Bizone is the name for the part of Germany that was subordinate to the US and British occupation forces after the Second World War . According to a resolution of December 2, 1946, the two originally separate zones of occupation were merged into the United Economic Area with effect from January 1, 1947 .
With the currency reform in June 1948, the first important step towards the planned formation of the Trizone took place, in which the French occupation zone, with the exception of Saarland , was also involved. Formally, however, the bizone continued to exist until the Federal Republic of Germany was founded in September 1949.
A merger between the British and American occupation zone was in the summer of 1946 in Zonenbeirat discussed. It promised economic benefits. The British zone contained the great raw material and industrial areas of the Rhineland and Westphalia , while the American zone contained large agricultural areas and a considerable part of the manufacturing industry . The Allied regulations had hermetically sealed off the zones from one another. After two winters of misery, given the dire food and economic conditions, trade between the two zones would be beneficial for both.
At the Paris Conference of Foreign Ministers in 1946, both the Soviet Union and France , despite the invitation from the USA to participate in an economic unification of the zones, insisted on the isolation of their areas of rule. Therefore, no solution to the economic problem on a four-power basis was possible. Their rejection prevented that an economically unified area could arise, which also included the Soviet (eastern zone) and French occupation zone .
In a conference of representatives of the countries of the American and British zones from September 5 to 11, 1946 it was decided to appoint administrative boards for economy ( Minden ), traffic ( Frankfurt am Main ), food and agriculture ( Stuttgart ), post and telecommunications (Frankfurt am Main) and to create a joint German Finance Council (Stuttgart). The first bizonal administrative offices started their activity in 1946.
During the conference on September 6th, US Secretary of State James F. Byrnes pointed out in his so-called Speech of Hope the need for economic unity in Germany and the revitalization of its economic powers and the strengthening of German self-responsibility in politics and business.
At the conference of the heads of government of those countries on October 4, 1946 in Bremen , proposals for the formation of a "German State Council" were discussed. On December 2, 1946, the British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin and his US colleague James F. Byrnes signed in New York the economic unification of the American and British zones with effect from January 1, 1947.
The economic administration of the American and British zone was taken over by the administrative board for economy based in Minden. On May 29, 1947, an agreement was signed between the American and British military governments on the establishment of an economic council for the United Economic Area , based in Frankfurt am Main.
On January 7, 1948, the first German- Allied conference with participants from the Prime Ministers and military governors of the American and British zones discussed the reorganization of the two-zone administration. It was decided to reorganize the Economic Council, to create a second chamber made up of representatives of the German states and to set up a Higher Court and a Central Bank for the United Economic Area.
Geography and inhabitants
The actual bizone included the states Schleswig-Holstein , Hamburg , Lower Saxony , Bremen , North Rhine-Westphalia , Hesse , Bavaria and Württemberg-Baden - the northern part of what later became Baden-Württemberg - but not Württemberg-Hohenzollern , Baden , Rhineland-Palatinate , the Bavarian district of Lindau , West Berlin and the Saarland ( the three western military governments signed the Saar Economic Agreement in February 1948 to regulate the question of how to deal with France's trade in goods between the autonomous Saar and the Bizone ). The population of the bizone included approximately 41 million people, including refugees and displaced persons, while in 1936 only 34 million had lived in the area.
Political significance of the alliance
At the Paris conference of foreign ministers in the summer of 1946, the USA tried to find a four-power solution to the German problem. Byrnes had brought up a draft treaty from the spring of 1946 again. It stipulated that Germany should remain unarmed and neutral for 25 years under the supervision of the victorious powers. Molotov refused, although Byrnes even agreed to 40 years. A conclusion that the USA had already turned away from the Potsdam decisions with the establishment of the Bizone on January 1, 1947 , cannot therefore be drawn. Rather, it was a pragmatic response to an emergency, which, however, also meant a further consolidation of the east-west divide.
The administrative rapprochement followed later, the way to a West German state was mapped out, even if many West German politicians also resisted it. With the bizone, a new state and economic development began, which was deepened with the currency reform in June 1948. However, this also paved the way for the final division into West and Central and East Germany . The United States and the United Kingdom emphasized the purely administrative and economic character of the bizone. In fact, the bizone developed into the starting point for the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany , which, as the Federation of the States, entered into the rights and obligations of the administration of the United Economic Area ( Art. 133 of the Basic Law ).
- ^ Economic Agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom, and France regarding the Saar , February 20, 1948, FRUS 1948, II, pp. 73 ff .; New York Times , February 21, 1948.
- "Bizone / Trizone" on the website of the German Historical Museum
- Wolfgang Benz : East-West Conflict and German Division , website of the Federal Agency for Civic Education (April 27, 2005)
- Act No. 25 United Economic Territory Administration and Ordinance No. 201 United Economic Territory Administration (Transitional Provisions) of September 1, 1949
- On the history of North Rhine-Westphalia (geschichte.nrw.de)