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The Division of Germany; 1945-1949
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The Division of Germany; 1945-1949

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This PowerPoint covers how Germany was divided into four zones after WW2, what happened within those zones and how it became two separate Germanies by 1949.

This PowerPoint covers how Germany was divided into four zones after WW2, what happened within those zones and how it became two separate Germanies by 1949.

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  • 1. Divided and stuff... Goebbels was made Chancellor after the death of Hitler. His only act as Chancellor was to write a letter to the Soviet General in Berlin explaining Hitler’s death and asking for a ceasefire. Hitler had fallen out with Himmler and Goering (accusing them of treason- Himmler had been talking surrender and Goering offered to take over power as Hitler was cut off in Berlin) and appointed Karl Dönitz (Naval Commander) to be president in his stead.
  • 2.  A government was set up after Hitler’s suicide. They signed the surrender and then was disbanded by the Allies who took control of occupied Germany.  Germany’s cities were bombed to destruction- leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.  Many Germans had fled from German occupied territories back to Germany as the Soviet army advanced. Therefore there were many refugees in villages and towns leading to severe food shortages, housing shortages and ill health.  Survivors from concentration camps were liberated, and needed looking after, as they were starving, skeletal and traumatised.
  • 3. Berlin also divided into four zones Economy: administered as one unit but each member to take reparations from own zone of occupation. However, Soviet Zone was less well endowed with industry and natural resources and so could have additional reparations from the better off Western zones.
  • 4.  Truman (USA), Churchill and then Atlee (GB), and Stalin (USSR).  French were not present.  The fate of Germany was decided and it was pretty grim. Based on 4 Ds  Demilitarisation.  Denazification.  Democratization.  Decentralisation.
  • 5. These Atrocities, Your Fault!
  • 6.  Problem: Not only how to deal with the obvious war criminals, but how to deal with those who had supported the regime and the hundreds of thousands who had made the Nazi system function.  Internment: those who had “held office or otherwise been active at any level from local to national in the Party and its subordinate organisations or in organisations which further militaristic doctrines, authorised or participated affirmatively in any Nazi crimes, racial persecutions or discriminations, been avowed believers in Nazism or racial and militaristic creeds or voluntarily given substantial moral or material support or political assistance of any kind to the Nazi Party or Nazi officials and leaders”.  In the west: became a case by case issue through a detailed questionnaire. Penalties were severe so it was in people’s interests to downplay Nazi pasts and they offered “Persil Certificates” (statements from friends) and exchanging Nazi brownshirts of clean white shirts!  Soviet Zone: Mass internment in concentration camps. Made distinction between active and nominal Nazis and nominal were allowed back into political life. Made a big deal of being anti fascist state liberated by the Red Army.
  • 7.  Nazism came out of “monopoly capitalism” (the final stage of capitalism).  Abolishing capitalism would thus, get rid of Nazism.  In September 1945- larger landed estates (over 100 hectares in size) and property belonging to former Nazis were confiscated and redistributed.  Banks and factories were taken over- some into Soviet ownership (became part of the GDR state system).  Some equipment, dismantled and taken back to the Soveit union for reparations. (they also needed to kidnap German scientists and experts who could put the equipment back together when they got it back to the USSR).
  • 8.  Nationalisation in any form didn’t really happen.  Economic deprivation and hardship in the zones meant the British kept rationing at home.  1946-7, harsh winter led to famine- people hoarded fuel and food and used cigarettes, chocolate, favours and personal possessions as currency (money worthless).  Boundaries between zones became blurred- 1947. British and Americans formed The Bizone (or Bizonia), as their zones merged, making it easier to run economically. Became The Trizone (or Trizonia) in 1949 when the French joined.
  • 9. Easier to run economically Led to creation of the German Economic Council with powers of taxation. Change in direction: from control of Germans to increased political autonomy for the Germans
  • 10.  Distrust between Allies- USSR and Western. Stalin was believed to be spreading communism. (Probably not, USSR not in a good economic shape and couldn’t afford expansion, and the US was just really very scared of Communism and had more to gain economically and politically by being the policeman of the world).  COLD WAR: refers to the ideological conflict between the USA and the USSR involving a nuclear arms race, the space race and a number of proxy wars. This division in 1949 really sealed this, and Churchill made his Iron Curtain speech that essentially had the lines being drawn through the new Germany.
  • 11.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAyXXepUgrE (see a clip here)  "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.“  Churchill’s speech is often called the beginning of the Cold War.
  • 12.  German armed forces disbanded.  No German government = no military force.  Germany divided in two by 1949, neither side were allowed an army until 1955-56 when they were under the control of two opposing political ideologies.  This will not end well.
  • 13.  At the end of April 1945, a small group of German Communists under Walter Ulbricht who had survived the war in exile went to Berlin to try to make contacts and take control. New KPD.  Their idea was described as ‘democratic, but we must keep everything under control’.  June 1945: licensed official formation of political parties.  SPD created and merged with the KPD in 1946 forming the SED (Socialist Unity Party). 1948-49 “came out” as non-Western democratic, a Marxist Leninist ‘Party of a New Type’.  Number of former liberal parties created the Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (LDPD) while the former Catholic Centre Party and Protestant Conservatives created the CDU (Christian Democratic Union).  National Democratic Party (NDPD) was designed to target former Nazis.  Democratic Peasants Party of Germany were for peasants.  All parties were to be brought together in a supposedly united ‘anti fascist bloc’ or ‘National Front’ against Nazi remnants.  Also some were for youth and women etc- increasingly Communist.  Soviet Zone
  • 14.  From the “ground up”- people who wanted to form a political party had to be based at a local or regional level and apply for a license. Only parties committed to democracy allowed.  SDP and KPD were formed but would not merge. SED could not make any inroads western.  Christian and conservative parties became the CDU (Christian Democratic Union) except in Bavaria (CSU- social). They brought their Christian view with them.  Liberal parties became the Free Democratic Party (FDP), who weren’t quite sure where they stood- liberal, with right wing views and business interests.  Plus some smaller parties. Right wing Socialist Reich Party (SRP) and KPD eventually banned.  Western Zone
  • 15.  By the Spring of 1946, the Western Allies claimed that the Soviets were trying to expand through eastern Europe and beyond.  This led to the Truman Doctrine: democracy versus Communism. US government promised to help and support any government fighting for freedom from Communism (e.g. “Stalin, you cheeky so and so, we know what you’re doing and if you so much as look at another country, we’re going to kick you in the hammer and sickle”)- This is referred to as Containment.  The US believed material well-being would help here. Discontented people would be more likely to turn communist. So, reconstruction of the post war European economy was to be given in the Marshall Plan (aka the European Recovery Programme or ERP). Gave economic aid to those who met certain conditions.  West Germany principal beneficiary. Helped defuse social discontent in West Germany BUT widened the gap between East and West as Stalin wouldn’t let them join.  US also got benefits from being involved in Western European economic recovery.
  • 16. The Truman Doctrine was one reason why Stalin and Truman began to be more separated, and why there became further tensions between East and West Germany. While it is a response to Stalin looking towards eastern expansion, (and Stalin had not administered his zone as the USA would have approved) it nonetheless is responsible for some conflict between East and West.
  • 17. Neighbours “Come on Sam, it’s up to us again” European market continuing to decline. Concern that poverty would turn European countries communist. German recovery important to European recovery- Germany needed assistance to recover. Gave the US influence over the European economies and would improve trade- benefitting the US. It was run by the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) and took decisions away from the powers.
  • 18. Caption: Can he block it? The Marshall Plan was seen in context with the Greek Civil War (conflict between Communists and monarchists, with monarchists backed by British troops). The Truman Doctrine had already annoyed Stalin. The Marshall Plan was offered to all European states- including all four German zones, to the USSR and the satellites. It would require the US having a degree of control over the economies which Stalin would never allow. Stalin was aware that eastern bloc countries would be tempted and thought the US were trying to reduce Soviet influence. Because of the involvement in the OEEC, it took decision making away from the occupying powers, and widened the gap
  • 19.  Black market prevalent. June 1948- introduced new Deutschmark. Soviets refused to do the same in the East- and put their own East German mark in.  Soviet Union then tried to cut off West Berlin. Blocked off all transport links by any method and hoped to starve out the West Berliners so they’d incorporate that part of Berlin into the Soviet sphere.  Berlin Airlift put into place by Allies. Maintained for nearly a year until blockade was cut off by Stalin in May 1949.  This was it for Allies and USSR (tellingly not included in that any more).  Division of Germany effectively sealed. France joined Bizonia making it Trizonia and meetings from the beginning of the Blockade had created a constitution for the new Federal Republic of Germany (as it became in May 1949).  The German Democratic Republic was set up in October in response (the Soviet Zone).
  • 20.  Finalises the end of relations between the Soviets and the Western Powers.  The foundation of the new German States (west- Federal Republic of Germany- FRG or BRD; east the German Democratic Republic- GDR or DDR) were declared during this crisis.  However, it hadn’t looked likely before that they would ever be united.
  • 21.  The Big Three had finalised no decisions at Yalta or Potsdam and the four powers were able to administer their zones on their own interpretations and interests- which were very different.  Truman and Stalin were leading two ideologically opposed superpowers, each wanting a buffer against the other. Neither was willing to allow a united neutral Germany to exist.  Disagreements between all four powers: the French really start the issues.  Post-war German politicians- unable to agree with each other, and with their own agendas. Ulbricht in the east had a communist agenda, Adenauer in the west, a capitalist, pro- western agenda. No-one was committed to German unity.