Contrary to the commonplace western image of Joseph Stalin as a pokerfaced ‘man of steel’ – the Soviet Generalissimo frequently managed to show off his playful side over dinner and drinks with the British and American delegations at the Potsdam Conference. Pictured here on the balcony of the ‘Stalin Villa’ in Babelsberg – Kaiserstrasse 27 – clowning around while entertaining Truman, US Secretary of State, Jimmy Byrnes, and interpreter, Chip Bohlen, over a late lunch in 1945..⠀Images: US National Archives and Records⠀.Follow the events of the Potsdam Conference in our day-by-day account: we will be posting extracts over the entire 17 days of the 76th anniversary of this important meeting or simply click on the link below to read about today’s action..Read our account of the Potsdam Conference on July 18th 1945 here:https://www.berlinexperiences.com/the-potsdam-conference…/
we did visit Potsdam at December 12, 1992, the Berlin wall came down at November 9, 1989, never forget that night , East Berlin was still the old GDR , Potsdam was an elite neighborhood but the painter hadn’t been there since 1933 as looked gray. Visited the actual conference room with the famous round table where the future of Europe was drawn, I sat in Stalin’s chair, was banned but the hall guard was gone for a while and they didn’t have cameras in those days. I thought East Berlin was a film set from before 1930, even the people were still dressed a bit ragged and the difference between East and West was still huge. About our visit, I can write a little book about the encounters, what we saw, the cover that was coming. Berlin was full of construction cranes and diligent as the Germans were, they had worked to refurbish the place. In the Reichstag parliament you could still see the bullet holes, carelessly plastered up. I stood on the spot where Hitler just elected entered the Reichstag, so many years later, If the British and Americans, Canadians and many others, not to mention Russians, hadn’t persisted I would not have been there. The visit to Berlin, in the winter when it was bitterly cold during the day, gave a special dimension to the whole, so we were closer to the harsh times that preceded us. Including museum visit, and everything, the wall of course Checkpoint Charly the old passage, this visit was one of the visits that has stayed with me in detail.