The former Friedrich Wilhelm University was re-opened in June 1946 as the University of Berlin. It came under the Central Administration for Popular Education in the Soviet-occupied zone and thus became a mere subordinate department with no academic administrative autonomy. In the following two years, many students and some teachers, who were opposed to the way university education was becoming molded by Communist ideas, came into conflict with the occupying Soviet power and the SED. Some of the students' representatives were arrested and put on trial.
In April 1948, the expulsion from the university of three students, Otto Stolz (a member of the SPD), Otto Hess (SPD) and Joachim Schwarz (CDU) for publishing critical squibs in the student magazine Colloquium, sparked off a wave of protest. Otto Stolz, speaking at a rally in front of 2,000 students, demanded the foundation of a free university in the Western Sectors of Berlin. Teaching at the FU in the district of Dahlem began in the 1948-49 winter semester with 491 female and 1,649 male students.