Germany in the post-war period

Between the consequences of war and the economic miracle. Germany in the post-war period (Bild: ap/dpa/picture alliance, ID 00123781)

Between the consequences of the war and the "Wirtschaftswunder"

Risen from ruins - the optimism of the GDR anthem applies more to developments in the western occupation zones at the end of the 1940s: the Soviet Union abandoned Berlin's blockade, the shop windows promptly filled up, and the first tender harbingers of the coming "Wirtschaftswunder" became visible. But at first, on both sides, the focus was less on the future than on the problems of the present: The streets of German cities lay in ruins and had to be cleared, people from the former German territories flocked into the country as well as soldiers released from captivity and, like the locals, looked for housing, work or simply something to eat. Hamster trips and black trade were tried and tested means of compensating for the daily lack of supplies. And of course the country was occupied, and the reality of the occupation included not only the visit of American GIs to the Munich Oktoberfest, but also the dismantling of what had remained of German industry. Thus the post-war reconstruction was accompanied by a variety of social challenges, which continued even after the founding of the FRG and the GDR.