Germany History - The Birth of Two Separate State Entities

Germany History – The Birth of Two Separate State Entities

The quadripartite occupation

The defeated Germany was subjected to the joint occupation of the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and France (fig. 4). Divided into four occupation zones, according to the Potsdam agreements (1945) it should have been treated as a single economic entity. Deprived of a central government, it was subjected to measures of denazification, demilitarization and control over industrial production; moreover, it was obliged to provide reparation especially to the hardest hit countries (France and the Soviet Union).

On the territorial level, East Prussia was placed under Soviet administration, the territories east of the Oder and Neisse rivers under Polish administration ; Thus the new frontiers of Germany were pre-established, as they would have been established in 1990, and it had to receive the mass of German populations expelled from Eastern Europe, as retaliation for the ethnic and demographic displacements imposed in that area by the National Socialist regime. The trial against the main Nazi leaders responsible for war crimes and against humanity was held in Nuremberg (1945-46).

The incipient conflict between East and West and the Cold War placed a heavy mortgage on the unified reconstruction of Germany. While in the western areas the criterion of switching to a policy of rapid reconstruction and restitution to the Germans of the administration soon prevailed, in the eastern part of the Germany to intervene on the structural level with the agrarian reform, destined to break up the large estates (and with it the Junker caste), as a permanent guarantee of security against the rebirth of Prussian militarism. The signs of the division seemed irreversible from September 1946, when the preparations for the aggregation of the western areas into a single administration began, with the aim of proceeding with a reconstruction of Germany free from any punitive prejudice; the disagreement on the specific aspects of the German question was exasperated by the more general divergence of interests between the powers in an increasingly global opposition of alliances. When (June 1948) the Western powers implemented monetary reform in the western part of the Germany, decisive for relaunching economic and political reconstruction, the Soviet Union responded with the blockade of Berlin, which triggered one of the most acute phases of the war cold. In this context, the western powers promoted the creation of a parliamentary council intended to elaborate the design of a constitutional order for the western unified area.

The birth of two separate state entities

The development of an autonomous state order in the western occupation zone resulted in the proclamation of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in May 1949, with Bonn as the provisional capital. The claim for reunification would have constituted, together with the claim to be the only part of Germany entitled to speak on behalf of the entire German people, a constant reason for the political identity of the West German state. Elected the first Bundestag, the first president of the Federal Republic was the liberal democratic exponent T. Heuss and K. Adenauer, leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), became chancellor. At the same time, in the same year, the Occupation Statute came into force with which the Western powers established the residual powers and the extent of the controls that they would continue to exercise on Germany (in 1951 the limits placed on the autonomous legislation of the FRG were abolished and above all it was recognized the faculty to manage its own foreign policy, until then reserved to the allied authorities).

The Soviet Union reacted to this process of creation of the FRG and its insertion into the Western orbit by favoring the establishment of a separate state in the East as well. Under the leadership of the hegemonic party in the eastern sector, the Socialist Unity Party (SED), founded in 1946, with the nominal presence of other parties, a People’s Congress was convened which drafted a Constitution: with the proclamation of this last, on 7 October 1949, the German Democratic Republic(GDR) was born. Thus began the story of the two different German states, outposts of two opposing political and ideological alignments.

Germany History - The Birth of Two Separate State Entities

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