In the aftermath of World War II, Germany was divided into four occupation zones, each controlled by one of the following powers: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union. The city of Berlin was divided among the four powers, despite being located in the Soviet zone. The American, British, and French sectors formed West Berlin, and the Soviet sector became East Berlin. The Allied leaders made a series of decisions at the Potsdam Conference between July 17 and August 2, 1945, which confirmed Germany’s division and the nature of its occupation.
Parliamentary Counsel of the West German state formally declared the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany on May 23, 1949. Despite Konrad Adenauer’s proud statement that “Today a new Germany arises,” the occasion was not celebratory. Many of the German delegation members at the meeting were subdued, as they had harbored the faint hope that Germany might be reunited. A communist member of the council refused to sign the proclamation establishing the new state.
Here below are some fascinating vintage photos that show West Germany soon after its formation.