The Occupation of Germany After World War II

© AlliiertenMuseum/B.v.Kostka
Stars & Stripes front page announcing Germany´s unconditional surrender, 8th of May 1945.

After the surrender of the Third Reich in 1945, the four victorious powers ¬ the USA, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and France ¬ occupied Germany and divided the country into four zones of occupation, a process agreed upon at the preceding war conferences. Berlin received a special status: Although the former capital of the Reich was located within the Soviet Zone of Occupation, it was also divided into four sectors. For the Western powers, the USA, Britain and France, this meant that they had to administer their sectors in the city far away from their zones of occupation in western Germany.         

Joint administration by the victorious powers worked reasonably well in 1945 and 1946. In the two years that followed, however, the differences of opinion became increasingly plain. They could not agree on a shared policy towards Germany. The idea of a Communist social order supported by the Soviet Union was incompatible with the democratic values of the Western powers. The Cold War in Germany began.

© Archiv AlliiertenMuseum/US Army
Aerial view of the Brandenburg Gate area, summer of 1945.
© Archiv AlliiertenMuseum/US Army
Officers of the four victorious powers during a victory parade, July 1945.

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