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In the second programme on Potsdam we look at the balance of power in Europe and the way in which both the West and the Soviet Union were anxious to preserve their own
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: D233, World politics
Item code: D233; 02
First transmission date: 24-03-1981
Published: 1981
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:35
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Producer: Carol Haslam
Contributors: F. S. Northedge; Daniel Yergin; W. Averell Harriman; Richard Little; Anthony Eden; Charles Mee; Hubert Miles Gladwyn Jebb; Vladimir Petrov
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Cold War; Diplomacy; Politics; World War
Footage description: Archive film of Soviet troops on tanks. Professor Northedge explains the Russian insistence upon 'friendly' governments in Eastern Europe and the way in which this shaped the discussions at Potsdam. A map of Europe shows how the Western alliance hoped to influence the countries of Eastern Europe and how the Soviet Union aimed to secure its Western border by installing a band of friendly governments in this area. Daniel Yergin argues that the Americans saw Soviet expansion as a repeat of Hitler's plans to dominate Europe and that they were reluctant to repeat the mistakes of Munich. W. Averell Harriman, former U.S. Ambassador in Moscow, argues that Stalin wanted control of Poland, to remove the threat of invasion from the West. Professor Northedge now introduces a reconstruction of a discussion at Potsdam over the formal recognition of governments in Italy and Eastern Europe. As Stalin argues for the resumption of diplomatic relations with the Eastern European states, Churchill and Truman argue that they do not have free access to these states and that therefore they cannot receive the same treatment that is proposed for Italy. Stalin argues that the government of Italy is undemocratic and that the wording in the text serves to discredit the Eastern European governments. Professor Northedge states that the discussion about democratic rights hides the real issues at stake, which are the prevention by the West of the formation of a closed Soviet sphere of interest in Eastern Europe. Anthony Eden, Churchill's Foreign secretary at Potsdam, gives his assessment of Stalin and states that Roosevelt believed that he could deal with Stalin on his own terms. Charles Mee argues that Churchill attempted to heighten the threat of Soviet expansion in order to frighten the U.S. into propping up British power. Shots of Churchill with Roosevelt. The reconstruction of the Potsdam meeting continues. Churchill complains about the harassment of British officials in Bucharest and claims that Soviet representatives are free to travel in Italy. Truman agrees with this point but takes a conciliatory line with Stalin and accepts an amendment to consider establishing diplomatic relations with the Eastern European States. Lord Gladwyn argues that the West was prepared to accept a Russian zone of influence in Eastern Europe but not that the USSR could impose governments upon these countries. Professor Petrov argues that the USSR would not tolerate governments likely to fall under western influence in Eastern Europe. W. Averell Harriman argues that Stalin thought he could control Western European countries through the local communist parties. Professor Northedge sums up the findings of the programme.
Master spool number: OU3402
Production number: FOUD108A
Videofinder number: 114
Available to public: no