1949–1994

Divided Germany and Reunification

Two German states were established in 1949. The German Democratic Republic formed a Socialist one-party regime according to the Soviet model. West Germany was set up under the influence of the Western Allies as a democratic, federalist state. The border between the two states initially consisted of barbed wire. In 1961 a wall was built in Berlin. The "Cold War" of the super powers determined foreign policy. In the1970s, however, a process of détente began, carried forward by the world powers. West Germany remained committed to democratic principles despite economic crises and domestic policy conflicts, whereas the high national debt, an inflexible planned economy and rigid power structures accelerated the downfall of the GDR regime at the end of the 1980s. The opening of the Berlin Wall sealed the end of the GDR state and paved the way for its accession to West Germany on October 3, 1990, with the consent of the Allies in the Two plus Four Agreement. Berlin became the capital and seat of government.

Images of the Permanent Exhibition