Treaty of Potsdam, 3 November 1805

Treaty of Potsdam, 3 November 1805

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Treaty of Potsdam, 3 November 1805

The Treaty of Potsdam (3 November 1805) was an agreement between Prussia and Russia in which the Prussians agreed to join the Third Coalition if Napoleon didn't agree to peace terms.

The Prussians had stayed out of the Third Coalition, but by early November 1805 Napoleon seemed to be in trouble. He had captured Vienna, but was now apparently isolated in Austria, far from his bases and facing an ever-increasing Austro-Russian army. Tsar Alexander visited Berlin on his way to the front, visiting King Frederick William III of Prussia.

The Prussian king was finally persuaded to join the Third Coalition, but on terms. He would provide 180,000 men to the coalition army but only if Napoleon refused to make peace within four weeks of the departure of a Prussian envoy from Berlin.

Christian de Haugwitz, the envoy, reached Napoleon's headquarters in late November. Napoleon had a good idea of his real task, and made sure that Haugwitz never had a chance to issue his demands. On 2 December 1805 Napoleon won his dramatic victory at Austerlitz, knocking the Austrians out of the war. This effectively ended the Third Coalition, and the Prussian envoy quickly abandoned his mission, cancelling the Treaty of Potsdam. Instead the Prussians were soon forced to sign an alliance with France (Convention of Schönbrünn), surrendering territory and agreeing to enter an alliance against Britain in return for the promise of Hanover.

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The Potsdam Conference, 1945

The Big Three—Soviet leader Joseph Stalin , British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (replaced on July 26 by Prime Minister Clement Attlee ), and U.S. President Harry Truman —met in Potsdam, Germany , from July 17 to August 2, 1945, to negotiate terms for the end of World War II. After the Yalta Conference of February 1945, Stalin, Churchill, and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had agreed to meet following the surrender of Germany to determine the postwar borders in Europe. Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945, and the Allied leaders agreed to meet over the summer at Potsdam to continue the discussions that had begun at Yalta. Although the Allies remained committed to fighting a joint war in the Pacific, the lack of a common enemy in Europe led to difficulties reaching consensus concerning postwar reconstruction on the European continent.

The major issue at Potsdam was the question of how to handle Germany. At Yalta, the Soviets had pressed for heavy postwar reparations from Germany, half of which would go to the Soviet Union. While Roosevelt had acceded to such demands, Truman and his Secretary of State, James Byrnes , were determined to mitigate the treatment of Germany by allowing the occupying nations to exact reparations only from their own zone of occupation. Truman and Byrnes encouraged this position because they wanted to avoid a repetition of the situation created by the Treaty of Versailles, which had exacted high reparations payments from Germany following World War One. Many experts agreed that the harsh reparations imposed by the Versailles Treaty had handicapped the German economy and fueled the rise of the Nazis.

Despite numerous disagreements, the Allied leaders did manage to conclude some agreements at Potsdam. For example, the negotiators confirmed the status of a demilitarized and disarmed Germany under four zones of Allied occupation. According to the Protocol of the Conference, there was to be “a complete disarmament and demilitarization of Germany” all aspects of German industry that could be utilized for military purposes were to be dismantled all German military and paramilitary forces were to be eliminated and the production of all military hardware in Germany was forbidden. Furthermore, German society was to be remade along democratic lines by repeal of all discriminatory laws from the Nazi era and by the arrest and trial of those Germans deemed to be “war criminals.” The German educational and judicial systems were to be purged of any authoritarian influences, and democratic political parties would be encouraged to participate in the administration of Germany at the local and state level. The reconstitution of a national German Government was, however, postponed indefinitely, and the Allied Control Commission (which was comprised of four occupying powers, the United States, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union) would run the country during the interregnum.

One of the most controversial matters addressed at the Potsdam Conference dealt with the revision of the German-Soviet-Polish borders and the expulsion of several million Germans from the disputed territories. In exchange for the territory it lost to the Soviet Union following the readjustment of the Soviet-Polish border, Poland received a large swath of German territory and began to deport the German residents of the territories in question, as did other nations that were host to large German minority populations. The negotiators at Potsdam were well-aware of the situation, and even though the British and Americans feared that a mass exodus of Germans into the western occupation zones would destabilize them, they took no action other than to declare that “any transfers that take place should be effected in an orderly and humane manner” and to request that the Poles, Czechoslovaks and Hungarians temporarily suspend additional deportations.

In addition to settling matters related to Germany and Poland, the Potsdam negotiators approved the formation of a Council of Foreign Ministers that would act on behalf of the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and China to draft peace treaties with Germany’s former allies. Conference participants also agreed to revise the 1936 Montreux Convention, which gave Turkey sole control over the Turkish Straits. Furthermore, the United States, Great Britain, and China released the “Potsdam Declaration,” which threatened Japan with “prompt and utter destruction” if it did not immediately surrender (the Soviet Union did not sign the declaration because it had yet to declare war on Japan).

Minnesota Treaties

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"Suppose your Great Father wanted your lands and did not want a treaty for your good he could come with 100,000 men and drive you off to the Rocky Mountains."

Luke Lea, U.S. negotiator, Treaty of Mendota, 1851

1805: In 1805 the Dakota ceded 100,000 acres of land at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. U.S. Army Lt. Zebulon Pike negotiated the agreement so the U.S. government could build a military fort there. Of the seven Indian leaders present at the negotiations, only two signed the treaty.

Pike valued the land at $200,000, but no specific dollar amount was written into the treaty. At the signing, he gave the Indian leaders gifts whose total value was $200. The U.S. Senate approved the treaty, agreeing to pay only $2,000 for the land.

Generally, the Indians who signed treaties did not read English. They had to rely on interpreters who were paid by the U.S. government. It is uncertain whether they were aware of the exact terms of the treaties they signed.

Minneapolis and St. Paul are located on land ceded in 1805.

1825: The U.S. government arranged the Prairie du Chien treaty between the Dakota and Ojibwe, as well as the Menominee, Ho-Chunk, Sac and Fox, Iowa, Potawatomi, and Ottawa tribes. The treaty set the boundaries of tribal land. After that, it was simpler for the government to negotiate with the Indians for the purchase of their lands.

1837: At Fort Snelling in 1837, the Ojibwe ceded their land north of the 1805 area to the U.S. government in exchange for cash, the payment of claims made by traders, and annual payments of cash and goods, or annuities.

Later that year, a group of Dakota leaders was brought to Washington, D.C., having been told that they would be negotiating the settlement of their southern boundary. Instead, they were pressured into ceding all their land east of the Mississippi. The land was valued at $1,600,000, but the U.S. government agreed to pay far less. The Dakota were promised the interest on $300,000, invested at 5 percent. This amounted to $15,000 per year. The government kept control over one-third of this money, reserving (but not allocating) it for education. Another $200,000 was paid to friends and relatives of the tribe and to settle debts, and $16,000 was given to the Dakota leaders as an incentive to sign the treaty. Each year for 20 years, $23,750 was allocated for annuity payments, food, education, equipment, supplies, and government services.

1847: In 1847 the Ojibwe ceded land for Ho-Chunk and Menominee reservations. This land is west of the 1837 sale. The Ojibwe received $17,000 in cash for the land and the promise of $1,000 annually for the following 46 years. The Ho-Chunk and Menominee reservations were never established.

1851: Minnesota became a territory in 1849. White settlers were eager to establish homesteads on the fertile frontier. Pressured by traders and threatened with military force, the Dakota were forced to cede nearly all their land in Minnesota and eastern Dakota in the 1851 treaties of Traverse des Sioux and Mendota. At Traverse des Sioux, the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands of the Dakota ceded 21 million acres for $1,665,000, or about 7.5 cents an acre. Of that amount, $275,000 was set aside to pay debts claimed by traders and to relocate the Dakota. Another $30,000 was allocated to establish schools and to prepare the new reservation for the Dakota.

The U.S. government kept more than 80 percent of the money ($1,360,000), with only the interest on the amount--at 5 percent for 50 years--paid to the Dakota. The terms of the Mendota treaty with the Mdewakanton and Wahpekute bands of the Dakota were similar, except that those payments were even smaller. The treaties of 1851 also called for setting up reservations on both the north and south sides of the Minnesota River. But the U.S. Senate changed the treaties by eliminating the reservations and leaving the Dakota with no place to live. Congress required the Dakota to approve this change before appropriating desperately needed cash and goods. President Millard Fillmore agreed that the Dakota could live on the land previously set aside for reservations, but only until it was needed for white settlement.

1854: The arrowhead region of northeastern Minnesota was purchased from the Ojibwe. Three small reservations were located on parts of this land.

1855: The Ho-Chunk ceded their land in Minnesota, except for one small reservation in the southeastern corner of the Territory. The Ojibwe ceded land in north-central Minnesota. Nine reservations were created on this traditional Ojibwe land.

Japan accepts Potsdam terms, agrees to unconditional surrender

On August 10, 1945, just a day after the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan submits its acquiescence to the Potsdam Conference terms of unconditional surrender, as President Harry S. Truman orders a halt to atomic bombing.

Emperor Hirohito, having remained aloof from the daily decisions of prosecuting the war, rubber-stamping the decisions of his War Council, including the decision to bomb Pearl Harbor, finally felt compelled to do more. At the behest of two Cabinet members, the emperor summoned and presided over a special meeting of the Council and implored them to consider accepting the terms of the Potsdam Conference, which meant unconditional surrender. “It seems obvious that the nation is no longer able to wage war, and its ability to defend its own shores is doubtful.” The Council had been split over the surrender terms half the members wanted assurances that the emperor would maintain his hereditary and traditional role in a postwar Japan before surrender could be considered. But in light of the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, Nagasaki on August 9, and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, as well as the emperor’s own request that the Council �r the unbearable,” it was agreed: Japan would surrender.

Tokyo released a message to its ambassadors in Switzerland and Sweden, which was then passed on to the Allies. The message formally accepted the Potsdam Declaration but included the proviso that “said Declaration does not comprise any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as sovereign ruler.” When the message reached Washington, President Truman, unwilling to inflict any more suffering on the Japanese people, especially on 𠇊ll those kids,” ordered a halt to atomic bombing, He also wanted to know whether the stipulation regarding “His Majesty” was a deal breaker. Negotiations between Washington and Tokyo ensued. Meanwhile, savage fighting continued between Japan and the Soviet Union in Manchuria.

After Pressbourg

Once back in Berlin, Haugwitz presented the results of his negotiations to Frederick William. The treaty itself was not seen as acceptable (Frederick William had deleted the words “defensive offensive treaty”, replacing them with the word “alliance”). At an important State Council on 3 January, 1806, further modifications were decided, one with respect to the definitive acquisition of Hanover. They proposed that instead of taking immediate possession of the land they would only occupy Hanover until general peace this (they claimed) was to give France the assurance that there would be peace in northern Germany. This delicacy with respect to Hanover was not only an attempt to steer a middle path between France and Britain, but also to have its cake and eat it, or in other words, to have the chance of negotiation but also have Hanover as well. Haugwitz left for Paris on the 14th of January and in firm faith that the treaty would be enacted. On the 24th the Prussian government ordered the retreat and demobilisation of Prussian troops in the region of Wurzburg, leading to French troops flooding across the Rhine to seize territory. This threat to Prussia was ignored, and simultaneously secret attempts were made in Britain to get legal possession of Hanover the British would keep territory east of the Weser (they informed British diplomats) and would cede to George III East Friesland and the rest of Prussian Westphalia and the electoral rights to these lands.

On hearing of the Prussian demobilisation, Haugwitz’s interview with the emperor was delayed. When he was finally admitted, Prussia was (militarily speaking) entirely at France’s mercy – Napoleonic troops and their allies of the Confederation of the Rhine were all stationed throughout the Confederation kingdoms and dukedoms. So Haugwitz was received initially coldly. And when Haugwitz declared that troops were already on route to take possession of Hanover even though the treaty had not yet been ratified, Napoleon reacted furiously, dismissing Haugwitz. Aware by this time that Prussia had been playing on both sides before Austerlitz, the emperor now decided that the previous agreement of Schönbrunn was no longer appropriate and that an entirely new one had to be drawn up. The offer of Hanover in return for Ansbach, Cleves and Neuchâtel was restated but only in return for the strategically important and fortified town of Wesel, and a Prussian declaration of war against Britain. A few days later Haugwitz was again summoned (this time to Talleyrand’s) and upbraided for royalist activity in Berlin related to Louis XVIII. Under diplomatic pressure, Prussia crumbled. The treaty was signed on February 15. On 27 March 1806, Britain was informed that Prussian and Hanoverian ports were closed to British shipping. A few days later, Prussian annexation of Hanover became official. Britain retaliated by banning all British commerce with Prussia and a blockade of the Ems, Weser, Elbe, and Trave estuaries. On 11 May, Britain declared war on Prussia.

Napoleon’s (excessive) firmness with Prussia has been criticised by some historians. Had not the principal points been agreed in December? The result of this firmness was however further pressure on Britain, which could be used during the negotiations underway with that country in the spring and summer of 1806. Historians have underlined Napoleon’s single-mindedness in pursuing his “system”, in other words, French hegemony in Europe. So foreign policy for him in 1806 was aimed at getting Britain and Russia, the two combatants left in the field after Austerlitz, to agree to peace. Not just any peace, however. As Napoleon had noted in the aftermath of Austerlitz, it had to be a “glorious” peace.

Document Description:

In 1840, South Carolina negotiated a treaty with the Catawba at Nations Ford. The treaty stipulated that the Catawbas relinquish to the State of South Carolina their 144,000 acres of land (this land was provided for the Catawba due to conditions set forth in the 1763 Treaty of Augusta). In return, South Carolina promised to pay the Catawbas $5,000 to buy land elsewhere in a place of their choosing or, if that was not possible, they would give the Catawbas $5,000 cash. In addition, the state promised to give the tribe $2,500 in cash if they left their homeland and $1,500 annually for five years. Other tribes who moved west did not want the Catawbas because they would have to share land, government money, and services. Joining the Cherokees did not work. The two tribes could not get along. In effect, the Catawbas had no home. By 1847, South Carolina Governor David Johnson said, "They are, in effect, dissolved." However, that was not the end of the Catawbas.

Catawbas served in the Revolution, the Civil War, and the two world wars. After termination in 1959, they sought federal recognition. In 1973, the Catawbas filed their petition with Congress. Twenty years later, on November 20, 1993, the land claim settlement with the state of South Carolina and the federal government finally came to an end. Based on the Treaty of Nations Ford of 1840, the Catawbas agreed to give up claims on land taken from them by the state of South Carolina.


Commissioner to Carry into Effect the Treaty of Nations Ford. Appointment, copy of treaty, and correspondence. 1840. S 124001. Department of Archives and History. Columbia, SC.


A Treaty entered into at the Nations Ford Catawba

Between the Chief and Headmen of the Catawba Indians of the one part, and Commissioners appointed by the Legislature of South Carolina and acting under Commissioners from his Excellency Patrick Noble, Esq. Governor and commander in Chief of the State of South Carolina of the other part.

Article first. The Chiefs and Headmen of the Catawba Indians for themselves and the Nation, hereby agree to Cede sell and convey to the State of South Carolina all their right title and interest to their Boundary of Land lying on both sides of the Catawba River and situate in the Districts of York and Lancaster, and which are represented in a plat of survey made by Samuel Wiley and dated the twenty second day of February One Thousand seven hundred and sixty four and now on file in the Office of Secretary of State.

Article Second. The Commissioners on their part engage in behalf of the State to furnish the Catawba Indians with a Tract of Land of the value of Five Thousand Dollars, three hundred Acres of which must be good Arable Lands to be purchased for their use in Heyward County, North Carolina or in some other mountainous Thinly populated Region where the said Indians may desire.

Article Third. The Commissioners further engage that the State shall pay the said Catawba Indians Two Thousand Dollars Annually for the term of Ten years. The first payment of which to be paid on their Removal and on the first of January each and every year thereafter until the whole is paid.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 3-2: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the exploration and settlement of South Carolina and the United States.

Indicator 3-2.4 Compare the culture, governance, and geographic location of different Native American nations in South Carolina, including the three principal nations—Cherokee, Catawba, and Yemassee—that influenced the development of colonial South Carolina. (H, G, P, E)

Indicator 3-2.5 Summarize the impact that the European colonization of South Carolina had on Native Americans, including conflicts between settlers and Native Americans. (H, G)

Standard 8-1: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the settlement of South Carolina and the United States by Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans.

Indicator 8-1.2 Categorize events according to the ways they improved or worsened relations between Native Americans and European settlers, including alliances and land agreements between the English and the Catawba, Cherokee, and Yemassee deerskin trading the Yemassee War and the Cherokee War. (H, P, E)

Standard USHC-1: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the settlement of North America.

Indicator USHC-1.1 Summarize the distinct characteristics of each colonial region in the settlement and development the America, including religious, social, political, and economic differences. (H, E, P, G)

Washington Conference

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Washington Conference, also called Washington Naval Conference, byname of International Conference on Naval Limitation, (1921–22), international conference called by the United States to limit the naval arms race and to work out security agreements in the Pacific area. Held in Washington, D.C., the conference resulted in the drafting and signing of several major and minor treaty agreements.

The Four-Power Pact, signed by the United States, Great Britain, Japan, and France on December 13, 1921, stipulated that all the signatories would be consulted in the event of a controversy between any two of them over “any Pacific question.” An accompanying agreement stated they would respect one another’s rights regarding the various Pacific islands and mandates that they possessed. These agreements ensured that a consultative framework existed between the United States, Great Britain, and Japan—i.e., the three great powers whose interests in the Pacific were most likely to lead to a clash between them. But the agreements were too vaguely worded to have any binding effect, and their chief importance was that they abrogated the Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902 renewed 1911), which had previously been one of the principal means of maintaining a balance of power in East Asia. Another supplementary document defined the “insular possessions and dominions” of Japan.

The Five-Power Naval Limitation Treaty, which was signed by the United States, Great Britain, Japan, France, and Italy on February 6, 1922, grew out of the opening proposal at the conference by U.S. Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes to scrap almost 1.9 million tons of warships belonging to the great powers. This bold disarmament proposal astonished the assembled delegates, but it was indeed enacted in a modified form. A detailed agreement was reached that fixed the respective numbers and tonnages of capital ships to be possessed by the navies of each of the contracting nations. (Capital ships, defined as warships of more than 10,000 tons displacement or carrying guns with a calibre exceeding 8 inches, basically denoted battleships and aircraft carriers.) The respective ratios of capital ships to be held by each of the signatories was fixed at 5 each for the United States and Great Britain, 3 for Japan, and 1.67 each for France and Italy. The Five-Power Naval Limitation Treaty halted the post-World War I race in building warships and even reversed the trend it necessitated the scrapping of 26 American, 24 British, and 16 Japanese warships that were either already built or under construction. The contracting nations also agreed to abandon their existing capital-ship building programs for a period of 10 years, subject to certain specified exceptions. Under another article in the treaty, the United States, Great Britain, and Japan agreed to maintain the status quo with regard to their fortifications and naval bases in the eastern Pacific.

The Naval Limitation Treaty remained in force until the mid-1930s. At that time Japan demanded equality with the United States and Great Britain in regard to the size and number of its capital ships. When this demand was rejected by the other contracting nations, Japan gave advance notice of its intention to terminate the treaty, which thus expired at the end of 1936.

The same five powers signed another treaty regulating the use of submarines and outlawing the use of poison gas (see chemical weapon) in warfare. A Nine-Power Pact signed by the above five powers plus the Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, and China affirmed China’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity and gave all nations the right to do business with it on equal terms. In a related treaty the nine powers established an international commission to study Chinese tariff policies.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Brian Duignan, Senior Editor.

Potsdam Conference begins

The final 𠇋ig Three” meeting between the United States, the Soviet Unionਊnd Great Britain takes place towards the end of World War II. The decisions reached at the conference ostensibly settled many of the pressing issues between the three wartime allies, but the meeting was also marked by growing suspicion and tension between the United States and the Soviet Union.

On July 17, 1945, U.S. President Harry S. Truman, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met in the Berlin suburb of Potsdam to discuss issues relating to postwar Europe and plans to deal with the ongoing conflict with Japan. By the time the meeting began, U.S. and British suspicions concerning Soviet intentions in Europe were intensifying. Russian armies occupied most of Eastern Europe, including nearly half of Germany, and Stalin showed no inclination to remove his control of the region. Truman, who had only been president since Franklin D. Roosevelt died three months earlier, arrived at the meeting determined to be “tough” with Stalin. He was encouraged in this course of action by news that American scientists had just successfully tested the atomic bomb. 

The conference soon bogged down on the issue of postwar Germany. The Soviets wanted a united but disarmed Germany, with each of the Allied powers determining the destiny of the defeated power. Truman and his advisors, fearing the spread of Soviet influence over all Germany𠄺nd, by extension, all of western Europe𠄿ought for and achieved an agreement whereby each Allied power (including France) would administer a zone of occupation in Germany. Russian influence, therefore, would be limited to its own eastern zone. The United States also limited the amount of reparations Russia could take from Germany. Discussion of the continuing Soviet occupation of Poland floundered.


Germany lost 13 percent of its land, 12 percent of its people, 48 percent of its iron resources, 15 percent of its agricultural production, and 10 percent of its coal. Perhaps understandably, German public opinion soon swung against this diktat (dictated peace), while the Germans who signed it were called the "November Criminals." Britain and France felt the treaty was fair—they actually wanted harsher terms imposed on the Germans—but the United States refused to ratify it because it didn't want to be part of the League of Nations.

  • The map of Europe was redrawn with consequences which, especially in the Balkans, remain to the modern day.
  • Numerous countries were left with large minority groups: There were three and a half million Germans in Czechoslovakia alone.
  • The League of Nations was fatally weakened without the United States and its army to enforce decisions.
  • Many Germans felt unfairly treated. After all, they had just signed an armistice, not a unilateral surrender, and the Allies hadn't occupied deeply into Germany.

The Toronto Purchase Treaty No. 13 (1805)

The Crown, in the 1780s, recognized the need to secure communication and supply lines to their western outposts and to unite the settlements along Lake Ontario from Kingston to Niagara. In order to meet Crown objectives, Sir John Johnston, Superintendent General of the Indian Department, met in 1787 with a number of Mississaugas at the Bay of Quinte where the Mississaugas of the Credit purportedly sold the lands of the Toronto Purchase Treaty. A supposed deed documenting the sale of the lands was found years later and raised serious questions about the legitimacy of the deal between the Crown and the Mississaugas. Problematically, the deed was found blank and had no description of the land “purchased” by the Crown. Also of concern was that the marks of the chiefs who had agreed to the sale were written on separate pieces of paper and then affixed to the blank deed. An attempt to survey the Toronto Purchase Treaty lands in 1788 met Mississauga opposition indicating that there had been no clear delineation of land boundaries agreed upon by the Crown and the First Nation.

Crown administrators soon doubted the legality of the Toronto Purchase Treaty and were concerned that many settlers did not have legal title to their homesteads. Also disconcerting was the possibility that York, the capital of Upper Canada, was located on land of dubious legal title. For over ten years the Crown failed to act on the dilemma until a new agreement was negotiated with the Mississaugas of the Credit. On August 1, 1805, the Crown purchased 250 830 acres of land for the sum of 10 shillings while the Mississaugas reserved for themselves the right to exclusively fish on Etobicoke Creek.

In 1998, the Mississaugas of the Credit filed a claim against the Government of Canada relative to the 1805 Toronto Purchase Treaty. The Mississaugas contended that the Crown had unlawfully acquired more land- including the Toronto Islands, than had been originally agreed upon in the Toronto Purchase Treaty of 1787. It was further claimed that the Crown had not paid a reasonable sum for the land obtained in the 1805 agreement. In 2010, the Government of Canada settled the Toronto Purchase Claim and the Brant Tract Claim for compensation of $145 million- at that time the largest claims settlement in Canadian history.

The cities of Etobicoke, Toronto, North York, York and Vaughan are located within the boundaries of the Toronto Purchase Treaty lands.