Co-Operation and Reconciliation

Co-Operation and Reconciliation

Allied Occupation of Germany

  • After World War II ended, Germany was divided into four occupation zones, each governed by one of the four powers: the USA, France, Britain, and the Soviet Union.
  • Occupation launched a period of de-nazification and democratisation in order to rebuild the country.
  • The Potsdam Conference in 1945 decided to de-industrialise Germany to prevent them from initiating future wars.

Berlin Blockade and Airlift

  • In 1948, in an attempt to take all Berlin under its control, the Soviet Union blocked roads, railways, and canals that connected the West-controlled sectors of Berlin.
  • Britain and the USA responded not with force, but with the Berlin Airlift, supplying the residents with food and necessities via air.
  • The successful airlift signified the first major conflict of the Cold War and a win for the democratic allies.

The Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic

  • Germany was officially split into two separate states in 1949 - the capitalist Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in the west, and the communist German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the east.
  • The FRG and GDR developed along very different lines - economically, politically, and socially.
  • The construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 dramatically symbolised this divide.

Reunification of Germany

  • After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, talks began to reunify the two Germanys.
  • In 1990, the GDR joined the FRG to form a united Germany, ending almost half a century of division.
  • October 3rd was declared a national holiday, ‘Day of German Unity’, to celebrate reunification.

Relations with Europe and Beyond

  • Post-WWII, Germany becomes a leading player in the European Community (now the European Union), further integrating the country with its neighbours.
  • Reconciliation with former wartime enemies, particularly France, played a key role in Germany’s foreign policy.
  • Today, Germany is part of many international organisations including NATO and the UN, and it acknowledges its war-time responsibilities, including apologies for the Holocaust.


The division, and subsequent reunification, of Germany dramatically shaped the course of 20th-century history. The nation evolved from a zone of occupation to a key player in the European Union, demonstrating the power of co-operation and reconciliation.