By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (June 4, 2024) – In this edition of Fun with Maps we look at a country divided finding unity.

Divided Germany

It is not fun to lose a war.  The Germans have two experiences of that in the 20th century. 

The second time around the winning side was a bit gentler on the Germans, recognizing that after World War I the punishment was so harsh that the political and economic vacuum created gave the opportunity for the evolution of the radical Nazi party.

After World War II, the winners subdivided Germany into four occupation zones and gave a fair amount of Prussia, former part of Germany, to Poland and the USSR.

The four occupation zones were southeast Germany, Bavaria to Frankfurt administered by US; southwest Germany administered by France; northwest Germany administered by Britain and northeast Germany administered by the Soviet Union.   This was agreed to in principle on this day in 1945, The Berlin Declaration.  It was finalized at the Potsdam Conference six weeks later.

Berlin was similarly subdivided into 4 zones creating icons such as The Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie and all.

We all know what transpired a bit later – the western portion of Germany became West Germany, and the Soviet controlled portion East Germany.

Then 45 years later the two Germanys merged back once again, or as some like to say West Germany purchased a country…

Germany is a relatively new country. It became one entity when 25 kingdoms, dutchies, and city states began merging in 1866, so changing borders is not all odd to the Germans.  This Johnson map of Germany from 1866 shows the various subdivisions in those days.

Germany – 1866 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon.