At the onset of the Cold War, Europe was divided among the Western and Eastern blocs. Germany was de facto divided into two countries and two special territories, the Saarland and a divided Berlin. Initially, the Federal Republic of Germany claimed an exclusive mandate for all of Germany, considering itself to be the sole democratically reorganised continuation of the 1871–1945 German Reich. It took the line that the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was an illegally constituted puppet state. Though the GDR did hold regular elections, these were neither free nor fair. From the West German perspective, the GDR was therefore illegitimate. Three southwestern states of West Germany merged to form Baden-Württemberg in 1952, and the Saarland joined the Federal Republic of Germany in 1957. In addition to the resulting ten states, West Berlin was considered an unofficial de facto eleventh state. While legally not part of the Federal Republic of Germany, as Berlin was under the control of the Allied Control Council, West Berlin politically aligned itself with West Germany and was represented in its federal institutions.