Potsdam is the capital and largest city of the German federal state of Brandenburg. It directly borders the German capital Berlin and is part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel, 24 kilometres (15 miles) southwest of Berlin's city center.
Around the city there are a series of interconnected lakes and cultural landmarks, in particular the parks and palaces of Sanssouci, the largest World Heritage Site in Germany. The Potsdam Conference in 1945 was held at the palace Cecilienhof.
Berlin was the official capital of Prussia and later of the German Empire, but the court remained in Potsdam, where many government officials settled. In 1914, the Emperor Wilhelm II signed the Declaration of War in the Neues Palais. The city lost its status as a second capital in 1918, when Wilhelm II abdicated at the end of World War I.
At the start of the Third Reich in 1933 there was a ceremonial handshake between President Paul von Hindenburg and the new Chancellor Adolf Hitler on 21 March 1933 in Potsdam's Garrison Church in what became known as the "Day of Potsdam". This symbolised a coalition of the military (Reichswehr) and Nazism. Potsdam was severely damaged in bombing raids during World War II.
Potsdam Conference in 1945 with Winston Churchill, Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin
The Cecilienhof Palace was the scene of the Potsdam Conference from 17 July, to 2 August 1945, at which the victorious Allied leaders (Harry S. Truman; Winston Churchill and his successor, Clement Attlee; and Joseph Stalin) met to decide the future of Germany and postwar Europe in general. The conference ended with the Potsdam Agreement and the Potsdam Declaration.