Victory in Europe: End of WWII - DECISIONS and CONSEQUENCES

DECISIONS and CONSEQUENCES (Illustration) Russian Studies Awesome Radio - Narrated Stories Famous Historical Events Famous People Geography Social Studies World History Disasters World War II Ethics

After the city of Berlin was divided, following the end of World War II, various checkpoints marked the entry/departure points between the areas of control. In this image, from the U.S. National Archives, we see Soviet tanks facing U.S. tanks at “Checkpoint Charlie” on the 27th of October, 1961.


Berlin, like other battle-scarred landscapes filled with war-weary and/or typhus-carrying people, was a place of homelessness and despair coupled with joy that the war was over. Occupation forces provided bread rations and other minimal needs of daily life.

Many people, in Berlin and elsewhere in Germany, lived in cellars (if any could be located) or shacks among ruins. If bricks were available, people salvaged them - to start again.

Displaced persons from Central and Eastern Europe, like these at the Weimar train yards, returned home. But what would they face when they arrived? Newly displaced people, such as prisoners of war, were lining up across Germany - like these in Munich.

Amidst the turmoil, Allied leaders with widely divergent world views (communism versus democracy, state-controlled economies versus capitalism) met at Potsdam to draw-up new boundaries (scroll down 70%) for Central and Eastern Europe. How could they work together, now that their common purpose had been achieved?

Stalin, who had once made a deal with Hitler (in 1939), would play a major role in the decisions. Churchill didn’t trust him at all. Truman (who would not be elected in his own right until 1948) was at least relieved Stalin was willing to join the war against Japan. 

The decision-makers:

  • Divided Germany into East (the German Democratic Republic) and West (the Federal Republic of Germany).
  • Partitioned Berlin, located in Soviet-controlled East Germany, into quarters.
  • Permitted Soviet troops to occupy East Berlin;
  • Allowed Allied troops (from the United Kingdom, America and France) to control West Berlin.

Looking back, one could fairly ask whether that wasn’t a potential formula for disaster.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Nov 01, 2007

Updated Last Revision: May 20, 2019

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"DECISIONS and CONSEQUENCES" AwesomeStories.com. Nov 01, 2007. Jan 24, 2020.
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