When Hitler was defeated by the Allies in World War II, he left behind almost no post-war plans. It had been tantamount to treason under the Nazi regime to even mention the possibility of defeat, and by the end, practically every single resource available had been poured into the war effort. What remained after Germany’s surrender was a grieving populace mourning the loss of millions of their people and a countryside that had been shelled, bombed, and trampled by tanks and troops for years.
Life in post-war Germany was very, very difficult for a very long time, and the country’s rise out of that brutal era has its own word in the German language. They call it the “Wirtschaftswunder,” which translates to the “Economic Miracle.”
Their situation after the defeat of the Nazis was so dire that nothing short of a miracle – and the back-breaking efforts of the Allies and the hardy Berliners themselves – could have saved the country. It was also one of the most unprecedented situations in world history; no cities have been through anything quite like Germany after World War II.
These amazing photos show what Berlin, the German capital looked like in 1946, just after WWII.