From what I understand, Germany was split into areas controlled by the Allies. How did Germany go from there to where they are today?
For reference, a lot of war-torn countries had explosive economic growth from shortly after the war until the early 70s. You have to remember that WWII was preceded by the Great Depression, so the world economy was either shrinking or recovering from 1929 through the 30s, then overwhelmingly war-focused until 1945. That was over fifteen years of incredible scientific advances, when the world went from biplanes to jet fighters. By the late 40s, there was incredible pent-up demand and huge improvements in technology. The world spent 30 years catching up at a furious clip, then in the 70s the party ended with some bad times, and growth returned to more historically normal levels. France, the US, South Korea, Italy, Spain all remember those as the good years (sometimes to an unfortunate extent, as they’re often portrayed as the way things should be or something we can return to, rather than just a really weird time in history.)
That said, West Germany did a lot right, including in some areas that countries like the UK got wrong (and all three of the Western allies occupying Germany let their occupation zones be one country.) The government’s focus was on ensuring a well-functioning free market. They stabilized the currency, cut middle-class taxes, and invested heavily in rebuilding industry, with companies like Volkswagen already being in a good position to mass-produce consumer goods. France and Germany were able to move past prior conflict and competition towards economic cooperation (“we have coal, you have iron, making steel takes coal and iron, let’s make it easy to make steel.”) The world in the 50s needed goods like crazy, and people got over grudges quickly when it became clear German factories were making decent stuff you could get today.
East Germany was a different story, being under a planned/communist economy like the Soviet Union. It grew well after the war but ran into stagnation later and lagged well behind West Germany economically, which made reunification more complicated.
Right after the war ended, the Allies (france, Uk, US) captured what was to become western germany and udssr captured their part, which would become eastern germany (seperated by the wall).
After ’45 Germany was partly ashes, and the only ones able to work were the german women. Men were dead, disabled, inprisoned in other countrys or they fled the country earlier or during war. Jewish men were mostly dead or also fled the country. Some were freed by the allies from concentration camps.
Right after the war, the women and children (and few men) started to literally pick up the rocks and clean the bombed city parts. These women especially were known as Trümmer-Frauen, debris-women. My grandma told me how her mother and she needed to work alongside them in order to earn food. You had to do your part like everyone else.
At first there were very few goods, so people started trading with coffee, cigarettes, needs for infants, women went into prostitution to earn for their family. It was not good. But the Allies knew they had lost a wealthy trading partner in Germany and in order to rebuild the worldwide economics, they helped germany get back on their feet. They supported the country.
The eastern part of Germany was not so lucky. My dad told me how the UDSSR exported everything that was of value and did not bother to support the germans as much. That’s why Germany used to have (for a ling time) a solidary tax to help rebuild the east of the country. It was mandatory to pay for people in the west, but is now gone.
But you still have lower wages in eastern germany than in the west.