The behavior pattern set for American soldiers and civilians in Germany is perhaps no less important than our economic policies and repudiation of democratic legal principles, in convincing the Germans that the United States Military Government and the Nazis have much in common.
I have already referred to the behavior of the Western Powers toward "the natives" in Berlin, but it is in the Western zones that the contrast between our actions and our much-boasted democratic principles is most grotesquely displayed. It seemed that the further away the Russians were, the greater the contempt displayed for democracy by the United States and British occupation forces.
It was therefore fitting, however depressing, to find that in Nuremberg, where Hitler first promulgated his racial laws, our Jim Crow regulations should be most in evidence.
Lest any person of inferior race should dare to pass the portals of the Grand Hotel, which we have taken over for our exclusive use, notices have been posted outside forbidding the entry of Germans, DP's and dogs. "Anyone violating the above," it is written, "will be booked by the Military Police for proper disciplinary action."
Recently a line has been added in small red letters at the bottom, saying that it is possible to obtain a guest card admitting Germans and displaced persons by applying to the officer on duty at the billeting office further along the street. However, any German permitted to enter the hotel by special dispensation is continually reminded of his inferior status. On the wine list in the bar, for instance, there is a printed list of instructions concerning the correct
behavior of Americans toward what Kipling called "the lesser breeds without the law."
In the Nuremberg-Furth Military Post Officers Club and bars, it is written,
We Do not :
(1) Bring Germans or DP's as guests.
(2) Tip or become familiar with any of the help.
Paragraphs 3 to 8 of this guide for the proper behavior of American officers include the recommendation that they should not gamble, bring in bottles, cut in on people they do not know, dance boisterously, or order an excessive number of drinks. Positive as well as negative instructions are included :
"We do wear class A uniform or the equivalent (coat and tie) and we do believe that a man can drink and enjoy himself and still remain a gentleman."
Kipling in the days when the British bore "the white man's burden" could hardly have done better than the Nuremberg military authorities who were endeavoring to teach American officers the correct behavior of officers and gentlemen in a colonial country.
The Grand Hotel faces toward the ruins of the beautiful medieval city which our bombs have utterly destroyed. Many centuries have passed since Hans Sachs sang, and the memory of the Meistersinger is preserved only in a restaurant in the modern part of the city which our bombs left partly standing. But Wagner lived at a time when Americans believed in liberty, equality, and fraternity, and would have been horrified at the notice outside the Grand Hotel.
Could any satirist imagine a greater contrast between the Statue of Liberty and its welcome to the poor, starved, and oppressed, and the commands now given to Americans to avoid contact with the wretched of the earth?
I saw no such notices outside the hotels and clubs of the British occupation forces in Germany. This is presumably because the British, with their centuries-old experience in ruling over subject peoples, do not need to be told how to behave in a conquered country.
Americans are far less at ease in a colonial country such as Germany has become. While retaining the privileges of a master race they have lowered the barriers to social intercourse with "the
natives" in many places. At the PX cafeterias, in the press clubs and in the hotels reserved for visiting businessmen, Congressmen, VIP's and other transients, Germans are admitted as guests, although not allowed to sleep there. But the British, even in Berlin and Frankfurt, still exclude all Germans from the clubs, hotels, bars, and restaurants they have requisitioned. British journalists, wishing to entertain German guests, have to resort to the American press clubs, whose only restriction is the necessity to pay for food and drink in dollar scrip.
The British also go even further than the Americans in their washroom regulations. At the Bizonia Coal Commission headquarters in the Krupps' villa in Essen, I was not sure whether I had any right to use the lavatory labeled "For the use only of English ladies."
The United States Military Government, as I have already noted in my account of Berlin, also has separate washrooms for American and "indigenous personnel," but the notices in American offices say nothing about "ladies" and "gentlemen." I am being a bit unfair to the British here, since all lavatories in England are labeled "Ladies" or "Gentlemen," not "Men" and "Women." But in Germany the prefix "English" makes the British Military Government's notices look excessively insular and absurd.
The more liberal members of the United States and British occupation forces explain these particular Jim Crow regulations as due to the fact that toilet paper and soap are so scarce that if Germans were admitted to the same washrooms as their conquerors, there would not be enough of these supplies to go around. They do not seem to realize that it is a shameful reflection on us that four years after the end of the war we do not let the Germans, who have a passion for cleanliness, manufacture enough soap and paper to provide for their minimum needs. We have allowed the British to dismantle the largest soap factory in Germany, the Hänckel Works at Düsseldorf, and German wood has been exported for the profit of the British and French.
Germans working for the Military Government are, of course, also restricted to different eating places and provided with food much inferior to that provided for United States personnel. This in itself can be justified on grounds of economy and the fact that American occupation currency has to be used to buy the good food in our restaurants, most of which is brought from the United States. The unpleasant thing about our treatment of the Germans work-
ing with us is the way the meals they buy for marks are served to them. Even highly qualified German employees or advisers of the Military Government had their food served out to them as if they were prisoners.
If our discrimination against the Germans were due only to the belief that, as conquerors, we have a right to enjoy all the material comforts of life, to live in spacious and warm apartments or houses, have plenty of hot water and soap, better food and more personal service than at home, while the Germans are crowded two or three to a room or cellar without the necessities as well as the amenities of life, the Germans would consider this natural, although hardly democratic. But we add insult to injury by our race segregation regulations.
Many picture theaters as well as clubs and hotels are reserved for Allied personnel. In Frankfurt there are three kinds of street cars : Those for Allied personnel, those for "indigenous personnel" working for us, and a third for the mass of the German population. All the first-class, and most of the second-class carriages on the trains are reserved for the master races, and are usually half empty, while the Germans travel in the overcrowded third-class coaches. When, as rarely happens, we permit a German to travel on a plane, he is not allowed any food. All eating places at the airports are forbidden him.
Anti-Nazi Germans returning from exile abroad receive the same treatment as all others. Dr. Alexander Boeker, a former Rhodes scholar who has lived as an exile in the United States for many years, told me how when visiting Germany in the summer of 1948, he had been dumped in the street with his baggage when he arrived at Frankfurt from the airport, and had been unable to get a room in a hotel for the night although he had dollars with which to pay for his accommodations, simply because he is a German. He also told me of his annoyance in Wiesbaden when he found himself debarred from using the swimming pool, the tennis courts, and his favorite café, and found the outdoor dancing place which he had frequented in the past converted into a parking lot for military vehicles.
German youth today is denied simple pleasures and normal recreation by our sequestration of so many sport places, cinemas, cafés and dance halls. Instead of releasing more accommodations for German use as our occupation forces have dwindled, we seem to have requisitioned more and more of the places of entertainment
which survived the air raids. In Munich, for instance, during the first year of occupation we had shut the Germans out of only two of the four popular restaurants fronting on the Englischer Garten. In the second year we took over another, and in 1948 we requisitioned the last of them.
Later I give some details of occupation costs, and the manner in which the Western Powers have unnecessarily deprived the Germans of housing space. For the moment I am concerned, in particular, with the racial bias we have displayed. Why should not Germans play tennis on the same courts or swim in the same pools as Americans, or listen to music and watch movies in our company? If we ever seriously meant to teach them democracy and show them how wrong Nazi race prejudices were, we have certainly shown a strange way to set about it.
No doubt, we had some vague idea that sending the Germans to Coventry would "learn 'em." In fact, all we have taught them is that there is little to choose between Anglo-American Military Government and Nazi government. In fact, the Wehrmacht in France, Holland and Belgium seems to have behaved better in many respects than we do.
I remember one young German, who had been in occupied France, saying to me, "When I was a soldier in France, I never had a chance to enjoy life and kick other people around as you do. We were strictly disciplined and told to be polite and considerate to the French; we lived with them in their houses, and did not throw them into the gutter as you do us. We have learned our lesson though; if there is ever a next time you have taught us Germans what is permitted to a conqueror."
Other Germans, less cynical and bitter, took pride in the fact that they still corresponded with the French families they had lived with during the occupation, and just thought us silly to stir up unnecessary resentment and hatred.
For the past two years or so we have gradually been abandoning the idea that the way to teach democracy to the Germans is to punish them for the sins of the Nazis by ourselves behaving as ruthlessly, unchivalrously, and with as little regard for democratic and Christian principles as Hitler's bullies. Nevertheless, the old "hate the Germans and kick them in the teeth" propaganda and indoctrination still colors our thinking and our actions.
GI's find ways to make friends with German families as well as to pick up "Fräuleins," but United States officers and civilians
have little social intercourse with the conquered people. Many of them are quite satisfied to live after the fashion of the British in India when they ruled there. Military Government officials who have brought out their families can enjoy home life, and be satisfied with the narrow social intercourse provided by mixing only with Americans and with the British and French. But the pilots of the air lift and many a young American officer would be far happier if billeted on German families, and provided with a little of the comforts of home and an opportunity to enjoy social intercourse with decent Germans, instead of being restricted to clandestine "affairs" with such girls as they can pick up on the streets. This was brought home to me by a talk I had with the pilot of the plane flying me to Berlin on the air lift late in the evening of Thanksgiving Day. He came from Chicago, and he talked a lot because, as he said, it was their loneliness in Germany which was the hardest thing to bear for the Air Force pilots whose life consists only of flying, sleeping, and eating. "I have a wife and two kids at home," he said, "whom I hope to get back to soon. I don't want a love affair with a Fräulein, and I can't afford to go out with an American girl in my liberty hours, for American women want you to spend too much money."
Then he went on to tell me that he had had the luck a few days before to get acquainted with a nice German girl who had taken him to her house. He had suggested taking her out to a meal and a movie but she had seen he was very tired, and had put him to rest on the family sofa listening to music. He had gone to sleep and woke up to find a rug over him and the light dimmed. He had been touched and grateful and only wished that he were allowed to live with a German family instead of being segregated in an exclusive American billet.
It is indeed a curious fact that United States policy fosters prostitution and makes normal decent social intercourse almost out of the question for the occupation forces. After World War I, the United States and Britain observed international law and billeted their officers and soldiers in German families in the towns we then occupied in the Rhineland. But this time, wishing to punish the whole German people and prevent our soldiers from being contaminated by contact with an accursed people, we threw the Germans out of the houses we requisitioned instead of letting them occupy a part of their old homes.
This practice, which still continues, was not only particularly
brutal in view of the bombing which had destroyed so many houses in almost every German town. It also penalized our own soldiers.
Officers and civilian officials on permanent duty in Germany, installed in emptied German houses, with German servants hired to attend to all their wants, and with their social needs cared for by intercourse among themselves, enjoyed more comforts than at home. But the GI's, and also the pilots doing temporary duty on the air lift, are deprived of the homelike comforts they might otherwise have enjoyed in their leisure hours. They are permitted to pick up girls on the streets, but they are carefully excluded from the society of respectable German families. Some of them, of course, break through the Jim Crow barriers, and some of the girls they pick up are no worse than those they knew in their home towns would be if driven by the drab misery and hopelessness of their starved lives in cellars and bombed-out buildings to seek a substitute for love, or some food and a few hours enjoyment of light and warmth at movies or other entertainment.
The fact that many German girls, casually met, win the real love and affection of American soldiers and marry them is a tribute to the qualities of German women, not a reflection on the American GI.
Many of the latter have displayed the best qualities of the American tradition in helping children, giving food to the old and weak, and in general helping whole families to exist, without thought of personal advantage. Others, of course, take advantage of their position as conquerors to take everything and give nothing, accumulate small fortunes by exploiting the acute want of soap, cigarettes, candy and other "luxuries" which can only be bought in the PX stores for American money, and can be disposed of at a huge profit on the black market.
By 1948 it was no longer easy for every American soldier and civilian to make his fortune by importing cigarettes and coffee and exchanging them for silverware and precious china, furs, heirlooms, cameras, and anything else the Germans had left to exchange, but it was still easy for the clever and unscrupulous to trade on the black market. It was quite usual to see huge consignments of coffee arriving at the Frankfurt Press Center for correspondents who knew how to sell what had cost them one mark a pound at the official rate of exchange for fifteen marks a pound. They might use the marks to pay their servants or to dine in German restaurants, or they could buy the German luxury goods which had appeared
in the shops since currency reform. Without joining the big racketeers engaged in shipping abroad via the French zone large quantities of German goods needed on the home market, many Americans still did their bit to undermine the value of the new currency, stimulate inflation, and deprive the German workers of the necessities of life.
Although German women can no longer be hired for a carton of cigarettes or some food now that famine conditions no longer prevail, labor is still the cheapest thing in Germany. So Army wives and those of civilians who would do their own work and look after their own children back home in the States have servants to attend to all their wants so long as their husbands work for the Military Government. Some few take an interest in the condition of the German people and organize charities, but for many of them bargain hunting is the favorite pastime. The remark I heard one evening in the Bar of the Grand Hotel at Nuremberg was typical of many conversations among the women of the occupation forces. "My dear!" said a shrill voice rising above the din, "You can get wonderful Madonnas there for a carton."
The contrast between America's desire to teach the Germans to be democratic and the undemocratic treatment they receive at our hands was strikingly illustrated as late as the spring of 1949, when a group of German women was brought over to the United States as "the guests of the Military Government" to study American democratic institutions under the direction of the Carrie Chapman Catt Foundation. The indignities, abuses, privations, and discomforts these women suffered before they arrived in the United States might well have disgusted them with "democracy" for the rest of their lives.
Nora Melle, whom I have already mentioned in my chapter on Berlin, was one of them. She told me in Washington in April 1949 how she was first unable to get her visa to come to America, because the United States consul in Berlin refused to issue it until she could pay ten dollars, which she neither had nor was permitted to possess, since no Germans are allowed to own United States currency. Finally a Military Government official paid the ten dollars out of his own pocket.
When she went to get her ticket as instructed, she was told she could not have it till the date of her departure was known. Finally
at 9 :00 o'clock one morning she was told that she must be at the airport at 11 :00 a.m., but must first collect her ticket in another part of Berlin. No transport was provided for her, but she managed somehow to get to the airport on time, only to be told she must wait until evening. When she asked if she might eat something, she was told, "No. No Germans are allowed in the airport restaurant." When she begged to be allowed to telephone to her husband to bring her some food, she was told Germans were not allowed to use the telephone. Nor was she allowed to leave the airport.
When she arrived at the Rhine-Main airport late on a cold and rainy night in February, without having eaten anything all day, she was refused transport to Frankfurt fifteen miles away, and any accommodation for the night. After standing in the road a long time she managed to thumb a ride. Although she had been told in Berlin that the Military Government would look after her on arrival in Frankfurt, she had luckily had her doubts and had reserved a room in a German hotel.
Next morning she reported at the Western Airline office in Frankfurt as instructed, but no one there knew anything about her. Furious by now, she telephoned the Military Government in Berlin at her own expense and said she was coming home. Thereupon action was finally taken and after a few days she was sent to Bremerhaven by train.
The Berlin authorities who had arranged her trip to America had assured her that, once she joined the other women delegates from the Western zones, everything would be all right and they would all be properly looked after. But when the seven German women specially selected by the Military Government on account of their anti-Nazi record to "study democracy" in the United States, boarded the ship on which they were to sail, they found themselves confined to the hold next to the stokers' quarters, but in worse accommodations. The one small "cabin" into which they were all crammed was icy cold and they had to pass through the Negro crew's sleeping quarters to reach the washroom and lavatory which they were permitted to use.
Nora Melle next day managed to persuade the purser to assign them two cabins, still on E deck but warmer and further away from the propellers which had kept them awake all night.
Two of the German women were sixty years old and were ill throughout the voyage. But their companions were forbidden to carry any food to them, and were themselves fed from the leftovers
of the American passengers after the latter had finished eating. They had their food dumped down on dirty tables and were allowed only the napkins already used by the non-German passengers. The only alleviation of the misery of the sick women was provided by sympathetic Negro members of the crew who surreptitiously brought them food and ice water.
The German "guests of Military Government" were also strictly forbidden by the captain of the ship to enter the covered portions of the deck or the passengers' recreation room. This Captain Nelson of the Army transport Henry Gibbins was thought to be mainly accountable for their treatment. No doubt he was a spiritual brother of the Nazis who would have treated Jews in exactly the same way as he treated these German women, several of whom had been in prison under Hitler's rule.
As one of the German women delegates said to me : "If the hatred of Germans is so great that we had to be subjected to such treatment no Germans should be invited to visit America, or the Military Government should have selected Nazis to come who deserved such treatment as we have received."
The stupidity of this kind of thing is all the greater because of the very different treatment given by the Russians to the Germans they try to win over to the antidemocratic cause. The Berlin women who accept invitations to visit the Soviet Union are treated as honored guests. Automobiles are sent to fetch them from their homes; they travel first class and, far from being subjected to indignities and privations, they are showered with attentions.
Yet such is the steadfast loyalty of the German democrats to our cause and theirs that I found the women so wretchedly treated by the American Army reluctant to have their experiences published because this would give ammunition to the Communists in their propaganda against the democracies.
Moreover, as Nora Melle said to me, they had been treated in the most friendly fashion in the United States, and they understood that their treatment on the voyage was not the fault of the Military Government. I have written about it to show the legacy of the original Roosevelt-Morgenthau directives which still poison our relations with the Germans, and too frequently hamper the sincere endeavor of the higher Military Government authorities to encourage the German democrats.
The friendly behavior of the Negro crew of the Army transport Henry Gibbins toward the ill treated German "guests of Military
Government" was not exceptional. In the United States zone I found that the Negro soldiers of America have won the affection and respect of many Germans. The children of Negroes and German women, far from being treated as outcasts were accepted into the community and admired for their good looks, according both to what I was told and my own observations when traveling in German coaches.
Either because they are naturally kinder and more polite than white people, or because they are accustomed to treating all white people with respect, or because they sympathize with the Germans who are subject to the same insulting discrimination in their country as they themselves suffer in America, the Negro soldiers seem to have behaved more chivalrously than most white Americans.
The cynical and the racially prejudiced say that the Germans who consort with the negro GI's are thinking only of their PX cards, and that the Negroes are only interested in the opportunity to have sexual intercourse with white women. But there is certainly more to it than this. The colonial soldiers whose cruel lusts were given free license by the French in the early days of the occupation are still regarded with fear and loathing by the Germans. It seemed from what the Germans told me that the colored United States soldiers had taken less advantage of their position as conquerors than the white GI's and officers.
Like other Americans, colored soldiers appreciate the qualities of German women; their loyalty and readiness to give as well as take. Driving from Nuremberg to Frankfurt with a Negro corporal as my driver, and a young white American as my fellow passenger, I listened with interest to the two of them discussing the reasons why American soldiers and officers who had "fraternized" with German girls so often fell in love with them and married them. Both said it was because American women were so spoiled and selfish that no one who had had a love affair with a German woman would ever again be satisfied with what passes for love in the States. The astonishing thing to me was that the young colored corporal criticized the women of his own race in the States for the same shortcomings as white women in America : that they wanted you to entertain them all the time and spend all your money on them; whereas German girls were not spenders and were quite happy to sit quietly at home with you; that American women never thought that you might be tired after a hard day's work, whereas German women would attend to your comfort and give you peace and rest.
These sentiments, of course, reflected the natural liking of the male for women who were ready to serve and wait instead of demanding and dominating. While listening to this conversation as we rushed through the night, I remembered Nietzsche's dictum that the function of women is to give pleasure to the warrior, and reflected that their experiences as conquerors was hardly likely to fit the men of the occupation forces, white or colored, for married life in the United States.
My Negro driver did not confine his conversation to the qualities of German women. He disserted at length and in graphic fashion on the absence of a color bar in Germany which made it so much happier a place for colored people than the United States. That was why there were so many reenlistments, and why men ordered home had been known to commit suicide or desert. It was, he said, a funny thing that the Germans, whom Americans had been taught to believe were the most brutally race-conscious people in the world, had proved to be just the opposite.
I told him that I had learned years ago in China that most Germans had far less of the inbred "white man's" superiority toward the colored races than the British and Americans and had consequently been the most popular foreigners in China before Hitler came to power. I also said that this was no doubt due to the fact that the Germans had never possessed extensive African or Asiatic colonial empires or any Negro slaves, so that they had not needed to create the kind of race theory required to justify the oppression and exploitation of colored races. Hitler had invented the myth of Aryan superiority in order to provide an "ethical" basis for the conquest of Europe, just as the Anglo-Saxons had subscribed to the myth of white superiority to justify colonial empire and Negro slavery. So it was only natural that the Germans were comparatively free of prejudice against the Negroes, whom they had no reason to hate or despise, while regarding Poles and Russians as inferior races. To each his own prejudices according to his interests.
While on the subject of race prejudice, it should be noted that anti-Semitism in Germany before Hitler came to power was no worse than, if as bad as, it is in America today. The Nazis were able to whip up anti-Semitism into a destructive and cruel passion, and carry out their pogroms only by making the Jews the scapegoats for German economic distress.
Unfortunately for the future, the revengeful attitude of some Military Government officials who were Jews, the fact that Mor-
genthau gave his name to the policy of genocide underwritten by President Roosevelt, and the abuse by many non-German Jews of their privileged position as DP's have converted more Germans to anti-Semitism than Hitler's racial laws and propaganda. Under the Nazis many, if not most, Germans sympathized with the Jews and were ashamed of the atrocities committed by the Nazis. But according to what I was told by German Jews, since the defeat of Germany and the Allied occupation more and more Germans formerly free of anti-Semitic prejudice are saying that after all Hitler was right : the Jews are the cause of German misery and the unjust treatment Germans receive at the hands of the victorious democracies.
Personally, it has always seemed to me that the Communists and their sympathizers were the main influence which inspired our inhuman treatment of the Germans during the first years of the occupation. But the fact that many of the Communists and their fellow travelers, given leading positions in the Military Government, and acting as investigators and prosecutors in the Nuremberg and Dachau trials, were also Jews, has naturally added fuel to the fire of anti-Semitic prejudice.
Jeanette Wolff, the intrepid Jewish Social-Democratic leader to whom I have already referred in the chapter on Berlin, told me that it was tragic for the German Jews that the behavior of many American Jews and DP's was giving legitimate grounds for anti-Semitism in Germany, and would redound against the German Jews who were not in the least responsible for America's oppression of the German people, and had themselves been treated little if at all better than other Germans by the Military Government.
Jeanette Wolff's views were not exceptional. Whereas hatred of the German people too often drives out all pity and sense of justice among those Jews who escaped from Germany in the thirties or never lived in Germany, the German Jews who stayed at home and suffered under Hitler's terror, whose relatives and friends were murdered, and who themselves endured the horrors of the concentration camps, are for the most part without hatred of the German people, and still feel themselves to be Germans. It is the American Jews (often of Polish or Russian origin) and the returned exiles who seem determined to avenge the agony of the Jewish people in Hitler's Reich by punishing the whole German people.
I suppose the explanation lies in the fact that the Jews who stayed in Germany know from experience that the German people
as a whole were not responsible for Nazi crimes. Many of them owe their survival to the risks taken by plain ordinary Germans to save them by hiding them or feeding them. And the Jews who emerged alive from the concentration camps know that many Germans suffered the same hunger and torture as the Jews because they opposed the tyranny of the Nazis and spoke out against the persecution of the Jews. But the foreign Jews, and those who escaped from Germany after the Nazis came to power, know only about the concentration camps, the tortures and the gas chambers, and being unaware of the facts of the German resistance to Hitler, are incapable of distinguishing the trees from the wood.
As Hans Rothfels points out in his book, The German Opposition to Hitler,* when the unbelievable horrors of the concentration camps were revealed at the war's end, little was heard about the large number of German victims of Nazi bestiality. He writes :
In no official report has the American public been told that there were practically no foreigners in Buchenwald until the summer of 1943, and that among the 20,000 survivors (51,000 having been killed), there were still 2,000 Germans of the Reich. . . . Obviously the Gestapo was not of the opinion that all Germans were Nazis, or because of the war, were solidly behind the regime.
According to a United States Seventh Army pamphlet the majority of prisoners at Dachau before the war were also Germans. There are estimated to have been half a million Germans before the war who were, or had been, in the concentration camps for opposition to the Nazis.
Whereas in the early days of the Nazi regime no one much cared about the horrors committed in the concentration camps because the victims were mainly Germans, knowledge of the German resistance to Hitler seems to have been intentionally withheld from the American public during and since the war. Presumably it was felt that knowledge of the number of Germans who had lost their lives or their liberty in combating the Nazi regime might weaken the hatred of the German people which it was the aim of the Administration and most of the press to inspire.
So anxious was Washington to hide the facts, that the OWI went so far as to report Hitler's version of the July 20, 1944 plot to assassinate him, repeating the Führer's lie that only a very small
"clique" of ambitious officers was involved.* Even after the war the subject of the German opposition was tabu in the American press and also censored in Germany by the Military Government.
According to Dr. Rothfels, American correspondents were forbidden to give out any news of specific resistance to Hitler, and one American had von Schlabrendorff's book on the resistance taken from him by the Military Government as forbidden literature inside Germany. Rothfels quotes Germans as saying that in the eyes of some Allied military personnel it was better to have been a Nazi than a survivor of the July 20 plot, because the conspirators were considered to have "tried to cheat us out of our victory."
It is not only totalitarian governments which poison the minds of their subjects by false propaganda. By more subtle and clever methods the citizens of the Western democracies are too frequently prevented from knowing the truth and taught to believe untruths.
I was forcibly struck by the contrast between the attitude of Mr. Fishbein, the American who represented the American Joint Distribution Committee in Berlin, and Jeanette Wolff and her daughter who had spent six years in Hitler's concentration camps. Mr. Fishbein so hated the Germans that he would not even admit that the Berliners were displaying remarkable courage in defense of democracy and said sneeringly that they had just chosen our side because we were the stronger. Jeanette Wolff told me that the Jewish Relief Agency had refused to give assistance to German Jews in Berlin and left them starving and ragged while supplying only Polish and other East European Jews.
I am not in a position to judge whether this accusation could be substantiated, or whether it was true, as she also said, that the Jewish DP camp in Berlin was the center for huge black-market operations, and that many relief shipments from America were illegally sold instead of being distributed. It is, however, a known fact that, when the Jewish DP's were evacuated from Berlin in the summer of 1948, huge stocks of shoes and clothing and a very large sum of money were found in the camp by Military Government authorities.
Black-marketing was, in any case, the main occupation of many DP's of all nations, for their privileged status made it impossible for the German police to cope with their illegal activities.
The complaint of the Germans that they are rechtlos (without
rights or the protection of law) is amply borne out by the regulations in force concerning Allied nationals and displaced persons.
The German police have no right to interfere with any nationals of the victor countries. They are not permitted even to enter the DP camps, much less interfere with the black-market operations carried on from these "extraterritorial" settlements outside the jurisdiction of the German authorities. Our "master race" regulations are carried so far that a German policeman is not permitted to protect German nationals from violence on the part of the conquerors or DP's. When I asked a Military Government official in Berlin concerned with legal matters, whether a German policeman could arrest an American if he saw him murdering someone, the answer was : "No; he would have to find a military policeman."
A particularly unpleasant feature of our laws for Germans is the punishment meted out to children for minor offenses. I visited the Jugend Hof in Berlin where some hundreds of ragged, hungry kids, many of whom were only ten to twelve years old, were incarcerated in a former concentration camp. Some were awaiting trial, while others had been condemned to six months' or a year's imprisonment for petty thievery, begging from Americans outside the PX stores, or selling on the black market. Two of the boys were in for six months for having been found playing with an old pair of boxing gloves which they said they had found in a disused schoolroom—it was American Army property, so the crime was a serious one.
The attitude of the United States military police appeared to differ greatly in various places. In Berlin and Frankfurt they co-operated with the German police to maintain law and order, but in Munich, for instance, Germans told me they could expect no protection or redress against unlawful acts committed by the occupation forces. I shall long remember my old taxi driver in Munich who told me how often he had been cheated of his fare by American soldiers, and how useless it was to appeal to the military police who beat and abused you, if you approached them. "They just yell, 'You Sherman people' or 'dirty Kraut' if you claim your rights," said this old man.
No doubt much depends on the attitude of the general in command in each area. Naturally when the latter is a German hater, who thinks that the prestige of America is enhanced by treating the "natives" like the worst Southerners treat Negroes, some soldiers under his command are overbearing and brutal toward the Germans who are completely defenseless. But the higher Army
authorities have endeavored during the past year or so to teach democratic behavior to the occupation forces. My air-lift pilot from Chicago, Lieutenant A. D. Porter, told me about the excellent indoctrination courses now being given to new arrivals in Germany at Marburg. Whereas in the old days the indoctrination courses he had attended when he was a bomber pilot had been intended "to harden the boys" by teaching them to hate all Germans, the major now giving instruction in the Army courses was saying to his classes :
"We've been kicking the Germans around for three years. It is now time to treat them like men. You shouldn't say 'Fritz' or 'you damned Kraut,' but address them as 'Mister' and remember they are persons like yourself whose human dignity should be respected."
This United States major, Lieutenant Porter said, also tells the young American soldiers to remember that the sooner Germany is reconstructed, the sooner they can go home and devote their services to their own country.
These new style indoctrination courses no doubt help to change the behavior of the United States occupation forces, but the pattern of behavior originally laid down for them lingers on.
It is moreover inevitable that many Americans should be demoralized by their privileged status in Germany. You can't put most young men in a position to disregard law, conscience, and training without spoiling them. It is to the credit of America that Washington's directives have not succeeded in Nazifying the American Army, but naturally many soldiers and officers have followed the totalitarian liberals among the civilian officials of Military Government in their disregard of democratic principles in the treatment of the conquered. Nor can the great improvement in the behavior of the occupation forces during the past two years expunge the record of brutality and lawlessness during the first years of the occupation. German disillusionment with America is all the greater because so much had been expected from her. Over and over again I was told :
"We expected Russian lawlessness, and we knew what to expect from the British who aim to eliminate Germany as a competitor, but we once believed the Americans were different."
Many Germans had listened to the American radio which assured them that Germany would not be destroyed. The harshness of our occupation policies; dismantlement which makes whole communities fear the loss of their livelihood; the robbery of individual German homes by American officers who carted off pictures,
silver and furniture; the refusal of compensation to Germans whose homes were wrecked or despoiled, and other lawless acts, made some say, "It couldn't be worse under the Russians."
"The tragedy is," one German said to me, "that although the Americans have helped us, the behavior of their occupation forces has spoiled the effect. Even your gifts of food are spoiled by the manner of the giving. Whenever we complain of an injustice you say to us, 'What! You are daring to complain of what we do! you should just be thankful that we don't let you starve!'"
It is natural that a German who finally got his home back after it has been lived in by Americans for years, and found every bit of furniture and linen and his household utensils and books stolen is not satisfied to be told he ought to be grateful for his food ration and keep quiet. It is even less likely that a family condemned to live in a cellar for an indefinite period while Americans occupy their home, or keep it empty and refuse to return it to them, should love democracy.
Americans have certainly given more to the defeated Germans than they have taken from them, but the acts of individual members of the occupation forces often destroy any sense of gratitude.
Nor can everything be measured in economic terms. The "master race" attitude which the Military Government formerly prescribed for the occupation forces has aroused resentments which prevent much, if any, feeling of gratitude for American generosity.
Thus one finds many southern Germans who, although they recognize that France has despoiled Germany to a greater degree than the other Western powers, feel less hostile to the French than to the Americans and British, because in their personal relations with the Germans the French are more civil and friendly. Whereas America's national attitude is the best, and France's policy the most hostile, the behavior of individual Frenchmen is often far better than that of individual Americans.
The occupiers in Germany are demoralized not only by the opportunities given them to behave in a lawless manner and to insult and browbeat the defenseless. It is also far too easy in Germany to feel virtuous. The gift of a packet of cigarettes or a bar of chocolate, a kind word, or merely normally polite behavior toward the vanquished give you a sense of moral well-being. It is just too easy to be good in Germany. Generosity is not generosity if it costs you nothing, and you are in continual danger of considering yourself an exceptionally virtuous human being if you merely refrain from
being a brute. I was often ashamed in Germany at the warm gratitude and appreciation evoked not only by a small gift, but by the smallest token of human sympathy.
One of the hardest things the Germans have to bear is deprivation of the right to represent their own case, and refute the many untruths told about them in the American press. Not only have they no government to speak for them and no diplomatic or other representatives abroad; the majority of American correspondents in Germany don't speak the language, and being ignorant of European history have swallowed all the propaganda about the wickedness of the German people. Their reporting is at best superficial and at worst extremely prejudiced. Moreover, some are still suffering from the hangover produced by the orgy of pro-Soviet and pro-Communist propaganda in which the American press indulged during and immediately after the war. One of the most honest, and Soviet-disillusioned correspondents in Berlin said to me that although his mind accepted the necessity of treating the Germans as allies in the Cold War, his heart rejected this thesis, because he hated the Germans and had a great affection for the Russians.
Most newspapers and news agencies still treat Germany as if it were a theater of war in which news is to be obtained from the military authorities, and in which no knowledge of the language or its people is required. There was hardly a correspondent in Germany who had lived there before the war, and most of them had so little knowledge of the historical background that they really believed that the Germans knew nothing about democratic institutions except what they were now being taught.
During my first visit to Berlin I happened to go down to a big demonstration outside the Reichstag with the correspondents of two of the leading news agencies. Neither one of them spoke a word of German and they had no interpreter. They not only were unable to understand the speeches or the remarks of the crowd; one of them asked me, while Mayor Reuter was speaking "Who is that character?"
Since only a few of the largest dailies have their own correspondents in Germany, the majority of Americans get their news of Germany from such young men as these.
The worst effect of war propaganda is the aftereffects of the poison. Most Americans today sincerely believe that Germany has never known democracy or a rule of law, and has been the most aggressive of all European nations. So it is natural that American
correspondents are for the most part psychologically as well as technically unqualified to report the news from Germany. The few correspondents who have no race prejudices and have cleared their minds of the war propaganda which taught that the Germans were devils, and the cause of all aggression in the world, find it difficult to break away from the closed-in circle in which the occupation forces live. If they were living with German families or in German hotels; if they had to make their own arrangements for housing and food and transport, if they had to exchange their dollars for marks at the official rate and, in general were flung from their backstream existence into the flood of German life, they would be able to report real news. As things are, most American correspondents live a life as removed from that of the mass of the people, as that of the Americans and British in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Some of them know a few Germans, just as in China some correspondents are friendly with some Chinese. But their lives are lived for the most part in the privileged, protected, and insulated surroundings of the conquerors. So with rare exceptions they naturally reflect the views of the Military Government, and have little sympathy for the German people and no disposition to report their grievances. Few of them seem to realize any better than the Military Government that you can't teach democracy unless you practice it, and that no people is going to embrace democracy if all it means is submission to the superior power of a conqueror. Instead, they continue to insist that our failure in Germany is due to the German character and tradition.
The sad thing is that it is precisely those who call themselves "liberals" who pursue the most illiberal line of thought and action. The very same people who would insist at home in America that juvenile delinquency and adult crime are a result either of being underprivileged or of an unhappy childhood and that criminals should be psychoanalyzed and reformed, not starved, reviled, and imprisoned, want to continue punishing the whole German people for their past.
I recently read an article in Harper's by a certain Mr. Bernard Tafer, who had been with the Military Government in Germany for three years. In it he told the story of the Württemberg town of Schwäbisch-Gmünd, which in 1948 elected a former Nazi, Franz Konrad, as its mayor, and rejected the incumbent, the half-Jewish Franz Czisch. The author admits that in 1945, when Czisch had been elected, "a fresh breeze" had seemed to blow through Ger-
many; the people had then been ready to believe in democracy. But instead of recognizing that the change which had occurred by 1948, not only in Schwäbisch-Gmünd, but "throughout the zone" was due to our behavior which had almost completely discredited democracy, Mr. Tafer blames the entire German personality and the German creed of "unthinking obedience to authority." He does not perceive the contradiction. If the Germans were, in fact, so innately "obedient to authority" as he thinks, they would today all obey Military Government, and would not have dared to show their defiance of its "overwhelming authority" by rejecting its German collaborators.
The author of the article admits that the German democrats are inseparably associated in German minds with "the present conditions of disorder and disgrace," but he fails to see that it is we, the occupying powers, who are responsible for this identification of democracy with disorder, misery, and injustice. The sad truth revealed by Mr. Tafer's article is that an idealistic and fair-minded liberal such as Franz Czisch had been discredited by having been associated with us.
Mr. Tafer saw nothing wrong with Governor LaFollette's decision to annul the election which had given Konrad three-quarters of the votes. Reading his article I was reminded of the story about one of Napoleon's generals who, having occupied a Belgian town, assembled all the inhabitants in the marketplace and announced : "I bring you liberty; anyone who moves without permission will be shot immediately."
The article in Harper's, which I mention, is not important in itself. But it is typical of thousands of other articles, news dispatches, and radio comments. So-called liberals and progressives dominate United States news media, and it is perhaps the gravest symptom of the weakness of democracy that "liberalism" is today identified with hatred, vengeance, the perpetuation of the schism in Western civilization, and, frequently even today, a sneaking fondness for the Communists.
During the past two years the "totalitarian liberals" in the Military Government have to a large extent been replaced by Americans who would like to practice what we preach, and who have done much to counteract the effect on the Germans of our actions and behavior during the first years of the occupation. But however good their intentions, Military Government officials cannot escape from the contradiction between authoritarian rule over a conquered people and the establishment of democratic government. Demo-
cratic government means government by consent of the people, and there can never be such consent in a country ruled by a foreign power which claims absolute authority and the right to intervene at any point in the conquered country's internal administrative affairs, and to control its economy, its laws, and its political life.
Military Government still regulates currency, banking and credit, foreign and domestic trade, the structure of industry, and economic and social policy, not to speak of reparations and requisitions. The German states were not even allowed to draw up their own constitutions. In General Clay's own words, addressed to the Bavarians in October 1946 and quoted by Governor von Wagoner on August 18, 1948 :
"The approval which Military Government gives to this Constitution must, of course, be subject to the international agreements to which the United States Government is a party, to quadripartite legislation, and to the powers which Military Government must reserve in order to effectuate the basic policies of the occupation."
Thus the constitutions of the German states, not only had to conform to American ideas, but were subject to the approval of Soviet Russia. And even today, when there is no longer a quadripartite control council in existence, because the Russians walked out of it, France is able to act for the Soviet Union in preventing the formation of a viable West-German state. After conferring for months at Bonn and drawing up a democratic constitution for Western Germany according to Anglo-American directives, the leaders of Germany's democratic parties early in 1949 were told in effect that their labors had gone for nothing, on account of French objections. I shall consider this subject in Chapter 10, for here I am only concerned with the absurdity of trying to teach democracy to the Germans while denying them the freedom to govern themselves.
It would have been far less harmful to the cause of democracy to tell the Germans that they were to be subject to a military dictatorship for an indefinite period, than to pretend that we are out to establish democratic government.
As things are, we make a mockery of democracy and discredit Germany's democratic leaders by giving them responsibility without power. They are put up to bear the brunt of German dissatisfaction, and to act as buffers or scapegoats. As Dr. Alexander Boeker remarked in an article in the New Leader :*
"To give German democratic leaders the shadow of power without its substance merely serves to discredit democracy. There can be puppet dictators, but there is no such thing as a puppet democracy."
Not only are the German democrats placed in the unenviable position of scapegoats for Allied policies. They are continually subjected to indignities, reprimands and scoldings which undermine their authority, and emphasize their puppet status. Their recommendations are ignored unless they suit the wishes of the Military Government, but when disaster strikes they are held responsible. This was notably the case in the terrible winter and spring of 1947-48, when the population of the Ruhr was reduced to a famine ration of 800 calories.
Dr. Johannes Semmler, who was then Chairman of the German Economic Council, had approached the Bipartite Control Office in Frankfurt early in December 1947, to insist that something must be done to avert the threatening famine in the Ruhr. He made proposals concerning the use of the funds accumulating in the hands of JEIA* for the import of food and raw materials. But he was rebuffed and not even permitted to write to Generals Clay and Robertson, much less discuss the situation with the Military Governors.
When, on January 8, 1948, Generals Clay and Robertson met the Presidents of the Länder (States) to discuss the formation of a Western state, Dr. Semmler was not admitted to the conference because the Military Governors refused to permit economic questions to be discussed, in spite of the desperate food situation.
On January 4, at a meeting of the CDU in Bavaria, when asked to report on the economic situation, Semmler, thinking himself among friends, let himself go and voiced strong criticism of the Military Government's attitude toward the famine in the Ruhr, and refusal to use the proceeds of exports to import food to avert it. He thought he was speaking off the record, but his remarks were reported to the Military Government. That evening he went to Frankfurt to confer with the Presidents of the Länder, and was finally admitted to the Military Governors' conference as an "observer." Meanwhile a Military Government spokesman had announced on the radio that Semmler was "a damned liar." At the end of the Frankfurt conference Clay and Robertson called Semm-
ler in, and Clay expressed his resentment at the remarks reported to have been made by Semmler, seeing that he, General Clay, had himself made representations to Congress concerning the food shortage. Semmler insisted that his remarks had been inadequately reported.
Finally, without waiting to see the written report he had been asked to submit concerning what he had actually said, the Military Government removed Semmler from his post as Chairman of the German Economic Council, to which he had been elected. Subsequently he was held for questioning by the United States Military Government while his house and office were searched and his papers and files taken away. The excuse made was that Semmler was under suspicion of black-marketeering, and the fact that a pound and a half of coffee and a dozen bottles of wine were found in his home was given as evidence.
Of course Semmler's treatment at the hands of the American Military Government made the Germans say : "Look, anyone who speaks the truth is removed from office and persecuted. Only quislings are able to hold office under the United States Military Government."
Semmler, according to the Swiss press, became the most popular man in Germany. Even the Social Democrats who had formerly criticized him for his conservative views and policies refrained from criticizing him after he had been made a martyr by the United States Military Government.
Dr. Semmler, whom I interviewed in Munich, said that he saw no sense in leading a German opposition to America, in spite of the fact that we continued to persecute him by controlling his movements, censoring his correspondence, and listening in on his telephone conversations. He had hopes of the Marshall Plan and had refused both British and French offers of a high position if he would leave the American zone. He considered that it was only a small clique of Americans which is responsible for the treatment he received, and he even gave General Clay the benefit of the doubt, saying that he had probably been misinformed. Dr. Semmler impressed me by his sincerity in wishing to bring Germany back into the Western community of nations. His regret was only that we made it so difficult for him and others with like views to orientate Germany toward the democracies. I could not but agree with him that unless criticism was permitted by the Military Government, Germany's democratic politicians would lose the confidence
and respect of the people, and must appear as quislings. Only the Communists and die-hard Nazis now allied to them could reap any benefit from the Military Government's contemptuous treatment of German democratic leaders.
Just before I left Germany a State Department representative said to me : "If we succeed in Germany it will be in spite of, not because of, what we do and the way we behave."
"There are," he continued, "precious few Americans who deign to work with the Germans. It's much easier to issue decrees or send out anonymous communications telling the German authorities what they must do, than helping them to do it in the difficult situation in which they are placed."
One can hardly maintain that we are teaching the Germans democracy when we order their elected representatives to produce a law within a couple of weeks which would require months of debate and discussion in a democratically administered country. But that is precisely what the Military Government does.
Instead of sitting down with the Germans to thresh out solutions of the many and difficult problems which face them and the Military Government, there is long-distance criticism, denunciation, charges and counter charges. Far from endeavoring to inspire respect among the Germans for their elected representatives, the Military Government tends to ignore or humiliate them by treating them as puppets dependent on its favor, not on popular support, for the retention of office.
It is not only in the political sphere that the United States Military Government has discredited democracy. Its policies have been no less destructive of free enterprise, and no less fatal to the establishment of conditions in which honesty and endeavor are rewarded, and dishonesty and disobedience to the laws punished. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the worst features of both a capitalist and a regimented economy have been combined in Germany.
Until the currency reform of June 1948, the United States Military Government preserved the regimented economy inherited from the Nazis, without allowing the German authorities the power to make it work. The result was naturally an era of lawlessness, in which only black-marketeers could make profits.
The industrialists and legitimate traders could sell only at controlled prices which produced less than the costs of production or of purchase. But the black-marketeers, who consisted of a strange
conglomeration of former Nazis precluded from earning an honest living by the denazification law, DP's protected from interference by Military Government which forbade the German police to enter their residences, and other declassed elements whose treatment either by the Nazis, or by the victorious democracies, had taught them to disrespect the law, and have regard for nothing but their own self-preservation.
In the regime of acute scarcities of food, clothing, housing, and other necessities of life, which resulted in part from Germany's defeat and in part from Allied directives to do nothing to get the German economy back in working order, it was inevitable that the laws and regulations of Nazi war economy should be retained. But it was the height of folly or of callous disregard of the needs of the German people to refuse them the power to enforce the controls which would at least have secured a fair distribution of the food and other necessities left to be divided. As Gustav Stolper wrote :*
"As scarcities and distress grew, the rigidities of the war economy were not eased but tightened. . . . But beneath the suffocating web of bureaucratic activities, exercised either by members of the occupying forces, or to a much larger extent by Germans in the services of these forces, the life of the people in its limitless variety of activities tries to go on. Resistance stiffens with the pressure, the directions become second nature with the increase of the unnatural pressure, demoralization spreads with orders which run against the normal moral faculties of their objects. A planned economy of hunger requires a society of saints to whom mortification is a moral aim in itself.
"The Military Government started out by freezing the status as they found it—prices, incomes and rations. What they froze was already a relationship full of discrepancies and maladjustments. . . . This freezing, the international mainstay of a war economy, worked during the war about as well in Germany as in the United States and Britain. . . .
"But much has changed in the meantime. Rations (following Germany's defeat) have fallen way below minimum nutritional standards, and the worker works half-time, if he works at all. Thus he has to draw on his savings if they still exist to buy in the black market some additional food to keep himself and his family alive. . . . In January 1947 the occupying powers made up a cost-of-living
index. It told the German public that living costs were only about 25 per cent above 1938, and about 15 per cent above 1945.
"Everybody in Germany was bitterly amused at this ingenious product of statistical witchcraft. Everybody knew that to mend an old suit or coat, or even have alterations made would cost more than a new suit or coat before the war. Or a patch on the sole of his shoe would cost more than a pair of new shoes had cost not long ago."
The new shoes or coat being unobtainable and the rations purchased at no more than a quarter above the former price being inadequate to sustain life, these statistics had no validity.
Moreover, the income of the average worker hardly covered the cost of the rationed foods. Only such industrialists who could procure extra food for their workers, or who produced goods which they could give them to sell on the black market, could continue to operate their factories successfully.
Inflation of the currency, started by the Nazis, but immensely increased by Military Government at the beginning of the occupation, when it handed over to the Russians the plates to print unlimited quantities of marks, further increased the economic chaos in Germany.
Currency reform was delayed for years in the hope of coming to an agreement with the Russians. And when finally, in June 1948, it was instituted by the Western powers, it was carried out in as unjust a manner as could possibly have been conceived. All savings beyond a bare ten per cent were wiped out, and no provision was made for the widows and orphans and aged who had no other means of subsistence, or for the crippled veterans unable to work. A multitude of small industrial enterprises were ruined; the city and state administrations were deprived of the funds out of which they had paid a dole to the unemployed and the millions of expellees driven into Rump Germany. Charitable organizations lost practically all their funds and post-office savings were wiped out.
Currency reform, in fact, was like a drastic surgical operation performed by a doctor who was determined either that the patient should die, or recover the strength to cease being a pensioner of the Western powers. For a time the operation seemed to have been successful. The sick and the crippled, the unemployed and the unemployable were deprived of the means of existence. But the incentive to work was revived for a time, and manufacturers and merchants who had withheld their goods from the market so long
as they could obtain no profit by selling them, brought them out now that they could be exchanged for money which had acquired real values. And the peasants and farmers who had hidden their produce, or consumed it, so long as it could not be exchanged for the manufactured goods they needed, brought food to the market, after the currency reform.
This happy development was however short-lived. The slack was soon taken up. Since Military Government failed to import sufficient raw materials to keep German industry producing, within a few months of currency reform hoarding began again, prices rose, and the workers found themselves worse off, or no better off, than before currency reform. Moreover, dismantlement, held in abeyance before currency reform, assumed disastrous proportions afterwards, so that the possibility of Western Germany producing and exporting the manufactured goods to pay for raw material imports, continually diminished.
German suspicions of the good faith of America in allowing the revival of private enterprise, and the possibility of the Germans working for their own support, were heightened by the current rumors that the proceeds of German exports were being used to liquidate the debt incurred by the United States Army at the beginning of the occupation when we not only allowed the Russians to print unlimited quantities of marks, but permitted American soldiers to exchange this paper (obtained by selling watches, cigarettes, chocolate, and other goods to the Russians) for American dollars.
Mr. Logan, the new chief of the Joint Export and Import Agency for Bizonia appointed in 1948, has to some extent re-established America's reputation for honesty in dealing with German assets. He is said to have insisted on an accounting of all JEIA funds, to have refused to use them to wipe out the American Army's debt, and to have insisted that we fulfill our pledge to utilize the proceeds of German exports for the importation of food and raw materials for the rehabilitation of Western Germany. But since Mr. Logan shares power with the British he is not in a position to prevent Allied control of Germany's foreign trade from being used to prevent German competition with Britain in the world market.
The Germans consider JEIA to be a gigantic Anglo-American commercial monopoly which prevents Germany from trading with
her natural markets and suppliers and forces her to buy and sell in the British Empire and the United States. German exporters and importers under the foreign trade monopoly established by Britain and America are in fact only auxiliary agencies of an Anglo-American monopoly of German trade.
The Germans naturally consider that Anglo-American control of their foreign trade must preclude any possibility of their becoming self-supporting, and say that whenever they can offer goods at lower prices than the British, they are refused the right to export them. They also complain that since they are not permitted to send their own commercial representatives abroad, they have no possibility of developing export possibilities wherever Germans compete with their conquerors.
German exports formerly consisted of an infinite variety of articles adapted to specific requirements, and requiring detailed knowledge of markets. Naturally, therefore, a gigantic Anglo-American bureaucratic organization such as JEIA is not in a position to discover export possibilities even if it were not controlled by Germany's competitors on the world market. Of course, if Americans were as conscious of their national interest as the British, JEIA would endeavor to increase German exports even when these compete with those of the British. But as things are, the British are able to exert the whip hand in ordering what the Germans may or may not produce and export. Thus, for instance, on April 3, 1949, the New York Times published a dispatch from Berlin announcing that British and French representatives in London had "wrung a reluctant agreement out of the United States delegates" to destroy Germany's synthetic rubber, gas, and oil plants because of Britain's worry "about markets for her natural rubber resources."
"Economic experts in the United States Military Government," the dispatch continued, "wanted the industries retained in Germany . . . and said that Congress . . . might take a dim view of an agreement to prohibit those industries permanently."
The Germans, having already had all their patents robbed from them by the Allied Military Government, are also naturally suspicious of the possibility given to JEIA to ferret out and make use of new German inventions without compensation.
In this connection I must quote the remark made by a student at the University of Munich, who said in a public meeting that although the Americans expected Germans to be grateful for the food the United States was providing, the total value of this char-
ity was less than that of the patents stolen from the German people by the American and British military governments.
At the end of 1948 JEIA relinquished some of its powers, and Military Government announced that export and import licenses would henceforth be granted by the Deutsche Bank. No German however believes that this means freedom, since the Deutsche Bank is under Military Government control.
The prevalent German belief that JEIA constitutes a joint Anglo-American system for preventing Germany from competing on the world market, was strengthened by the fixing of German exchange at the unreal rate of 30 cents to the dollar, and by the numerous instances in which German export orders have been held up pending investigation as to whether Britain could not supply the goods instead.
Early in 1949 the efforts of the United States Military Government to halt the drain on the German economy constituted by France's exports of currency and manufactures, and by the advantage taken by Americans and others of France's refusal to permit effective German customs control, resulted in a rise in the free-, or black-, market value of the mark. But so long as the German authorities are prevented by France from guarding their frontiers, and are not allowed by the Anglo-American authorities to decide what use is to be made of the proceeds accruing from German exports, a "free economy" cannot be expected to work in Germany.
It is also extremely doubtful whether in the present conditions of scarcity produced by the war and by Western occupation policies, Germany could in any case afford an uncontrolled economy.
Britain with her very much larger national income would almost certainly find it impossible to re-establish a free economy even if the Conservatives instead of the Socialists won the next election.
It is useful in this connection to compare the situation of Western Germany and Britain today.
If you trace out the borders of Western Germany and Britain you find that not only their areas but even their shape are almost identical.
The population of Britain is 46 million as against Western Germany's 50 million.* Western Germany's arable area is slightly larger than Britain's but since it consists of less fertile land it produces 5.9 million tons of grain as against Britain's 6.3 million tons.
Thus Britain is today slightly more self-sufficient in food production than Western Germany, deprived by the Yalta and Potsdam agreements of its Eastern bread basket. Both countries must "export or die" but Western Germany's need to export is even greater than Britain's, not only because of her smaller production of breadstuffs but also because Britain still possesses colonial territories in Africa and Asia which produce a subsidy for the economy of the United Kingdom.
But, whereas British exports amount to $6,180,000,000, Germany's are valued at only $527,000.000; and whereas $5,384,000,000 of British exports consist of manufactured goods, $300,000,000 of Germany's $527,000,000 total consists of coal, timber, and other raw materials she needs for her own subsistence.
The consequence of this extreme disparity in income, combined with the much larger American subsidy paid to Britain under the Marshall Plan, is that the British population consumes 2,850 calories a day as against the German diet of 1,702; and that whereas the British get 82 pounds of meat and 33.8 pounds of fat a year, the Germans receive on an average only 11.6 pounds of meat and 18 pounds of fats.
As regards clothing, housing and warmth, soap, and other necessities, the German situation is incomparably worse than that of the British.
Needing to export far more than the British, the Germans are being prevented by America, as well as by the British Government, from producing and exporting enough to pay for their minimum needs. Of course, it can be said that since Britain "won the war" this is only what the Germans deserve. But from the American standpoint, unless we are prepared to let millions of Germans die of starvation, it makes no sense either economically or politically to deprive the German "common man" of the opportunity to earn his living for the benefit of his English counterpart.
By deferring to British and French policy the United States is preventing the revival of a free economy not only in Germany but also in Western Europe.
By the fall of 1948 confidence in the new currency had already been undermined; hoarding had begun again; prices were continually rising, and the workers, finding themselves as badly or worse off than before currency reform and the removal of economic controls, were demanding that the advocates of free enterprise be removed from control of the German Economic Council.
The effort of German liberals and conservatives to institute free internal trade, and revive the profit motive, cannot prevail against the demand for a controlled economy because of the Allied policy which perpetuates scarcity and penalizes endeavor.
Our fundamental mistake was our failure to recognize the fact that a free economy cannot be instituted without the other freedoms. The Germans, still deprived of both liberty and responsibility, cannot make a free economy work, for it is impossible to institute a free economy when there is not enough of the necessities of life to go around. Furthermore, most people will evade taxes, hoard, and speculate if they consider themselves to be ruled by foreigners who exploit them. They feel no sense of responsibility under such conditions. And why should anyone work and display initiative and inventiveness if held down to a subsistence level of existence by Allied directives according to the Level of Industry Plan?
Besides holding the German economy in a strait-jacket by the continued implementation of a revised, but by no means abandoned, Morgenthau Plan, we burden the German economy with heavy occupation costs. General Clay has said that such costs are unimportant in view of the fact that America is supplying Germany with food and raw materials amounting to a greater sum. But the Germans have never been assured that such imports are a gift. For all they know they are a debt to be paid off in the future.
In any case these imports barely compensate the Germans for the loss of their Eastern bread basket to Russia and Poland, for which the Western powers are responsible.
In terms of the budgets of each of the Länder in Western Germany the costs of occupation constitute a crushing burden, precluding expenditures on the rebuilding of her bombed cities and on other necessary public works and desperately needed social services.
Occupation costs in the financial year 1947-48, according to German calculations, amounted to 1,651,000,000 marks in the American zone, and to 2,684,000,000 in the British zone, making a total of 4,335,000,000 marks for Bizonia. This sum constitutes 34 per cent of the tax revenues of the Länder. In the French zone the proportion is 60 per cent.
With respect to requisitions, housing, and other occupation costs neither America nor Britain has observed the requirements of international law as embodied in the Hague Convention. Individual Americans and British in the first months of the occupation looted
on a scale unknown in recent European history. Since then we have imposed burdens on the German economy by requisitions and mandatory services which go far beyond what is permitted under international law.
Complete figures of occupation costs in Bizonia are not available. But an itemized account of the requisitions, mandatory services and other demands made by the British occupation forces is available for the State of North-Rhine Westphalia, which includes the Ruhr area. The report issued by the Minister of Finance of this State is in my possession, although it was suppressed by the British Military Government shortly after publication.
Although occupation costs in the United States zone are now considerably less than in the British zone, America bears part of the responsibility for the situation since the British and American zones have been merged.
The North-Rhine Westphalia report does not take into account either irregular requisitions by individual members of the occupying forces (looting), or reparations and restitutions, or multilateral deliveries, or timber felling, or the supplies of coal and electricity, steel, cement, and other raw materials delivered to the Allies, or the confiscation of German patents and assets abroad. It deals only with the requisitions and services supposedly demanded for the use of the occupation forces and included in the Emergency Budget of the State.
The figures given demonstrate not only the huge burden imposed on the German economy, but also the fact that far from decreasing their demands the British have increased them since the end of the war.
The following table shows the net total of occupation costs (i.e., requisitions and mandatory services less receipts and income from exports and imports under British control) as compared with revenue :
|Occupation Costs||Tax Revenue|
Thus occupation costs accounted for 12.4 per cent of revenue in 1946, and for 32.3 per cent in 1947.
As the Finance Minister's report says : "The enormous mandatory services rendered to the occupying Power were made at the
expense of the last reserves at the disposal of trade and industry, and would have led to a complete collapse of the economic life and financial chaos, but for the intervention of the occupying Powers in the form of ERP and currency reform."
In other words the British, whose standard of life in Germany is much higher than at home, thanks to the demands they make on the German economy, enjoy a secondary subsidy from the Marshall Plan over and above what they receive direct under ERP appropriations to Britain.
The North-Rhine Westphalia report gives a mass of interesting details concerning the items included under requisitions, the waste of housing space, and the large number of Germans required to serve the needs and pleasures of the occupying forces.
Expenditures for the services of German employees and servants of the British Military Government (all paid for by the German economy) increased from 55,000,000 marks in the financial year 1945-46, to 185,000,000 in 1946-47, and 336,000,000 in 1947-48. Among the many examples given of "conspicuous waste" is that of the Minden Club at Weser Klause where some seventy Germans are employed in two shifts to serve an average of five luncheon and twelve dinner guests.
The foreign consulates (including those of the Russian satellites) also employ a large number of Germans whose salaries are charged to occupation costs and have to be met out of the taxation revenue of the German states. Even the Dutch Red Cross which concerns itself only with Dutch nationals, has the salaries of its German employees charged to the North-Rhine Westphalia government. Sergeants and musicians as well as officers have servants whose wages are paid by the Germans.
The occupation burden which is most bitterly resented in Germany is the requisitioning of houses and apartments, and the refusal to hand them back to their owners even when they are vacant or only partly occupied. Bombing produced extreme overcrowding in all German cities, and since steel, cement, and wood have been denied for the reconstruction of houses and apartments, the continued occupation of the best undamaged housing in Germany for the use of the occupation forces constitutes an enduring grievance. The fact that the reduction in the size of both the American and British occupation forces has not led to any substantial increase in the living space allowed to the German population renders the sense of grievance all the greater.
The North-Rhine Westphalia report catalogues a very large num-
ber of houses, hotels, and apartments in various towns now practically unused, but which the British Military Government refuses to let the Germans reoccupy. The following are but a few typical examples :
A house of 12 rooms with 2,230 square feet of space at Herten occupied by three persons.
At Bad Oyenhausen, headquarters of the British Army of the Rhine, if 325 square feet of space were allocated to each officer and 130 square feet to each soldier, the total accommodation required would be 665,000 square feet. But the actual space requisitioned is 1,272,000 square feet.
In the town of Blomberg dwelling space was requisitioned for 1,700 DP's. The present number of DP's is 1,000, but no space has been released. Almost all these DP's are gainfully employed, but they pay no rent, nor anything for gas and electricity supplied by the German economy.
At Heiligenkirchen 4 houses and 2 hotels with 16,300 square feet of space are occupied by only 15 Allied personnel.
In Herford at 20 Kreishausstrasse, two houses with twelve rooms are occupied by "one male person." At Dortmund, a British captain occupies a villa of 14 rooms.
At Hamm, the Hotel Busch Kuhle comprising 35 rooms and 4 bathrooms is occupied by 4 women and 2 men of the British Red Cross.
These are not isolated examples but typical ones. The list of similar examples occupies many pages.
I myself in Bonn was shocked to find myself the sole occupant with the German staff of a huge villa reserved for the use of transient Allied guests. There were so few of the latter that this villa was to be given up—not to the Germans—but to a Belgian general who was to have the exclusive use of its 30-odd rooms.
The North-Rhine Westphalia report also catalogues the loss to the German economy through the occupation of industrial premises by the British and the Belgians who share with them the "duty" of occupation.
Even vegetable gardens and farms have been taken and the German owners deprived of the produce. In a number of cases productive fields have been converted into sports grounds although all the German sports grounds had already been requisitioned for the exclusive use of Allied personnel.
According to the Hague Convention, the occupying power "is
responsible for damage caused by action of the members of their armed forces." But neither the British nor the Americans have observed international law in this respect any more than in others. They have instead shifted the burden of compensation onto the German State administrations. So if and when requisitioned premises are returned to their German owners who find that their furniture, linen, books and other property which they were forced to leave behind, have been removed or destroyed, they cannot claim damages from the occupying power.
The Germans suffer not only through the requisitioning of desperately needed housing space. As taxpayers they are also burdened with the rents and compensation for damage paid to the owners of requisitioned property. This compensation is small in comparison with the loss suffered by the owners of the requisitioned houses but it nevertheless constitutes a sufficient burden on the German State budgets to preclude any possibility of funds being available for reconstruction.
Since the British and Belgian occupation forces, and also the DP's pay nothing for electricity, gas, and water supplied by the German economy, there is naturally tremendous wastage. Lights are left burning day and night in spite of the Allied talk about the need to economize power consumption.
Lastly, it is necessary to refer briefly to "requisitions" other than buildings. The North-Rhine Westphalia report shows clearly that the huge quantities of goods supplied to the British occupation forces are far and away beyond their consumption requirements, and constitute in fact reparations out of current production.
The list of requisitions in North-Rhine Westphalia includes 116.6 million pounds of lump pitch, crude tar, and anthracite oil exported to Belgium, France and Holland; 23,000 gas ranges or cookers, coal and electric stoves, and kitchen ranges of all sorts. Hundreds of thousands of bath tubs, screws, nails, door locks and other ironware are also reported to have been regularly requisitioned and shipped to England. The list includes tens of thousands of flour boxes, hot-water cans, enameled wash basins, jugs, and toilet pails, children's bath tubs, aluminum cooking pots, spoons, forks and knives amounting to a total of nearly 3,000,000 marks. In addition, the British requisitioned 25,000 cruet stands and 42,000 napkin rings; 94,000 skillets and fish frying pans and 24,000 or more meat cutting machines, bread boxes, kettles, cooking pots, wine coolers, and other miscellaneous kitchen utensils.
They took 2.5 million pieces of porcelain from one German firm alone; 681,000 soap tablets; 500 ladies' umbrellas; cigars to the value of 23,000 marks; 659 Ford automobiles; 50 omnibuses; tens of thousands of electric bulbs delivered after currency reform and worth 134,000 marks; nearly 4,000 refrigerators; 8,000 fountain pens, 1,000 toy electric railways, 9,867 gymnastic appliances, 5,568 bicycles, 6.6 million pounds of varnish and paint, and a lot of other miscellaneous items which it would occupy too much space to list.
The list of furniture supplied without payment to the British occupation forces is also too long to reproduce in full. But the total, including armchairs, sofas, filing cabinets, bookcases, beds, sets of club furniture, washstands, tables, card tables, and so forth, amounts to 710,000 items. The list of requisitions also includes tens of thousands of carpets, shoes, trunks, and other leather manufactures.
The British also requisitioned some hundreds of thousands of ladies' dresses, blouses, and underwear; men's shirts, pants, morning coats, and children's clothing. Also on the huge list of manufactured goods requisitioned are 20.240 pull-overs and 2,000 pairs of trousers for boys, 16,000 pairs of children's stockings, 251,000 pairs of shoes, 12,000 children's coats, 110,000 napkins, and 70,000 layettes.
Finally, there is the list of alcoholic beverages which North-Rhine Westphalia had to deliver without payment to the British Army, either for its own consumption or for sale on the black market, or for export to England. This list includes 3.5 million bottles and 733 quarts of schnapps, and 910,000 bottles of dry gin.
According to the North-Rhine Westphalia report the Germans are also charged with the support of foreign businessmen and tourists. The latter pay for their accommodation, food, and transport, but the money is apparently pocketed by the Military Government while the German economy is charged for their maintenance. Thus, for instance, between July 1 and September 30, 1948, 316,000 marks, plus a few thousand more for taxi service, were charged to the North-Rhine Westphalia Emergency Budget for accommodations, services, and food supplied to Allied business men and tourists. "The increase in August 1948," says the report, "is due to the large number of British hotel guests on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of Cologne Cathedral."
The British even charge the Germans with the cost of repairing
Allied ships and feeding Allied crews, the total in 1947 amounting to 2,000,000 marks.
There is, of course, no warrant in international law for requisitioning of goods and services for persons having no connection with the occupying power. But the North-Rhine Westphalia report charges that :
"No credit has been made so far for these items. Nor have any credits so far been received for foreign currency payments made by foreign consulates to British agencies for rents, for the salaries of German personnel, or for the many goods supplied. . . . It is known that in the clubs and canteens run by NAAFI, Steinhäger [schnapps] and gin are sold to the occupation forces, and information received from Hamburg states that these spirits (requisitioned in Germany) are also shipped to British canteens abroad."
There is no doubt that the Germans are correct in stating that many of the items listed as requisitions for the use of the occupation forces are nothing of the kind, and constitute in fact reparations deliveries from current production. Nor can it be denied that the "increased demands of the British occupying powers for goods in short supply" contribute to the inflation which is nullifying the benefits of currency reform. So long as the German economy has to supply large quantities of goods which are not paid for, and also to allocate a great number of people to serve the occupiers without payment by the latter, Western Germany can never achieve economic stability.
In the British zone individuals appear to reap much of the benefit from the forced free delivery of goods and services to the occupation power. I was charged only twenty-five cents a day for my hotel room in Düsseldorf and food and drink were correspondingly cheap. In the United States zone, the Military Government takes the profit by charging foreign visitors and newspaper correspondents for their accommodation and for services without compensating the Germans who supply both. For instance, I discovered in Frankfurt that a rent of only 500 marks a month was being paid for the Park Hotel which has 90 or 100 bedrooms, although it charged the correspondents and others two dollars a day for rent and service. Presumably the wages of the chambermaids and waiters were paid for by the Germans.
In the case of the United States zone, although the Army makes a large profit out of the accommodations and services paid for by
the Germans, the American taxpayer is contributing food and raw materials to a far greater amount. But in the case of the British zone the "hidden reparations" delivered as "occupation costs" are not compensated for by British gifts to Germany. Apart from food shipments from America the United States, according to the North-Rhine Westphalia report, released large stocks from army stores for disposal on the German domestic market, thus to some extent compensating the German economy for the loss entailed by British requisitions of clothing.
Although the British have in general shown themselves less inclined than the United States to disregard international law and Anglo-Saxon law in the administration of their zone, they have taken advantage of the Nuremberg judgments to justify any acts required to advance their economic interests. According to the regulations in force in the British zone a German worker may not refuse to work for the Military Government, and cannot quit his job with the British under any circumstances. The Allied Control Council decree legitimizing forced labor has been a particular boon to the British who can thus compel the Germans to dismantle the factories.
In the Bochum case when several German workers were arrested and sentenced to prison for refusing to work on dismantlement, the defense argued that the Hague Convention forbids the occupying power to force anyone to act against his own country, and also that the use of forced labor was designated at Nuremberg as a "crime against humanity." But the British court replied that the Germans had no right to appeal to the provisions of the Hague Rules of Land Warfare, because it was decreed at Nuremberg that international law does not apply to Germans. When the German defense argued that it had been said at Nuremberg that everyone should act according to his conscience and refuse to obey superior orders if these went against conscience, the British court replied that no German had the right under any circumstances to disobey Military Government which is the absolute authority.
In this respect as in so many others the British like the Americans have adopted in Germany the same principles as the defeated Nazis.
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