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Who decided how Germany would be divided after WW2? (Short Animated Documentary)

3 minutes 31 seconds

Speaker 1

00:00:00 - 00:00:23

After the Second World War in Europe came to a close, Germany was divided into occupation zones which soon became East and West Germany. The Allies had divided their defeated enemy after a series of conferences and they decided on this. However, there were many different ideas put forward on how Germany would be split up, if at all. So how did they come to this decision? Why did the Allies choose to divide Germany up like this and not, say, like this or this?

Speaker 1

00:00:23 - 00:00:46

Well, the first serious discussions by the Allies on how to divide Germany were at the Tehran Conference in late 1943. At this meeting, Churchill took the lead. He publicly declared that he wanted the restoration of Austria-Hungary based on these borders and its annexation of Bavaria. Roosevelt at this time wasn't 100% sold on carving Germany up, whereas Stalin said no because 1. He was in control of Hungary at this point and he wasn't about to hand it over and 2.

Speaker 1

00:00:46 - 00:01:17

He felt that giving it Bavaria would just give a future Germany a grievance. As such, by the end of the conference, the Allies had sort of maybe agreed to carve up Germany potentially, but none of them knew exactly how. In February 1945, as Germany was well on its way to losing, the Allies met once again in Yalta, and this meeting was to determine how Germany would be divided. At this point the British had somewhat called off on the whole division thing, because that would mean occupation, which would cost money, which Britain did not have. Whereas the Soviets would accept dividing Germany so long as they got some of it, and the Americans were now very pro-dismemberment.

Speaker 1

00:01:17 - 00:01:53

Again, there was no agreement on the specifics, but the Allies did agree to set up a joint committee on carving up Germany whose first act was to exclude France. The committee never really did anything though because everybody had their own ideas, especially Stalin who had changed his mind and just stated publicly that he would oppose a divided Germany. The British and the Americans, though, had been working together for a plan on how to divide Germany, and US Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau had come up with a detailed plan on how to do just that. Under his plan, France would be given this territory, Denmark this, and Poland would get these lands. This chunk in the west would become an international zone run by the new United Nations and would become deindustrialised.

Speaker 1

00:01:53 - 00:02:12

And the rest of Germany would be split into 2 new sovereign states, North Germany and South Germany. This plan was very unpopular except with Roosevelt who approved. Churchill was reluctant to assent but when Roosevelt offered Britain a bunch of money he changed his mind. Everyone else though thought it was terrible. And as such the plans were quickly dropped and everybody ignored the problem until Germany surrendered.

Speaker 1

00:02:13 - 00:02:42

At this point Germany was occupied by the Allies and both the USSR and the Western Allies wanted to make sure their zones of occupation were more sensible. As such, American troops withdrew to here and these occupation zones were formally established. That said, Neversayd saw these as how Germany would be split into new territories. Stalin openly opposed any dissolution of Germany because he was confident that with the Communist Party established in the East, maintaining a unified state would make it easier to spread into the West. As tensions between both sides rose and the Cold War began in earnest, neither side wanted to do anything to damage their own interests.

Speaker 1

00:02:42 - 00:03:18

This meant that the Allies abandoned East Germany to the Soviet sphere and began to merge their own zones to form West Germany, and this was completed in 1949. None of this had been planned, but given that both sides weren't so sure about how long peace would last between them, an ad hoc solution was all they had. Which is why, in the end, Germany was divided into East and West and not any other way. I hope you enjoyed this episode and a special thanks to my patrons James Bizonette, Kelly Moneymaker, Sky Chappell, Corsha Wolf, Jerry Lambdin, Jordan Longley, Adam Stalter, Marcus Arsner, YN Hockey, Spencer Lightfoot, Rod D. Martin, Words About Books Podcast, Captain Psydog, Gustav Swan, Marvin Casal, Camoon Yoon, Winston K.

Speaker 1

00:03:18 - 00:03:18

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