After the Second World War, Germany was quickly occupied by the Allies, who divided it into four zones of occupation to be administered separately by the Soviets, Americans, British and French.
Berlin, the capital, was technically in the Soviet zone, but was also split; the Soviets administered what would become East Berlin and East Germany.
The Soviets stripped East Germany of its manufacturing capability as partial reparations for the war. Unable to regain its economic legs, East Germany sank into poverty. Meanwhile, the British and Americans began a massive aid program with two major objectives—to stop the spread of communism and to speed economic recovery in Western Europe. West Germany, the largest market in Europe, was key to that recovery.
But after the blockade was lifted th...