Allied Occupation Zones in Germany

Allied Occupation Zones in Germany

Infobox Former Country
native_name =
conventional_long_name = Allied-Administered Germany
common_name = Germany
continent = Europe
region = Germane
country = Germany
status=Military occupation
era = Cold War
year_start = 1945
year_end = 1949
life_span = 1945–1949
event_pre = Surrender
date_pre = May 8, 1945
event_start = Allied Control Council
date_start = July 5, 1945
event1 = Saar protectorate
date_event1 = December 15, 1947
event2 = Federal Republic of Germany
date_event2 = May 23, 1949
event_end = German Democratic Republic
date_end = October 7, 1949
event_post = Final Settlement¹
date_post= September 12, 1990
currency = Reichsmark
p1 = Nazi Germany
flag_p1 = Flag of Germany 1933.svg
s1 = West Germany
flag_s1 = Flag of Germany.svg
s2 = East Germany
flag_s2 = Flag of East Germany.svg
s3 = Saar (protectorate)
flag_s3 = Flag of Saar.svg
s4 = West Berlin
flag_s4 = Flag_of_Berlin.svg
s5 = East Berlin
flag_s5 = Flag of East Berlin (1956-1990).svg

flag_border = no
flag_type = The C-Pennant

image_map_caption = Occupation zone borders in Germany, 1947. The territories east of the Oder-Neisse line, under Polish and Soviet administration/annexation, are shown as white as is the likewise detached Saar protectorate. Berlin is the multinational area within the Soviet zone.
capital = Berlin ("de jure")
title_leader = Governors (1945)
leader1 = F.M. Montgomery
year_leader1 = UK zone
leader2 = Gen. Lattre de Tassigny
year_leader2 = French zone
leader3 = G.A. Eisenhower
year_leader3 = US zone
leader4 = Marshal G.K. Zhukov
year_leader4 = Soviet zone
footnotes = ¹ German reunification took place on October 3, 1990.

The four sectors of Allied occupation in Berlin
The Allied powers who defeated Nazi Germany in World War II divided the country west of the Oder-Neisse line into four occupation zones for administrative purposes during the period 1945–1949. In the closing weeks of fighting in Europe, American forces had pushed beyond the previously agreed boundaries for the future zones of occupation, in some places by as much as 200 miles. The line of contact between Soviet and American forces at the end of hostilities was temporary. After two months in which they had held areas that had been assigned to the Soviet zone, American forces withdrew in July 1945. Some have concluded that this was a crucial move that persuaded the Soviet Union to allow American, British, and French forces into their predesignated zones in Berlin, which occurred at roughly the same time (July 1945), although the need for intelligence gathering (see Operation Paperclip) may also have been a factor.

The Zones of Occupation

American Zone of Occupation

The American zone consisted of Bavaria and Hesse in Southern Germany, and the northern portions of the present-day state of Baden-Württemberg. The port cities of Bremen (on the Weser River) and Bremerhaven (at the meeting of the Weser and North Sea) were also placed under the control of the U.S. because of the American request to have toeholds in Northern Germany, as well as the bulk of the south. The headquarters of the American military government was the former IG Farben Building in Frankfurt, (Frankfurt am Main).

British Zone of Occupation

The British zone consisted of Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and the present-day state of North Rhine-Westphalia with the British military government being headquartered in Bad Oeynhausen.

French Zone of Occupation

Initially, despite being one of the Allied powers, the French were not to be granted an occupation zone due to concerns over the great historical animosity between France and Germany, as well as the smaller role played by the French within the alliance. Eventually, both the British and the Americans agreed to cede small portions of their respective zones to France. This arrangement resulted in the French zone consisting of two non-contiguous areas, however both areas shared a border with France itself. The headquarters of the French military government was in Baden-Baden.

The Saargebiet, an economically important area due to its rich coal deposits, was enlarged and in 1947 turned into the Saar protectorate. It was a nominally independent state, but the economy was integrated into the French economy.

oviet Zone of Occupation

The Soviet occupation zone incorporated Thuringia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The headquarters of the Soviet military government was in Berlin-Karlshorst.


While located wholly within the designated Soviet zone, because of its symbolic importance as the nation's capital and seat of the former Nazi government, the city of Berlin was jointly occupied by the Allied powers and was itself subdivided into four sectors. Berlin was not considered to be part of the Soviet zone.

Governance and the emergence of two German states

The original Allied plan to govern Germany as a single unit through the Allied Control Council broke down in 1946–1947 due to growing tensions between the West and the Soviet Union, and was never fully implemented. In practice, each of the four occupying powers wielded government authority in their respective zones and carried out different policies toward the population and local and state governments there. A uniform administration of the western zones evolved, known first as the Bizone (the American and British zones) and later the Trizone (after inclusion of the French zone). The complete breakdown of east-west allied cooperation and joint administration in Germany became clear with the Soviet imposition of the Berlin Blockade that was enforced from June 1948 to May 1949. The three western zones were merged to form the Federal Republic of Germany in May 1949, and the Soviets followed suit in October 1949 with the establishment of the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

In the west, the occupation officially continued until May 5, 1955, when the "Deutschlandvertrag" ("Germany Treaty") entered into force. However, upon the creation of the Federal Republic in May 1949, the military governors were replaced by civilian high commissioners, whose powers lay somewhere between those of a governor and those of an ambassador. When the "Deutschlandvertrag" became law, the occupation officially ended, the western occupation zones ceased to exist, and the high commissioners were replaced by normal ambassadors.

A similar situation occurred in East Germany. The GDR was founded on October 7, 1949. On October 10, the Soviet Military Administration in Germany was replaced by the Soviet Control Commission, although limited sovereignty was not granted to the GDR government until November 11, 1949. After the death of Joseph Stalin in March 1953, the Soviet Control Commission was replaced with the office of the Soviet High Commissioner on May 28, 1953. This office was abolished (and replaced by an ambassador) and (general) sovereignty was granted to the GDR, when the Soviet Union concluded a state treaty "(Staatsvertrag)" with the GDR on September 20, 1955.

Despite the grants of general sovereignty to both German states in 1955, full and unrestricted sovereignty under international law was not enjoyed by any German government until after the reunification of Germany in October 1990. In fact, the provisions of the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, also known as the "Two-plus-Four Treaty," granting full sovereignty to Germany did not become law until 15 March 1991, after all of the participating nations had ratified the treaty.

A 1956 plebiscite ended the French administration of the Saar protectorate within the former French occupation zone and it joined the Federal Republic as the "Saarland" on January 1, 1957.

Officially, the city of Berlin was not part of either state and continued to be under Allied occupation until the reunification of Germany in October 1990. For administrative purposes, the three western sectors of Berlin were merged into the entity of West Berlin, while the Soviet sector became known as East Berlin. And while not recognized by the Western powers as a part of East Germany, East Berlin functioned as the capital of the GDR "(Hauptstadt der DDR)".

All German territory east of the Oder and Neisse (Pomerania, Neumark, Silesia and East Prussia) was annexed by Poland and the Soviet Union. The northern portion of East Prussia became the newly-formed Kaliningrad Oblast, part of the Russian SFSR. Klaipeda ( _de. Memel) and its region were reassigned to the Lithuanian SSR. The territory annexed by Germany during the war from France, Belgium, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Lithuania was returned to those countries or annexed by the Soviet Union.

Occupation policy

In order to impress the German people with the Allied opinion of them, a strict non-fraternization policy was adhered to by Eisenhower and the War department. However, thanks to pressure from the State Department and individual US congressmen this policy was eventually lifted in stages. In June 1945 the prohibition against speaking with German children was made less strict. In July it became possible to speak to German adults in certain circumstances. In September the whole policy was completely dropped in Austria and Germany.

By December 1945 over 100,000 German civilians were interned as security threats and for possible trial and sentencing as members of criminal organizations.

The food situation in occupied Germany was initially very dire (see Eisenhower and German POWs). By the spring of 1946 the official ration in the U.S. zone was no more than 1275 calories per day (much less than the minimum required to maintain health), with some areas probably receiving as little as 700. Some U.S. soldiers used this desperate situation to their advantage, exploiting their ample supply of food and cigarettes (the currency of the black market) as what became known as "fra bait"(The New York Times, 25 June 1945). Some Americans still felt the girls were the enemy, but used them for sex nevertheless. [ Dangerous Liaisons: The Anti-Fraternization Movement In The U.S. Occupation Zones Of Germany And Austria, 1945-1948] by Perry Biddiscombe, Journal of Social History 34.3 (2001) 611-647] The often destitute mothers of the resulting children usually received no alimony.

Between 1950 and 1955 the Allied High Commission for Germany prohibited "proceedings to establish paternity or liability for maintenance of children." [,1518,456835,00.html Children of the Enemy] by Mary Wiltenburg and Marc Widmann, Der Spiegel, 2007-01-02] Even after the lifting of the ban West German courts had little power over American soldiers.

The children of black American soldiers, commonly called "Negermischlinge" ("Negro half-breeds"), were particularly disadvantaged, since even in the cases where the soldier was willing to take responsibility he was prohibited from doing so by the U.S. Army which until 1948 prohibited interracial marriages.

In the earliest stages of the occupation, U.S. soldiers were not allowed to pay maintenance for a child they admitted having fathered, since to do so was considered as "aiding the enemy". Marriages between white U.S. soldiers and Austrian women were not permitted until January 1946, and with German women until December 1946.

Expulsion Policy

The Potsdam conference mandated in article XIII of the Potsdam Treaty that German populations were to be expelled from Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary.

Hungary tried to resist this Allied directive, but in the end had to yield to the pressure exerted by the Allied Control Council and the Soviet Union. [] The many millions expelled from Eastern Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and elsewhere, when they were not used for forced labor over a period of years, they were sent to the Allied occupation zones, where many remained in refugee camps for a long time.

The military governors and commissioners

British Zone

Military governors

* May 22, 1945 – April 30, 1946 Sir Bernard Law Montgomery
* May 1, 1946 – October 31, 1947 William Sholto Douglas
* November 1, 1947 – September 21, 1949 Sir Brian Hubert Robertson

High commissioners

* September 21, 1949 – June 24, 1950 Sir Brian Hubert Robertson
* June 24, 1950 – September 29, 1953 Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick
* September 29, 1953 – May 5, 1955 Sir Frederick Hoyer Millar

French Zone

Military commander

* May 1945 – July 1945 Jean de Lattre de Tassigny

Military governor

* July 1945 – September 21, 1949 Marie-Pierre Koenig

High commissioner

* September 21, 1949 – May 5, 1955 André François-Poncet

oviet Zone

Military commander

* April 1945 – June 9, 1945 Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov

Military governors

* June 9, 1945 – April 10, 1946 Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov
* April 10, 1946 – March 29, 1949 Vasily Danilovich Sokolovsky
* March 29, 1949 – October 10, 1949 Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov

Chairman of the Soviet Control Commission

* October 10, 1949 – May 28, 1953 Vasily Ivanoivich Chuikov

High commissioners

* May 28, 1953 – July 16, 1954 Vladimir Semyonovich Semyonov
* July 16, 1954 – September 20, 1955 Georgy Maksimovich Pushkin

American Zone

Military governors

* May 8, 1945 – November 10, 1945 Dwight D. Eisenhower
* November 11, 1945 – November 25, 1945 George S. Patton (acting)
* November 26, 1945 – January 5, 1947 Joseph T. McNarney
* January 6, 1947 – May 14, 1949 Lucius D. Clay
* May 15, 1949 – September 1, 1949 Clarence R. Huebner (acting)

High commissioners

* September 2, 1949 – August 1, 1952 John J. McCloy
* August 1, 1952 – December 11, 1952 Walter J. Donnelly
* December 11, 1952 – February 10, 1953 Samuel Reber (acting)
* February 10, 1953 – May 5, 1955 James B. Conant

ee also

*Allied-administered Austria
*Interzonal traffic
*Werwolf (Short-lived resistance movement)
*History of Germany since 1945



* [ Post-WWII commanders/governors of Germany]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Allied Control Council — The Allied Control Council or Allied Control Authority, known in German as the Alliierter Kontrollrat , also referred to as the Four Powers (German: Vier Mächte), was a military occupation governing body of the Allied Occupation Zones in Germany… …   Wikipedia

  • Allied-administered Austria — Infobox Former Country native name = conventional long name = Allied administered Austria common name = Austria continent = Europe region = Central Europe country = Austria status=Military occupation era = Cold War year start = 1945 year end =… …   Wikipedia

  • Allied Commission — Following the termination of hostilities in World War II, the Allied Powers were in control of the defeated Axis countries. Anticipating the defeat of Germany and Japan, they had already set up the European Advisory Commission and a proposed Far… …   Wikipedia

  • Occupation statute — Protest against the The Ruhr Agreement, and against the occupation statute. The Occupation Statute of Germany (German: Besatzungsstatut) of April 10, 1949 specified the roles and responsibilities of the newly created German government and the… …   Wikipedia

  • Allied High Commission — The Allied High Commission (in German Alliierte Hohe Kommission , AHK ) was established by the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and France after the 1948 breakdown of the Allied Control Council to regulate and supervise the… …   Wikipedia

  • Allied-occupied Germany — German Realm Deutsches Reich Military occupation ← …   Wikipedia

  • Germany — This article is about the country. For other uses of terms redirecting here, see Germany (disambiguation) and Deutschland (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

  • Germany — /jerr meuh nee/, n. a republic in central Europe: after World War II divided into four zones, British, French, U.S., and Soviet, and in 1949 into East Germany and West Germany; East and West Germany were reunited in 1990. 84,068,216; 137,852 sq.… …   Universalium

  • Allied-occupied Austria — Main article: History of Austria Allied occupied Austria Military occupation ← …   Wikipedia

  • Germany —    Following the defeat in World War I and the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in November 1918, a new German Federal Republic, the Weimar Republic was established. The war officially ended with the signing of the Versailles Treaty in June 1919.… …   Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.