The organizers, the Prussian Castles and Parks Foundation, which runs 30 museums located in the former palaces and castles of Berlin and Brandenburg, were not lucky with the exhibition “Potsdam Conference of 1945 - A New World Order” twice. The exhibition was supposed to open on May 1, 2020, but due to a pandemic, the opening was postponed to June. But even in June some important exhibit items did not arrive in Potsdam, at least not at the opening, or will not arrive at all. So, Winston Churchill's personal belongings: his famous hat, cane and a cigar box - because of the covid will come to the Cecillienhof Museum, where the exhibition takes place, only in July. The curator of the exhibition, Matthias Zimmich, is eagerly awaiting the fumidor, because he was presented to Churchill's wife Clementine in 1945 in Leningrad, during her charity mission. The lid shows the flags of Great Britain and the Soviet Union, and there is a portrait of Churchill on the inner side.
The marshal tunic of Joseph Stalin will not be represented at the exhibition at all, this fact was very regretted at the opening by its leader Jürgen Lu. Russia refused to provide exhibits, although at first the positive signals came from Moscow. An agreement was signed, but then began the difficulties. The Russian side refused to issue an export permit, and the Cecillienhof Museum, where a conference was held 75 years ago under the cover of secrecy, did not receive a single exhibit. Jürgen Lu explained this by saying that Russian officials wanted to change the texts of the exhibition, but the Fund could not agree with it. Polite formulations hide the deep essential contradictions, and we are not talking about the labels and signatures of the exhibit items. In fact, we are talking about inverse interpretations of historical events. And although the Soviet Union participated in the Potsdam Conference 75 years ago and determined a new world order with other victorious countries, there was nobody from Russia at the opening of the exhibition.
And a month after the events described, Russian officials complained to the Germans and explained the reasons for our non-participation in the project. At the “round table” on the same topic as the exhibition in Potsdam, Presidential Aide Medinsky spoke of “distorting historical facts” and “falsifying history”. Therefore, the exhibits were not sent to Germany: "So that later the visitors of this exhibition would not show their fingers in the wrong signatures and not listen to the unreliable audio guide about the work of the Soviet delegation and generally about the work of the Potsdam Conference," the former Minister of Culture was indignant.
His former subordinate, head of the methodological department of the Victory Museum, Stanislav Davydov quoted an audio guide: "Stalin was the only ruler and secured his power with the support of the secret police." Davydov argued with a not very successful translation from German and refused to believe that Stalin was a dictator, and the country was in the hands of the Cheka-MGB-KGB.
The Germans did not begin to remove texts about the personality cult of Stalin from prospectuses, which the Russian side did not agree with, but invited them to come to the opening and state their point of view and their interpretation of events, as is customary in a civilized society. But the brave were not found. A demarche is the best way to say the least.
In fact, the contradictions that were at that memorable conference still remain. For example, Koenigsberg and the German-Polish border along the Oder-Neisse. Stalin received East Prussia, but there was no agreement on the border on the Oder. The question was posed at the Yalta Conference, but was postponed because it was a question of territories where ethnic Germans mainly lived. Gritting their teeth, Truman and Churchill agreed with the Soviet demand - in exchange for a “humane attitude” towards refugees. How humane it was, historians still argue. At an exhibition in Cecillienhof, refugees and how political decisions affected their lives.
Or the question of reparations. Stalin insisted on determining the amount of reparations, but Truman did not give up his position on this issue: “America will not make this mistake again, agreeing to the amount of reparations. We will have to give Germany loans so that it can pay. This time, reparations will be levied by equipment or other objects from those resources that Germany does not need for its self-sufficiency”. The Americans believed that fixed amounts of reparation would be used to rebuild the Soviet Union, but this was not provided for by the Marshall Plan.
The Potsdam Conference marked the beginning of a new nuclear world, a new world order, the Cold War and the Iron Curtain era, which ended in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall.
There is no doubt that the curators of the exhibition “Potsdam Conference 1945 - New World Order” read a lot of “books on the outcome of the war”, as was advised by the presidential aide. Unlike Russia, in Germany the textbooks were rewrote once - in 1945. They are going to release a book about Potsdam and the events around it. What prevents Russia's Victory Museum from making its own exposition about those events and publishing its book? Then interested readers will be able to read the both.