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How Enemies Became Friends

The Allied Museum Berlin is hosting a permanent exhibition about the history of Western powers in the city after World War II

July 07th, 2016

From June 27th 2016 until December 31st 2017 the Allied Museum in Berlin is hosting a permanent exhibition about the history of Western powers in the city and how rival countries managed to overcome their differences by the end of World War II. The Exhibition is divided in two major parts, each one focusing on a different period.

The first part of the exhibition in the former American Outpost movie theater explores the years from 1945 to 1950. The themes are the Allied victory at the end of World War II, the first years of the occupation and the process of democratic renewal.

At the end of the Second World War, U.S., British, and Soviet military forces divided and occupied Germany. Also Berlin, despite being located far inside Soviet-controlled eastern Germany, was divided into occupation zones. The United States, United Kingdom and France controlled the western half of the city, while Soviet troops controlled the eastern sector.

The Berlin Airlift during the Soviet blockade of 1948/49 is a central focus of this part of the exhibition. The first Berlin crisis of the Cold War started on June 24, 1948, when the Soviet forces blockaded rail, road and water access to Allied-controlled areas in Berlin. Therefore U.S and U.K responded by airlifting food and fuel to Berlin from Allied airbases in western Germany. The crisis ended on May 12, 1949, when Soviet forces lifted the blockade on land access to western Berlin.

The open-air exhibition on the Museum grounds includes the British Hastings TG 503 Airlift plane, the dining car of a French military train, the last guardhouse from Checkpoint Charlie and segments of the Berlin Wall.

The second part of the permanent exhibition in the Nicholson Memorial Library examines the 1951-1994 period. The focus is on the military confrontation between East and West during the Cold War.

Berlin was an especially important scene of rivalries between opposing intelligence services. The building of the Berlin Wall in August 1961 divided families and neighborhoods in what had been the capital of Germany. The Wall did come down until November 1989, overnight and as suddenly as it had arisen.

In October 1990, the Federal Republic of Germany and the USSR signed the Troop Presence and Withdrawal Treaty, which contained the terms for the departure of all Soviet forces from eastern Germany by the end of 1994.

Apart from everyday life in the garrisons, the exhibition also highlights the events from German unity in 1990 to the withdrawal of the Western forces in 1994. Nearly all the texts in the permanent exhibition are written in German, English and French.


News from Berlin
Andreea Stretea, Berlin Global