Germany’s Position In The Post-War World

At conferences during World War II, the major Allied Powers made decisions regarding Germany’s defeat. Early in 1942, Adolf Hitler must have realized that the Third Reich had little chance of prevailing in the war, yet the Führer still hoped to partner with Great Britain against the US (Orlow, 2018). Nevertheless, Hitler underestimated the Allies’ capabilities, which achieved air superiority and resolved to begin nighttime bombings of German cities (Orlow, 2018). In 1943, the Allied Powers announced that they would accept “unconditional surrender” but would not negotiate a peace treaty with any Reich government (Orlow, 2018, p. 236). While such a decision had moderately clarified obscurity about Germany’s immediate future, it did not demonstrate the Allies’ specific ideas and approaches (Orlow, 2018). The Big Three consented that Nazism should be eliminated and the Third Reich should not be able to wage war on its neighbors (Orlow, 2018). However, many people were concerned that after Germany’s failure, the Russians would have hegemonic control of Central Europe (Orlow, 2018). Although the Allies did not fully express their plans, the Big Three determined that Hitler’s regime must not thrive after the war.

After their decisions in 1942 and 1943, the Allied Powers continued meeting to discuss Germany’s fate. At first, Great Britain suggested assigning an occupation zone to France, and the four countries agreed that post-war German society should be subjected to “demilitarization, decartelization, de-Nazification, and democratization” (Orlow, 2018, p. 237). In 1945, the Big Three resolved to divide Berlin into four sectors of occupation with three air corridors and debated that Germany should pay $20 billion in reparations (Orlow, 2018). Moreover, the Allies reiterated the enforcement of the “four D’s” and discussed Germany’s military government (Orlow, 2018, p. 238). Later in the year, the Allied Powers assembled again, as the previous conference had left several unresolved issues (Orlow, 2018). The countries expressed the support of the four D’s and accentuated the need for educational reforms to promote the development of democratic ideas instead of Nazi and militarist doctrines (Orlow, 2018). Finally, the Allies allowed the commanders of each occupation zone to “set their own reparation policies” (Orlow, 2018, p. 241). While the decisions earlier in the war concentrated on the Third Reich’s defeat, those in 1945 prioritized changes in Germany.

Despite the Allied Powers having specific plans, certain obstacles prevented the agreement of a peace treaty for Germany. The Big Four had dissimilar opinions concerning their roles in the occupied country (Orlow, 2018). Soon after defeating the Third Reich, the Allies could not agree on how to manage a nation that became their “joint responsibility” (Orlow, 2018, p. 244). In the late spring of 1945, Germany had neither a functioning economy nor currency (Orlow, 2018). The Powers began implementing programs in their respective zones, and in 1946, the US decided to retain its military presence in Germany to counter the Soviet Union (Orlow, 2018). Russian and French governments refused to view Germany as a single economic unit, and in 1947, the American and British zones united in a financial merger (Orlow, 2018). As a result, the Soviet Union and the West started arguing about violating prior agreements (Orlow, 2018). After the war, monetary and management discrepancies prevented the countries from reaching a truce.

Furthermore, Germany could not receive a peace treaty because political and societal disparities accompanied the economic debates. Along with re-education, the Big Four prioritized de-Nazification, but while the west zones focused on liberal and democratic traditions, the Soviet area wanted the Communists to control all important decision-making (Orlow, 2018). Moreover, the French strived to “delay the rebirth of autonomous German societal institutions” and have complete power (Orlow, 2018). The determinations made during the war were supposed to lead to a calm future (Orlow, 2018). However, the disputes between the Allied Powers and the emerged Cold War corrupted the cooperation and led to the division of Germany (Orlow, 2018). Consequently, a peace treaty for Germany couldn’t be agreed upon because the Big Four prevailed over the Third Reich but failed to collaborate on all significant matters.

Finally, the Allied Powers’ decisions regarding Germany greatly affected Berlin. As mentioned above, in 1945, the capital was divided into four sections and located in the middle of the Soviet zone (Orlow, 2018). The Berlin blockade was “the most dramatic development” in the Allies’ discrepancies over Germany and demonstrated the city’s status after the war (Orlow, 2018, p. 262). Although the Western Allies won in the Berlin blockade, the year-long confrontation contributed to the capital’s and the country’s further political and economic division (Orlow, 2018). By June 1949, Berlin had two different governments, with authorities elected in the western zones, whereas in the Soviet sector, the power belonged to the communist city administration (Orlow, 2018). Nonetheless, the Berliners’ willingness to fight for their freedom changed the German citizens’ image, making the people more appealing to the Western Allies (Orlow, 2018). Overall, Berlin’s status in the post-war world was intricate, as the capital was the center of the quarrel between the Big Fours.


Orlow, D. (2018). A history of modern Germany: 1871 to present (8th ed.). Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.