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This article says:

That is how a third of the northern part of Eastern Prussia was handed over for the USSR to manage – until the Peace Conference would decide otherwise. Because Moscow was interested in that never happening (Joseph Stalin would tell the West that all of the Germans had fled Konigsberg, so there was no reason to recreate Prussia), the USSR changed the 50-year management timetable to a voluntary incorporation into its own territory.

I wonder whether it is true.

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There is no mention of a 50-year timetable in the Potsdam Agreement, nor does there seem to be any reference to such a timetable in other the treaties related to the partitioning of Germany.

From the Potsdam Declaration itself, in section VI:

VI. CITY OF KOENIGSBERG AND THE ADJACENT AREA

The Conference examined a proposal by the Soviet Government that pending the final determination of territorial questions at the peace settlement the section of the western frontier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics which is adjacent to the Baltic Sea should pass from a point on the eastern shore of the Bay of Danzig to the east, north of Braunsberg and Goldap, to the meeting point of the frontiers of Lithuania, the Polish Republic and East Prussia.

The Conference has agreed in principle to the proposal of the Soviet Government concerning the ultimate transfer to the Soviet Union of the city of Koenigsberg and the area adjacent to it as described above, subject to expert examination of the actual frontier.

In short, the Soviet Union proposed that its borders extend into the area that is now Kaliningrad Oblast, and the other Conference members agreed to that proposal, with no clause about a timetable. Other post-war treaties, such as those of the Paris Peace Conference in 1947, were related to the borders of other Axis powers.

Further, the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany in 1990, which led to the German reunification and ended all remaining occupation agreements, does not mention Koenigsberg/Kaliningrad/Prussia specifically. However, the treaty does make clear that the reunited Germany would have no claim to the area, as it was outside the borders of either East Germany or West Germany at the time the treaty was signed.

From the first few sections of that treaty:

(1) The united Germany shall comprise the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic and the whole of Berlin. Its external borders shall be the borders of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic and shall be definitive from the date on which the present Treaty comes into force. The confirmation of the definitive nature of the borders of the united Germany is an essential element of the peaceful order in Europe.

(2) The united Germany and the Republic of Poland shall confirm the existing border between them in a treaty that is binding under international law.

(3) The united Germany has no territorial claims whatsoever against other states and shall not assert any in the future.

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Q: Was Koenigsberg area given to the USSR for 50-year administration rather than permanently?

This is partially correct insofar that neither at the Potsdam conference nor in any agreement before the Soviet Union 'was given' the Königsberg area as permanent possession. While Stalin really 'wanted' that area as 'legally part of the Soviet Union' for geo-strategic reasons (ice free port) and out of 'revenge' and compensation for the war, no other nation at the time agreed to fulfill that desire in an internationally legally binding form.

As the Potsdam Declaration indeed states clearly:

VI. CITY OF KOENIGSBERG AND THE ADJACENT AREA
The Conference examined a proposal by the Soviet Government that pending the final determination of territorial questions at the peace settlement the section of the western frontier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics which is adjacent to the Baltic Sea should pass from a point on the eastern shore of the Bay of Danzig to the east, north of Braunsberg and Goldap, to the meeting point of the frontiers of Lithuania, the Polish Republic and East Prussia.

The Conference has agreed in principle to the proposal of the Soviet Government concerning the ultimate transfer to the Soviet Union of the city of Koenigsberg and the area adjacent to it as described above, subject to expert examination of the actual frontier.

The President of the United States and the British Prime Minister have declared that they will support the proposal of the Conference at the forthcoming peace settlement.

As a reading aid, Wikipedia translates the above as:

City of Königsberg and the adjacent area (then East Prussia, now Kaliningrad Oblast).
The United States and Britain declared that they would support the transfer of Königsberg and the adjacent area to the Soviet Union at the peace conference.

Of course, there is nowhere any mention of a fixed "timetable" nor any "50 years", since at the time a peace settlement was envisioned as 'coming very soon'. That part of the claim is nothing but a conflation or invention.

The actual text was quite disputed and for example in the final form the Russian version diverges from what the English reading world usually reads:

"The Conference has agreed in principle to the proposal of the Soviet Government concerning the ultimate transfer" The Soviet text reads, in literal translation, “concerning the transfer”
Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference), 1945, Volume II, L/T Files, No. 1383 Protocol of the Proceedings of the Berlin Conference

That the text is imprecise in that regard is obvious. But under legal examination it opens up for interpretations. With the notable exception of the USSR no one else saw the agreements reached at Potsdam towards Eastern German territories as 'final' and 'permanent'. This is also evidenced by the US to continue strongly opposing the incorporation of the Baltic states into the USSR.

Article IX concerning the areas of East Prussia ceded to Poland spell out more clearly the nature of the Soviet control of Königsberg, referring to it as having been

"placed under the administration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in accordance with the understanding reached at this Conference."25

Thus, Königsberg was neither appended outright to the Soviet Union nor was it to be considered part of the Soviet zone of occupation, which had been outlined earlier in the agreement.

It can thus be seen that while eventual Soviet sovereignty over Königsberg was anticipated, it was also expected that the peace settlement to finalize this was to have been rather shortly forthcoming. The subsequent development of the Cold War and the creation of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic as separate states precluded the signing of the peace treaty until 1990. In the intervening period, the German Reich continued its existence de jure, although the state of Prussia itself was abolished by decree of the Allied Control Council in 1947. Thus, technically, the Soviets may never have held legal title to territory.
— Raymond A. Smith: "The Status of the Kaliningrad Oblast under International Law", Lituanus, Lithuanian Quarterly Journal of Arts and Sciences, Volume 38, No.1 - Spring 1992.

The Soviets then went ahead and made the situation a fait accompli. Interpreting "administration" as practically "annexation". During the Cold War West Germany upheld the claim to these territories officially until 1970, and subsections of the political spectrum at least until 1990. Fringe groups claim of course to this very day an irredentist perspective. Interestingly, the Soviet side during the negotiations in 1989/1990 seems to have been open about transferring back this exclave to Germany. The official German side declined. But the legal status of that territory was indeed only finalised in 1990 by all official sides directly involved expressing "this is fine, now".

Summarised in this introductory textbook:

Between 1945 and 1949, Germany's conquerors reduced the size o f its territory,[…] Consistent with the Allied agreements at Yalta, those German provinces east of the Oder and (western or Lausitzer) Neisse rivers (the Oder-Neisse line), including East Prussia, Silesia, and most of Pomerania—which totaled approximately 25 percent of Germany's prewar territory, were put under "temporary" Soviet or Polish administration. The ultimate fate of these eastern territories was to be decided by a final peace treaty between Germany and the wartime Allies. However, such a treaty was never signed because of the Cold War. In 1970 provisionally and in 1990 unequivocally, following the accession of East Germany into the Federal Republic, treaties with the Soviet Union and Poland recognized these losses as permanent.
– Eric Langenbacher & David P. Conradt: "The German Polity", Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham, Boulder, 112017.

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The final peace treaty (It was not called a Peace treaty) between Germany and the Soviet Union along with France, United Statrs and United States, was signed again in 1990, drafted in the late 1980s, towards the end of the Cold War, even as the two intact areas of Germanies (East and West Germany) were uniting. As the two Germanies were reuniting, the final peace treaty says the maps of Europe will not be redrawn over the former pre-WW2 province of East Prussia, a militarily overambitious German province of the pre-WW2 era. only the map areas of east Germany and West Germany. In Yalta, the allies signed willingly, while in Potsdam, USA and United Kingdom signed somewhat unwillingly. In the Final Peace (It was not called a Peace Treaty)Treaty of 1990, everyone signed willingly. It was a small price to pay for the west: all the satellite communist East European countries will be able to become democracies, at the expense of the Soviet Union. There was also a chance that in the near future, the sports teams of the soviet union or Russia will be blocked from participating in the Olympics permanently by Britain and America, or from pressure from disgruntled employees of NATO, or other employees sitting in DC. Few disgruntled employees in the west used to say that they would rather hear spoken German in Kaliningrad than spoken Russian in the streets of Kaliningrad. The East Prussians, a land detached province dominated by military clans up to ww2, used to say that they will conquer all the Polish speaking areas between Kaliningrad (Koenigsberg) and Warsaw.

This final peace treaty again gave two-thirds of East Prussia to Poland permanently, and the smaller Kaliningrad area given to Russia, permanently as signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and Germany. This treaty agreed with the earlier, more vague Yalta Treaty and Potsdam Conference, which grudgingly gave East Prussia to Poland and Russia without a clear end date.

Gorbachev's final peace treaty was very clear: the map of Europe will not be re-drawn again, and Poland and Russia get to keep East Prussia. As the Iron Curtain was being drawn upwards and the Cold War theater was ending, ethnic East European communist troops were sent to their home countries in eastern Europe as per instructions and communication between Mikhail Gorbachev and East European communist leaders.

Gorbachev refused to end the Cold War without completing the final peace treaty with Germany dealing with the question of Kaliningrad and East Prussia. Under the terms of the final peace treaty signed by Gorbachev and German leaders, East Germany and West Germany will unite into one country. However, Kalininberg, which is one-third of the military-controlled province of East Prussia... Poland will get a larger chunk of the detached German province of East Prussia. The smaller coastal area of East Prussia will continue to be a part of the Soviet Union and Russia. Only about one percent of the population of Kaliningrad in 1991 identified themselves as ethnic Germans.

East Prussia was the militarily over-ambitious part of Germany, which had for decades had military clans, and for decades if not centuries used to spend four-fifths of taxes collected on increase of military might. East Prussia was the land of the Germanic fighting clans which were disbanded after WW2. Why were Russians settled in Kainingrad, within months after may 1945? One of the reasons Hitler gave in 1941 for his invasion of the soviet Union was that some Russian speaking people had German last names (eg. Dmitri Fritz Volkov) or Boris Yeltsin Hoffnan). Prussians already knew back in 1944 - 1945 that East Prussia will no longer be a detached German province after the end of ww2, and that they will have to leave. As ww2 was drawing to a close and and end was in sight, East Prussian refugees left in droves. Stalin in April 1945 said to western allies that he agreed with the the Nazi ambitions::He wanted the Russians with a little German name anywhere in their names to have their own land:::: It will be Kaliningrad. So, the criteria in April 1945 to migrate to Kaliningrad was: Each Russian, seeing immigration had to have a German sounding name anywhere in their names(eg. Fritz Boris Antonov)

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  • Welcome to Skeptics.SE! Please remember to use paragraphs, and to provide sources for your claims. I'll try and do the first one for you, but the second is up to you. – F1Krazy May 18 at 18:32
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    Welcome to Skeptics! Please provide some references to support your claims. – Oddthinking May 18 at 18:37
  • Also, it is unclear what the answer is here. You don't reference Koenigsberg and you seem to be talking about the 1980's rather than the 1910's. – Oddthinking May 18 at 18:43
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    @Oddthinking Kaliningrad is the Russian name for Koenigsburg. – F1Krazy May 18 at 18:52
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    @RupakGRupert: You need to provide references for all of your significant claims. You seem to be adding more claims rather than adding references for the ones you have. You are still talking about a peace treaty that was 70 years too late to be relevant to answer the question. – Oddthinking May 19 at 7:15

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