1940s: Allied-Occupied Germany


Lydia Jacoby, Writer

After the declaration of the destruction of Nazi Germany, the allied forces divided it into four occupation zones controlled by the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Soviet Union. The decision was authorized at the Potsdam Conference on August 2nd, 1945. These occupation zones made up what we now refer to as Allied-occupied Germany. 

Charles Bernard marched up the street, another indistinct face in the line of khaki uniforms. Brick buildings lined the dirt road, dead silent except for the steady marching of soldier’s boots. White faces peered at them from behind drawn curtains. A child ran into the street in front of the line, jump rope in hand. Her laughter cut off abruptly as her mother scooped her up from behind, a livid expression etched onto her lined face. The girl was quickly herded back into the house, an image of longing in her eyes as she gazed back at the jump rope lying forgotten in the street.  

A week after the British took over their delegated section of Germany, they began to mingle with German civilians. Slowly, mothers relented to their children’s cries to go out and play. Women resumed their daily grocery runs, even allowing British soldiers to carry their bags from time to time. Despite the massive army vehicles parked throughout the town, life began to return to normal. The little girl skipped happily into the street, her venture tempered by her mother. Five other children ran towards her from farther down the row of townhouses, grabbing the neglected jump rope from the dirt. The sun set on the six children jumping rope–a German woman and a British soldier holding opposite ends.