Results and Aftermath

After the end of the war, a conference was held in Potsdam, Germany, to set up peace treaties. The countries that fought with Hitler lost territory and had to pay reparations to the Allies. Germany and its capital Berlin were divided into four parts. The zones were to be controlled by Great Britain, the United States, France and the Soviet Union. The three western Allies and the Soviet Union disagreed on many things and as time went on Germany was divided into two separate countries: East Germany , which had a Communist government and West Germany, which was a democratic state . Berlin was divided into East and West Berlin. Austria was also occupied by the four Allies from 1945 to 1955.

German occupation zones after World War II

One by one, the Russians started to take over countries in eastern Europe and install Communist governments there. The division of Europe was the beginning of the Cold War between the democratic nations of the west and the Communist countries of eastern Europe. The Iron Curtain marked the border between these two regions.

After the war many Nazi leaders were arrested and punished for what they had done in the war. The most famous war trials were held at Nuremberg, Germany. Those who were responsible for brutal crimes were sentenced to death.

Many problems arose after the war was over. One of them focused on the city of Berlin which was deep inside the Russian zone. In June 1948, the Soviet Union tried to drive the western powers out of Berlin by blocking all routes to the city. For a whole year the Allies flew in food, fuel and other things that the population needed to survive. Finally, the Russians gave up and the blockade ended. In 1961 the East Germans built a wall around Berlin to stop their citizens from escaping to the west.

Berlin citizens watch American plane land at Tempelhof Airport

The biggest task was to rebuild Europe, which lay in ruins. In 1948 the United States set up the Marshall Plan to help Europe’s economy. 18 nations received 13 billion dollars worth of food machines and other goods.

During World War II, four of the Allied powers—the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and China— agreed to create an organization that should work for peace . In April 1945 fifty countries signed a charter and gave birth to the United Nations.

Flag of the United Nations