Stalin at Potsdam

Weapons and Warfare

The Russian demand for reparations had been accepted in principle at Yalta. The special commission set up to examine the subject failed to reach agreement. At Potsdam, Stalin pressed constantly for acceptance of a figure for reparations. The Allies refused to be committed. They were incensed by reports that the Russians were already removing from occupied territories machinery and other property which were not accepted as booty of war. Various practical difficulties forced the Western Allies to abandon their policy of treating the German economy as a whole. New U.S. Secretary of State James Byrnes finally proposed that each power should satisfy its reparations claims from its own zone. Some 40 percent of the value of German industrial equipment deemed unnecessary for a peace economy was in the Soviet zone. Byrnes proposed further that 10 percent of such industrial equipment in the western zones should be given to Soviet Russia…

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