History

Germany after 1945

It was the 8th of May, 1945: the day of the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht. The war was lost, the Nazi state had collapsed. For Germany, the immediate phase after the war was known as "zero hour".

Reconstruction and denazification allowed a fresh start, step by step Germany was returned its independence. On May 23, 1949, the German Constitution came into effect, the Federal Republic was founded. But Germany had already been divided as the front line of the Cold War was running through the country. Adenauer accelerated an integration with the West and the rearmament of the Federal Republic. Meanwhile, the "economic miracle" spread prosperity and new optimism. Finally, Germany was internationally integrated and recognized again. However, the Berlin Wall intensified the German division. Chancellor Willy Brandt initiated a new policy towards the east and intensified the dialogue with Moscow and the German Democratic Republic. In the 1970s, the Federal Republic under Helmut Schmidt had to survive a recession, the oil crisis and the terror of the RAF in Germany's autumn of terror. The environmental and anti-nuclear movement had gained influence on politics and society, the Green Party was founded. After 40 years of division, Chancellor Kohl succeeded to reunite Germany in 1989/90, Berlin replaced Bonn as the capital of Germany.