Press material: Cecilienhof Palace
Potsdam, New Garden
Built from 1913 to 1917 in the style of an English country house, the palace stands near the shores of a lake, Jungfernsee, at the north end of the New Garden. It was commissioned by Kaiser William II as a residence for Crown Prince William of Prussia and his wife Cecile. It was to be the last palace for the Hohenzollern dynasty, because 1919 brought the November Revolution, and that in turn put an end to the monarchy. Architect Paul Schultze-Naumburg grouped the various structures around several courtyards, so that the true scale of the building with its 176 rooms was not apparent. The façade is enlivened by complex timber frames and decorative chimneys. The state apartment where the royal couple officially entertained was in the central section, and the family were allowed to continue using it until 1945. The private rooms were on the upper floor, and now that these have been restored they convey some impression of how wealthier families furnished their homes in the early 20th century. A room designed for the Crown Princess in the form of a ship’s berth has also been preserved in its original state.
The palace acquired international fame as the venue where the victorious Allies held their postwar conference from 17 July to 2 August 1945. The main rooms were used for the talks and as studies for the “Big Three”, and today they can be visited as the historical setting of the Potsdam Conference. The Great Hall was the hub of negotiations. The study and music salon once used by Crown Princess Cecile became the study and reception room for Joseph Stalin, the Soviet head of state. Crown Prince William’s smoking room fell to President Harry S. Truman of the United States, while the library began as the office of the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, until he was replaced by Clement Attlee following elections in the UK. The Communiqué signed at the end of the conference went down in history as the Potsdam Agreement, and it established the political and territorial order for Germany and Europe after the Second World War.