Presentation on theme: "HI136 The History of Germany Lecture 14 Defeat and Collapse."— Presentation transcript:
HI136 The History of Germany Lecture 14 Defeat and Collapse
Nation & Citizenry What strands of German identity survived the Second World War and the country’s postwar division? Did the ideas of National Socialism completely disappear from public discourse after the war? How did ordinary Germans experience the end of the regime and the war? How did global political shifts affect Germany’s defeat and postwar division?
The Morgenthau Plan Drawn up by the US Secretary of State, Henry Morgenthau. Designed to ensure that Germany could never again be a threat to her neighbours. Germany to be divided into independent states, higher education prohibited and heavy industry destroyed. Pressure from the public to punish Germany led to this being adopted as official US and UK policy until the spring of US Secretary of State, Henry Morenthau Jr. ( )
The Yalta Conference An Allied Control Commission to govern a defeated Germany. Germany to be occupied by the 3 wartime allies and France. The USSR was to retain the territory seized under the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 & the borders of Poland were to be shifted westwards. Reparations to be extracted from Germany. Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin at the Crimean resort of Yalta, February 1945
Divisions within the Allies Americans wanted a decentralized, federal democratic system in Germany (modelled on the US constitution). Great Britain wanted Germany denazified and demilitarized, but then a revival of the economy – “security from attack, then business as usual” (Kramer). Russia envisioned a united and neutral Germany. Her priorities were to consolidate gains in Eastern Europe & extract reparations from Germany. French aims were similar to those after WW1 – They wanted Germany broken up into weak states that would be no threat to French security and the creation of buffer zones in the Rhineland and the Saar.
Problems facing the Allies Social, political and economic chaos Old social structures disrupted, German men killed or imprisoned, women left to fend for themselves. No authority or administration; need for restoration of law & order. German cities destroyed by Allied bombing, e.g. 75% of buildings in Berlin had been demolished, only 1% of buildings in Hanover were undamaged. Basic necessities of life had to be restored: gas, electricity, water, food supplies, housing, etc. Communications & infrastructure similarly disrupted: roads, rail networks, bridges, etc. Refugee crisis: up to 12 million Germans migrated from the east, plus thousands displaced within Germany, including POWs and concentration camp inmates.
Aerial view of Dresden after allied bombing Allied troops enter Berlin, 1945
Source: R. Overy, The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Third Reich
Casualties in Numbers (approx.) British Commonwealth466,000 China (civilian deaths unknown)1,310,224 France563,000 Poland5,800,000 Philippines118,000 United States298,000 U.S.S.R.18,000,000 Yugoslavia1,505,000 Germany4,200,000 Hungary490,000 Italy395,000 Japan1,972,000
Source: R. Overy, The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Third Reich (1996) Occupied Berlin
The Potsdam Conference The Allies agreed on the broad principles for the treatment of Germany: –Demilitarization & disarmament. –Denazification & democratization. –Industry to be decentralized & reconstruction focus on ‘peaceful domestic industries’. –No central government for the time being. Reparations in kind rather than cash – each power authorized to seize goods from their own zone. The USSR to get 50% of the total amount. All decisions to be taken collegially within the Allied Control Council. These temporary measures, pending a formal peace conference. Attlee, Truman and Stalin at Potsdam. Standing behind them are their respective foreign ministers: Ernest Bevin, James Byrnes & Vyacheslav Molotov. 16 July – 2 August 1945
Denazification Nuremberg Trials: 21 Nazi leaders put on trial, 12 condemned to death. Four-power agreement on the need to remove Nazis from the civil service, judiciary, education etc. Differences in approach: –Russians saw Nazism as an outgrowth of German capitalism, necessitating radical structural reforms. –Americans wanted to remove Nazism but maintain the existing social & economic structure – a more bureaucratic approach. –British & French saw Nazism as inherent in the German national character – an emphasis on re- education. Denazification ultimately devolved to German tribunals.
Denazification com/watch?v=Gc uMxj7nVBE&feat ure=related c.edu/faculty/proj ects/ftrials/nurem berg/nuremberg.h tm Segment of Nuremberg Trials documentary on youtube Chronology/Materials on Nuremberg Trials
Democratization 1947: Break up of the old state of Prussia. Creation of new administrative areas (Länder) within the zones of occupation. Differences in approach: –A more centralized approach in the British zone – unelected German officials made up Central Economic Office & Zonal Advisory Council. Municipal elections in autumn 1946, elections to state assemblies in May –The Americans keen to introduce democracy as soon as possible: elections held in Jan By the beginning of 1947 power had been devolved to the Länder in the US zone. –The Russians established a central authority, the Soviet Military Administration of Germany (SMAD), in July 1945 at the same time as governments in the Länder in their zone.
The Economy Major dislocation in the economy after 1945 – food shortages, valueless currency etc. led to a thriving black market. Ongoing disagreements over reparations: the Americans saw the revival of the German economy as a priority whereas the Soviets wanted reparations as soon as possible. July 1946: the USA suspends reparations deliveries to the Soviet zone and offers an economic merger of the zones. Only the British agree, leading to the creation of the Bizone on 1 Jan The French and Soviets continued to extract reparations in kind from their zones – by 1949 the Soviets had secured over $10 billion worth of resources and equipment. In the Soviet zone a radical programme of nationalization and land reform. In the western zones an insistence from the Americans that reconstruction and reform be achieved within the framework of the free market.
Steps Towards Division 21 April 1946: Merger of the SPD and KPD in the Soviet Zone to form the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (Socialist Unity Party, SED) Establishment of the Bizone – interpreted by the Russians as an attempt to create a separate state hostile to the USSR –July 1947: Centralization of Bizonia with new political & economic institutions set up. –In response the Russians establish the German Economic Commission (DWK) in their zone. Nov-Dec. 1947: Failure of the London Foreign Ministers Conference – Convinces the Western Allies that the Russians are trying to establish a Communist puppet state. They determine to devolve more power to West Germany & integrate it into Western Europe to provide a buffer against the spread of Communism. Feb-March 1948: London Conference: Western Allies meet to decide the fate of Germany. April 1948: The Bizone included in the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) & accepts Marshal aid. June 1948: The Western powers announce their intention to convene a constituent assembly to draw up a constitution for a separate West German state.
The Berlin Blockade 20 June 1948: A new currency, the Deutschmark, introduced in Bizonia, the French Zone and West Berlin. The Soviets fear that this will destabilize the economy in their zone & move to cut off road & rail access to West Berlin in the hope of pressuring the west to abandon their plans for a separate state. June 1948-May 1949: The allies airlift fuel & food into West Berlin. A symbolic struggle that back- fired on the Soviets & only accelerated the integration of West Germany into the Western European system.
The Formation of the FRG July 1948: 65 member Parliamentary Council established to draw up a constitution for the Western zones. 10 Feb. 1949: The proposed constitution presented to the Military Governors for their approval. 8 May 1949: The Parliamentary Council adopts the ‘Basic Law’ by a vote of 53 to 12. Elections in August return a majority for a centre-right coalition of the Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Free Democrats (FDP). Konrad Adenauer elected first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany on 15 September 1949.
The Formation of the GDR Despite the long build up, the establishment of the FRG took both the Russians and the East Germans by surprise. Stalin still hoped that a single neutral German state could be formed and was reluctant to agree to proposals from the SED leadership for a separate state in the East. But establishment of the Federal Republic ended such hopes and on 7 October 1949 the establishment of the German Democratic Republic was announced. A draft constitution had already been drawn up in the spring – on paper this was very similar to that of FRG. In practice the GDR was a single-party state dominated by the SED backed up with Russian tanks. 12 October: A new government led by Otto Grotewohl formed.
The Berlin Wall Berlin remained under four-power control after 1949 & Berliners could move relatively freely between the Eastern & Western Zones. This led to many East Germans fleeing to the West via Berlin. The East German leadership wanted to plug this gap & proposed doing so by force : Berlin Crisis – a stand- off between the USSR & USA over the position of Berlin. The East Germans use this as an occasion to close the border crossings & erect a wall 140 km (87 miles) long across Berlin. Formalized the division of Germany and became the symbol of the Cold War division of Europe.
Conclusion Germany’s total defeat in WW2 placed her in the hands of the Allies. Most Germans were more interested in the day-to-day struggle to survive than politics. The division of Germany therefore has to be seen in the context of emerging Cold War tensions between the Superpowers. Historiography: –Orthodox school = the Soviet Union primarily to blame for the Cold War & division of Germany. –Revisionist school = the Western powers (and the USA in particular) primarily to blame for the Cold War & division of Germany. –Post-revisionist school = both sides share equal blame – the division of Germany a consequence of mutual suspicion and irreconcilable ideological differences.