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Allied Control Council
The Allied Control Council or Allied Control Authority, known as the Alliierter Kontrollrat, was the name of a military occupation governing body of Germany at the end of World War II in Europe; the members were the United States, United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union. France was later added with a vote but had no duties. Allied Control Council was housed in and operated from the (former) building of the German Supreme Court. It became called Alliertes Kontrollratsgebäude.
When German Chief of Staff General Alfred Jodl signed the unconditional surrender documents for all German forces to the Allies on May 7, 1945, it included the phrase "All forces under German control to cease active operations at 2301 hours Central European time on 8th May 1945." Karl Dönitz continued to act as Reichspräsident (head of state) until his arrest on May 23, 1945. The Allies however refused to recognise him as such, or von Krosigk, whom Dönitz had appointed Reichskanzler (Chancellor of Germany).
This created a problem for the Allies when they realised that, although the German armed forces had surrendered unconditionally, since SHAEF had failed to use the document created by the "European Advisory Commission " (EAC), the civilian German government had not. This was considered a very important issue, given that Hitler had used the surrender of the civilian government, but not of the military, in 1918, to create the "stab in the back" argument. The Allies understandably did not want to give any future hostile German regime any kind of legal argument to resurrect an old quarrel. Eventually they decided not to recognise Dönitz, but to sign a four power document instead, creating the Allied Control Council:
- The Governments of the United States of America, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United Kingdom, and the Provisional Government of the French Republic, hereby assume supreme authority with respect to Germany, including all the powers possessed by the German Government, the High Command and any state, municipal, or local government or authority. The assumption, for the purposes stated above, of the said authority and powers does not affect the annexation of Germany. [US Department of State, Treaties and Other International Acts Series, No. 1520.]
The German capital of Berlin was also partitioned into four zones, which in 1949 became East Berlin and West Berlin, although Berlin and both Germanies remained under nominal military occupation until September 12, 1990 when the Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany, the final peace treaty, was signed by the four powers and the two German governments, restoring German sovereignty. This allowed German reunification to take place on October 3, 1990; the re-united country became fully sovereign again on March 15, 1991. Germany signed a separate treaty with Poland confirming their present border the same year.
In 1945, Alliertes Kontrollratsgebäude was the supreme European headquarters for the occupying Four-Power Authorities. The representatives were as follows: Marshal Georgy Zhukov (Soviet Union), Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery (United Kingdom), General Dwight Eisenhower (United States), and General Jean Joseph-Marie Gabriel Lattre de Tassigny (France). The building itself needed very little repair work since it had, surprisingly, suffered almost no battle damage. From its halls, the conquerors jointly ruled the defeated Germany until 1948 when the Soviet element abruptly broke off diplomatic relations over the divided country, and walked out of the building's front doors, effectively beginning the Cold War. The other three powers quickly withdrew from the ACA building to their respective sectors of the city leaving the facility cold, empty and dark. There was only one guard stationed out front.
Only one four-power organization, the Berlin Air Safety Center (BASC), remained in the ACA building from 1945 until the fall of the wall in 1989. As a symbol of the BASC's continued presence, the four national flags of the occupying powers still flew over the large front doors every day. The only other signs of occupancy were the few, sparse office lights that emanated from a small corner room of the building — the BASC Operations Room — in the evenings. Of the 550 rooms in the building, the BASC office complex and guards' quarters occupied fewer than forty.
Because of the BASC's presence, the building remained closely guarded by US Embassy guards, with access granted only to select members of the four powers. This led to mysterious legends and ghost stories about the eerie, dark facility with its grand, granite statuary overlooking the beautiful park.
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