillenhof Palace, venue of the Potsdam Conference. Unfortunately it's tipping down with rain and as we are made to wait outside before the official opening time we are not a bunch of happy campers.
Still the Palace is worth the wait. Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff built it above the terraced vineyard from 1745 to 1747 following the King's ideas and sketches.
The Big Three Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and U.S. PresidentHarry Truman,met here in Potsdam, Germany, from July 17 to August 2, 1945, to negotiate terms for the end of World War II. After the Yalta Conference of February 1945, Stalin, Churchill, and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had agreed to meet following the surrender of Germany to determine the postwar borders in Europe.
Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945, and the Allied leaders agreed to meet over the summer at Potsdam to continue the discussions that had begun at Yalta. Although the Allies remained committed to fighting a joint war in the Pacific, the lack of a common enemy in Europe led to difficulties reaching consensus concerning postwar reconstruction on the European continent.
Despite numerous disagreements, the Allied leaders did manage to conclude some agreements at Potsdam. For example, the negotiators confirmed the status of a demilitarized and disarmed Germany under four zones of Allied occupation. According to the Protocol of the Conference, there was to be "a complete disarmament and demilitarization of Germany"; all aspects of German industry that could be utilized for military purposes were to be dismantled; all German military and paramilitary forces were to be eliminated; and the production of all military hardware in Germany was forbidden. Furthermore, Germany society was to be remade along democratic lines by repeal of all discriminatory laws from the Nazi era and by the arrest and trial of those Germans deemed to be "war criminals." The German educational and judicial systems were to be purged of any authoritarian influences, and democratic political parties would be encouraged to participate in the administration of Germany at the local and state level.