How Enemies Became Friends

In the years 1945 to 1994, the Western Allies put their stamp on political and military events as well as everyday life in Berlin. The Allied Museum explores important chapters of this history. The permanent exhibition “How Enemies Became Friends” is composed of two parts displayed in a historic setting:

the Outpost Theater and the Nicholson Memorial Library. We display our largest objects, including a British Airlift plane, on the Museum grounds between these two buildings.

1945 – 1950

From the end of the war to the Berlin Airlift

The first part of the permanent exhibition in the former American Outpost movie theater explores the years 1945 to 1950. The themes are the Allied victory at the end of World War II, the first years of the occupation, and the process of democratic renewal. The Berlin Airlift during the Soviet blockade of 1948/49 is a central focus.

Aerial photograph of Airlift planes being unloaded at Tempelhof Airport
US Air Force planes at Tempelhof Airport during the Berlin Airlift, 1948/49 (AlliiertenMuseum/US Army Photograph)
Lucius D. Clay pulls himself up on the Berlin Wall to catch a glimpse of the Brandenburg Gate.
Lucius D. Clay, former US military governor in Germany, at the Berlin Wall, 1962 (UPI/Clay Papers/Marshall Library)

1951 – 1994

Berlin: Scene of the Cold War

The second part of the permanent exhibition in the Nicholson Memorial Library examines the period 1951 to 1994. The focus is on the military confrontation between East and West during the Cold War. Berlin was an especially important scene of rivalries between opposing intelligence services. Apart from everyday life in the garrisons, the exhibition also highlights the events from German unity in 1990 to the withdrawal of the Western forces in 1994.

Highlights of the permanent exhibition

Fahnen der vier Siegermächte Großbritannien, Sowjetunion, Frankreich und USA
Following Soviet orders of May 31, 1945, the Berlin population manufactured the flags of the four victorious powers for all public buildings, businesses and residences. (AlliiertenMuseum/W. Chodan)
Jeep Willys MB in der Ausstellung des Museums
In their Willys MB jeeps, US soldiers put their stamp on the Berlin cityscape. (AlliiertenMuseum/W. Chodan)
Gebäudeschild der Alliierten Kommandantur Berlin in kyrillischer Schrift
This sign hung on the building of the Allied Kommandatura Berlin, which disbanded itself on October 2, 1990, one day before German reunification. (AlliiertenMuseum/W. Chodan)
Paket von CARE mit Lebensmitteldosen in einer Vitrine
The first packages from the aid organization CARE for especially needy people arrived in Berlin in August 1946. (AlliiertenMuseum/W. Chodan)
Leuchtröhrenschriftzug vom RIAS
The neon sign for the popular broadcaster RIAS, Radio in the American Sector, was attached to the outside of the RIAS broadcasting center in Berlin’s Schöneberg district. (AlliiertenMuseum/W.Chodan)
Luftaufnahme eines Flugzeugs der Berliner Luftbrücke auf dem Freigelände des Museums
The Hastings manufactured by Handely Page was the largest transport plane deployed by the Royal Air Force during the Berlin Airlift. (AlliiertenMuseum/Eberle u. Eisfeld)
Seitenansicht eines Eisenbahnwaggons der französischen Streitkräfte in Berlin auf dem Freigelände des Museums
The French military train traveled three times a week between the French Sector in Berlin and the border city of Strasbourg in Alsace. (AlliiertenMuseum/W. Chodan)
Bemalte Segmente der Berliner Mauer auf dem Freigelände des Museums
In the mid-1980s, the French artist Thierry Noir began painting large-scale colorful heads on the Berlin Wall. (AlliiertenMuseum/W. Chodan)
Fassadenelement der Holzbarracke Checkpoint Charlie in der Ausstellung des Museums
Just a few weeks after the Wall was built, the US military installed a military checkpoint on Friedrichstrasse that would become world famous as Checkpoint Charlie. (AlliiertenMuseum/W. Chodan)
Sektorenschild mit einer zweisprachigen Aufschrift: Ende des französischen Sektors Gefahr
The Western powers erected hundreds of signs along the border with the Soviet Sector. (AlliiertenMuseum/W. Chodan)
Segmente des Berliner Spionagetunnels in der Ausstellung des Museums
The construction of a spy tunnel from West to East Berlin was one of the most spectacular espionage operations by the Western powers in Berlin. (AlliiertenMuseum/W. Chodan)
Gerahmtes Veranstaltungsplakat des British Berlin Tattoo
The British Berlin Tattoo military music festival took place regularly from 1947 to 1992 and enjoyed great popularity among Berliners. (AlliiertenMuseum/W. Chodan)

This website uses cookies. For more information on this and on your rights as a user of the website see our Privacy Notice at the bottom of the page. Click on “I agree” in order to accept cookies and use our website immediately.