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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Tyler

West Germany 1949-1990

In the immediate aftermath of The Nazi Third Reich, Germany was divided up between the four victorious Allies (USSR, USA, UK, and France). Each of The Allies was given an area of Germany to govern. Although there was an agreement between all four to hold free Elections, it soon became apparent that a gulf existed between The USSR and the other three.

By 1949 the three Western Allies held elections and established The Federal Republic of West Germany. USSR then went ahead and established The Democratic Republic of East Germany. Konrad Adenauer became Chancellor of West Germany and a multi-Party democracy ensued for the rest of the country's short history. In East Germany the Russians had a puppet Communist leader in Walter Ulbricht.

In addition to this division of the country, the capital city of Berlin was likewise divided between West and East Berlin - although geographically Berlin lay in East Germany with no border to The West. A source of problems from the start until the Wall came down at the end. As a result Bonn had become capital of West Germany.

West Germany speedily recovered in the 1950s with the so called West German Economic Miracle. With France it led the way to Western European economic collaboration with The Treaty of Rome, which established The Common Market, in 1957. It also re-engaged with international bodies - 1955 joining NATO, and in 1973 joining The United Nations. In 1976 West Germany became a member of the G6 group of countries. In the 1970s on the basis of a sound economy numerous social reforms took place, finally sealing the country into the liberal democracies of Western Europe.

For Chancellors the country was blessed by a number of powerful men, from Adenauer to Kohl, via, amongst others, Brandt and Schmidt. The shadow of Nazism was being lifted, at least in the West. The story of the East, with Communism and The Stasi, is another story, as is the reunification of the 1990s.

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