Protest

Demonstrators protest in the East against the Marshall Plan.

Photographer: Unknown
Photo: Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum)
c. 1948
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Demonstrators in the eastern zone expressed what they thought of the Marshall Plan. American economic aid provided money to rebuild Europe. The Soviet Union prohibited states of the Eastern Block from participating in that program of rebuilding. Stalin was determined to keep Western economic influence through money away from his sphere of influence.
Demonstrators in the eastern zone expressed what they thought of the Marshall Plan. American economic aid provided money to rebuild Europe. The Soviet Union prohibited states of the Eastern Block from participating in that program of rebuilding. Stalin was determined to keep Western economic influence through money away from his sphere of influence.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Currency Reform

Line ups in East Berlin as a result of the West German currency reform.

Photographer: Schaaf
Photo: Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum)

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


A new German currency, meant to support the Marshall Plan, was issued in the zones occupied by the Western Allies. To protect itself against the now worthless Reichsmark coming in from the western zones, the East marked its old bills with a sticker. Currencies were also exchanged on the flourishing black market.
A new German currency, meant to support the Marshall Plan, was issued in the zones occupied by the Western Allies. To protect itself against the now worthless Reichsmark coming in from the western zones, the East marked its old bills with a sticker. Currencies were also exchanged on the flourishing black market.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

An American plane

An American plane landing at the airport Berlin-Tempelhof during the blockade.

Photographer: Agentur Schirner
Photo: Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum)
1948-10-17
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


The Soviet Union considered the currency reform in the West to be a provocation and blocked all access by land and by water to the western sectors of Berlin. Its intention was to bring West Berlin to its knees. The blockade lasted from June 24, 1948 to May 12, 1949. During that period, the population of West Berlin was supplied by the "big lift" of the Western Allies.
The Soviet Union considered the currency reform in the West to be a provocation and blocked all access by land and by water to the western sectors of Berlin. Its intention was to bring West Berlin to its knees. The blockade lasted from June 24, 1948 to May 12, 1949. During that period, the population of West Berlin was supplied by the "big lift" of the Western Allies.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

The Political Border

A banner marks the political border between the East and West in Berlin. "Up to here, democracy and peaceful reconstruction: Over there, dictatorship, war-mongering and ruin".

Photographer: Schirner
Photo: Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum)
c. 1948
20994
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Using the propaganda language of the Cold War, the Soviet controlled SED claims: "Up to here, democracy and peaceful reconstruction: Over there, dictatorship, war-mongering and ruin". Before crossing the border, this couple looks back, as if considering the consequences. However, hundreds of thousands of people left the Soviet sphere of control and fled to West Berlin. Until the construction of the wall in 1961, more than two million citizens of the GDR used West Berlin to escape to the West.
Using the propaganda language of the Cold War, the Soviet controlled SED claims: "Up to here, democracy and peaceful reconstruction: Over there, dictatorship, war-mongering and ruin". Before crossing the border, this couple looks back, as if considering the consequences. However, hundreds of thousands of people left the Soviet sphere of control and fled to West Berlin. Until the construction of the wall in 1961, more than two million citizens of the GDR used West Berlin to escape to the West.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

The Berlin Castle

Blowing up the Berlin Castle. September 7, 1950.

Photographer: Unknown
Photo: Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum)
1950-09-07
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


As a symbol of feudalism, Prussian militarism and German imperialism the Berlin Palace was blown up by order of the GDR-government. It was supposed to make room for parade grounds of the "new socialist society" in Germany’s east.
As a symbol of feudalism, Prussian militarism and German imperialism the Berlin Palace was blown up by order of the GDR-government. It was supposed to make room for parade grounds of the "new socialist society" in Germany’s east.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Konrad Adenauer

Konrad Adenauer, was elected in September of 1949 to become the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, during a meeting of the Parliamentary Council.

Photographer: Unknown
Photo: Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum)
1948-09-01
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


On May 23, 1949, with the consent of the three military governors, the constitution was ceremoniously proclaimed, and came into force the following day. With the constitution taking effect, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) had been established. As a second German state, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was established on October 7, 1949 in the Soviet occupied zone.
On May 23, 1949, with the consent of the three military governors, the constitution was ceremoniously proclaimed, and came into force the following day. With the constitution taking effect, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) had been established. As a second German state, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was established on October 7, 1949 in the Soviet occupied zone.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Describe some ways the Second World War affected the people of Germany
  • Describe some of the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union in post war Germany
  • Relate some key political events in postwar Germany, and their historical impact
  • Gain an appreciation of how politics affected the fate of postwar Germany
  • Explain how East Germany and West Germany came into being
  • Describe a range of responses by the German people to the conflict, and resulting events, between the United States and the Soviet Union
  • Appreciate the power of photography to capture historic events and communicate aspects of human existence

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