Four-Power Authorities

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Following the defeat of Nazi Germany and then the partition of German territory, two Four-Power Authorities, in which the four main victor nations (the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and France) managed equally, were created.

The intended governing body of Germany until it could run itself was called the Allied Control Council. The commanders-in-chief exercised supreme authority in their respective zones and acted in concert on questions affecting the whole country. The capital Berlin, which lay in the Soviet sector, was also divided into four sectors.

Only two jointly run four-power organizations survived the division of Germany. Both were in West Berlin, Germany, and existed during the Cold War from 1948 to 1989. These were the Berlin Air Safety Center and Spandau Prison (which was demolished in 1987 when Rudolf Hess, the sole remaining prisoner, died).


These two organizations were uniquely four-powered in that American, British, French, and Soviet authorities cooperated in their management. This was different from the intensely adversarial relations the allies had with the Warsaw Pact leader in almost every other aspect of world affairs during this time. Both organizations remained low-profile and secretive during their existences to avoid highlighting the politically sensitive nature of their interactions and cooperations.

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