This article reassesses U.S. Cold War policy in 1945, with particular emphasis on Eastern Europe. The article considers how the U.S. government proposed to deal with the Soviet Union in the postwar period more generally. The article looks closely at U.S. policy toward Poland and toward Romania and Bulgaria and sets these policies into context in order to determine whether U.S. leaders had “written off” the East European countries by the end of the year, consigning them to a Soviet sphere of influence. The article traces the strategic concept underlying U.S policy and analyzes key aspects of Secretary of State James Byrnes's policy at the July 1945 Potsdam conference and in the October–December 1945 negotiations with the USSR about the occupation of Japan.

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