Jonathan Storer Essay

1478 words - 6 pages

“First Encounters: Conquest and Initial Occupation,” By Dewey A. Browder, in “Neighbor America: Americans in Rhineland Palatinate, 1945-95.” Ed. Winfried Herget, Werner Kemp and Walter G. Roedel. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlaf, 1995.
The US post-war plan for the administration of Germany was muddled, full of contradictions and retreats. Nevertheless, despite the inauspicious beginnings, the US quickly developed a workable administration that was surprisingly efficient; ultimately, the US army’s efforts were crucial in the reconstruction of post-war Germany. Browder’s work is concentrated upon the US Military’s efforts in establishing order and beginning the reconstruction of Germany. His ...view middle of the document...

” In the author’s chapter entitled State-Building in Post-World War II Germany, Browder argued that the German post war reconstruction was a success within an enlightenment model. The 4 D’s of Denazification, Demilitarization, Decentralization and Democratization were all successful and complimentary.
In First Encounters, the author argued that the US army’s early administration of occupied Germany evolved. This suggests that on the surface, the US army was not prepared; nevertheless, the author congratulated those efforts; he suggested that they evolved so closely that they were almost ‘scripted.’ The author explained how measures taken by the US that could be construed as heavy handed, were in reality, military necessities. Thus, all activities that were tainted by National Socialism were banned; schools, newspapers and radio stations were all closed. This was an important point because the measures, could all too easily, be taken out of context. For example, the demilitarization program included curfews and this aided the security and normalization of civilian life. In addition, the US army had a plan of sorts for the conquered territories. The American Military Government assumed responsibilities for an area, once the frontline units advanced. Thus, the US army quickly established order behind the frontlines in the occupied territories.
The feeding of the German population presented a headache for the Americans. Official policy restricted the use of American rations. The Americans quickly organized the Germans themselves so that they were able to feed themselves. Seeds were distributed, restrictions on travel for farmers were lifted and food processing plants were quickly re-established. Furthermore, the US forces were successful in rebuilding essential infrastructure and preventing the spread of communicable diseases.
Browder suggested that the US army wanted the Germans to administer areas themselves; he noted that as soon as possible, reliable Germans were given positions of responsibility. Elsewhere, the author has written that this de-centralization was part of the plan to prepare the Germans for eventual self-government. The de-centralization of government was accompanied by denazification; only reliable and untainted Germans were to occupy civil posts. The author conceded that the denazification policy was not entirely successful, there were simply too many people who had been involved with the old regime; nevertheless, the restoration of local government was overall a success. On the surface there appeared to be a slight contradiction in the author’s argumentation with regard to denazification. The author conceded that the denazification process was less than perfect and impossible to enforce, but with regard to the judiciary there did seem to be a reluctance to appoint Nazi tainted judges. The delay in introducing German judges according to the author was directly because of the lack of reliable Germans. To that end, Americans...

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