On August 13, 1961, the Communist government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR, or East Germany) began to build a barbed wire and concrete “Antifascistischer Schutzwall,” or “antifascist bulwark,” between East and West Berlin. The official purpose of this Berlin Wall was to keep Western “fascists” from entering East Germany and undermining the socialist state, but it primarily served the objective of stemming mass defections from East to West. The Berlin Wall stood until November 9, 1989, when the head of the East German Communist Party announced that citizens of the GDR could cross the border whenever they pleased. That night, ecstatic crowds swarmed the wall. Some crossed freely into West Berlin, while others brought hammers and picks and began to chip away at the wall itself. To this day, the Berlin Wall remains one of the most powerful and enduring symbols of the Cold War.
Almost immediately after the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Allied powers administered Germany in separate zones as they had agreed to at the Yelta and Potsdam conferences, these being The British & American Zone, French Zone and the Soviet Zone. All 4 zones issued their own stamps with some being common to more than 1 zone
The Soviet zone was the entire eastern portion of the former Germany and became The German Democratic Republic on October 7 1949. This lasted until October 3 1990 when East Germany officially became part of The Federal Republic of Germany or West Germany - The reunified country simply became Germany.
The City of Berlin sat completely within the Soviet Zone despite its western portion being controlled by the British, Americans and French. The deepening Cold War conflict between the Western Powers and the Soviet Union over the unresolved status of West Berlin led to the Berlin Blockade (24 June 1948 – 12 May 1949). The Soviet army initiated the blockade by halting all Allied rail, road, and water traffic to and from West Berlin. The Allies countered the Soviets with the Berlin Airlift (1948–49) of food, fuel, and supplies to West.
Separate stamps were issued for this part of the city, some used the same design as stamps from the Federal Republic whilst others were unique - nearly all were inscribed Deutches Bundespost Berlin. These were discontinued upon reunification.
The Federal Republic of Germany was formally established out of the western zones that were not under Soviet control on 23rd May 1949 and reverted to simply Germany upon reunification.
So Germany can be a complex country to collect and can be divided into the following -
Pre unification of the separate kingdoms in the 1870s
The German Reich (Realm) up to 1945
Deutchland 1990 to present
Throw into the mix SAAR and the various German occupations and colonial outposts and there is lots of interesting things to collect
1947 Dove of Peace issue was used by British American and Soviet Zones
1946 This issue was used by British and American Zones
French Zone stamps can be confusing as there was nothing to identify them as German
Soviet Zone stamps - these can sometimes have other place names that does not imediately indicate Germany
The first GDR stamp was the issue celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union and the last was the set for the 41st International Aeronautics Federation Congress held in Dresden - its issue was only days prior to the official reunification of the 2 Germanys
The first Berlin issue utilised the pictorial issue from the British and American zones with a BERLIN overprint in red or black.
The last Berlin issue was a Humaitarian Relief fund set depicting post and tellecomunication themes
The stamps at left commemorate the 10th , 5th and 40th anniversaries of the Berlin Airlift. This operation saved the western portion of the city by circumventing the Soviet blockade and brining in every need to service the city. American pilots were called "chocolate bombers" as they dropped parcels of candy on little parachutes to the children on the aproach for landing.
Stamps celebrating the first anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall - still inscribed as "Federal Republic of Germany" and the stamps for unification, simply Germany.