After the establishment of local governments in 1945, the founding of states [Länder] was the next step in the political rebuilding of Germany. The speed at which states were founded varied from zone to zone and depended upon the respective Allied occupying power. This process was completed in 1947. This map shows the seventeen states founded in 1946 and 1947. In each case, the ratification date of the state constitution is noted. In the city-state of Hamburg, the constitution was approved only in 1952. The Saarland had special status and remained tied to France. Berlin also had special status and was not counted as a state; the island of Heligoland remained a British military zone. With respect to the founding of states, one must differentiate between totally new states and those which were re-established within their former borders. Bavaria belongs to the latter category (with the loss of the Bavarian Palatinate, however), as does Saxony, Thuringia, Mecklenburg, and the two city-states Hamburg and Bremen. The dismantling of Prussia entailed the formation of new states, including Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, and Rhineland-Palatinate. The establishment of states in southwestern Germany was especially difficult; at first, three separate states were created: Baden, Württemberg-Hohenzollern, and Württemberg-Baden.

States of Occupied Germany [Länder] (1947)


Source: Original cartography by IEG-MAPS, Institut für Europäische Geschichte, Mainz, A. Kunz, 2005. Revised cartography (WCAG-compliant) by Gabriel Moss, 2021.