In the fifty years since the end of the Second World War, Germany has been occupied, divided among the victorious powers, rehabilitated in the community of nations, and unified. The new Germany that emerged from the collapse of communism has the world's third largest economy, and the largest in Europe. It is, as was the Federal Republic of Germany before it, the principal motor if economic and political integration in Europe. (Pulzer, p.1).
Following the defeat of Germany in World War II, the heads of government of three of the victorious nations: the Soviet Union, Britain and the United States, held a conference to decide how to administer the defeated Nazi Germany. This was done through the Potsdam Conference, which took place in July of 1945: 9 weeks after Germany's unconditional surrender. (Pulzer, p. xi) Germany was then divided into 4 occupational zones between France, Britain, the United States and the Soviet; Berlin, which stood on Soviet grounds, was also divided into four sectors with the Western zone later becoming West Berlin and the Soviet's zone becoming East Berlin; East Germany's capital.
Together these countries formed The Allied Control Council. (Fullbrook, p. 132).
"A key term in the occupier's agenda was denazification: an allied initiative to rid German and Austrian society, culture, press, economy, judiciary and politics of any remnants of the Nazi regime," ("Germany", Wikipedia).
They were successful in this as all symbols of the Nazi regime were banned and even a new Germany flag was created. (Fullbrook, p.155). Another term agreed to at Potsdam was the idea of decentralization. Despite the divisions, "Germany was to be treated as a unified unit with some central administrative departments," ("Germany", Wikipedia). However these plans collapsed in 1948, with the beginning of the Cold War, which in turn solidified the boundaries between...