Cold War / Germany 1945-1990

Events relating to the division of the world after 1945, particularly in respect to German history from 1945 to 1990.


Refugees in Post-War Europe

1945 - 1947

Over 20 million people were on the move in Europe between 1945 and 1947. Biggest group: 13.5-16.5 million Germans. POWs, forced labourers and concentration camp survivors trying to return home: 2.4 million to the Soviet Union, 1.5 million to Poland, 1.1 million to the Baltic States.

Iron Curtain Speech

5 March 1946

First use of "Iron Curtain" metaphor by former British Prime Minister Churchill to describe the post-war division of Europe into two different political systems: the democratic West and the socialist East.


12 March 1947

President Truman asked Congress for US$ 400 million in military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey in an attempt to support the local governments threatened by communist guerilla war fare. It was the beginning of US efforts to stop the spread of communism in Europe and around the world with diplomatic, economic and military means, known as the policy of containment.

Marshall Plan

June 1947

US Secretary of State Marshall announced a package of financial aid for Europe, officially called the European Recovery Program. The aid was given to European nations if they agreed to cooperate with each other and with the USA. Stalin rejected the offer of aid for the Eastern European states. 16 European states received a total of US$ 11 billion in aid.

Berlin Blockade

June 1948 - May 1949

Soviet Union closes inner-German border; West Berlin is cut off from all supplies; Berlin Airlift (Luftbrücke) established by the Western Allies Da fehlt noch was

Korean War

June 1950 - July 1953

North Korean forces attack South Korea. The USA and NATO send troops to support South Korea because the USA wants to stop communism from spreading (see CONTAINMENT). After two years of position warfare the war ends with the signing of a ceasefire agreement.

Vietnam war

1965 - 1975

After the North Vietnamese guerilla army had occupied big parts of Vietnam, the USA reacts by starting to bomb North Vietnam and sending ground troops. The war is very cruel and the USA can't win the guerilla war even though they're superior. Therefore, in 1968 peace talks begin and in January of 1973 the USA finally withdraw their troops. The war completely ends in 1975. On 2 July 1976 Vietnam reunifies.

Germany 1945-1990

Tehran Conference


The Russian border was relocated further to the west and territories east of the Oder-Neiße Line were given to Poland as compensation for ???
They ??? WHO? discuss also what should happen after a victory.

Jalta Conference


Germany and Berlin were devided into 4 occupation zones

Potsdam Conference

17 July 1945 - 2 August 1945

Stalin (USSR), Churchill/Attlee (GB) and Truman (USA) meet in Potsdam, close to Berlin, to decide on a joint plan for the future of Germany.

Nuremberg International Military Court

August 1945

The Allies established the court in Nuremberg in August 1945. It was to try over a hundred people as war criminals in a total of 13 trials.

Denazification East

1946 - 1948

In the Soviet zone about 520,000 people were dismissed from their jobs because of their Nazi past, including 85% of the people working in the legal profession. Vacant positions were filled with members of the Communist Party. The process abruptly ended in 1948.

Denazification West

1946 - 1954

As agreed on at the Potsdam Conference, the Allies started a program of Denazification to "re-educate" the Germans. All leading members of the NSDAP working in public administration were dismissed at once. 3.6 million people in the Western zones were questioned about their Nazi past, but only 1667 were classified as Major Offenders.

Foundation of the FRG

May 1949

Foundation of the GDR

october 1949



Stalin offers the "Stalin-Noten" in wich he supply the German reunification under the condition that Germany stays neutral.
Germany resigned it.

NATO member & sovereign state

5 May 1955

After long and difficult negotiations West-Germany became a member of NATO. On the same day, the Occupation Statute ended and West-Germany also bcame an independent and sovereign state.

Student Protest

1961 - 1968

-protest movement in West-Germany especially West-Berlin
-students protested against: US imperialism, capitalism, parliamentary democracy, poor living conditions
-old values, morals and lifestyle was called into question
-1968, April: assassination attempt on Rudi Dutschke, the idol of many protesters

Berlin Wall

12 August 1961 - 9 November 1989

The construction of the Berlin Wall began in the night from 12 to 13 August 1961, turning West-Berlin into a walled-in city. Altogether more than 1000 people were killed trying to cross the German-German border.

Willy Brandt's government

1969 - 1974

Willy Brandt (1913-1992): 4th Federal Chancellor of the FRG
1949: elected Berlin representative for the SPD
1969: forms ruling coalition with the FDP (Walter Scheel)
1971: Nobel Peace Prize
1974: Guillaume affair and resignation as Chancellor

Transit Agreement


Improvement of the Transit traffic of persons and goods between the GDR and FRG.
Later Passport and Visa-free travelling for simpler visiting was introduced.

Basic Treaty


The FRG and the GDR developed a normal relationship to each other on the basis of equality. Furthermore they respected each other. This Treaty made Brandt reputable in eastern Germany, too.

The radical decree

1972 - 1991

It meaned, that members of anticonstitutional organisations, like communist parties, were not allowed to work anymore in civil services. There were
3,5 million examinations
11000 official proceedings of employment ban
2200 disciplinary hearings
1250 refusals of job candidates
265 dismissals
The last country which abolished it was the free state of Bavaria.
The radical decree is still considered as fatal mistake.

Peaceful Revolution

1982 - 11/09/1989

The first meetings
Started in 1982 in the Nikolai Church in Leipzig
Fastly spread to other churches
Every Monday after the church service
Started to talk, discuss, and pray for/ about politics
Demonstrations on the square; and holding lit candles;
Started with only a few hundred people but it grew very fast

Christian Führer: (5 March 1943)
Before 1989:
pastor of the Lutheran Nikolaikirche in Leipzig until March 2008
After 1989:
organized large-scale demonstrations
opposed Neo-Nazi marches

Christoph Wonneberger: ( 5 March 1944)
Before 1989:
Pastor in Leipzig and conchy (Kriegdienstsverweigerer) in the GDR
After 1989:
Pensioned pastor

Role of the church
1. Conducting dialogue between citizens and government leaders
2. Organizing mass protests
3. And providing a safe meeting place for diverse activist groups, which united some of the most vocal dissenting elements in society that challenged the government's authority

Hungarian Border is opened
The Hungarian border to Austria is opened
Thousand East Germans try to flee
Austria is full; you can´t stay there
Bundesaußenminister Hans-Dietrich Genscher (FDP) flees from east to west over this border

Before the night of revolution
4th November 1989: 1 mio. Demonstrants -> first allowed demonstration for new reforms
8th November: Politbureau resigns -> in the next election there are only 11 of 21 elected

Night of revolution
In the end of a conference and nobody had any idea of it
9. November 1989, 18:57 , Günter Schabowski:
Privatreisen nach dem Ausland können ohne Voraussetzungen (...) beantragt werden (...). Ständige Ausreisen können über alle Grenzübergangsstellen der DDR zur BRD beziehungsweise zu Berlin (West) erfolgen."
It was planned to get public one day later
He got secretly the paper from somebody he didn´t know

No democracy because of the SED
Not all human rights were respected
No privacy and permanent spying from the Stasi

Nikolaisäule: 16, 5 meters tall, from 1999, in the churchyard of the Nikolaikirche
Cobblestones: day: look different, evenig: shine in different colours (slowly),
should remind of the slow development of the peaceful revolution
Bell, since 2009, looks like an egg, rings every Monday at 18:35,
because at this time the revolution started
Started a contest, because most of the people want an other memorial,
the winners construction should be
builded in 2013

Peaceful Revolution
Summer 1989: Politicians praise the violence used in China against democrats
September 1989: Protester in Berlin, Plauen etc. are forcefully cracked down
2 Oktober 1989: Protesters in Leipzig are beaten by the police and many got arrested

Before the demonstrarions

Everybody was holding his/her breath

One parent is at home to care for the children
Hospitals had been stocked with extra blood and beds

Stadiums were readied to hold arrested demonstrators

During the demonstrations

Crowd began walking around
Everybody joined
They didn't attack
It was a peaceful demonstration

Free elections in East Germany


First and only free elections in East Germany

CDU wins togehter with an alliance of parties that want a reunified Germany.

An important sign by the East Germans, they want the Reunification and no 2 co-existing German states

Monetary, social and economic union


The monetary, social and economic union.
- The East German Mark is replaced by the German Mark
- The economy stretches to the east
-social union to create one Germany within the population is still in progress

Unity Treaty



Deals with the domestic policies of the reunified Germany
-Berlin becomes the new capital
-West Germany is responsible for the state debts of East Germany
- GDR joins with the help of article 23 in the Basic laws, which allows that regions may join Germany without changing the Basic laws

2+4 Treaty


2+4 Treaty is signed and stands for the official end of the 2nd World War as a consequence to the Treaty made at the Potsdam Conference.
2+4 (= 2 Germanys + 4 wartime allies: France, Great Britain, Soviet Union, United States)

2+4 Treaty deals with the foreign policies of Germany
- Germany must accept the Oder-Neisse line as its eastern border
- Germany may stay in the NATO
- All foreign troops are removed from German territory

  • The German army must not have more than 370 000 members -Germany must not own or use any nuclear, biological or chemical weapons
  • War must never be started by Germany from its soil
  • The rights of the allies in Germany end. Germany is a sovereign country

Official reunification


Official ceremony and reunification of the "two Germanys"

European Union

Treaty of Brussels


The Treaty of Brussels was signed between Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Treaty of Paris

04/18/1951 - 07/23/2002

The Treaty of Paris was signed on 18 April 1951 between France, West Germany, Italy and the three Benelux countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands), establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which became part of the European Union. In 2002 this treaty expired.

London and Paris conferences


The London and Paris Conferences were two related conferences in London and Paris in late September and October 1954 to determine the status of West Germany. The nine participating powers were the 5 signatories of the Brussels Treaty (France, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands), West Germany, Italy, Canada, and the United States.

Treaty of Rome

25 March 1957

Representatives of France, West-Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg signed the Treaty of Rome and created the European Economic Community (EEC). With this signature West-Germany was fully accepted into the Western European community of nations.

Moscow Treaty


Russia and Germany
obliged to solve conflicts with peacefull instruments.
Scheel, Brandt and Kossygin signed it.

Warsaw Treaty


With the Republic of Poland and Germany
It declared that the borders stayed as they are now, which is called „Oder-Neiße line". Therefore, critizisers call Brandt a waver politician.



With France, USA, United Kingdom and the Soviet Union
The Soviet Union was obliged to relieve the situation of Berlin's residence.
This contract led to more satisfaction.

Treaty of Prague


It made the Munich Treaty of 1938 invalid.

Schengen Agreement