Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean 07 October 1949 (NATO and the Two Germanys): On April 4, the United States and its European allies formed the NATO alliance (NATO) to counter the Soviet Union. On May 12, the Soviets ended the Berlin blockade (Berlin Blockade). Eleven days later, the western occupation zone of Germany became an independent republic (West Germany). The Soviet-occupied east followed suit (East Germany) in October.