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The portion of Germany under Soviet control, in Red what became the Soviet occupation zone, in pink the area east of the Oder-Neisse line which the Soviet Union, with the concurrence of the United States and Great Britain, annexed for itself and its Polish satellite government, expelling its original population over a period of several years.

The Soviet Occupation Zone (German: Sowjetische Besatzungszone (SBZ) or Ostzone; Russian: Советская зона Германии, Sovetskaya zona Germanii, "Soviet Zone of Germany") was the area of central Germany occupied by the Soviet Union from 1945 on, at the end of World War II. On 7 October 1949 the German Democratic Republic, which became commonly referred to as (East Germany), was established in the Soviet Occupation Zone.

The SBZ was one of the four Allied occupation zones of Germany created at the end of World War II. According to the Potsdam Agreement, the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (German initials: SMAD) was assigned responsibility for the (present-day) eastern portion of Germany. Significant areas of what would become the Soviet zone of Germany were not handed over to the Soviets until a few months after the end of hostilities, having first been occupied by American forces.The Americans withdrew from the line of contact in July 1945 to the previously agreed upon occupation zone boundaries.

The SMAD allowed four political parties to develop, though they were all required to work together under an alliance known as the "Democratic Bloc" (later the National Front). In April 1946, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) merged together to form the Socialist Unity Party (which later became the governing party of East Germany).

Originally, Joseph Stalin wanted to bring all of Germany under Soviet influence, but when the West resisted this idea, he then sought to create a united Germany which would be non-aligned. When the West again resisted these efforts, Stalin decided to focus his efforts on the Soviet occupation zone.

The SMAD set up ten "special camps" for the detention of Germans, some of them former Nazi concentration camps.

In 1945, the Soviet occupation zone consisted primarily of the central portions of Prussia. After Prussia was dissolved by the Allied powers in 1947, the area was divided between the German states (Länder) of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt und Thuringia. On 7 October 1949, the Soviet zone became the German Democratic Republic, usually referred to in English as East Germany. In 1952, the Länder were dissolved and realigned into 14 districts (Bezirke), plus the district of East Berlin.

Bibliography

  • Lewkowicz, Nicolas, The German Question and the Origins of the Cold War (IPOC: Milan) (2008)

See also

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