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Germany Divided and Reunited

Germany Divided and Reunited

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Published by Will Teece
AS, Nazi Germany
AS, Nazi Germany

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: Will Teece on May 08, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Defeated Germany to Divided Germany 1945–9
In the immediate post-war years it was by no means clear,either to the Allies or to the Germans, what the future of Germany would be. The purpose of this chapter is toexamine the conditions facing the Germans and the Allies inthe immediate post-war period and to explore how againsta background of increasing international tension Germanybecame a divided nation. Throughout this study of Germany1945–91 it is worth bearing in mind the extent to which theCold War determined what happened to Germany –including the reuniting of East and West Germany in 1990. The major themes covered are:The seeds of Allied disagreements and tensions:the Potsdam ConferenceThe conditions facing post-war GermanyDenazificationDevelopments in Germany 1945–8: the reasons forincreasing divisionThe establishment of two German states in 1949
Key dates
1945MayGermany unconditionally surrenderedJulyPotsdam Conference1946Nuremberg Trials1947JanuaryFormation of BizoniaMarchTruman Doctrine announcedJulyUS government announced the MarshallPlan1948JuneCurrency reform in the Western zonesJuneThe Berlin Blockade and Berlin Airliftstarted1949MayThe Berlin Blockade and Berlin AirliftendedMayFormation of the FRG AugustAdenauer became first Chancellor ofthe FRGOctoberFormation of the GDR
Defeated Germany to Divided Germany 1945–9| 7
1 | The Seeds of Allied Disagreements andTensions: The Potsdam Conference
 At the end of April 1945 Hitler committed suicide and thefollowing short-lived German government unconditionallysurrendered on 8 May. On 5 June, the Allies (Britain, France, theUSA and the USSR) took over joint control of all governmentresponsibilities in the defeated Germany. A major conference wasthen held at Potsdam just outside Berlin in July 1945. In relationto Germany, the conference aimed to deal with four main issues:disarmament,
, territorial adjustments and
. It is important to remember the German issue wasonly part of the conference discussions and much of the time wasspent discussing the war which the Allies were still fighting in theFar East against Japan. The disagreements between the Allies atPotsdam provide an insight into the different aims and prioritiesof the occupying powers. The Potsdam Conference contributed tothe increasing tension between the Soviet leader Stalin and the Western Allies by bringing out into the open differing views andpriorities.
On the issue of demilitarisation the Allies found it easy to agree.Disarmament was a relatively straightforward process because allthe Allies agreed that Nazi expansionist policies had been thecause of the Second World War. This meant that the Allies agreedto the dismantling or destruction of any German factories usedfor building weapons or armaments, as well as the disbanding of Germany’s armed forces. It was not until the mid-1950s that bothGerman states were able to develop – and then verycontroversially – their own armed forces. However, by then theFRG and the GDR were firmly integrated respectively into thetwo rival military alliances of 
and the
Warsaw Pact 
The Nuremberg Trials
The Allies agreed to put leading Nazis on trial as war criminals.These trials took place in the German city of Nuremberg in 1946,chosen because of its close associations with the Third Reich asthe scene of Nazi rallies. Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler hadalready committed suicide. Altogether 22 leading Nazis were puton trial. Of these, 12 were sentenced to death on 1 October 1946(Göring mysteriously managed to obtain poison and commitsuicide the night before his execution, despite being held in aprison under Allied control and intense supervision), seven weregiven various prison sentences and three were acquitted.The seven Nazis who were sentenced were sent to Spandauprison, just north-west of Berlin. These included Hess, Hitler’sformer deputy, sentenced to life imprisonment, and Speer,Hitler’s Minister of Armaments and War Production from 1942.The four occupying powers had not previously planned theprison arrangements. They eventually agreed that they wouldeach staff Spandau prison on a monthly rotating basis and this
Key question
What was decided atPotsdam and whatissues were leftunresolved?
   K  e  y   d  a   t  e  s
Germanyunconditionallysurrendered:May 1945Potsdam Conference:July 1945Nuremberg Trials:1946
   K  e  y   t  e  r  m  s
The process of ridding Germany of the conditions andindividuals that were responsible forNazism.
Payments byGermany ascompensation forthe damage causedduring the Second World War.
The North AtlanticTreatyOrganisation, set upin 1949, which wasmade up of countries in Western Europe as well as the USA andCanada as a systemof mutual defence.
Warsaw Pact 
Set up in 1955 as amilitary alliance of Eastern Europeansocialist states bythe USSR inresponse to FRG’smembership of NATO.
8|Germany Divided and Reunited 1945–91
arrangement continued for more than two decades. After Speer was released in 1966, Hess remained a solitary figure there untilcommitting suicide in 1987. In September 2007, Britishgovernment papers revealed that US President Nixon hadactually been willing to release Hess in the mid-1970s, but boththe British and Soviet governments opposed this as they felt thatHess showed no signs of remorse and, that, if he were released,he might become a focus for a revival of Nazi politics.
Territorial adjustments to Germany
On the issue of territory and the future of Germany, there wereclear signs of disagreement. When the Allied leaders gathered atPotsdam in July 1945 the situation was very different from whenthey had previously met at
in February 1945. WhenRoosevelt, Churchill and Stalin had met at Yalta, US forces onGermany’s western borders were preparing to enter the
andmilitary success seemed assured. There was more co-operation atthis stage between the Allies as military strategy outweighedpolitical considerations. In the following two months of fighting,the
Battle for Berlin
alone had cost the USSR more than 300,000dead or wounded soldiers. These losses hardened Soviet attitudes with the result that by the time the Allies met again in July 1945at Potsdam, clear differences of political opinion between themhad emerged. Another significant difference at Potsdam was that,following the death of Roosevelt in April, the USA wasrepresented by its new President, Harry S. Truman, who was asterner anti-Communist than his predecessor. Furthermore,Churchill was replaced during the actual conference by Clement Attlee, as a result of the Labour Party’s victory in the Britishgeneral election in July.
The Allied leaders at the Potsdam Conference, from right, British PrimeMinister Clement Attlee, US President Harry S. Truman, and SovietUnion state and party leader Josef Stalin.
 e y t   em s 
The wartimeconference of February 1945 which decided thatthe countries inEastern Europe thathad been invadedby Germany shouldbe re-establishedafter the war.
Battle for Berlin
The namecommonly given tothe final fewmonths of theSecond World Warin Europe which ledto Soviet forcesfinally occupyingthe city itself.

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