The entire German territory was occupied by foreign armies, forming four occupation zones. In 1946 the United States and Britain formed the Bizone, which was later on joined by France to build the Trizone in 1949.
The growing conflicts between the Western Allies and Russia led to the approval by the Western military governors of the new Basic Law on May 23, 1949, and on that date a new state, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG or BRD) came into existence. Only a couple of months later, in the soviet occupation zone the new People's Council was convened for the first time on October 7, 1949, and on the same day the constitution of the German Democratic Republic (GDR or DDR) went into effect.
During the following four decades, both German countries chose to follow completely different paths, both from a political as well as economical perspective.
After a short but powerful period of peaceful manifestations in Eastern Germany, on November 9, 1989 the GDR border police unexpectedly opened the Berlin Wall.
On October 3, 1990 the Eastern German Volkskammer agreed to the German unification, and on midnight that same day, the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany.
Many differences between both German States have disappeared but at many places, traces of Eastern Germany can still be found, which is one of many reasons to travel through Germany.