Creation of new administrative areas ( L änder ) within the zones of occupation.
Differences in approach:
A more centralized approach in the British zone – unelected German officials made up Central Economic Office & Zonal Advisory Council. Municipal elections in autumn 1946, elections to state assemblies in May 1947.
The Americans keen to introduce democracy as soon as possible: elections held in Jan. 1946. By the beginning of 1947 power had been devolved to the Länder in the US zone.
The Russians established a central authority, the Soviet Military Administration of Germany (SMAD), in July 1945 at the same time as governments in the Länder in their zone.
21 April 1946: Merger of the SPD and KPD in the Soviet Zone to form the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (Socialist Unity Party, SED)
Establishment of the Bizone – interpreted by the Russians as an attempt to create a separate state hostile to the USSR
July 1947: Centralization of Bizonia with new political & economic institutions set up.
In response the Russians establish the German Economic Commission (DWK) in their zone.
Nov-Dec. 1947: Failure of the London Foreign Ministers Conference – Convinces the Western Allies that the Russians are trying to establish a Communist puppet state. They determine to devolve more power to West Germany & integrate it into Western Europe to provide a buffer against the spread of Communism.
Feb-March 1948: London Conference: Western Allies meet to decide the fate of Germany.
April 1948: The Bizone included in the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) & accepts Marshal aid.
June 1948: The Western powers announce their intention to convene a constituent assembly to draw up a constitution for a separate West German state.
20 June 1948: A new currency, the Deutschmark, introduced in Bizonia, the French Zone and West Berlin.
The Russians fear that this will destabilize the economy in their zone & move to cut off road & rail access to West Berlin in the hope of pressuring the west to abandon their plans for a separate state.
June 1948-May 1949: The allies airlift fuel & food into West Berlin.
A symbolic struggle that back-fired on the Russians & only accelerated the integration of West Germany into the Western European system.
Despite the long build up, the establishment of the FRG took both the Russians and the East Germans by surprise.
Stalin still hoped that a single neutral German state could be formed and was reluctant to agree to proposals from the SED leadership for a separate state in the East.
But establishment of the Federal Republic ended such hopes and on 7 October 1949 the establishment of the German Democratic Republic was announced.
A draft constitution had already been drawn up in the spring – on paper this was very similar to that of FRG. In practice the GDR was a single-party state dominated by the SED backed up with Russian tanks.
12 October: A new government led by Otto Grotewohl formed.