navigation bar U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Germany About the USASitemapSearch Deutsch

History of German-American Relations >
1945-1955 - Postwar Germany

German-American Relations Timeline - 1945-1955
1683-1900 1901-1939 1939-1945 1945-1955 1956-1988 1989-1994 1994-2000 2001-
Germans in America | The German Language in the United States | German-American Relations 1683-1900 1901-1939 1939-1945 1945-1955 1956-1988 1989-1994 1994-2000 2001

What kind of information materials are available?
CD: Texts available on CD version.Texts available in multiple languages.

 America's Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq
The American Impact on Western Europe: Americanization and Westernization in Transatlantic Perspective
Berlin Airlift, Berlin Airlift Veterans Association
Deutsch-amerikanische Beziehungen
Document on the Berlin Airlift CD
Entstehung zweier deutscher Staaten
Garrick Utley: John McCloy and the "Splendid Reconciliation", from: A Vision Fulfilled | Deutsch CD
Der Marshallplan - Selling Democracy
The Marshall Plan
Oral History and Postwar German-American Relations: Resources in the United States
USAREUR Military History Office
Voices from the U.S. Mission - Joachim von Elbe, from: A Vision Fulfilled | Deutsch CD
Voices from the U.S. Mission - Tom Tuch, from: A Vision Fulfilled | Deutsch CD

Exhibits - Digital Images
For European Recovery: The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Marshall Plan

Teacher Resources
Berlin and the Two Germanies, 1945-1989 | Student Exercises
The Berlin Airlift
The Berlin Airlift: The First Battle of the Cold War
Blockade und Luftbrücke 1948/49
Brave New World
Establishing the Marshall Plan, 1947-48
Germany and America in the 20th Century A Hypertext Timeline
Harry Truman and the Potsdam Conference
The Last Days of WWII: Justice at Nuremberg
Lehrerinformationen - Ein Rundgang durch die Dauerausstellung im Alliertenmuseum
The Role of NATO
The Truman Doctrine and the Beginning of the Cold War, 1947-49

Original Documents
Declaration Regarding the Defeat of Germany and the Assumption of Supreme Authority by Allied Powers CD
Documents on WWII
Documents Related to WWII
FDR Library and Digital Archives: German Diplomatic Files
The German Surrender Documents of World War II
JCS 1067, Directive of Occupation, 1945 CD
Memorandum to the President, 10. January, 1945. Henry Morgenthau's plan for Germany after the War
Presidential Proclamation on the Surrender of Germany, 1945 CD
Telegram by Franklin D. Roosevelt to Adolf Hitler, 1939 CD
U.S. Declaration of War against Germany, 1941 CD
Yalta Conference, 1945 CD

Potsdam Conference
Attlee, Truman and Stalin
at the Potsdam Conference, 1945

Four zones of occupation -- controlled by the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union -- were established at the end of the war. Disagreements about the joint administration of these zones and the political and economic management of Germany were principal causes of the Cold War. The Soviet Union controlled Eastern Europe. The Russian zone in Germany later became the German Democratic Republic.

U.S. occupation policy was characterized by programs to eliminate all traces of Nazi influence, introduce democratic institutions, and assure that German industry was used only for peaceful purposes. The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg charged 24 former Nazi leaders with the perpetration of war crimes and various groups with criminal actions.

On June 5, 1947, Secretary of State George C. Marshall laid the foundation for a U.S. program of assistance to the countries of Europe. His long-sighted proposal was a major factor in the reconstruction of Germany in the aftermath of World War II and in the establishment of stability and prosperity in Europe.

In June 1948, the Soviets sealed off West Berlin. Through their control of the surrounding countryside, the Soviets halted all traffic into the city, cutting off food and supplies. The United States and Great Britain took to the skies and began flying in provisions for West Berlin's 2.2 million residents, an effort that lasted 322 days. At midnight on May 12, 1949, the Soviets capitulated and reopened land and water routes into Berlin. The western powers responded with a massive airlift of food and fuel (now known as the Berlin Airlift) until the Soviets lifted the blockade in May 1949.

In May 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany was established. Bonn was chosen as a provisional capital, and the former military governors became high commissioners. The new German government, led by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, agreed to make a military contribution to the Western defense effort. The new German state was granted a fuller measure of sovereignty in 1955 when it joined the joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). At that time, the high commissioners became ambassadors. The Western powers reserved, however, the four-power rights to negotiate all issues relating to Berlin and Germany as a whole.

U.S. policy in postwar Germany focused on two separate issues -- the protection of personal liberties and constitutional safeguards as the basis of a democratic political order and the containment of an independent West German foreign policy though international organizations and treaties. The establishment, rearmament, and economic reconstruction of the Federal Republic of Germany was accomplished within the bounds of such international organizations as NATO, the Western European Union (WEU), the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), and the European Economic Community (EEC). In the 1950s, large numbers of U.S. troops were stationed in Europe. Integrative transatlantic institutions, military as well as political and economic, bound the Federal Republic of Germany to the West and laid the foundation for a concerted containment effort against the East.

See also:
About the USA > History of the United States - Postwar America (1945 to the 1960s)

Original Documents
Amerikas bekannte Geheimwaffe: Care Pakete kommen an
Candie Bomber Gail Halvorsen Interview 1995
Charter of the International Military Tribunal,CD
The Cold War Begins
Cold War Policies 1945-1991
The Current Situation in Germany. Address by Secretary Dean Acheson. New York, April 28, 1949 CD
Besatzer, Helfer, Vorbilder - Amerikanische Politik und deutscher Alltag in Württemberg-Baden 1945 bis 1949
Cold War International History Project
Documents on the Founding of the Federal Republic of Germany, May 1949 CD
Economic Cooperation Agreement Between the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany, 1949 CD
First Strike Options and the Berlin Crisis
The Future of Germany: Part of a Great World Problem. U.S. High Commissioner for Germany John J. McCloy. Stuttgart, February 6, 1950 | Deutsch CD
Joint Resolution To Terminate the State of War Between the Unites States and the Government of Germany, 1951 CD
Letter From President Eisenhower to Chancellor Adenauer on the Implications of the East German Uprising, July 23, 1953 CD
The Marshall Plan. Background & Remarks of Secretary of State George C. Marshall at the Harvard University Commencement Exercises. June 5, 1947 CD
Cultural Exchange Between the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany, 1953 CD
The Nuremberg War Crimes Trials
On the Front Lines of the Cold War: Documents on the Intelligence War in Berlin 1946 to 1961  
Potsdam Conference, 1945 CD

Relations: Communique on Economic and Political Talks, April 9, 1953 CD

  Original Documents (cont.)
Restatement of Policy on Germany. Secretary of State James F. Byrnes. Stuttgart, September 6, 1946 CD
James F. Byrnes's Speech in Stuttgart "Rede der Hoffnung" , 1946
Interview with RIAS Director, Robert H. Lochner
Senate Concurrent Resolution Expressing Friendship and Sympathy for the People of East Germany, August 3, 1953 CD
Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation Between the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany, 1954 CD
Truman Doctrine, 1947 CD
U.S. High Commissioner John McCloy - Farewell Address to German Exchange Students. U.S. High Commissioner John J. McCloy. Frankfurt, August 9, 1950 (Deutsch/English) CD

James F. Byrnes, U.S. Secretary of State (1945-1947) | Deutsch
Lucius D. Clay, Military Governor of Germany, Father of the Berlin Air Lift | Deutsch
James B. Conant, U.S. High Commissioner for Germany (HICOG) (1952-4.5.1955), U.S.   Ambassador (5.5.1955-1957)
Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. President (1953-1961) | Deutsch
George F. Kennan, Department of State, Director of the Policy Planning Staff (1947-1949)
George C. Marshall, U.S. Secretary of State (1947-1950) | Deutsch
John J. McCloy, Military Governor and U.S. High Commissioner for Germany (HICOG) (1949-1952) | Deutsch
Shepard Stone, Information Officer, U.S. High Commission (HICOG) (1950-1952)(Deutsch )
Harry Truman, U.S. President (1945-1953) | Deutsch
Texts are abridged from U.S. State Department IIP publications and other U.S. government materials.
Any reference obtained from this server to a specific commercial product, process, or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the United States Government of the product, process, or service, or its producer or provider. The views and opinions expressed in any referenced document do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government.
US Embassy
U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Germany
/Public Affairs/ Information Resource Centers 
Updated: June 2008