American zone of occupation

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The American zone of occupation (or originally also the southwest zone ) was one of the four zones of occupation into which Germany, west of the Oder-Neisse line, was divided by the Allied victorious powers in July 1945, around two months after the German surrender and the end of the Second World War in Europe has been. It was subordinate to the US military government (OMGUS) and ended with the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany in May 1949, despite the continued occupation statute (until May 1955). The allied reservation rights associated with the occupation statute only lost their effect under international law in 1990 with German reunification and the entry into force of the Two-Plus-Four Treaty on March 15, 1991, when Germany regained full sovereignty.


American zone of occupation and American sector of Berlin from June 8, 1947
US zone border in the border town of Mödlareuth between Thuringia and Bavaria (1949)

It included Bavaria including the Thuringian exclave Ostheim and exclusively the district of Lindau and the Palatinate , as well as the provinces of Kurhessen and Nassau (excluding the associated exclaves and the districts of Oberwesterwald , Unterwesterwald , Unterlahn and Sankt Goarshausen ) and Starkenburg , Oberhessen and the east of the Rhine part of Rheinhessen (border was the middle of the shipping channel of the Rhine).

After all, the districts of Württemberg and Baden north of the Reichsautobahn Karlsruhe – Ulm, today's A8 , belonged to the American occupation zone. These were the urban districts of Stuttgart , Heilbronn and Ulm as well as the districts of Aalen , Backnang , Böblingen , Crailsheim , Esslingen , Schwäbisch Gmünd , Göppingen , Schwäbisch Hall , Heidenheim , Heilbronn , Künzelsau , Leonberg , Ludwigsburg , Mergentheim , Nürtingen , Öhringen , Ulm , Vaihingen , Waiblingen in Württemberg as well as the city districts of Karlsruhe , Heidelberg , Mannheim and Pforzheim and the districts of Bruchsal , Buchen , Heidelberg , Karlsruhe , Mannheim , Mosbach , Pforzheim , Sinsheim and Tauberbischofsheim in Baden.

In addition, Bremen and Bremerhaven (up to December 1945 including the districts of Wesermünde , Osterholz and Wesermarsch ) were part of the zone due to their property as a supply port for the American occupation forces.

The southwestern part of Greater Berlin (districts of Zehlendorf, Steglitz, Schöneberg, Kreuzberg, Tempelhof, Neukölln) was also under the US military administration as an American sector (→ four- sector  city ).

The occupation statute for the Federal Republic was valid until the Paris Treaties came into force on May 5, 1955. However, afterwards there were still "Allied reservations" regarding emergency law (the Allies waived this after the amendment to the Basic Law on June 28, 1968) and for " Germany as a whole ”the occupation status only ended with reunification in 1990.

In the Wanfried Agreement , towns on the Werra were swapped with towns in the Soviet occupation zone in order to be able to use the Bebra – Göttingen railway line continuously. Part of the Eichsfeld came to this zone and later to Hesse.

Political organization

Due to the "Proclamation No. 2" on September 19, 1945, the first countries in the American zone of occupation emerged as part of a federal concept.

On March 5, 1946, the law for the liberation from National Socialism and militarism came into force and became the model for denazification in the other western zones: All Germans over 18 years of age had to provide information on their function in National Socialist Germany in questionnaires .

From this zone, the military government of the United States formed the states of Bavaria , Württemberg-Baden , Greater Hesse and Bremen in 1945 and 1946 , which worked together in the regional council of the American occupation area and became part of the Federal Republic of Germany on May 23, 1949 . On January 1, 1947, the American and British occupation zones were merged to form the Bizone .

In 1952, the state of Württemberg-Baden merged with the states of Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern formed in the French occupation zone to form the state of Baden-Württemberg .

Military governors

Eisenhower and Clay in Berlin 1945

After the end of the Second World War, the later President Dwight D. Eisenhower first became Commander-in-Chief of the American troops in Europe and also took over the post of military governor in the American zone (see Allied Control Council ).

His successors were:

The military government was followed in 1949 by the office of High Commissioner .


In contrast to the French ( SWF ) and British ( NWDR ) zones, several radio stations have been set up: BR , HR , Radio Bremen , RIAS and SDR . This was based on the American tradition of local radio stations.

Historical lore

The original files of the Office of Military Government for Germany , the American military administration in Germany, are in the Washington National Records Center (housed in the University of Maryland). The files from the Hesse area were recorded and filmed in the late 1970s / early 1980s. The microfiches can be used today in all three Hessian state archives. The Hessian State Archive in Darmstadt has put the indexing information for all microfiches online so that they can be researched.


  • John Gimbel: American Occupation Policy in Germany 1945–1949. S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1971, ISBN 3-10-026101-1 .
  • Klaus-Dietmar Henke: The American occupation of Germany. 3. Edition. Oldenbourg, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-486-59079-1 .
  • Ralph Willett: The Americanization of Germany, 1945-1949 . (New edition). Routledge, London 1992, ISBN 0-415-07710-0 .
  • Earl F. Ziemke: The US Army in the Occupation of Germany, 1944-1946. Center of Military History, United States Army, Washington DC 1990 ( ).

Web links

Commons : American Zone of Occupation  - Collection of images, videos, and audio files


  1. ^ Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv ( Wiesbaden ), Hessisches Staatsarchiv Marburg and Hessisches Staatsarchiv Darmstadt .

Individual evidence

  1. Martin Vogel (Ed.): German history: From the beginnings to reunification. JB Metzler Verlag, Stuttgart 1994, p. 731
  2. 60 Years of Die Zeit , Contemporary History 1946–2006 . 1st part: 1946–1966 . P. 4.
  3. Overview of the holdings "Office of Military Government for Germany, US (OMGUS)"  In: Archive Information System Hessen (Arcinsys Hessen), as of January 7, 2015.
  4. Overview of the holdings "American Military Government in Hessen, OMGHE"  In: Archive Information System Hessen (Arcinsys Hessen), as of January 7, 2015.