The economy of the Rhineland varied considerably from place to place, depending on what damage the war had done. In Essen 28% of industrial buildings had been completely destroyed, 27% seriously and 45% slightly damaged. In Cologne 59% of commercial buildings were totally devastated, while 25% were badly damaged, compared with Düsseldorf, where 23% were total ruins and 19% were in desperate need of repair. In general, the devastation turned out to be less serious than at first feared. Only the seventh part of the bombs which were dropped on transport infrastructure and the civilian population, had fallen on the many armaments factories. Moreover, the dismantling of industrial machinery for confiscation turned out to be more bearable than expected, as the Germans' delaying tactics enabled them to avoid the most serious losses in capacity.
Unlike after the armistice of 1918, after capitulation in 1945 the authority of the German State passed to the victorious powers, France, Great Britain, Soviet Union and USA. From the very beginning, the Rhine and Ruhr regions played a central part in their own politics of occupation. While the British and Americans feared Moscow's further expansion westwards, the Soviets and the French were united in their fear of the German "Weapons Forge" and in their insistence on the highest reparations possible. After a hard struggle against the background of continual heightening of the Cold War, the "International Ruhr Authority" put the region under Western control at the end of 1948. The Soviets and Germans remained excluded.