Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Potsdam 1945

A group portrait of the principal players at the Potsdam Conference, held at the Cecilienhof Palace in July 1945.

Truman looks ridiculous. His attitude and demeanor are those of a puffed-up penguin, a hick newly-released from the boondocks, with no idea that he reveals himself to be both boob and buffoon.

British Prime Minister Clement Attlee, not the sharpest tool in the shed, does not come off much better.

Standing are American Admiral William Leahy, British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin, U.S. Secretary Of State James Byrnes, and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov.

Leahy was the least prepossessing of American admirals of the World War II era. Bevin, not the brightest bulb in the closet, and Byrnes, a lightweight whose tenure—happily—was very brief, were singularly under-whelming administrators of foreign policy and international affairs.

It is frightening to think that this group of men was responsible for the post-war direction of Europe.

Stalin and Molotov, a couple of dismaying criminals, appear to be the only competent persons in the photograph.

That, too, is frightening.

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