Gaddis argues that President Truman went to the PotsdamConference, believing that the bomb would be a major factor within political foreignaffairs. Thus, the belief that the sheer power potential of the atomic weaponwould give the United States’ a strong arm when it came to negotiationcapabilities with the Soviets.
1A week into the Potsdam conference, Truman, who was influenced by Churchill,casually and in a lack of detail said to Stalin that America had created a new,bomb that they believed could win the war. Stalin, calm and collected, showedno interest or visible change in emotion to Truman’s surprise.2 Presidents Truman’s handling of foreignaffairs was based on the fact that America would comfortable rely on its atomicmonopoly for potentially 10 to 15 years before the Soviets could even be closeto an atomic bomb of their own.
3However this of course didn’t actually matter as that the Soviet Union knewlong before Truman of the Bomb. Without their knowledge Stalin already had thekey information and knowledge to create their own atomic weapon. “You arepolitically naive if you think they would share information about the weaponsthat will dominate the world in the future” said Stalin to his scientist whoasked if they should ask about the bomb to Americans and British when theyfirst learned of the bomb.4The Potsdam Conference only solidified Soviet mistrust of the U.S and towhich Gaddis argues began a mind game to strong arm the Soviets. LaFeber,another historian, also agrees as he states Soon after the meeting Stalin had withTruman during Potsdam, Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav M. Molotovcame up to Stalin and said “they’re raising the price”, Stalin replied toVyacheslav, “Let them.
We’ll have to talk with Kurchatov today about speedingup our work”. Stalin and his spies own information gathered of the secret ManhattanProject only reinforced his gut belief that America can not be trusted afterthe war has finished. 51Gaddis, John Lewis, Russia, the Soviet Union, and the United States: AnInterpretive History (New York: John, Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1978), 173.2Gaddis,John Lewis, The United States and the Origins of the Cold War,1941-1947 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1972), 244.3LaFeber, Walter America, Russia, and the Cold War, 43.4 Gaddis, John Lewis, Wenow know, 92-35Ronald Takaki, Hiroshima: Why AmericaDropped the Atomic Bomb (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1995), 60-1.