Following World War II, Germany lost most of its pre-war gains, and Poland and the Soviet Union annexed a quarter of its land area. The German population was expelled to the West. During the Cold War, Germany was divided between the Western Allies of the United States and the Soviet Union in the East before reuniting in 1990. There were two separate German countries during the Cold War.
In West Germany, the economy grew most rapidly. The United States and Israel, as well as France and the United Kingdom, forged strong relations. With the emergence of West Germany as a federal form of democracy, parliamentary government was shaped. A comprehensive bill of rights guaranteed the civil and political rights of citizens. Following German tradition, many governmental spheres were reserved for individual Länder. Christian Democrats and Free Democrats formed the coalition that won the first general election of the Federal Republic in August 1949.
The population of West Germany in 1950 included 4.5 million Germans from East of the Oder-Neisse line, 3.4 million ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia, Poland, and other eastern European countries, and 1.5 million from East Germany. Despite this heavy burden, the refugees were quickly assimilated by West Germany. In addition to their skills and abilities, refugees contributed significantly to West Germany’s economic recovery.
Below are some fascinating historical photos of West Germany in 1953.