History Of Germany (1945–1990)
As a consequence of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, Germany was split between the two global blocs in the East and West, a period known as the division of Germany. Germany was stripped of its war gains and lost territories in the east to Poland and the Soviet Union. While seven million prisoners and forced laborers left Germany, over 10 million German-speaking refugees arrived there from Eastern Europe as living conditions were harsh. Many German POWs became forced laborers to provide restitution to the countries Germany had devastated in the war, and some industrial equipment was removed as reparations.
The Cold War polarized Germany between the Allies in the west and Soviets in the east. Germans had little voice in government until 1949 when two states emerged; the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) was a parliamentary democracy with a capitalist economic system and free churches and labor unions. The other new state was the much smaller German Democratic Republic (East Germany), a totalitarian Stalinist dictatorship with its communist leadership selected by Joseph Stalin in order to make it a Soviet satellite state.
After experiencing its Wirtschaftswunder or "economic miracle" in 1950, West Germany became the most prosperous economy of Europe. Under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, West Germany rebuilt relationships with France, the United States, and Israel. West Germany also joined NATO and what would later become the European Union. East Germany stagnated as its socialist economy was linked to the Soviet Union; the secret police (Stasi) tightly controlled daily life, and the Berlin Wall (1961) ended the steady flow of refugees to the west. Germany was reunited in 1990, following the collapse of the East German regime.
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... To this day, there remain vast differences between the former East Germanyand West Germany(for example, in lifestyle, wealth, political beliefs and other matters) and thus it is still common to ...
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