In 1948, the Soviets withdrew from the four-power governing bodies and initiated the Berlin blockade, which lasted 11 months. On May 23, 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) was established on the territory of the Western Occupied zones and declared full sovereignty on May 5, 1955. On October 7, 1949, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was established in the Soviet zone with East Berlin as its capital. From that time on, the two largest states were known as "West Germany" and "East Germany," Berlin was divided into East Berlin and West Berlin, with West Berlin completely surrounded by East German territory. As a western capitalist country, West Germany enjoyed prolonged economic growth, while East Germany soon became the richest, most advanced country in the Soviet bloc. Even so, many of East Germany's citizens looked to the West for political freedoms and economic prosperity. In 1989 the Berlin wall was removed, and German reunification finally took place on October 3, 1990, when the GDR was incorporated into the FRG (History 2007).
Its per capita income of more than $28,700 makes Germany a broadly middle class society (Background 2007). ...Show more