1945 – From the Potsdam Conference to Socialism

1945 – From the Potsdam Conference to Socialism

A severe bomb attack on April 14, 1945 and further fights in the last days of war claimed many victims and destroyed many valuable buildings, among them the French Quarter. Potsdam’s City Palace and the Garrison Church were badly damaged;  however, their ruins were demolished at a later time for political reasons.

On May 8, 1945 the Second World War officially ended, and in July Potsdam was the center of attention of the global public: The Potsdam Conference of the victorious powers of the Anti-Hitler-Coalition took place at Cecilienhof Palace. Truman, Stalin and Churchill, later Attlee, sealed the Potsdam Agreement and established therewith the European post-war order and the further destiny of Germany.

During the Potsdam Conference the order for the dropping of the atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was issued.


1950 – Socialism

From 1945 until 1952 Potsdam was the capital of the province of Brandenburg, first as a part of the Soviet occupation zone and since October 7, 1949 as part of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). After the administrative and territorial reform of 1948 which divided the GDR into 14 districts, Potsdam became the district capital.

The construction of a stadium began on the grounds of the former park Lustgarten. The debris from destroyed buildings disappeared in the ramparts of the Ernst-Thälmann-Stadium.

In 1950 the reconstruction of the Old Town was started. With great effort   the population removed the war ruins. In time, many of the destroyed buildings were torn down, for example the ruins of the City Palace in 1950-60. In 1968 the tower of the Garrison Church was detonated. Up until 1974 many of the historic residential houses in Breite Street were cleared away for new buildings. The remains of the city canal were filled in.