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
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.
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
Berlin also divided
into four zones
Economy: administered as one
unit but each member to take
reparations from own zone of
was less well
so could have
from the better
Truman (USA), Churchill
and then Atlee (GB), and
French were not present.
The fate of Germany was
decided and it was pretty
grim. Based on 4 Ds
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.
Nazism came out of “monopoly capitalism” (the final stage of
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
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).
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
Easier to run
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
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.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAyXXepUgrE (see a
"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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
“Come on Sam, it’s up to us again”
It was run by the
away from the
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
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
Because of the involvement in the OEEC,
it took decision making away from the
occupying powers, and widened the gap
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
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
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).
Finalises the end of relations
between the Soviets and the
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.
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
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.