Set in the summer of 1945 as the Second World War comes to an end, Stalin, Truman, Churchill and Atlee, the 'Big Four', meet at Potsdam in Occupied Germany. Their mission - to decide how to administer punishment to the defeated Nazi Germany, which agreed to unconditional surrender nine weeks earlier. The goals of the conference also include the establishment of post-war order, peace treaties issues, and countering the effects of the war. As the four most powerful men in the world gather to set out the new order, in an anteroom a British string quartet, guarded by a Russian soldier, wait to perform. As the musicians bicker and the quartet begins to disintegrate, next door the fate of the world is being settled.