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History Decoded : The Two Plus Four Treaty Of Germany


Let’s delve into the year 1990, when Germany was unified into a country we know now. To know the answers of questions: What happened to Germany after World War II? What was the Two Plus Four Treaty and why it happened?  


The Two plus Four Treaty was signed on September 12, 1990, after many negotiations between the victorious countries of World War II (The Four: UK, US, Soviet Union and France) and West and East Germany(The Two). The treaty aimed to reunify Germany as a single nation. The treaty was also signed by the new unified Germany as per the motives of the treaty.

How was Germany divided in two?

The Holocaust: the massacre of millions of Jews by Nazis. We all know about it. But no one talks about the time when UK and US used the similar “concentration camps” formula, in Boer and Vietnam Wars respectively.


A child in British Concentration Camp in Boer War, Africa

These so-called righteous powers (The Four) that emerged after the WWII, have found a country, culprit enough to hide their own misdeeds. They left no chance to diminish Germany to dust.

After the end of World War II(1945), the victorious countries were left with the devastated and defeated Germany. And to govern and handle a just obliterated area requires a serious plan. So each of the four countries asserted their power on its different portions and henceforth it was divided into four parts.

Though the city Berlin was in the Soviet’s occupied area, it was too divided into four parts. The east side of which taken by the Soviets.


Initially, it was only meant to designate the country into four geographical sections for sound administration but as the friction in the air between the US and the Soviet Union began to be felt, Germany started taking shape into two divided sides.

This friction grew into a mad race of becoming more powerful than the other, famously called as The Cold War, and Germany became bi-polar. That’s how Germany was divided.

The two parts not only was different on physical grounds but also were socially different. It was almost like two different neighbour countries.


West And East Germany And The City of Berlin (Yellow)

The Cold War

The West German government were given patronage by the UK, the US and the France and on the other hand the Communist East German government, by the Soviet Union. The animosity between the two parts became more pronounced.

US was alarmed that the communist Soviets might beguile the western countries to support them. This resulted in the formation of the organisation NATO to provide collective security to the western Europe against Soviets.

This period had seen many incidents including the building of the Berlin Wall by East Germany.


The Berlin Wall

Fall Of Soviets and East Germany

In 1989, the Berlin Wall was torn down. As the Soviet Union were themselves facing economic and political problems(The Soviet Union dissolved in 1991) which resulted into the dampening of the East Germany’s control over its area.

Now, there was a great influence of western government (known as FRG: Federal Republic Of Germany) over the whole part. As it was economically and politically more powerful than the east government.

Hesitations For The Two Plus Treaty

The negotiations done by the parties during the signing of this treaty was not easily attainable.

There were many important questions as whether Germany would comply with its decided boundaries and be in peace with its neighbour Poland or not? (Poland was under Germany before the second world war) And what will the Soviet troops do, who are still stationed in East Germany?

Also after the war, the West Germany has shown a rapid growth which alarmed the rest of the Europe.

The Rise Of The European Union(EU)

After the war, UK and France have surely managed to be on the winning side. But that came at the loss of thousands of lives and property.

Europe has been impoverished and was facing tremendous financial problems. It needed aid to re-establish its industries and landscapes. For this reason, the European Economic Community was formed, which is now known as the European Union. It also helped to maintain peace after the war between Germany and other European countries.

Signature of the Treaty of Rome

The Signing Of European Economic Community

Germany needed to let go and grow.

After the war, the winning side has imposed many restrictions on Germany so that it can never become powerful enough to take its revenge. The rope of economic and political growth of Germany was constrained and was meant to be like that.

It may seem that the emerged powers of the World War II, after being faced by such grave insecurities took a risk and showed generosity towards Germany in signing the treaty but they had also something under their skin.

They realised later that the development of Europe as a whole can’t be attained while keeping Germany in chains. France and UK can’t prosper if Europe as a whole fails to do the same. Germany needed to let go and grow.

Elements Of The Two Plus Four Treaty

The treaty gave Germany full sovereignty over itself with some limitations. The treaty has many conditions like :

  • Soviet Union should remove its troop from east Germany before the end of 1994.
  • Only on Germany’s request US army along with that of France and Britain would remain in the country till Soviet troops remove theirs.
  • The West German Federal Government will govern the people of Germany.
  • Germany internationally should accept its boundaries with Poland.
  • No foreign armed forces would station itself in the unified Germany except the German NATO troops.
  • Germany should not increase its no. of personnel in armed forces from more than 3,70,000. Of which no more than 3,45,000 should be in the Army and the Air Force.

At Present


Fall of Berlin: 25th Anniversary

UNESCO has included the Two Plus Four Treaty and the fall of Berlin Wall in its international documentary heritage list.

Germany still has 1,78,171 as active personnel in its army(2016 Report). You can compare it with Indian army which has 13 lacs active personnel. (2010 Report)

There is still a vast difference between East and West Germany, in terms of productivity, consumption, wealth and other socio-economic factors.

Image Courtesy: Google


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