The Bizone, or Bizonia was the combination of the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 occupation zones
Allied Occupation Zones in Germany
The Allied powers who defeated Nazi Germany in World War II divided the country west of the Oder-Neisse line into four occupation zones for administrative purposes during 1945–49. In the closing weeks of fighting in Europe, US forces had pushed beyond the previously agreed boundaries for the...

 in 1947 during the occupation of Germany after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. With the addition of the French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 occupation zone in March 1948, the entity became the Trizone (sometimes called jokingly Trizonesia, for example in a well-known Karneval song from that time). Later, on 24 May, the Trizone became the Federal Republic of Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 (commonly known as West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....



The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, which encouraged and partly carried out the post-war expulsions of Germans
Expulsion of Germans after World War II
The later stages of World War II, and the period after the end of that war, saw the forced migration of millions of German nationals and ethnic Germans from various European states and territories, mostly into the areas which would become post-war Germany and post-war Austria...

 in the areas under its rule, stopped delivering agricultural products from its zone in Germany to the more industrial western zones. In contradiction to the Potsdam Agreement
Potsdam Agreement
The Potsdam Agreement was the Allied plan of tripartite military occupation and reconstruction of Germany—referring to the German Reich with its pre-war 1937 borders including the former eastern territories—and the entire European Theatre of War territory...

s, the Soviets thus neglected their obligation to provide supplies for the expellees, whose belongings were withheld in the east. In Potsdam, it was agreed that 15% of all equipment dismantled in the Western zones — especially from the metallurgical, chemical and machine manufacturing industries — would be transferred to the Soviets in return for food, coal, potash (a basic material for fertilisers), timber, clay products, petroleum products, etc. The Western deliveries had started in 1946.

The Soviet deliveries — desperately needed to provide the eastern expellees with food, warmth, and basic necessities and to increase agricultural production in the remaining cultivation area — did not materialise. Consequently, the American military administrator, Lucius D. Clay
Lucius D. Clay
General Lucius Dubignon Clay was an American officer and military governor of the United States Army known for his administration of Germany immediately after World War II. Clay was deputy to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1945; deputy military governor, Germany 1946; commander in chief, U.S....

, ceased transferring supplies and dismantled factories from the Ruhr area
Ruhr Area
The Ruhr, by German-speaking geographers and historians more accurately called Ruhr district or Ruhr region , is an urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With 4435 km² and a population of some 5.2 million , it is the largest urban agglomeration in Germany...

 to the Soviet sector on 3 May 1946 while the expellees from the areas under Soviet rule were deported to the West until the end of 1948. As a result of the western stop of deliveries, the Soviet Union started a public relations
Public relations
Public relations is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc....

 campaign against American policy and began to obstruct the administrative work of all four zones.

The Soviets had established central administrations for their zone responsible for central issues, such as nutrition, transport, jurisdiction, finance etc. already in July 1945, before the Potsdam Conference
Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 16 July to 2 August 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States...

 had ended, which only after that decided on central German administrations. The central administrations (Zentralverwaltungen) in the Soviet zone were no form of German self-government, but subdivisions of the SVAG, which had legislative power. While the states in the Soviet zone had little functions only. After Potsdam, still in summer 1945, the Control Commission for Germany – British Element founded central offices (Zentralämter) for its zone. Its chairpersons were appointed by the British military government and more influential than the minister-president
A minister-president is the head of government in a number of European countries or subnational governments, in which a parliamentary or semi-presidential system of government prevails, who presides over the council of ministers...

s of the states in the British zone, which then were rather administrative bodies than republics. Since March 1946 the British zonal advisory board (Zonenbeirat) established, manned with representatives of the states, of the central offices, political parties, trade unions, and consumer organisations. As indicated by its name, the zonal advisory board had no legislative power, but was merely advisory. The Control Commission for Germany – British Element took the decisions with its legislative power.

In reaction to the Soviet and British advances, in October 1945 the OMGUS encouraged the states in the US zone to form a co-ordinating body, the so-called Länderrat (council of states), which had the power to legislate for all the US zone and formed its own central bodies (Auschüsse, i.e. joint interstate committees) headed by a secretariat seated in Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

. While the British and Soviet central administrations were allied institutions, these US zone committees were no OMGUS subdivisions but autonomous bodies of German self-rule, however, of course, under OMGUS supervision. France had not participated in the Potsdam Conference, so it felt free to approve some of the Potsdam Agreements and dismiss others. Generally the French military government obstructed any interzonal administrations in Allied-occupied Germany, it even blocked interstate co-operation within its own zone, aiming at total decentralisation of Germany into a number of sovereign states. Therefore the states in the French zone were given a high level of autonomy, however, under French supervision, inhibiting almost any interstate co-ordination.

At a conference of representatives of the states (Länder) within the American and British zones of occupation from the 5th to 11 September 1946, decisions were taken on administrative bodies for the economy (Minden
Minden is a town of about 83,000 inhabitants in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The town extends along both sides of the river Weser. It is the capital of the Kreis of Minden-Lübbecke, which is part of the region of Detmold. Minden is the historic political centre of the...

), transportation (Frankfurt am Main), food and agriculture (Stuttgart), postal and radio communications (Frankfurt am Main) and a German Finance Commission (Stuttgart). At this conference, the US Secretary of State James F. Byrnes
James F. Byrnes
James Francis Byrnes was an American statesman from the state of South Carolina. During his career, Byrnes served as a member of the House of Representatives , as a Senator , as Justice of the Supreme Court , as Secretary of State , and as the 104th Governor of South Carolina...

 made a Restatement of Policy on Germany
Restatement of Policy on Germany
"Restatement of Policy on Germany" is a famous speech by James F. Byrnes, the United States Secretary of State, held in Stuttgart on September 6, 1946.Also known as the "Speech of hope" it set the tone of future U.S...

 on 6 September in Stuttgart referring to the need for German economic unity and the development of its economic powers, as well as the strengthening of the Germans' responsibility for their own politics and economy.

At the conference of minister-presidents of the Länder in the British and American zones on 4 October 1946 in Bremen
The City Municipality of Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany. A commercial and industrial city with a major port on the river Weser, Bremen is part of the Bremen-Oldenburg metropolitan area . Bremen is the second most populous city in North Germany and tenth in Germany.Bremen is...

, proposals were discussed for the creation of a German Länderrat (Länder Council), after the US example. In New York on 2 December 1946, the British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin was a British trade union leader and Labour politician. He served as general secretary of the powerful Transport and General Workers' Union from 1922 to 1945, as Minister of Labour in the war-time coalition government, and as Foreign Secretary in the post-war Labour Government.-Early...

 and his American counterpart James F. Byrnes agreed on the economic unification of the American and British zones, effective from 1 January 1947.

The USA and the UK thus united their zones on 1 January 1947, creating Bizone, in order to advance the development of a growing economy accompanied by a new political order in Northwestern
Northern Germany
- Geography :The key terrain features of North Germany are the marshes along the coastline of the North Sea and Baltic Sea, and the geest and heaths inland. Also prominent are the low hills of the Baltic Uplands, the ground moraines, end moraines, sandur, glacial valleys, bogs, and Luch...

, Western
Western Germany
The geographic term Western Germany is used to describe a region in the west of Germany. The exact area defined by the term is not constant, but it usually includes, but does not have the borders of, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse...

 and Southern Germany
Southern Germany
The term Southern Germany is used to describe a region in the south of Germany. There is no specific boundary to the region, but it usually includes all of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, and the southern part of Hesse...

. Thus in early 1947 the British zonal advisory board was restructured according to the example of the US zone Länderrat, by which the states in the British zone were empowered as autonomous legislating bodies, with the British military government refraining itself to supervision. No agreement with the Soviets was possible. Allowing the states in their zone to govern the central administrations, then still subject to the SVAG, would have meant the end of communist rule in the east. With the state parliaments and governments not clearly dominated by communists, as they had resulted from the last rather free elections in the Soviet zone in 1946, the Soviet Union would have had to waive the establishment of a communist dictatorship in the Soviet zone, which was not on its agenda. Under Soviet order mass expropriations of entrepreneurs, real estate owners, and banks had started in September 1945 and continued ever since. This created facts for another production system incompatible to the property-based economy in the West.

Nevertheless, the Bizone was the first step that coordinated the policies in at least two zones of occupation in Germany, which otherwise operated mostly unconnected due the French obstructionism. The establishment of the Bizone became eventually the nucleus of the future West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

, ignoring for the time being the SVAG dominated policy in the Soviet zone and the anti-collaboration attitude imposed onto the states in the French zone. On the Washington Conference of Foreign Ministers (4-8 April 1949) France agreed to merge its zone with the Bizone into the Trizone. Thus, a unification of three zones materialised only six weeks before the formation of the Federal Republic of Germany on 24 May 1949, with France only reluctantly having permitted the participants from its zone to join the necessary preparations.

The economic management of the two zones was performed by the Administrative Council for the Economy, based in Minden. Later, administrative cooperation expanded, paving the way to a West German rump state, even if many West German politicians were still strongly opposed to this. With the Bizone, on the one hand, the foundation stone for new constitutional and economic developments was laid, cemented by the currency reform of June 1948—this included the zone of the French, which had otherwise eschewed from interzonal cooperation. On the other hand, Germany was now on a track to the eventual division into an East and only one West. The United States and the United Kingdom always emphasised the merely administrative and economic nature of the Bizone, but it still counts as the basis for the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany, which took over the rights and duties of the administration of the Bizone (Article 133 of the Grundgesetz).

On 29 May 1947, an agreement was signed by the American and British military governments on the creation of an Economic Council for the Bizone, to be based in Frankfurt am Main.

Lewkowicz argues that the establishment of the Bizone was the most significant factor in the creation of two blocs in Europe and therefore in the configuration of the Cold War international order.

Geography and population

The Bizone included the Länder Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the sixteen states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig...

, Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

, Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony is a German state situated in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen states of Germany...

, Bremen
The City Municipality of Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany. A commercial and industrial city with a major port on the river Weser, Bremen is part of the Bremen-Oldenburg metropolitan area . Bremen is the second most populous city in North Germany and tenth in Germany.Bremen is...

, North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia is the most populous state of Germany, with four of the country's ten largest cities. The state was formed in 1946 as a merger of the northern Rhineland and Westphalia, both formerly part of Prussia. Its capital is Düsseldorf. The state is currently run by a coalition of the...

, Hesse
Hesse or Hessia is both a cultural region of Germany and the name of an individual German state.* The cultural region of Hesse includes both the State of Hesse and the area known as Rhenish Hesse in the neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state...

, Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 and Württemberg-Baden
Württemberg-Baden is a former state of Federal Republic of Germany. It was created in 1945 by the U.S. occupation forces, after the previous states of Baden and Württemberg had been split up between the US and French occupation zones. Its capital was Stuttgart...

 – the northern part of the later Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 states of Germany. Baden-Württemberg is in the southwestern part of the country to the east of the Upper Rhine, and is the third largest in both area and population of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of and 10.7 million inhabitants...

 – but not the states of the French zone, to wit Württemberg-Hohenzollern
Württemberg-Hohenzollern was a historical state of West Germany. It was created in 1945 as part of the French occupation zone. Its capital was Tübingen...

, Baden
Baden is a historical state on the east bank of the Rhine in the southwest of Germany, now the western part of the Baden-Württemberg of Germany....

, Rheinland-Pfalz or those in the Soviet zone Mecklenburg
Mecklenburg is a historical region in northern Germany comprising the western and larger part of the federal-state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern...

, Brandenburg
Brandenburg is one of the sixteen federal-states of Germany. It lies in the east of the country and is one of the new federal states that were re-created in 1990 upon the reunification of the former West Germany and East Germany. The capital is Potsdam...

, Saxony-Anhalt
Saxony-Anhalt is a landlocked state of Germany. Its capital is Magdeburg and it is surrounded by the German states of Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, Saxony, and Thuringia.Saxony-Anhalt covers an area of...

, Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

 and Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

. Neither part of Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 was part of the Bizone nor any former parts of Germany, such as the Saarland
Saarland is one of the sixteen states of Germany. The capital is Saarbrücken. It has an area of 2570 km² and 1,045,000 inhabitants. In both area and population, it is the smallest state in Germany other than the city-states...

, which was out of joint allied occupational control since February 1946. The Bizone had a population of approximately 39 million people.

British military deployments

  • British Army of the Rhine
    British Army of the Rhine
    There have been two formations named British Army of the Rhine . Both were originally occupation forces in Germany, one after the First World War, and the other after the Second World War.-1919–1929:...

     (now British Forces Germany
    British Forces Germany
    British Forces Germany , is the name for British Armed Forces service personnel and civilians based in Germany. It was first established following the Second World War as the British Army of the Rhine ....

  • Royal Air Force Germany
    Royal Air Force Germany
    The former Royal Air Force Germany was a command of the Royal Air Force and part of British Forces Germany, consisting of those units located in Germany initially as part of the occupation following World War II, and later as part of the RAF's commitment to the defence of Europe during the Cold...

United States military deployments

  • U.S. Seventh Army
  • U.S. Third Army
  • United States Air Forces in Europe
    United States Air Forces in Europe
    The United States Air Forces in Europe is the United States Air Force component of U.S. European Command, a Department of Defense unified command, and is one of two Air Force Major Commands outside of the continental United States, the other being the Pacific Air Forces...

External links

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