User:Tbennert/sandbox/Allied Occupation Zones

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After World War II Nazi Germany west of the Oder-Neisse line was divided into four occupation zones.

They were occupied by the allied powers who defeated Germany (the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States) and by France. This was done for administrative purposes during the period 1945-1949.

In the closing weeks of fighting in Europe the American forces had actually pushed beyond the previously agreed upon occupation zone boundaries, sometimes by as much as 200 miles. After about two months of holding certain areas meant to be in the Soviet zone, the American forces withdrew in July 1945.

American[change | change source]

The American Zone of Occupation was part of Allied Occupied Germany, which was occupied by the Soviets, the French, the Americans, and the British. This took place shortly after World War II. The American Zone of Occupation's first military governor was Dwight Eisenhower, later the President of the United States of America.

British[change | change source]

The Allied powers who defeated Nazi Germany in World War II divided the country into four occupation zones from 1945 to 1949.

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

Bremen and Bremerhaven were surrounded by the British Zone, but were given to the United States, so that the Americans had a port. What is now Rhineland-Palatinate was to be a part of the British Zone. It was given up to form part of the French occupation zone.

In May 1949 the British, French, and American zones were joined to form the Federal Republic of Germany. The military governors were replaced by civilian high commissioners. The high commissioners were part-governor and part-ambassador. The occupation officially continued until 1955. This is when the Federal Republic was became a fully sovereign state, the western occupation zones ceased to exist, and the high commissioners were replaced by normal ambassadors. But the four allied powers still had special rights and responsibilities in Germany until the Final Settlement of 1990.

The city of Berlin, however, was not part of either state and continued to be under Allied occupation until 1990.

The military governors and commissioners[change | change source]

Military governors[change | change source]

  • 22 May 1945 - 30 April 1946 Sir Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein|Bernard Law Montgomery

High commissioners[change | change source]

  • 21 September 1949 - 24 June 1950 Sir Brian Hubert Robertson

French[change | change source]

French forces in front of the Reichstag, Berlin 1946

Despite its being one of the Allied Powers, the French Republic was at first not granted an occupation zone in Germany. Later, however, the British and American governments recognized the role of France during World War II in Europe, and agreed to cede some western parts of their zones of occupation to the French Army. This created a French zone of occupation in the westernmost part of Germany. It consisted of two barely contiguous areas of Germany along the French border that met at just a single point along the Rhine River. It included the Saargebiet, which was disentangled from it on 16 February 1946. By 18 December 1946 customs controls were established between the Saar area and allied occupied Germany. The French zone ceded further adjacent municipalities to the Saar (in mid-1946, early 1947, and early 1949).

Included in the French zone was the town of Büsingen am Hochrhein, a German exclave separated from the rest of the country by a narrow strip of neutral Swiss territory. The Swiss government agreed to allow limited numbers of French troops to pass through its territory in order to maintain law and order in Büsingen.

Soviet[change | change source]

The Soviet Occupation Zone (German: Sowjetische Besatzungszone (SBZ) or Ostzone Russian: Советская зона Германии, Sovetskaya zona Germanii, "Soviet Zone of Germany") was the area of eastern Germany occupied by the Soviet Union from 1945 on, at the end of World War II. It became East Germany.

American forces first occupied some of the area. The Americans withdrew in July of 1945 to the agreed occupation zone boundaries.

The Soviet Military Administration in Germany (German initials: SMAD) allowed four political parties to form, but they all had to work in the "All-Party Committee" (the "Nationale Front").

The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and the Communist Party of Germany were merged into the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (which became the governing party of East Germany). Finally, the SED created other parties, to weaken the Christian Democratic Union and Liberal Democratic Party of Germany.

Originally, Stalin wanted to Sovietize all of Germany, but when the West resisted this idea, he tried to work for a united Germany which would be neutral, but when the West again said no he decided to build a new country out of the Soviet occupation zone. This became East Germany

The Soviet occupation zone included the central parts of Prussia. After Prussia was dissolved by the allied powers in 1947, the area was divided between the German states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt und Thuringia.

On October 8, 1949, the Soviet zone became the German Democratic Republic, usually known simply as East Germany. In 1952, the states were dissolved, and changed to 14 districts, plus East Berlin). East Berlin was treated as part of the new East Germany, but technically was part of the Allied-controlled city of Berlin.

Other[change | change source]

Belgian zone[change | change source]

At the end of World War II, 75,000 Belgian soldiers were serving in the Allied armies in Germany, mostly within military units raised after Liberation of Belgium in September 1944.[1]

As only the Americans, Soviets, British and French were considered official occupying powers under the terms of the Potsdam Conference, the Belgian government was unable to form a military government of its own in Germany. It was, however, allocated a territory within the British zone which was garrisoned by Belgian troops.[2] The zone formed a 200 kilometres (120 mi) strip from the Belgian-German border at the south of the British zone, and included the important cities of Cologne and Aachen. The Belgian army of occupation in Germany (known as the Belgian Forces in Germany from 1951) became autonomous in 1946 under the command, initially, of Jean-Baptiste Piron.[3]

Belgian soldiers would remain in Germany until 31 December 2005.[4]

Luxembourg zone[change | change source]

From November 1945, Luxembourg was allocated a zone within the French sector.[5] The Luxembourg 2nd Infantry Battalion was garrisoned in Bitburg and the 1st Battalion was sent to Saarburg.[5] The final Luxembourg forces in Germany, in Bitburg, left in 1955.[5]

Polish zone[change | change source]

Poland (governed by the Communists after liberation from Nazi Germany) was given two land pockets as part of its Potsdam Conference defined "Temporary Administration pending the Final World War Two German Peace Treaty". One was in the southern part of the former German province of East Prussia. The other area under Polish administration was the large tract of territory between the River Oder and the 1937 Polish-German frontier. This occupied territory was annexed by Poland in 1949 in accordance with the peace treaty between Poland and East Germany. In 1970, West Germany subsequently relinquished its claims to all previous German territory then under Polish control, following the historic visit to Poland of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt.

  1. Brüll, Christoph (2011). "Entre ressentiment et ré-éducation, L'Armée belge d'Occupation et les Allemands, 1945–1952" (PDF). Cahiers d'Histoire du Temps Présent. 23: 55.
  2. Brüll, Christoph (2011). "Entre ressentiment et ré-éducation, L'Armée belge d'Occupation et les Allemands, 1945–1952" (PDF). Cahiers d'Histoire du Temps Présent. 23: 55–6.
  3. Brüll, Christoph (2011). "Entre ressentiment et ré-éducation, L'Armée belge d'Occupation et les Allemands, 1945–1952" (PDF). Cahiers d'Histoire du Temps Présent. 23: 55–94.
  4. Brüll, Christoph (2011). "Entre ressentiment et ré-éducation, L'Armée belge d'Occupation et les Allemands, 1945–1952" (PDF). Cahiers d'Histoire du Temps Présent. 23: 55.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "L'Armée luxembourgeoise après la libération (1944–1967)". Armée.lu. Retrieved 6 July 2013.