1945 (May 8) -- Germany surrenders.
Lucie sees the arrival of the Americans in Schabbach as just another opportunity for her to help Eduard move up in terms of economic and political power.
Paul Simon is now able to return to Schabbach. He shows up in the village with a black driver and a fancy automobile. He, of course, stirs up a lot of attention in the village. His father is already dead, but he meets with his mother Katharine. Maria arrives later and she and Paul say hello but they remain across the room from each other. Later, Paul tries to renew the relationship with his wife, but she is not really interested and tells him so. Paul is not able to give her an answer to why he left her and the children so many years ago. He only says that he does not really know.
A woman named Klarchen shows up at the Simon house to falsely maintain that she is the girlfriend of Ernst, who told her she should go to Schabbach where his family would take care of her.
Anton shows up at the house. He walked thousands of miles from beyond the Urals to Turkey and Greece and back to Schabbach. The family is happy but a bit surprised to see him.
Ernst also returns home. He was recovering in France for a while after the end of the war. He gets involved in the black market and then marries the daughter of a wealthy family. He uses his flying skills to flay a helicopter to earn money flying cut timber from the forest to the boats at the river docks, but the business is not really profitable.
Before Paul returns home to America, he gives Anton enough money so that he can build an optical instrument factory in Schabbach.
1949 -- Germany is divided into East and West Germany.
1951 -- in what is called the Economic Miracle, West Germany (but not communist East Germany) prospers economically.