After Germany’s defeat in World War II, the Allied forces of France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) divided the country into four zones. In 1948 France, Britain, and the United States merged their zones into one region while the Soviet Union imposed Communist rule over its zone. In 1949 this division of Germany was perpetuated by the creation of East Germany and West Germany.
In West Germany, a council composed of members of the state legislatures created the Basic Law, or constitution, in 1948 and 1949. It was approved by the state legislatures and by U.S., British, and French occupation authorities. The Basic Law established West Germany as a parliamentary democracy and a federation of states (see Federalism). It has been amended many times, most recently in the 1990s to help anchor the unification of East and West Germany in the constitution. At that point, Germany decided to reconstitute the five original states of East Germany and to admit them, one by one, into the federal union without changing the basic structure of the West German system. The Unity Treaty of 1990 permitted East Germany to retain some of its laws that conflicted with West German statutes until the all-German parliament could bring about a uniform settlement. "Germany" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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