For the inhabitants of a conquered Germany the end of the Second World War on the 8/9th May 1945 signified a turning point, but definitely not a time to relax.
The sudden transition from war to post-war, from destruction to reconstruction is reflected in the posters of the Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv) from the years 1945/6.
If the last months of the war were still being permeated by the rallying cries of the Nazi regime and the calls for self sacrifice, then May 1945 saw the allied forces taking over and putting into place initial measures.
For the population it was a question of coming to terms with every day life. The pictures show that, paramount in their minds, were the fear of infectious diseases, the concern about the POWs, the missing and the displaced, and the importance of cooperation in rebuilding the cities and towns which had been destroyed.
There is evidence that as early as August 1945 cultural programmes and events were being resumed, and new postcodes had been introduced to facilitate written correspondence.
In these posters of the early post-war period one can already see
different emphases emerging, however subtle.
In the Soviet occupation zone different messages were being conveyed than in the western zones. The exhibition ends with one desire, which will unite both sides in 1949, namely the desire for a lasting peace.