Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vintage Rhinestones, Vintage Beads, Vintage Buttons and More from the US Zone of Occupied Germany: Date and Location

A lot of the vintage glass at Bumbershoot Supplies, including vintage beads, vintage cabochons, vintage rhinestones and vintage buttons, comes to us labeled “Made in Germany US Zone”. This tells us that the item was made in Germany during the time the country was occupied by Allied Forces immediately post WWII. Here’s the history…
This map is from
This map shows the Allied zones of occupation in Germany. The division into these zones was in place by July 1945, after a period of negotiation by the Allies and subsequent troop movement. The Soviet zone is in pink, the French zone is in blue, the American zone is in bright yellow, and the British zone is in the softer yellow. At first, each occupying power had authority in their respective areas. Eventually the three western zones were combined to form the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in 1949, with the Soviets forming the Germany Democratic Republic (GDR), also in 1949. 

Allied occupation of the Federal Republic of Germany continued until 1955, but the “zones” disappeared with the formation of the FRG in 1949.  “Western Germany” and later “West Germany” were the common English names used for the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), which existed from 1949 until the reunification of Germany in 1990. Soviet control of the eastern zone of Germany, commonly referred to as “East Germany”, continued from 1945 to 1990, first as the USSR Zone (1945-1949) then as the GDR.

Who knows how long it took for new packaging materials to be printed for glass baubles and beads, stating their origin as “US Zone”?  And who knows how long it took for packaging material to switch subsequently to “Made in Western Germany” or “Made in West Germany”? In any case, the “Made in Germany US Zone” marking is understood to encompass most of southern Germany as shown by the map and covers the time between the end date of WWII and the formation of the Federal Republic of Germany, i.e. 1945 to 1949.

1 comment:

  1. Germany is no longer an occupied country, yet we do still have foreign troops stationed here and just as the map shows, French, British and American troops are stationed here. I live right in the middle of the British sector. The Americans got the most beautiful area of Germany, Bavaria! This was a trully fascinating post. ~Deborah