THE HIGH COST of VENGEANCE

THE HIGH COST
of
VENGEANCE
by
Freda Utley
HENRY REGNERY COMPANY
CHICAGO
1949

This book was made possible
by a research grant from the
FOUNDATION OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Copyright 1949
HENRY REGNERY COMPANY
Chicago, Illinois
Manufactured in the United States of America.

To My Dear Friends
John and Joan Crane
Whose Help and Encouragement
Have Been Invaluable
In the Writing of This Book
Table of Contents
CHAPTER PAGE
1. Road to War 1
2. The Spirit of Berlin 20
3. The Material Cost of Vengeance 54
4. Tragedy in Siegerland 104
5. German Democracy between Scylla and Charybdis 129
6. Nuremberg Judgments 162
7. Our Crimes against Humanity 182
8. Our Un-American Activities in Germany 211
9. How Not to Teach Democracy 232
10. The French Ride High 271
11. Conclusion 302

Do not be seduced by the prospect of a
great alliance. Abstinence from all injus-
tice to other powers is a greater tower of
strength than anything that can be gained
by the sacrifice of permanent tranquil-
ity for an apparent temporary advantage.

—THUCYDIDES, The Peloponnesian War.

1
1
Road to War
FOLLOWING WORLD WAR I FRANCE AND BRITAIN REFUSED TO LISTEN
to the statesmen who said that you can have peace or vengeance,
not both. They broke their armistice pledge to Germany that peace
would be made on the basis of President Wilson’s Fourteen Points
and “the principles of settlement enunciated” by the American
President.* They continued the starvation blockade of Germany
for six months after the Armistice, in order to force the German
democrats who had taken over the government to sign a dictated
peace. Having promised a peace without annexations or indemni-
ties, they deprived Germany of territory and imposed a crushing
reparations burden on the newly established Weimar Republic.
Having promised general disarmament they disarmed Germany
without disarming themselves. The victors refused even to discuss
the terms of peace with the vanquished who had surrendered on
stated conditions which were not fulfilled, and in general dis-
credited democracy in German eyes by associating it with broken
pledges, national humiliation, and economic distress.
The Nazi movement, born from the dragon seeds planted at
Versailles, and brought to monstrous growth by the world depres-

* Referring to the Armistice, Maynard Keynes in 1919 wrote in his prophetic book The Economic Consequences of the Peace: “The nature of the contract between Germany and the allies . . . is plain and unequivocal. The terms of the peace are to be in accordance with the addresses of the President, and the purpose of the peace conference is ‘to discuss the details of their applications.’ The circumstances of the contract were of an unusually solemn and binding character; for one of the conditions of it was that Germany should agree to Armistice Terms which were to be such as would leave her helpless. . . . The honor of the allies was (thus) peculiarly involved in fulfilling their part, and if there were ambiguities, in not using their position to take advantage of them.”

THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE
2
sion which raised the total number of unemployed in Germany to
six million, took power at the moment of Europe’s and America’s
greatest economic crisis. Inevitably, the second World War fol-
lowed the first after an interval of only twenty years.
Instead of learning that you cannot build confidence and se-
curity, democracy and prosperity, on a foundation of hatred and
vengeance, the victorious allies this time have torn Germany apart,
deprived her of all possibility of existence without exterior aid, and
while unable to agree among themselves on a peace treaty, have
jointly reduced the defeated enemy country to the status of an
African colony.

History is repeating itself with results likely to be even more
tragic for Europe than the events which led up to World War II.
Once again the victorious allies are making it impossible for the
Germans to place their faith in democracy and justice, since they
find justice denied and democracy mocked by the occupying
powers. Once again the German democrats are in danger of yield-
ing right of way to the totalitarians because legal methods and ap-
peals to justice are again failing to obtain a fair deal for the
German people. Last time we produced Hitler; this time we may
succeed in giving Stalin hegemony over all Europe.
If France, following World War I, had been prepared to treat
Germany as generously and intelligently as England had treated
France after Napoleon’s defeat, Europe might have known another
century of peace. The long conflict between Germany and France
could have ended on terms as advantageous to both, and as con-
ducive to European peace, as the Anglo-French collaboration
which succeeded centuries of rivalry and war between England and
France. Instead, France sought a fictitious security by disarming the
Teutonic giant while giving him every reason to plot for revenge.
The crushing burden of reparations the Germans were required
to pay, and the denial to Germany of a secure and honorable status
among the nations of Europe, so enfeebled German democracy that
the Nazis won power and France was overwhelmed by the forces
she herself had created.

It may be true that the lesson to be learned from history is that
mankind learns nothing from it. But the explanation for the failure
of the Western democracies to read the lesson of the immediate
past seems mainly due to the effect of war propaganda and the
ignorance or lack of integrity of the molders of public opinion.
The pen is still mightier than the sword and responsible for

ROAD TO WAR 3
more human misery when unscrupulously employed in “psycho-
logical warfare.” As Samuel Johnson wrote in the eighteenth cen-
tury: “I know not whether more is to be feared from streets filled
with soldiers accustomed to plunder, or from garrets filled with
scribblers accustomed to lie.”

War propaganda, and the falsification of history indulged in by
a multitude of journalists, authors, professors, and politicians has
convinced the American public that the Germans have a peculiar
aversion to democracy and are an innately aggressive people who
will always attempt to rule the world unless kept down and taught
to love democracy by a long period of instruction in a reformatory.
Only those who have studied the history of Europe know that
Germany did not become a militarist nation until centuries of
French aggression, from the days of Richelieu to Napoleon’s con-
quests had caused a reaction which enabled Prussia to forge the
modern German state out of the disunited and powerless congeries
of kingdoms, principalities, and free cities, which constituted “the
Germanies” before the French Revolution.

Americans who have had it dinned into their ears for years that
Germany has attacked France three times within living memory
will be astonished at reading what was said at the time in Britain
and the United States about the Franco-Prussian War.
The London Times on July 16, 1870, wrote as follows:
The greatest national crime that we have had the pain of recording in
these columns since the days of the First French Empire has been con-
summated. War is declared—an unjust but premeditated war. The
dire calamity, which overwhelms Europe with dismay, is, it is now too
clear, the act of France, of one man in France. It is the ultimate result
of personal rule.

There can be no doubt as to the side on which the world’s sympa-
thies will be enlisted, and, whatever may on former occasions have been
the offenses of Prussia, she will in this instance have on her side all
that moral support which is seldom denied to those who take up arms
in self-defense.*
George Bancroft, the U. S. Minister in Berlin, reported as follows :
The leading statesmen as well as public opinion in America regard

* Cited in Gustav Stolper, German Realities (New York, Reynal & Hitch-
cock, 1948), p. 218.

THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE
4
the present war essentially as an act of self-defense on Germany’s part,
and the outstanding task is to insure Germany permanently, by a
better system of frontiers, against new wars of aggression on the part
of her western neighbors, of which the past three centuries have
brought so large a number.

The tragedy of modern history is that the Germans have always
been kicked around when they were pacifically minded, with the
natural result that the apostles of violence have again and again
won the leadership of the nation, following the failure of the dem-
ocrats and antimilitarists to win a fair deal for the German people,
or protect them from attack.

Having finally girded their loins to resist French aggression and
forced France to abandon her centuries-old ambition to establish
her hegemony over the Continent, the Germans proceeded, once
Bismarck’s influence was withdrawn, to follow in France’s foot-
steps. Nevertheless the popular conception of the Germans as the
cause of all recent wars is erroneous. In the half century which
elapsed between the Franco-Prussian War and World War I, Ger-
many was at peace, whereas Britain and France conquered most
of Africa and extended their Asiatic colonial empires; Russia fought
Turkey and Japan; and the United States acquired new territory by
wars with Spain and Mexico.

Having both studied and taught history at London university
in the twenties, when war passions had cooled, and having had the
privilege of knowing the eminent British historian, Dr. G. P.
Gooch, who with other scholars was establishing the facts concern-
ing the causes of World War I, I am also aware that Germany can-
not be regarded as solely responsible for the first act in the Tragedy
of Western Civilization. Diplomatic documents made public by
the Bolsheviks, together with those from the Vienna archives,
proved that Tsarist Russia and the Hapsburgs were more re-
sponsible for the outbreak of the war than Germany.
As Gustav Stolper has written:

Not one historian of international repute of any nationality during
the twenties and early thirties maintained that Germany alone was
responsible, while several outstanding historians, particularly British and
American, went far in establishing Germany’s comparative innocence.*
The facts of history were overlaid by propaganda during World

* Ibid., p. 221.
ROAD TO WAR 5
War II and are today forgotten. But no one can deny that after
their defeat in World War I, the Germans for a time swung back
and embraced pacifism and democracy with the same fervor as
they had formerly followed their militarists. The Constitution of
the Weimar Republic guaranteed so many freedoms that it allowed
license to both Communists and Nazis, first to undermine and
finally to destroy the German Republic.

The Weimar Republic might have survived its own inner weak-
nesses if France had been willing to bury the hatchet and pursue
as enlightened a policy toward Germany as the British, who soon
after the war’s end realized the stupidity of stifling the democratic
forces in Germany by the full implementation of the Versailles
Treaty.

In 1923 the French, against British advice, occupied the Ruhr
in their efforts to squeeze blood out of a stone and obtain the
huge reparations the German Republic could not possibly pay. The
Germans countered this high-handed action by a general strike in
the Ruhr which, although it eventually forced the French to re-
treat, toppled Germany over into bankruptcy. The runaway infla-
tion which resulted ruined the middle classes and laid the basis for
the Nazi movement. At the same time the misery of the working
classes drove many to abandon Social-Democratic leadership and
follow the Communists.

The intervention of America postponed the crisis for a decade.
American loans and credits rescued the Weimar Republic and
enabled Germany to pay a scaled-down annual indemnity, while
also presenting an appearance of prosperity. There remained a
hard core of unemployment amounting to about two million, but
German industry was re-equipped and rationalized with the help
of American loans.

Germany’s hope of meeting her obligations depended on ex-
panding world trade and continuing American credits. The world
economic crisis drastically reduced German exports, brought an
end to American credits, and destroyed any possibility of Ger-
many’s being able to pay either reparations or interest on her loans.
The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in the United States and the 1931
Ottawa Conference which raised a tariff wall around the British
Empire, completed the ruin of German democracy. Germany’s ex-
port trade was reduced by half, and unemployment, bank failures,
and bankruptcies produced such desperation on all sides that the
extremists on the right and the left were able to destroy the demo-

THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE
6
cratic parties which had strained so hard, and under such tre-
mendous handicaps, to make the German people reject militarism
and place their trust in a rational and peaceful world order.
President Hoover endeavored to prevent the crisis in Germany
and all Europe by his moratorium on international debts. President
Roosevelt, by torpedoing the London Economic Conference and
devaluating the dollar, gave a further mighty impetus to the eco-
nomic warfare which was the curtain-raiser to the tragedy of World
War II.

In desperate economic distress, disarmed and denied equal rights
with other nations, with half its industrial population unemployed,
and possessing no such imperial revenues as Britain, France, Hol-
land, and Belgium to support its workless millions, Germany suc-
cumbed to Hitler. The false Messiah who promised “work and
bread,” and a free strong Germany in place of the impotent
Weimar Republic, extinguished German democracy.

The Nazis not only took advantage of economic distress. They
played upon national resentments and fears. As H. A. L. Fisher, the
eminent British historian, wrote in his History of Europe:
The disarmament imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles
had never willingly been accepted by a nation of soldiers; and the
Germans were entitled to claim, either that they should be allowed to
rearm, or that a reduction of armaments should be seriously under-
taken by their neighbours. With a rare unanimity of passionate emo-
tion, the youth of Germany claimed equality of treatment, and pro-
tested against the continuance of a system which left them helpless
before the airplanes, the tanks and the heavy artillery of Poles, Czechs,
and Frenchmen. . . . The long delays of the League militated against
the authority of the Social democrats who stood for fulfillment of the
treaties, and had been prepared to make sacrifices for European peace.
For seven years Germany had wooed Geneva, and wooed in vain.
To the Germans, for a few years, it seemed that Hitler was emi-
nently right and the German democrats profoundly wrong. For
everything that had been denied to the latter was given to Hitler
without a struggle. From 1933 to 1939 the truth of the maxim that
“might makes right” and that justice is always denied to the weak,
was proved over and over again. The union with Austria, denied
to the German democrats when it could have alleviated the eco-
nomic crisis which was rendering their positions untenable, was
permitted to Hitler. The right to self-defense, denied to the
Weimar Republic, was not questioned till long after the Nazis had
ROAD TO WAR 7
extended it to mean the right to attack others. After Hitler came
to power the Germans found themselves able to win every right
denied to them when they were democratic.
The German “common man” who had stood idle at street cor-
ners or looked vainly for work, and felt himself an outcast in a
society which had no use for his labor, now had permanent em-
ployment, and a sense of security so long as he obeyed orders.
Whereas the world’s markets had been shut to German exports
under the Weimar Republic, Dr. Schacht opened the gates to
German trade by his barter treaties concluded outside the interna-
tional monetary system controlled by London and New York. The
Germans, who had suffered great privations when they followed
the lead of the Social Democrats, had good jobs and comfortable
homes under the Nazis. The price was the loss of freedom but a
starving man will always sell his birthright for a mess of pottage.
Hitler is dead and the Nazi bid for world empire has ended in
overwhelming defeat and universal hatred of the German people
who followed after their false star, and are still held responsible
for their crimes. Equally disillusioned by the Nazis and by democ-
racy, the German people today are adrift and hopeless. If democ-
racy could inspire them with hope as strong as that once inspired
by the false Nazi prophets, all Europe might be saved. But we,
the victors, treat them as a pariah people, and by giving little or
no support to the German democrats, demonstrate that the latter
are as incapable today as two decades ago, of winning for the Ger-
mans the right to work for their own support and be accorded an
equal status with other European nations.
Only a little knowledge of history is required to refute the pop-
ular belief that the Germans are naturally more aggressive than
the French or the English or any other people. Each of these peo-
ples has, in turn, been the aggressor, according to its power, its
opportunities, and the ambitions of its rulers.
It serves no purpose to apportion blame, since almost all nations
at one time or another, have been aggressors in Europe, Africa,
or Asia, and even Americans have waged wars of conquest on their
continent. The survival of Western civilization now depends on
our ability to forget old injuries, rise above national prejudices, and
heal the scars of war. Unless the internecine feuds of Europe are
ended and we start acting according to the principles we profess
to believe in, the Communists will conquer. The first bad peace
produced Hitler; the second is giving us Stalin.
Only a revived faith in the principles we profess to believe in
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE
8
and our determination to put them into practice can preserve
Western civilization.
The insidious influence of totalitarian doctrine, and the decay
of democratic principles is reflected in the changing attitude of the
United States between the two world wars.
During World War I, President Wilson endeavored to make Amer-
ica’s allies listen to the voice of reason and humanity, and appealed
for a peace without “annexations and indemnities” to “make the
world safe for democracy.” But during and after World War II,
the President of the United States became the foremost exponent
of the policy of “all spoils to the victors,” and took no account of
the Atlantic Charter he had himself drawn up.
It was President Roosevelt who sold out Poland and China at
Yalta and delivered Eastern Europe to the Communist terror. It
was President Roosevelt who agreed with Stalin that “reparations
in kind” should be exacted by the use of Germans as slave laborers.
It was also the Democratic President of the United States who
sponsored the Morgenthau Plan for the death by starvation of mil-
lions of Germans, and agreed to the expropriation and expulsion
of millions of Germans from Silesia, East Prussia, the Sudetenland,
and the Balkans for the sole crime of belonging to the German
“race.”
It was Churchill, the Tory imperialist, not Roosevelt, the Ameri-
can democrat, who stood up to Stalin at Yalta when the dictator of
all the Russias proposed the massacre of thousands of German
officers after victory.* It was Churchill, not Roosevelt or his “lib-
eral” aides, who tried to save Europe from Communist domination
and terror by advocating a strategy which would have kept the
Russians out of Eastern Europe, and could have prevented the sac-
rifices of the war from resulting in nothing but the substitution of
one totalitarian tyranny for another.†
President Wilson was broken, and died, after his failure either
to persuade America’s allies to agree to a just peace, or to get the

* This is not intended as a defense of Winston Churchill who was too short-
sighted, or too exhilarated by his own eloquence, to realize the disastrous con-
sequences of all-out aid to Stalin’s Russia. As compared with Franklin D.
Roosevelt, however, Churchill can claim to have been a statesman.
† According to the account given by Elliott Roosevelt in As He Saw It
(New York, Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1946).
ROAD TO WAR 9
support of Congress for The League of Nations, which he thought
would compensate for the concessions he had been forced to make
at Versailles to the greed, fears, and ambitions of the victors.
President Roosevelt died before the consequences of his repudia-
tion of moral values in the treatment of the defeated enemy peo-
ples and his readiness to sacrifice principles and interests in further-
ance of his “Great Design” had become fully apparent. But before
his death he must have known that Stalin would not honor the
commitments won from him at the cost of betraying Poland and
China, delivering Eastern Europe to Communist rule, and putting
the Soviet dictator in a position to menace all Europe while taking
over China.
Both Democratic Presidents failed; but Wilson had fought for
justice, whereas Roosevelt had sacrificed it to expediency and
staked the future of the world on what he himself admitted was a
“gamble” and on his faith in his ability to charm the Soviet dictator.
The consequences of Roosevelt’s “successes” were more disas-
trous than Wilson’s failures. The United Nations proved from its
inception to be a greater failure than Wilson’s League of Nations
and has already in effect been discarded in favor of the Atlantic
Pact with the enemies of Soviet Russia.
The contrast between the attitude and aims of Wilson and
Roosevelt was a reflection of the changed philosophy of the liberals.
During and after World War I the liberals had pleaded for a just
peace, eschewed national and racial prejudices, and endeavored to
combat the influence of nationalism and war-fostered hatred among
peoples. But during and after World War II, so-called liberals and
progressives took the lead in demanding the crucifixion of the
whole German people.
If the forces of Western democracy have been weakened by the
influence of totalitarians masquerading as liberals, or corrupted by
Communist influence, the Communists have lost part of their
strength by having divested communism of its original humani-
tarian content and international appeal.
None but the ignorant, the blind, and a few self-seeking men of
large ambition and little talent now believe, that communism offers
mankind a more just social order or greater equality between men,
nations and races.
The difference in the attitude and policies of the Communists
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE
10
today and twenty years ago is best illustrated by their behavior
toward Germany. Here the contrast between past and present at-
titudes, and professed ideals and present practices, is most clearly
displayed.
In 1917 Lenin proclaimed the unity of the “workers of the
world,” denounced the war as an imperialist struggle, and offered
the hand of friendship to the German people while repudiating the
nationalist war aims of both the Tsarist and Kerensky governments.
Under his leadership the Communists were internationalists in
both theory and practice. They had no more enmity toward the
German people than toward any other because they regarded “the
masses” in every country as the victims of “capitalist tyranny” and
“imperialist ambition.”
A quarter of a century later, Stalin, having built on the founda-
tions laid by Lenin, but with a totally different conception of the
structure which was to be erected, had transformed Russia into a
national-socialist state, and was wreaking a terrible vengeance on
the whole German people for having followed its own National
Socialist leaders instead of Russia’s. And whereas Lenin had re-
nounced all the territorial ambitions of the Tsars, Stalin was de-
manding all and more than they had ever dreamed of acquiring
in Europe and Asia.
The degeneration of Communism and of democracy having pro-
ceeded on parallel lines, it was natural that the Western Powers
and Soviet Russia could agree only upon one thing: vengeance
upon their defeated enemies. Communism having become a syno-
nym for the interests of the rulers of Russia and democracy having
succumbed to the insidious poison of national hatred, the victors
of World War II combined to despoil and enslave the Germans.
Whereas hatred is a powerful weapon in the hands of the Com-
munists, it debilitates the enemies of tyranny. Our hands have
been tied by our intimate association with the tyrants whose only
quarrel with Hitler was his refusal to make common cause with
Russia’s national socialists.
Communism has lost the liberal savor which once gave it moral
force. But its appeal has not yet been nullified by its inhuman acts
and its prostitution in the interests of Stalin’s dictatorship. Stalin
was wiser than Hitler, who ignored Machiavelli’s precept that to
succeed a tyrant must either kill off all opposition or conciliate
his enemies. Whereas the number of victims consigned to Soviet
concentration camps who have escaped is infinitesimal, many Jews
ROAD TO WAR 11
and democrats who had either suffered in Hitler’s prisons or had
friends or relatives in them, were allowed to go abroad and tell the
world about Nazi atrocities. Hence the widespread knowledge of
Nazi crimes and the little information in democratic countries con-
cerning the torture and death of the millions of victims of Com-
munist tyranny.
Because Hitler was a little less ruthless, or efficient, than Stalin
in exterminating his enemies, the atrocities committed by the
Soviet Government are far less widely known than the record of
Nazi crime. This is the one reason why the echo of communism’s
original humanitarian and international appeal still evokes a re-
sponse among idealists who know nothing, and refuse to learn any-
thing, about Stalin’s Russia. But the main appeal of communism
today is to the most irrational and destructive impulses to which
human nature is heir. By playing upon our hatreds and passions
the Communists foster and inflame class, racial and national an-
tagonisms, and cause us to act against our own interests and the
cause of freedom. Since the war’s end they have been successful in
propagating the idea that mercy, justice, charity, and goodwill are
signs of “fascist” sympathies.
Years ago, when I went to live in the Soviet Union, the Commu-
nist attitude toward Menschlichkeit (humane behavior) was first
revealed to me by the notice I read in Sevastopol under the por-
trait of a certain Russian general who commanded the Tsar’s troops
in the Crimean War: “General X was a most dangerous enemy
of the working class; by treating his soldiers kindly he sought to
dull their class consciousness.”
Since the Communist aim is to perpetuate or create the condi-
tions of chaos and misery which alone can give them the oppor-
tunity to seize power, it is natural that they should not only oppose
the Marshall Plan but also exert their influence to exacerbate the
old hatreds and resentments which keep their enemies divided.
The best and wisest of the Jewish people cannot be seduced by
the Communist appeal to the natural but irrational desire to exact
retribution from all Germans for the murder and torture of their
race by the Nazis. Intelligent and liberal Jews have been among
the leading opponents of the Communists and have rejected the
Communist conception of collective guilt and punishment of inno-
cent and guilty alike. But, being human, many Jews are as putty
in the hands of the Communists, who appeal to their desire for
revenge in order to soften up Europe for Soviet conquest.
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE
12
The Communists have likewise successfully appealed to the
hatred of the Poles, the Czechs, and others who suffered at Ger-
man hands, using this passion as a means to deliver the “liber-
ated” peoples into Stalin’s hands. Thus the Czechs, who expropri-
ated and expelled the three million people of the Sudetenland, are
today themselves being converted into Stalin’s serfs in their own
country.
If the influence of the Communists today were confined to those
who still believe that the Soviet Union is a “peace loving democ-
racy,” it would be negligible. It is the cleverness of the Communists
and their sympathizers and dupes in appealing to our irrational
and destructive impulses which is weakening the democratic world.
Stalin is in the enviable position of having two hands to use for
the destruction of the free world. As head of the Russian State
he is offering the German people the opportunity to revenge them-
selves on the West by allying themselves with Soviet Russia. Hop-
ing to harness German nationalism to his chariot, he gives former
Nazis honorable and well-paid positions in the German Commu-
nist “police” forces which are in fact an army, and in the Com-
munist universities and administrative offices of the Soviet zone.
Soviet Russia’s appeal today in Germany is mainly addressed to
former Nazis who are welcomed into the ranks of their ideological
brothers in the Communist party.
At the same time, as “pope” of the Communist “church,” which
is supposed to transcend national barriers, Stalin instructs the
faithful in other lands to demand the implementation of policies
calculated to drive the Germans to side with Soviet Russia because
they despair of ever being allowed to earn a living under Western
military occupation.
This double game would be too obvious to be successful, were it
not for the influential writers, radio commentators, professors, and
other molders of public opinion who have allowed themselves to
be influenced by the Communists, either because they are ignorant,
or because they are ambitious, or because of the skill of the Com-
munists in playing upon national and racial hatreds and keeping
alive the passions engendered by the recent war. The American
people would by now have learned the self-defeating nature of
United States policy toward Germany, were it not for the influence
of Communist sympathizers, spread in manifold and subtle ways
in newspapers, periodicals, and books; by popular lectures and the
teachings of university professors; among Senators, Congressmen,
ROAD TO WAR 13
and businessmen fearful of the stigma of red-baiting attached to
those who question the Communist definition of “liberalism” and
“progress.”
The Communists and their hangers-on have succeeded in con-
vincing a large number of Americans that justice and mercy are
“reactionary,” and sympathy for the underdog a sign of “fascist
sympathies.” They almost succeeded in convincing a majority of
Americans that vengeance on the defeated, even at the cost of im-
posing a crushing burden on the American taxpayer, is the way to
secure peace.
Communist influence, so strong in the Roosevelt era, has been
largely responsible for our treatment of Germany, and our repeti-
tion in exaggerated form of the mistakes made by France and Eng-
land after World War I. Nor is this influence now dead, in spite
of the growing awareness of the American people of the danger it
constitutes.
French influence has reinforced that of the Communists to
convince the American people that Germany should be kept dis-
armed and deprived of liberty and sufficient industrial capacity to
exist without American subsidies—a policy which must eventually
succeed in forcing the Germans to side with Soviet Russia.
We have not only, once again, imposed a crushing reparations bur-
den on the German people. This time we have also deprived an
already overpopulated Germany of the territory without which her
people cannot be fed, and of the industries which could produce
the exports with which to buy the food otherwise unobtainable.
Not satisfied with having put Russia in direct control of Eastern
Germany which formerly supplied Western Germany with food,
we agreed to the expulsion of more than twelve million Germans
from Silesia, which we gave to Poland; from the Sudetenland in-
habited by Germans for centuries past; and from Yugoslavia and
other East European countries with minorities of German “racial”
origin.
If ever the history of our times comes to be written by scholars
free of national prejudices, the “crimes against humanity” com-
mitted by the victors of the second World War of the twentieth
century A.D., will appear as equal to those committed by the Nazis.
For an objective observer of the “crimes, follies, and cruelties of
mankind” cannot deny that the expropriations and expulsion from
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE
14
their homes of millions of people for the sole crime of belonging
to the German “race” was an atrocity comparable with the exter-
mination of the Jews and the massacres of the Poles and Russians
by the Nazis. The women and children who died of hunger and
cold on the long trek from Silesia and the Sudetenland to what re-
mained of the German Reich, may have thought that a quick death
in a gas chamber would have been comparatively merciful.
Nor will that mythical person, the historian of the future, when
he comes to draw up the balance sheet between Nazi crimes and
those of their conquerors, fail to register against the democracies
our decision to halt our armies on the Elbe in order to allow the
Red Army to sack and ravish Berlin.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery no one ever paid a
higher compliment to the Nazis than their conquerors.
Instead of acting according to the democratic principles we had
gone to war to preserve, we tore up the Atlantic Charter and copied
the Nazis in our repudiation of international law.
Instead of demonstrating our belief in the Christian and liberal
principles which had made America the strongest power in the
world, we reaffirmed the Nazi doctrine that “might makes right.”
Instead of showing the Germans that Hitler’s racial theories were
both wrong and ridiculous, we ourselves assumed the role of a mas-
ter race. Instead of establishing a rule of law according to which
individuals are punished only for the crimes they themselves have
committed, and only after proof of their guilt has been established,
we have indicted the whole German nation for Hitler’s crimes.
We told the cold and hungry Germans in the cities shattered by
our “obliteration” bombing that they could expect neither justice
nor mercy, but that although we had disenfranchised them as pun-
ishment for Nazi crimes, we would teach them to love democracy.
Instead of recognizing that their “unconditional surrender” put
us under a moral and legal obligation to ensure a fair deal for the
German people, we did exactly the opposite. We proclaimed at
Nuremberg that we no longer considered ourselves bound by the
Hague or Geneva conventions because Germany had surrendered
unconditionally, but that we would punish all Germans for having
similarly disregarded international law when they were the victors.
The original directives, given to the United States occupation
forces ordered them to do nothing to revive the German economy,
and disclaimed all responsibility for the feeding of the conquered,
although we had ourselves insisted during the war that Germany
ROAD TO WAR 15
must provide enough food for the people of the countries she had
occupied, however impossible this was, owing to our blockade. And
it was agreed at Potsdam that the victors were entitled to exact
reparations in kind in the form of forced labor—a provision taken
full advantage of by the Russians who have held millions of pris-
oners of war as slave laborers and conscripted men and women in
their zone to work in chain gangs or concentration camps.
The soldiers of the United States were told that they were en-
tering Germany not as liberators but as conquerors. The task of the
occupation forces was conceived of as entirely negative. It was to
demilitarize, denazify, decentralize, and deindustrialize the defeated
enemy country. Nothing was to be done to make the Germans be-
lieve that the victory of the democracies offered freedom, hope, or
justice. Instead, we proceeded to teach the Germans that their dead
Führer had been right in saying that if Germany failed to conquer
she would be destroyed. “Woe to the vanquished” was our motto
as it had been Hitler’s.
For three years after their unconditional surrender we kept the
Germans on rations little or no larger than those in Nazi concentra-
tion camps. All Germans, even those who emerged from Hitler’s
prisons, were starved and humiliated.
Germans were forbidden on pain of imprisonment to criticize
the Soviet Union or complain of its inhuman treatment of those
we had delivered over to the Communist terror. American and
German Communists and fellow travelers were installed in influen-
tial positions in the Military Government, in the German state and
town administrations, on denazification boards, and as newspaper
editors and managers of radio stations. We did our best to convince
the Germans that we had no objection to totalitarian doctrines and
practices so long as they served the interests of Soviet Russia in-
stead of those of German nationalism.
We not only made a mockery of our democratic professions by
the power and influence we accorded to both American and Ger-
man Communists, we also taught American youth to abjure the
principles the American people had been told they were fighting to
preserve.
American soldiers on entering Germany were given indoctrina-
tion courses in hatred, and taught to have no mercy or pity in deal-
ing with the wicked German “race,” just as young Nazis had been
taught to hate and abhor the Jews. “The Morgenthau Plan,” ap-
proved of by President Roosevelt at Quebec, was the basis of the
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE
16
Army’s notorious order JCS 1067 which laid down the pattern of
our original occupation policy. The Morgenthau Plan for the
pastoralization of Germany, had it been carried out, would have
constituted the greatest act of genocide perpetrated in modern
times. The Germans would have been deprived of almost all their
industries, and, since their soil is incapable of supporting more
than the present agricultural population, at least thirty million peo-
ple would have died of starvation.
The humanitarian scruples of the American people prevented
the execution of this infamous plan. Unfortunately, however, JSC
1067 remained as the textbook of our occupation forces until 1947.
According to this Army order issued to General Eisenhower in
April 1945, “no steps looking toward the economic rehabilitation
of Germany or designed to maintain or strengthen the German
economy” were to be taken. Military Government was explicitly
instructed to “prohibit and prevent” production in a long and com-
prehensive list of industries.
The food consumption of the German people was to be held
down to a minimum, with “surpluses” made available to the occu-
pying forces and displaced persons. With a total disregard of the
fact that a Germany deprived of her eastern bread basket by the
Russian occupation and by the Polish seizure of Silesia had no pos-
sibility of feeding herself even at a near-starvation level, it was de-
creed that ration scales should be set low enough to permit the use
of “net surpluses” for the sustenance of the occupation forces and
displaced persons and for export.
Army order JCS 1067 explicitly states that “Germany will not be
occupied for the purpose of liberation, but as a defeated enemy na-
tion.” It went on to say that reparations and restitutions were to be
exacted, and no political activity permitted. “Fraternization” with
the enemy was strictly forbidden. We were determined to out-Nazi
the Nazis in our own treatment of the conquered.
American soldiers were threatened with punishment should they
behave like Americans and aid the destitute and helpless. Kindness,
even to German children, was held to be a misdemeanor. GI’s were
forbidden to take a morsel of food off their plates to give to the
starving, and mess sergeants were instructed to throw away food
left over, not to let any Germans have it. Even the gift of coffee
grounds to the Germans was forbidden.
Not only was charity forbidden and pity regarded as un-American,
ROAD TO WAR 17
GI’s and officers, if not positively encouraged to loot, were in no
way discouraged from committing the same excesses as the Russians
and French. Today the verb “liberate” has become an army collo-
quialism for stealing.
Since every army contains a percentage of gangsters and criminal
elements, there is always some looting in an occupied enemy coun-
try and a certain amount of brutal mishandling of the civilian pop-
ulation. The instructions given by Washington to the United States
Army positively encouraged the licentious and brutal minority and
penalized the decent, law abiding, and humane majority.
It is to the credit of the American people that in spite of the
Roosevelt-Morgenthau directives, put into operation by General
Eisenhower without protest, large numbers of American soldiers
insisted on behaving like Christian gentlemen. Many succored the
hungry and defenseless Germans in spite of the regulations against
it. Others were impelled by the impulse which in all ages has broken
the barriers between conquerors and conquered.
Americans in the occupation forces might enjoy the status of
“sons of heaven,” but like the angels they looked upon the daugh-
ters of earth and saw that they were fair. It was impossible to pre-
vent GI’s who were far from home and sick of war to carry the de-
mands of vengeance to the extent of rejecting association with
ill-fed but neat German women or refusing candy to starving Ger-
man children. Neither army regulations nor the propaganda of
hatred in the American press could prevent American soldiers from
liking and associating with German women, who although they
were driven by hunger to become prostitutes, preserved a certain
innate decency, and by responding to kindness with affection and
loyalty, often won the love of American boys who had started out
only to enjoy the pleasures which war affords to the victors.
Because of the natural kindness of the Americans, the call of
human nature, and the qualities of German women, the inhuman
and unrealistic directives given by Washington to the United States
occupation forces were from the beginning more honored in the
breach than in observance.
The futility of telling Americans to act like Nazis, Communists,
or robots led at an early stage to the cancellation of the nonfrater-
nization decrees.
Meanwhile, the utter absurdity of the Morgenthau Plan and the
high cost of vengeance was becoming obvious in America.
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE
18
Far from realizing “surpluses,” Western Germany had to be sup-
plied with American food to prevent “disease and unrest” danger-
ous to the occupation forces.
Americans had not been sufficiently indoctrinated with totalita-
rian concepts of collective punishment to be inflicted on innocent
and guilty alike to enable them to condemn millions of people to
death by starvation, even if this policy had not involved risks to the
occupation forces. Humanitarian sentiment was reinforced by the
dangers to which American soldiers were exposed. Germs disregard
racial barriers or those dividing “good” and “bad” nations, and it
was also realized that starving people might prefer a quick death
by attacking their conquerors to a slow lingering one. So the Ameri-
can taxpayer was called upon to provide just enough food to keep
the Germans alive and submissive and to prevent epidemics. Grad-
ually also, the influence of so-called liberals and “New Deal” advo-
cates of the theory that we should love Communists and hate all
Germans, declined.
The original pattern of the United States occupation had been
set at a time when propaganda had convinced a large number of
Americans that Soviet Russia is a “peace-loving” power and an ex-
ample of a “new and better” democratic way of life, and had in-
duced the majority of Americans to believe that Stalin could be
trusted to honor his commitments.
After the Soviet Government made it increasingly obvious that it
was irrevocably hostile to the Western democracies and had no
more intention of observing its treaties with us than those it had
formerly signed with its European neighbors, the most loving
“friends of the Soviet Union” were compelled to think again. Those
who were not Communists were forced to admit that the assump-
tions on which United States policy had been based since 1941
might conceivably be false. As the menace of Soviet aggression
grew, the assumption that the Germans were the root of all evil
crumbled. As it became more and more apparent that the Soviet
Union menaced the whole world, it became clear that what was
left of Europe must be defended against Russia even at the cost of
forgiving the German people for their error in following Nazi lead-
ership, and admitting them into the community of free Western
nations.
Understanding of the terrible present danger which Communism
ROAD TO WAR 19
constitutes to freedom everywhere in the world, combined with the
American taxpayers’ realization of the cost of vengeance, combined
to modify our German policy. The Marshall Plan for the recon-
struction of Europe, which included Germany as the recipient of
American ECA assistance, took the place of the Morgenthau Plan
for “keeping Germany in chains and Europe in rags.”
The need for a complete repudiation of the totalitarian concepts
which originally inspired our occupation policy is not, however,
recognized even today.
As soon as I arrived in Germany in August 1948 I realized that
the assumption at home that the Marshall Plan has completely
superseded the Morgenthau Plan is a delusion. United States policy
had changed, and compared to the first years of the occupation it
had become humane and intelligent. But the basic pattern re-
mained the same.
The adherents of the Morgenthau Plan, although they no longer
directed United States occupation policies, still influenced it and
could be found occupying important positions in Military Govern-
ment. The Communists and their sympathizers were no longer per-
mitted to hold leading positions in Germany; but they were still
able to work through so-called liberals who have been persuaded
that advocacy of a humane and constructive policy in Germany is
a sign of reactionary sympathies.
Waning Communist influence has been reinforced by French in-
transigeance and the British desire to eliminate German competi-
tion in the markets of the world. Thus dismantlement and other
measures which debilitate Germany, weaken Europe, place ever in-
creasing burdens on America, and pave the way for a Communist
conquest of the world, are still being implemented.
This book does not attempt to deal with all aspects of the Ger-
man problem. It aims only to show the American people the cost
of vengeance, now and in the future. That cost cannot be appraised
only in economic terms. The moral, political, and military conse-
quences of denying to the Germans, not only liberty, but also the
right to earn a living and the right of self-defense, may lead to the
destruction of Western civilization, unless America is made aware
in time of the need to implement in Europe the principles which
have made her great.

20
2
The Spirit of Berlin
BERLIN IN THE SUMMER AND FALL OF 1948 REMINDED ME OF SHANG-
hai ten years ago. In China then, as in Germany now, the Ameri-
cans, British, and French were living safely and comfortably while
“the natives” risked their lives against the enemy who was prepar-
ing to attack us in the fullness of time. A decade ago the United
States and Britain had endeavored to maintain “good relations”
with the Japanese aggressors in spite of their Nanking Massacre
and other “crimes against humanity”; and in spite of Japan’s disre-
gard of Western interests in China, her insults, and such hostile
acts as the blockade of the British concession at Tientsin, and the
bombing of the United States gunboat Panay. In Germany we were
trying to reach an understanding with the Soviet Government in
spite of the blockade of Berlin and Moscow’s open proclamation of
bitter enmity toward the Western “capitalist-imperialist” Powers.
In the first years of the Sino-Japanese War, when I was a cor-
respondent in China, America and England, while seeking to pre-
serve their own interests by appeasing Japan and sacrificing China,
treated the Japanese with far greater respect than the Chinese who
were fighting our battles as well as their own. In the Cold War in
Europe, we were trying not to “provoke” the Russians, and were
begging Stalin in Moscow to meet our envoys to discuss the Berlin
Crisis with the same disregard of the interests of the German peo-
ple as we had shown with regard to the Chinese. Just as we had
formerly proffered the hand of friendship to militarist Japan if only
she would refrain from attacking our interests in China, so now we
were assuring the Soviet dictator that we would be delighted to co-
operate with him once again if only he would keep his demands
THE SPIRIT OF BERLIN 21
within reasonable limits. We still held the whole German people
responsible for Hitler’s crimes, while prepared to condone and abet
Stalin’s if only he would not attack us and our friends. We blamed
the Germans for having submitted to Nazi dictatorship, but we
ourselves continued to demonstrate our willingness to renew our
wartime collaboration with Russia’s national socialists.
While treating the representatives of the Soviet dictator with def-
erence, and pleading with Stalin to come to terms permitting us
to embrace him, we continued to regard the democratic leaders of
the Berlin population as inferiors unworthy to sit down with us to
discuss our mutual defense on terms of equality. General Clay and
his staff who had formerly had no scruples in entertaining and being
entertained by the military representatives of Stalin’s bloodstained
tyranny, never met the elected representatives of the Berliners ex-
cept as masters giving orders to their subordinates. True a little
more courtesy has been shown to the Mayor and members of the
Berlin City Council, but there has been no disposition to treat
them as friends.
In Shanghai there had been the International and French con-
cessions where the white people lived in safety with all the con-
veniences, services, and material advantages of a master race, pro-
tected by their own soldiers and the power of their governments,
while the great mass of the Chinese population fought and labored
and starved in the Chinese city. The Japanese had had their own
concession to use as the base for their attack on China, just as the
Russians now had their sector of Berlin from which to operate.
In Berlin there was no native city; the whole town was divided
up among the four “master races,” all enjoying special privileges
comparable to those which the Western Powers and Japan had en-
joyed in China as a result of the “unequal treaties” which gave
them “extraterritorial” rights on Chinese soil. We, the Western
Powers, had won our privileged position in China by aggressive war
and threats; the Germans whom we now treat like the “inferior”
peoples of Asia had got themselves into their present situation by
their failure to aggress successfully.
The whole setup in Berlin was so similar to the one I had known
in Shanghai in the twenties and thirties that I found myself un-
consciously referring to the British, American, French, and Russian
“concessions.” The Germans, commonly referred to by the Ameri-
can Military Government as “the indigenous population,” were as
wretchedly housed and fed and as rightless and defenseless as the
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

22
mass of the Chinese population; and the “conquerors” seemed as
callous in their attitude toward German sufferings as the whites
had been toward “the natives” in India and China in the bad old
days of Western imperialism at the height of its power. Suscepti-
bilities had been hardened by the constant sight of poverty and
hunger and our belief in our own moral superiority.
In China during the war, the Westerners had shown rather more
sympathy for the poorly armed Chinese attempting to resist Japan
than the majority of Americans and British in Berlin showed
toward the Germans, part of whose country was already under So-
viet Russia’s Iron Heel by our consent. Then as now we wanted to
“do business” with the aggressors, but we had at least sympathized
with the Chinese and cheered them on to fight. The Chinese were
not “enemy nationals,” so it was correct to be sorry for them and
to collect money for their relief. On the other hand the Chinese
are not white, so Washington and London never considered Japa-
nese aggression against China as nearly so wicked as German ag-
gression in Europe.
When I came from China to the United States in 1938, I found
there was infinitely greater indignation over the rape of Czecho-
slovakia than over Japan’s partial conquest of China with the aid of
the American and British war materials she was permitted to buy
in huge quantities.
Sun Yat-sen described the China of the nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries as a “subcolony,” meaning that his country
was in an even worse situation than a colony, since all the Western
Powers together with Russia and Japan had exploited and op-
pressed China, while no one of them was responsible for her
defense. Today it seemed to me that Germany was in much the
same situation. Her conquerors, while quarreling among them-
selves, jointly hold Germany down. Her people, deprived of all
means of self-defense, have no guarantee that the West will defend
them from Soviet aggression; and they fear that at any moment
Russia and the Western Powers may resurrect the Yalta and Pots-
dam agreements for their mutual benefit. The Germans had ample
proof in the first years of the occupation that democratic principles
were of little or no importance to any of their conquerors, and that
it is only Stalin’s greed and openly declared hostility toward Amer-
ica which has caused the rift between the Eastern and Western
victors.
The Germans in Berlin and in the Western zones were being
THE SPIRIT OF BERLIN 23
permitted to raise their heads again only because their masters were
at odds. They knew only too well that should Stalin choose to make
concessions to the Western Powers they, the conquered, would
once again be crushed, and might once again be forced by the
Western occupying Powers to pretend that Communists are demo-
crats and to admit Stalin’s German stooges into a “coalition gov-
ernment.”
In their defenseless situation the Berliners might have been ex-
pected to resign themselves fatalistically to whatever blows fate
still held in store for them. Instead, they were drawing upon spir-
itual forces, the very existence of which had been denied during
the thirteen years of Nazi domination. They were displaying greater
courage and fortitude in adversity than in the days of Hitler’s
power and glory. Alone among the peoples of Europe close to the
terrifying power of Soviet Russia, the Berliners were defying it.
Perhaps it is true on earth as in heaven that the last shall be first
and the first last. France, who had once been in the forefront of
the struggle for liberty, now seemed to be lagging behind Germany
in the will and courage to resist tyranny. The French, who ten years
ago had asked, “Why die for Danzig?” were now saying, “What,
die for Berlin!” Yet the Berliners, ex-enemy nationals as they are,
were surely right in believing that if the Western Powers failed
this time to recognize the indivisibility of Europe, the need to
defend principles as well as self-interest, and the call of the un-
armed millions in Germany and Eastern Europe endeavoring to
resist the Communist terror, not all the arms and atom bombs
manufactured in America would later on be able to save our civ-
ilization.
Without weapons, hungry, and in rags, living in squalor in the
bomb-shattered buildings of their once proud city, and well aware
that the Western Powers would not risk a clash with the Soviets
to protect them from “arrest” or kidnapping by the Communists
even in the Western sectors of the city, the people of Berlin re-
fused to be cowed.
They were being encouraged in their resolution by General Clay,
who, although his attitude towards the Germans was still that of
a conqueror, had shown a bold front toward Stalin and was credited
with having prevented the State Department from giving way to
the Soviets when they started the blockade. It was said that Clay
wanted to run an armored convoy through at the outset but had
been held back by Washington as well as by the British and
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

24
French. While the Berlin Mayor and the city councilors resented
the cavalier treatment they too often received at the hands of the
Military Government, they realized that General Clay was mainly
responsible for the air lift and the preservation of a free Berlin.
It was my impression that on the whole, American military men
behaved better toward the Germans and had more sympathy and
respect for them than the civilians. There was still a good sprinkling
of “Morgenthau Boys” among the civilian officials in the economic,
financial, and information sections of the Military Government;
and it is in any case a truism that those who fight wars do less
hating than the civilians who have never learned to respect a brave
enemy.
Many United States officers, air-force pilots, and GI’s openly
proclaimed their admiration for the courage of the Berliners. Colo-
nel Babcock, Deputy Commandant in Berlin, said to me in August:
“The courage of these people is really something to wonder at.
The City Council members risk their lives and liberty, each time
they go to a meeting, since the Stadthaus (“City hall”) is in the
Russian sector and we can give them no protection there.”
I realized how true this had become, for, the day before, I had
met Jeanette Wolff, a woman Social-Democratic leader who had
been manhandled by the Communists on her way home from a
meeting of the Council, and been called a “dirty Jew” by Stalin’s
bullies. She had escaped serious injury only because a Soviet sector
policeman, who had known her when they were together in one of
Hitler’s concentration camps, protected her and led her to safety.
As against the encouragement they were receiving from Mil-
itary Government, the Berliners had to reckon not only with the
anti-German sentiment still spread in America by most of the press,
but also with the influence of such advocates of appeasement as
Walter Lippmann and Sumner Welles. The extent of this influence
was exaggerated in Germany because the New York Herald Trib-
une was the only stateside daily newspaper with a European edi-
tion, and because the German Communist press seized upon
Lippmann’s and Sumner Welles’s columns as evidence of the lack
of support in the United States for General Clay’s bold stand in
Berlin.
At a meeting I attended in Berlin at America House, a German
newspaper editor told a joke then current in the city: A telegram
had been dispatched to Washington by a mass meeting of Berlin
THE SPIRIT OF BERLIN 25
citizens saying: “Take courage, don’t be afraid and give way to
Russian threats. We are a hundred per cent behind you!”
This witticism contained a substantial truth. It was in fact the
courage of the Berlin population and their unwavering support of
the stand against Russia at the cost of acute hardship, which had
given the United States the backing it required to hold on in Berlin.
It was interesting in Berlin to witness the “conversion” of many
visitors. However great their resistance to the idea on their arrival,
many of them left at least partially convinced that the capital of
Hitler’s infamous Third Reich has been transformed into the focus
of resistance to total tyranny. This seeming paradox is not only the
result of the rapid tempo of history in our times. It also must be
remembered that in the tragic record of Hitler’s rise to power in
Germany, Berlin was conspicuous for its anti-Nazi vote, and suc-
cumbed only after the Communists had made common cause with
the Nazis to destroy German democracy.
It seemed to me, in August and September 1948, and even more
forcibly at the end of November when darkness and cold were
adding to the misery of the inhabitants, that a phoenix had arisen
from the ashes of the ruined city. A new resolute, hardened, and
purified democratic movement was inspiring the unarmed people
of Berlin to resist Soviet Russia’s armed might with a courage un-
equaled anywhere else in Europe. German bravery, discipline, and
singleness of purpose were at last, to judge from Berlin, being di-
rected toward the defense, instead of the destruction, of Western
civilization.
The unanimity of the Berlin population, in contrast to the divi-
sions which weaken the democratic forces in France and even in
Britain, is the more remarkable because the Germans are receiving
less encouragement and help from America than any other Euro-
pean country. Although it is true that the United States has saved
the German people from mass starvation, they have been at the
end of the line in the allocation of food and raw-material subsidies
from America. Even more important is the fact that the Germans
still lack the moral support they would derive from being accepted
as fighting allies in the American-led opposition to Communist
aggression. Although they are in the front line of the world-wide
struggle against Communist tyranny, the Germans are still suspect
for their former acceptance of Nazi leadership. While struggling
to be free, they drag the chains with which the democracies have
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

26
shackled them as punishment for Hitler’s crimes. Nevertheless the
Germans in Berlin were providing a lesson for all Europe, and in
particular for divided and frightened France. They were risking
their lives for liberty, while others only talked about their devotion
to democracy.
The Germans, it seemed, have learned through bitter experience
that the battle today is not one between different economic sys-
tems, or between classes or even nations, but one for or against the
basic values of Western civilization. A nation whose best spirits
recognize that it has sinned mightily was demonstrating in Berlin
that it now has greater courage in resisting evil than others who
have never been tempted, and have never learned what are the
consequences of succumbing to a dictatorship which repudiates all
moral values.
“We know, now,” a young German said to me, “that in the long
run power depends upon the extent to which it is based on spiritual
and moral values. Everything which Germans ever won by the
sword is lost; our only permanent gains have been those won by
moral force. Frederick the Great, Bismarck, and Hitler gave us noth-
ing which has not passed away, but the influence of Luther and the
Reformation have been permanent.”
The man who said this to me, Rainer Hildebrandt, is not a paci-
fist. Nor did he think that his own country was alone guilty of
“crimes against humanity.” To him it seemed that Western civili-
zation as a whole was on trial, and had failed so far to meet the test
of the machine age and of a world in which the misery of one peo-
ple affects all others.
“The crisis in Berlin,” he said, “is an explosion of all the evils
which evoked the previous totalitarianism and now threatens us
with the endless night of Communist domination.”
Hildebrandt was one of several Germans I met whose ancestry
was partly Jewish. They were treated as second- or third-class citi-
zens by the Nazis and never shared, nor, wished to share, in the
fruits of Hitler’s victories, but they have identified themselves with
the German nation in the hour of its defeat and humiliation. He
combined an abiding love for the country of his birth with the in-
ternational and humanitarian outlook of the most idealistic Jews.
Thin to the point of emaciation, with classically perfect features
and eyes which are both brilliantly intelligent and kind, Rainer
THE SPIRIT OF BERLIN 27
Hildebrandt has a vision which transcends nationality and race,
burning energy and a zeal for “righteousness” in the Biblical sense
of that almost forgotten word.
Hildebrandt had been a friend of the younger Haushofer who
was executed for his part in the July Twentieth plot against Hitler
and he has written a book for a Swiss publisher on the German re-
sistance movement. He told me that prior to the Soviet occupation
he had been among those Germans who had imagined that the
Russians would liberate them. Today, having met the Communists
face to face, having witnessed the horrible atrocities they commit-
ted when they took Berlin, and knowing all about the concentra-
tion camps in the Eastern zone and in Russia, he is one of the most
fearless and active anti-Communists in Germany. He is in constant
touch with the resistance movement in Russian-occupied Germany
and has organized help for the neglected victims of Communism
who escape to Berlin from the lands under Soviet domination.
When I first met him Hildebrandt was trying to get permission
from the Military Government to organize an international league
to help the victims of Communism on the same lines as the asso-
ciations formed to help the victims of Nazi terror in prewar days.
Failing to obtain American or British support, withheld presumably
in the interests of lingering hopes of an accord with Stalin, Hilde-
brandt has on his own initiative started an organization called
“Kampfgruppe gegen Unmenschlichkeit” (“Action Group against
Inhumanity”).
The following is an extract from a speech he delivered in Berlin:
Decency requires that we take up this fight. We have a responsi-
bility toward ourselves and toward the millions of people in Soviet con-
centration camps. We want peace, but we do not speak the word peace
if it means a continuation of the Cold War. We want a peace which
presupposes freedom and respect for human values; a peace which will
eliminate the internal as well as external causes of war. The two great
motive forces of history are, on the one hand, fear, a bad conscience,
and lust for power; on the other hand, responsibility, confidence, broth-
erhood. These two motors cannot run side by side. The road grows
ever narrower, the course which humanity takes will be determined by
whichever car takes the lead. If the first car draws ahead, the other will
never be able to pass it; a curtain will descend upon us heavier than
the Iron Curtain, and the darkest word in the history of the world will
have been spoken : “Too late.”
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

28
The reaffirmation of spiritual values, faith in the spirit of man,
and readiness to die for liberty; in a word, recognition of the im-
portance of the intangibles which decide the fate of civilizations
was, it seemed, the explanation for the spirit of hope which per-
vaded the besieged city of Berlin.
Reading the stateside press was as depressing as the bombed and
fire-gutted buildings of Berlin which stretch mile after mile in every
sector of the city. One had an unhappy feeling that the role of the
Germans and that of the victorious and powerful democracies had
been reversed. For, to judge by most of the American and British
newspaper reports and commentaries, the conflict in Berlin was re-
garded in terms of pure power politics; as if the city where West
meets East was just a point on the map, worth so much or so little
as a bargaining counter in an American-Russian conflict.
It was more than a little ironic to read the comments of Walter
Lippmann, Sumner Welles, and others whose writings were quoted
almost daily in the Russian-licensed German press. The same writ-
ers who were advocating a deal with Russia which would involve
extinction of the lamp of freedom lighted in Berlin, were reproving
General Clay for standing up to Russia instead of “concentrating
upon the conversion of the German spirit to individual freedom
and democracy”!
How was it possible, one thought in Berlin, that anyone could
still imagine that the punishment of opinion by denazification
courts and penalties, “decartelization,” land reform, or the preach-
ing of democracy would decide the issue in Germany? How was it
that these and many other writers failed to see that it was example,
deeds, our own attitude in the face of totalitarian aggression, and
our support and protection of the fighting democrats in Berlin
which were all-important? That if we should decide to retire from
the battle for the sake of a temporary truce in the Cold War, and
leave the Berliners to be overwhelmed by the Soviet Union, it
might never again be possible to enlist the German people on our
side; and that the resistance movements in Poland, Czechoslovakia
and other Soviet satellite countries would be dealt a mortal blow.
If we should once again appease Russia and betray those who
trusted in our promise not to abandon Berlin, the unholy alliance
of Communists and Nazis—so evident in Berlin where even the
Chief of the Russian Sector Police, the notorious Markgraf, is a
former prominent Nazi—would be able to destroy the democratic
movement of infinite promise born in this ruined city. Germany
THE SPIRIT OF BERLIN 29
might then once again be driven to repudiate Western civilization
instead of becoming a bulwark for its defense.
As one woman Social Democrat said to me during the Moscow
negotiations, “You can’t treat people like pawns in a chess game to
be moved forward, encouraged to fight for freedom against tyranny
while America is at odds with Russia, and then sacrificed in another
move to appease Russia. If you once again come to terms with
Stalin over our heads and at our expense, you will never again be
able to evoke the spirit which is now keeping us on your side in
spite of Russia’s greater strength and the hunger and terror Com-
munism uses to break men’s spirits.”
As in a performance of Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark,
the role of the chief protagonists in the drama was omitted in much
of the American comment on Berlin. Occasional tributes were paid
to the courage and endurance of the Berliners who were daily risk-
ing their liberty or their lives by defying the Soviets in the Eastern
sectors of the city. But the effect on them and all the Germans of
the decisions being arrived at over their heads in Moscow, Wash-
ington, London, or Paris, was barely mentioned. The elected rep-
resentatives of the Berliners in their City Council were not even
allowed to participate as advisors in the abortive currency nego-
tiations which began in Berlin in September. We were still the
conquerors and the Germans the conquered. While still vainly prof-
fering the hand of friendship to the Russian dictator, we still re-
fused to treat as allies even those Germans who were daily proving
the reality of their democratic professions.
The German people have suffered too much not to be realists.
Ready as many of them were at the beginning of the occupation
to atone for the sins of the Nazis, they naturally refuse to accept
the thesis that other nations should be allowed to commit crimes
against humanity with impunity. They have begun to ask questions
about our deals with the dictators, and our failures to take action
against the Communists.
The Berlin weekly, Sie, stated on August 22:
We do not understand why the Communists are allowed to act ac-
cording to the old maxim, Might is Right, which they have reformu-
lated as, Arrogance Wins. We do not understand why Lübeck (in the
British zone) continues to supply the Communist zone with electricity
while tormenting darkness reigns in the Western sectors of Berlin. We
do not understand why the gangster Markgraf who is wanted by the
prosecutor (for war crimes) can arrest people while his employees are
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

30
not arrested when they come into the Western sectors. We do not
understand why what was regarded yesterday as the collective guilt of
the German people, namely tolerance of SA-like gangsterism, today
passes as “conciliation.”
When I returned to Berlin at the end of November, more ques-
tions were being asked. Why were the British exporting planes and
machinery to Soviet Russia and even repairing the Red Army’s
transport in the British sector of Berlin? Why were the French sur-
reptitiously exporting machinery from Berlin to Russia? Why was
the United Nations in Paris failing to condemn the Soviet blockade
of Berlin—surely an obvious “crime against humanity”? Why was
machinery still being dismantled and sent to Czechoslovakia and
other Soviet satellite countries from the Western zones?
I had never thought of the Olympic games as of great impor-
tance, but Germans of all classes in Berlin in August 1948 asked me
how we justified the exclusion of German athletes from the games
being held that summer in England, although the very same people,
Lord Vansittart among them, who today held all Germans respon-
sible for Nazi atrocities had themselves come to Berlin in 1936 to
participate as Hitler’s guests in the Olympiad of that year.
To the Berliners our former readiness to “fraternize” with the
Nazis was on a par with our more recent willingness to accept the
Soviet Union as a “democratic” state and join hands with Stalin
in depriving all people of German race of liberty, property, and the
pursuit of happiness. Why should only Germans be punished and
others go scot free?
In spite of all the questions and doubts about our good faith, the
Berliners were still holding on. Indeed the most remarkable and
significant fact, it seemed to me, was that neither our long-con-
tinued appeasement policy toward Russia, nor our treatment of the
Germans as a conquered people without rights, nor our original
identification of Communism with democracy, had failed to destroy
all faith in Western professions and principles.
Here among the ruins and the rubble, among a great people
brought down to an Asiatic level of subsistence by war and defeat
and the universal abhorrence of Nazi crimes which has led us to
treat all Germans as deserving of punishment; here where the chil-
dren went ragged and barefoot and left cold schoolrooms to wait in
dark homes for their mothers to return from work—work like that
of Chinese coolies—stacking bricks, pulling heavy loads along the
THE SPIRIT OF BERLIN 31
streets, and doing a man’s heavy labor on the airfields; here, in spite
of hunger and humiliation and back-breaking labor, one found, not
despair, hatred of the East and West alike, and a futile lust for
revenge, not nihilism or a cynical defeatism and self-seeking, but a
stubborn faith in the values of Western civilization which the
Nazis had denied and Western occupation policies have done little
to revive.
In the city where the anti-Nazis had fought hardest, but not
hard enough, to prevent Hitler’s coming to power, one sensed in
every word and deed, not only of the Mayor and the City Council,
but of the mass of people, a determination never to let it happen
again.
A student from the port of Rostock in the Russian zone, who
came to see me in Berlin in September, said that the German
workers there would prefer war, even if it meant death, to the
misery of their life under the Communists. He also told me how
depressing it was to hear every night on the radio that the Western
Powers were still negotiating in Moscow, although they had said
originally that they wouldn’t negotiate until the Berlin blockade
was lifted. “We are allowed no other papers but the Russian-licensed
ones,” he said, “and it is not encouraging to see the headlines about
‘The great defeat of America’ and to read how you are begging
Stalin to talk to you and come to terms.”
I talked to many other visitors and refugees from the Soviet zone,
to returned prisoners of war from Russia, and to several people who
had escaped, or been released, from the concentration camps at
Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen in the Soviet zone, where hundreds
of thousands of Germans are today even worse treated than Hitler’s
victims in the same camps. I met others who were ostensibly free,
but to whom life in Russian-occupied Germany seemed little better
than prison. One and all they echoed the saying I heard everywhere
in Berlin: “Better a horrible end, than horror without end.”
In America, “Give me liberty or give me death,” is only an echo
from the past, without urgent appeal for people who take freedom
for granted. But the liberties men fought and died for a century
and a half ago are felt to be worth more than life by those who
live in or near the Russian zone, and have experienced a servitude
far more terrible than any which formerly existed in Europe under
its Kings.
The word democracy has been too debased by identification with
communism for it to be heard often in Berlin. An older, cleaner
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

32
word is used by the people and their leaders: freedom. At the great
demonstration I witnessed on August 26, held outside the gaunt,
fire-gutted Reichstag building after the Communist storm troopers
and police had driven the City Council out of the Stadthaus in the
Russian sector, the keynote of all the speeches was “freedom.”
This was the word which roused tumultuous applause among the
hungry, shabby multitude.
The faces of all the people around me showed signs of privation
and sorrow. Everyone, from the skinny children to the women old
before their time, might have been expected to care more for prom-
ises of bread and peace. But it was not until a speaker said, “The
fight is not only for Berlin but for freedom everywhere,” that the
tired sad faces lit up and the applause rang out.
“We are unarmed but our spirit is stronger than theirs,” said
Ernst Reuter, the elected Mayor of Berlin who was prevented from
taking office by the Russians. And the eyes of the crowd turned
toward the Russian soldiers standing guard close by at the Soviet
War Memorial.
The cynic may say that the Berliners are not democrats, that they
are merely fearful of the Russian terror which every one of them
has experienced in one form or another. True, that tragedy has
touched every German one speaks to in Berlin, whether it is the
women raped by the Soviet soldiers; the mothers whose husbands
or sons were massacred in the Russian sack of the city or are still
held as slave laborers in Soviet mines or factories; the families
whose homes were burnt over their heads by the Russians; or those
who have recently had someone arrested by the Communists and
sent to the dread concentration camps at Buchenwald and Sachsen-
hausen. Yet Reuter that day had the crowd with him when he said:
“If the Russian people were free to speak, they would be fighting
together with us for liberty.”
Another popular speaker, the lovely and gracious Frau Annadora
Leber, whose Alsatian husband was killed by the Nazis, declared
at an open-air meeting I attended in Spandau: “Not every Russian
is responsible for the crimes of those who rule over him. We all
know that some Russians have shown us kindnesses. They are vic-
tims of the same system which oppresses us in the Eastern zone
and now threatens all Berlin. Germany must become part of the
Western world again. To win freedom, we must endure starvation
and face death.”
And she continued with these words of warning: “In the depres-
THE SPIRIT OF BERLIN 33
sion years many of you said: ‘it couldn’t be worse,’ but you found
out later that under the Nazis it eventually became far worse. Now
in spite of our terrible difficulties with food—no Berlin woman
knows from day to day how she will be able to feed her family—
we know that it would be even worse than now if the Russians
ruled over us. We know that we would be taken away to slave labor
camps and be ruled over by the same methods the Nazis used. The
new PG’s* (Communists) are the same as the old PG’s (Nazis).”
Every speech I heard and every talk I had with Germans of all
kinds in Berlin, convinced me that it is not only the close and ever
present fear of Russia which inspires the German resistance to com-
munism. It is as much their experience under the Nazis, and their
realization that communism means a repetition of it, which holds
the Germans on our side of the Iron Curtain.
Those who have experienced life under a totalitarian dictatorship
are better aware of the supreme value of liberty than others who
have never known servitude. This perhaps explains why the Ger-
mans, in spite of their aptitude for a century past in submitting to
authority, are less susceptible today to Communist propaganda
than Americans who have accepted liberty as their birthright and
cannot even imagine what it means to be without it.
The Berliners are regaining their self-respect and that of the
whole German nation by their courage in resisting the Communist
threat to themselves and all Europe. The former enemies of democ-
racy have become its foremost defenders.
“Berlin is not Prague” is more than a patriotic slogan. It ex-
presses the German determination to show the West that those
whom we fought yesterday are more to be relied upon in today’s
world-wide struggle against the totalitarians than some former
allies in whom we put our trust, but whose leaders succumbed
without a struggle to Communist pressure.
In a long talk I had with Ernst Reuter in his house in Berlin,
he said that the feeling in the city was that by a certain kind of
behavior the Germans could redeem themselves and “make it im-
possible for the West to treat us any longer as ‘natives.’ ”
When I asked how it was that, after all they had experienced,
not only under the Nazis, but also under Western occupation, the
Germans had not all become nihilists, Reuter replied: “Today we
have a chance to do something to help ourselves; to struggle in our

* Short for Partei Genossen (“Party Comrades”)
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

34
own defense even though we are unarmed. The most effective rem-
edy for despair is action. Our life has been given meaning again
by our struggle against Communism. Berlin today is proud of
itself. We have won back our self-respect, and we are confident that
eventually we shall also win your respect.”
The war was, however, still too recent for the United States and
Britain to accept the Germans as allies. If the courage of the Ber-
liners had convinced American military men, from generals to GI’s,
that the Germans could become our best allies on the Continent,
sentiment at home, French fears and blindness, and the original
pattern of behavior set by our occupation policies, precluded a
radical change in our attitude toward the Germans. We had made a
half turn since we began to understand that “you can’t do business
with Stalin”; we had begun to revive Western Germany and to set
our faces against further dismantling; and friendly relations with
the German people were now encouraged rather than discouraged.
But we still failed to treat the Germans as equals. We were still
obsessed by the totalitarian concept that some nations are “good”
and “peace-loving” and others wicked and aggressive. We still re-
fused to recognize the fact that people are people everywhere, and
that our primary purpose should be to encourage and support the
truly liberal forces to be found among all peoples.
In besieged Berlin American and British buses, reserved for Al-
lied personnel, still drove around town almost empty, while the
Germans trudged on foot or waited in long queues for the few and
overcrowded streetcars and buses allowed by the Russian blockade.
We “the conquerors” still occupied the best houses, reserving
ample space for ourselves, while the majority of Berliners lived in
squalor in cellars and bomb-wrecked apartments. We still ate to
repletion, drank well, and even had fresh milk imported by air
from Denmark, while Berlin babies had none, and no Germans
except black-marketeers had enough to eat. The demarcation line
between the occupation forces and the “natives” was still applied
even to the lavatories in Military Government offices—some were
labeled only for use by Americans, and others were permitted to
German personnel. We had electric lights eight hours out of
twenty-four, while the Germans had only two hours’ use of current
and only enough gas to boil a kettle of water a day. In some parts
of the Western sectors of the city electric light and gas were avail-
able only at 1 A.M. and tired women who had worked all day had
to rise to cook and wash in the middle of the night; but we could
THE SPIRIT OF BERLIN 35
still dance by electric light till 11 P.M. When winter came our
houses or apartments were warm night and day, but the Germans
had no coal. German hospitals overflowing with patients were in
darkness and lacked medicines and even bandages, but almost
empty American and British hospitals had their lights burning all
night.
The automobile and jeep drivers, and all other Germans, from
clerks to experts, employed by the Military Government were not
only receiving their wages six weeks in arrears, thanks to the con-
trol over the Berlin banks which we had originally given to the
Russians in 1945. They were also receiving only a quarter of their
wages in the new Western marks introduced after currency reform.
The other three-quarters were paid in the Russian marks which
were worth only a fourth of the Western marks we had half-
heartedly brought into Berlin. Appeasement, or what was more po-
litely called the desire “not to provoke” the Russians, had led us
to penalize all the Berliners, including those working for us, by
using the Russian marks as legal tender.
The June currency reform will be discussed in a later chapter.
It is, however, necessary to comment here on the curious policy of
the Finance Office of the Military Government. Having first given
the Russians an excuse for their siege of the city by introducing
the new Western mark, it then refused to bring in a sufficient
quantity to permit the city administration and the Military Gov-
ernment to pay wages and salaries in Deutsche (D) marks. While
flying food into Berlin at tremendous cost, we accepted Russian
marks in payment for it, thus effectively supporting the value of the
Russian sponsored currency.
The Communists had the whip hand over the city administra-
tion, since the banks are in the Russian sector, and the Communists
could withhold the funds necessary to pay wages. They were also in
a position to block the accounts of every factory owner and business
enterprise in the city.
On the other hand, if more D marks had been flown in, more
of them would have fallen into the hands of the Russians to use
for the purchase of the goods they needed from the Western zones.
For, whereas we accepted the Russian mark in payment for the
supplies we flew into the city, the free, or black, market was con-
trolled by the Russians, and D marks were demanded for most
unrationed supplies, such as the meager quantities of fresh fruit
and vegetables and coal which entered the Russian sector of the
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

36
city. D marks were also required for the purchase of the clothing
and household goods which had appeared in the shops following
currency reform. The trouble was, of course, that there was little
of anything to be bought in the Russian zone, which the Soviets
were stripping for their own use. Such few goods, or raw materials
to make them, as could be brought into Berlin through the blockade
had to be paid for with D marks. Naturally the Russians would
not sell anything they controlled for their own paper marks.
In these circumstances it would have been more sensible to give
the food ration free to all workers in the Western sectors than to
take Russian marks in payment for it.
The day I left Berlin on the air lift I was provided with a small,
but symbolic, example of how our attitude toward the Germans
hampers us in the Cold War for Berlin.
While I stood watching the German workers unloading the
plane on which I was to fly to Frankfurt, the United States Air
Force pilot waiting beside me said: “We’ll be delayed at least half
an hour longer beyond our scheduled time, because our cargo, as
you see, is airstrips, and the Germans can’t handle the stuff fast,
not only because it’s so heavy, but because they haven’t got gloves.”
The United States was spending millions of dollars each week
to supply Berlin. “Operation Vittles” is a miracle of American
organization, as I realized to the full while I listened in on the
radio operator’s headphones to the instructions being given every
few seconds to each of the Big or Little “Willies,” which take off
and land at two- to three-minute intervals. A second’s mistake or
miscalculation of time, altitude, or position could be disastrous.
Yet operations can be slowed down, and tired American pilots
compelled to work a fifteen, instead of a normal twelve-hour shift,
because a hundred or so dollars have not been spent to provide the
Germans who load and unload the planes with gloves!
Obviously this omission was not due to the practice of petty
economies, although in effect cents were being saved and dollars
wasted. It was the hardening of our sensibilities through the ac-
customed sight of hungry, cold, and ragged people, through three
years of occupation of a conquered country, which had, no doubt,
induced this costly disregard for the human needs of the Germans
working with us in Berlin. Not that the GI’s and pilots and Ameri-
can mechanics I talked to on the airfield and during this and
subsequent flights had a “master race” attitude toward the Ger-
mans. On the contrary, they called my attention to the barefooted
THE SPIRIT OF BERLIN 37
women strewing sand on the runway and exclaimed: “Did you
ever see anything like it! Aren’t those German women wonderful?”
And my pilot said: “I used to think that it was only in China you
could see women working like that; I never imagined white people
could do it. I admire their guts.”
I admired them too, but I also wondered how it must feel to
go home at night to cook and wash and care for children after
doing a man laborer’s heavy work all day. I also wondered how
these ragged women would be able to work in the cold of winter.
The women are the silent chorus, the unsung and weary heroines
of the struggle dramatized by the spectacular air lift. The women
outnumber the men by more than two to one in Berlin, and it is
upon them that the chief burden of the struggle rests. Many of
them have lost their husbands, or wait in vain for them to return
from Russian prisons. They are the sole support of their children
and often also of a grandmother or some relative crippled or
blinded in the air raids. Day after day they must not only earn their
living but also tend to and comfort their cold and hungry children,
while never getting enough to eat themselves.
The ration in Berlin is now 1,800 calories; before the blockade
when the Allies could have provided enough food, it was even
lower. One wondered in Berlin how human flesh and spirit could
stand the long ordeal of the women whose life is one continuous
round of drudgery and want without any pleasures ever, or any
future hope of a happy married life. Yet the Berlin women knew
that there was one thing left they had not yet lost: and they would
endure to the end to preserve it for their children: freedom. A
greater proportion of women than men had voted in the October
1946 elections which defeated the Communists in Berlin; and in
December 1948, 86 per cent of the population was to register its
vote for the democratic parties. In the happy West such a large
proportion of voters has never gone to the polls, although we have
streetcars and subways and automobiles and plenty of leisure.
I visited the “homes” of several German workers and their fam-
ilies, and marveled that the women, somehow or other, managed
to keep a cellar, or one or two patched-up rooms in a bombed
tenement house, clean and neat in spite of overcrowding and the
lack of hot water and sufficient soap. Their children, who in most
other countries would be dirty and unkempt in such circumstances,
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

38
are still kept looking respectable by their mothers’ continual darn-
ing and patching of clothes.
Instead of the extraordinary industry of German women evoking
sympathy and respect, it too often only results in Americans’ think-
ing that the Germans are quite well off. Mrs. Roosevelt, for in-
stance, after spending a day or so in Berlin reported that she saw
no destitute and hungry children, and that the Germans did not
seem to be as poor as the French and other former victims of Nazi
aggression. She cannot have had time to see more of Berlin than
Dahlem and Zehlendorf where the United States occupation forces
live—suburbs inhabited by the former well-to-do which we never
bombed with the same intensity as the working-class districts of
Berlin. But even if she had taken the time to visit the poorer parts
of the city, Mrs. Roosevelt might not have revised her opinion.
To win the pity of some people it is necessary to imitate those
beggars, who although they may be “earning” a good living by
appealing to the charitable for alms, appear in rags and dirt to
evoke sympathy.
I wished that all the complacent visitors and residents from the
victor countries could see what I had seen, and that they had the
imagination to put themselves in the situation of the majority of
Berlin’s women and children.
There were some Military Government officials who felt as I did.
Elizabeth Holt, for instance, wife of a State Department official
and herself assistant to the head of the Educational and Religious
Affairs branch of the Military Government, was in constant con-
tact with German women and was wearing herself out, not only
because of the help and encouragement she gave them, but also
because she could not rest or enjoy life thinking of the suffering
all around her. Thanks to Mrs. Holt, I made my first contacts with
German women active in the social work conducted by all three
parties: Socialists (SPD), Christian Democrats (CDU), and
Liberals (LDP).
Ursula Kirchert, a Socialist, took me to spend a morning at a
medical clinic, where I watched a procession of the sick, the
crippled, the undernourished, and the old receiving what help could
be given them by the doctor, in the absence of many medicines and
the even greater need of nourishing food. One patient had a huge
abscess on his neck, which after being lanced had to be bound up
with paper, since the Germans had no cotton bandages, no ab-
sorbent cotton or lint. The doctor told me that his great difficulty
THE SPIRIT OF BERLIN 39
was that medical supplies could be bought only with D marks,
since the Russian zone could not supply them. Consequently social-
security funds, which are under Russian control, are useless in ob-
taining them, and his patients whose wages or pensions consisted
mainly of Russian marks could not buy them.
The saddest and hardest-working people in Berlin are the women
with children whose husbands fell in the war, or are still prisoners.
The expellees from Silesia thrown out of their homes and driven
westwards with nothing but what they could carry on their backs
are in an even more destitute condition.
I visited one woman from Silesia, Frau Scheibner, whose husband
was, she hoped, a prisoner of war in Russia and not already dead.
She had three young children and they had all walked to Berlin,
the mother carrying the youngest child. Her mother and father
were Berliners and until a week before my first visit they had all
lived with her parents in two tiny rooms. Now she was “happy”
because by great “good fortune” she had obtained possession of a
not-too-damp cellar in the same building. She had of course no
linen and her furniture consisted of two mattresses and a packing
case used as a table. Her eldest child, a girl of twelve, looked after
the two youngest while the mother worked as a “trimmer”—the
German word used in Berlin to describe the thousands of women
who collect, stack, and cart the bricks from bombed-out houses.
The youngest child, a pretty girl of five, was playing on the
stone cellar floor with a little friend from next door, while her
brother, a boy of eight, did his school homework, sitting on one
of the mattresses. When I gave her a can of dried milk, Frau
Scheibner told me what upset her most was the little girl begging
for more milk every day. Of course these children, like the rest
of those in Berlin, never received any fresh milk, but there was a
small ration of dried milk. Their mother felt that if she could only
get enough food for her children, she would be content in their
new “home.”
Upstairs in the same house, I found a couple who considered
themselves among the luckiest people in the world because the
husband, missing for five years, had returned from Russia a few
days before. Frau Woltherz had had no news of her husband since
1943 and had given him up for dead. Her joy was indescribable
when he suddenly appeared, having been freed because he was too
ill to work any more. I wondered how he would ever be able to
get well on the inadequate ration on which the Berliners somehow
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

40
exist, but his wife was so happy to have him back that she thought
nothing of their hardship. Woltherz said to me: “If the Russians
had behaved differently, they would have won us. It is too late now.
After the treatment we have received we will never go along with
them. I shall probably be an invalid for the rest of my life, but if I
could fight again I would join up with America against the Soviets.”
Another day I visited a widow with two children whose husband
had been killed on the Russian front. She had just been joined by
two younger sisters who had spent three years as Russian slave
laborers in the Urals. One had been a seamstress and the other a
worker on a farm, and both looked to be typical “proletarians.”
But in March 1945, they had been arrested, put in a cellar and
beaten until they “confessed” to having been members of Hitler’s
Jung Mädel. Apparently the Red Army soldiers who had arrested
them had been ordered to round up a certain number of Nazis,
and the simplest way to do this was to take anybody they could lay
their hands on and torture them until they would say they had
been Nazis.
After signing a paper written in Russian which they could not
understand, the two girls, whose name was Graubusch, had been
placed in cattle trucks and transported to the Urals. There had
been forty-three people in the car and several had died of suffoca-
tion and thirst. They had been given only one cup of water each
two days. On arrival at the prison camp they had been set to work
making bricks. They had been forced to take the hot bricks out
of the ovens with bare hands, and to push loads of them in wheel-
barrows for fourteen hours a day.
Many of the German women in the camp had died—in one year,
more than half of the original number. Typhus had carried off
many in spite of a German doctor prisoner who had tried to help
them. The manager of the camp had been a Volksdeutsche and
very brutal. Presumably he had saved his own life, which would
have otherwise been forfeit on account of his race, by taking the
position.
The prisoners had to sleep on wooden benches without blankets.
They were fed on cabbage soup and a small bread ration, but had
been told to say how good it was in Russia and that only Germans
behaved like devils. They were never allowed any contact with the
Russian population, being led out to work under armed guards
and returned to their prison after their day’s labor. A few of the
guards had been kind but most of them were brutes. One “bitch
THE SPIRIT OF BERLIN 41
of a woman” had forced the prisoners returning from work to stand
at the prison gates for an hour or more in the cold with their
clothing damp from perspiration and their dresses “burning on
their bodies.”
Atrocities are now “old stuff.” No one cares what innocent Ger-
mans suffer, although still ready to make them pay for Nazi atro-
cities. But I think that if Americans at home could see and hear
what the Germans have gone, and are going, through we might
begin to help the people of Berlin and the released or escaped vic-
tims of Communist cruelty and oppression. It was with a sense of
impotent pity that I learned that only one of these two German
sisters was permitted to remain in the United States sector of Ber-
lin. The other was forced to live in the Russian sector, where she
might at any moment be arrested again, because she had not for-
merly lived in Berlin, and the regulation is that only those may
register and receive ration cards who were residents before 1945.
The elder sister was in bad enough circumstances herself, but she
would somehow or other have found room for both sisters, if only
the United States authorities had permitted her to shelter them.
It was not only the poor and the victims of Communism who
aroused one’s pity in Berlin. The most overworked widows and
wives of prisoners of war, if they had children, were perhaps less
unhappy than such lonely girls as Elsa, the housekeeper of my
billet in the Press Camp. She looked after an empty house reserved
for visiting American women journalists, who were so few and far
between that it was usually empty. No longer a girl, but still not
old and quite good looking, she spent day after day alone. Her
fiancé had been killed in the war and her only surviving relative
was her mother who was not allowed to live with her in the house
reserved for the conquerors and their servants. As one of the latter
she had more to eat than most Berliners, but the hunger of the
heart is perhaps worse than physical starvation. She was not the
type for light love affairs and had no “boy friend” among the
Americans; nor was it likely she would ever have the opportunity
of social intercourse to meet a German who might marry her. The
future offered her nothing but loneliness.
In contrast to the timid and gentle Elsa for whom there was no
place in the harsh world of today, Annalena von Caprivi, editor
of the Women’s Page of the British licensed Telegraph, had the
spirit, intelligence, and adaptability to overcome the handicap of
an aristocratic origin and an unhappy marriage. Her maiden name
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

42
was Lindquist, and her family, originally of Swedish origin, had
owned the island of Ruetgen in the Baltic for centuries past. Her
grandfather had been one of Bismarck’s ministers, and her father,
Ambassador to South Africa before World War I. Annalena was
therefore of real Junker origin, but many Prussian aristocrats, like
her parents, had never been pro-Nazi, or taken office under Hitler.
Her parents, who had for long been living retired lives on their
island, had committed suicide when the Russians came. Annalena
had found them dead when, after the war’s end, she had made her
way on foot from Western Germany to the Russian zone, carrying
a bundle on her back and dressed like a peasant.
The Russians had, of course, confiscated the family property and
Annalena now worked for the support of her two little girls as well
as herself. She had divorced her husband, heir also to an ancient
name and as incapable of adapting himself to conditions in de-
feated Germany as his wife was capable.
I came to know Annalena von Caprivi well and to have a great
liking and respect for her character and keen and objective mind.
She was not in the least sorry for herself and somehow managed
always to look well groomed, and even elegant, although her clothes
were made out of such relics as her grandfather’s military uniform.
There are one hundred women to every 60 men in Germany
and the tragedy of many of them is that they have no hope of mar-
riage. But Annalena, who is both attractive and intelligent, wrote
an article for her newspaper in which she said that many German
women could not now “afford” a husband. German men, she said,
still expected to be waited upon hand and foot by their wives, as
if they were the breadwinners, even if their wives were earning the
family’s living. It was too much to expect, and unless German men
would abandon their lordly ways they could not expect any capable
women to marry them.
A young unmarried woman who had been a war correspondent,
but had taken up a rifle and fought herself in the last desperate days
of Berlin’s defense against the Red Army, gave me another angle
on the relation between the sexes in Germany. She said that Ger-
man men not only cannot forget that they were once “brilliant and
victorious” and are therefore incapable of adapting themselves to
the lowly work and status which is all life now offers them. She also
thought that they were too bitterly ashamed of their failure to de-
fend their country and save its women from rape and rough treat-
ment at Russian hands to be psychologically capable of loving.
THE SPIRIT OF BERLIN 43
They hate the girls who go around with Americans but are them-
selves unable to offer companionship or any possibility for happi-
ness in marriage.
Of course not all German men have developed complexes which
keep them in bitter isolation and drive German women either to
have affairs with the “conquerors” or to live alone. But even in un-
defeated and prosperous countries men who have spent years sol-
diering find it difficult to settle down to civilian life. In Germany
where many men have spent ten years of their life in the army, and
the younger ones have known no other life since they left school;
where most jobs offer a bare livelihood and where there are so many
sick as well as crippled veterans, the problem is even more acute.
In these days of adversity it is the endurance of German women
and their determination to keep their families alive that constitutes
the strength of Germany even in defeat.
Having lived six years in Soviet Russia, I too had been a wife
struggling for food and shelter for my family in a world not very
different from theirs. Consequently, I felt a sense of identification
with the people of Berlin. Today I was one of the privileged enjoy-
ing the same comforts, conveniences and luxuries as the rest of the
American and British correspondents and occupying forces, but I
did not feel that I belonged with them. The memory of my life in
Moscow, when I lived as ordinary Russians do, was still too vivid.
Most Americans and even the British have no real conception of
what hunger means, nor any repugnance to eating well and driving
in automobiles or jeeps, while the “natives” starve and walk. It
was not that I was better than the rest, or even that I had more
imagination. It was simply my past experience and the close pres-
ence of the Soviet Power which so vividly recalled it to me.
When I saw German women carrying heavy loads in the streets,
I remembered how I had once thought nothing of carrying home 44
pounds of potatoes, happy only to have obtained so much food.
When I saw the thin, sad-eyed Berlin children, I remembered my
own son, born in Moscow, who had never suffered actual hunger
but would have become like these German children if I had not
escaped with him from Russia after my husband’s arrest. When I
visited German homes consisting of one dilapidated room, I recalled
similar crowded and damp places where I and my Russian friends
and acquaintances had lived.
When I bought my cigarettes, chocolate, and soap ration at the
PX store, I remembered how much in those distant days in Moscow
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

44
a gift of coffee, soap, or toilet paper from some friend in England,
had meant to me.
In Germany I felt ashamed to be like one of those foreign visitors
to Moscow who had gorged themselves in the Intourist Hotels while
the Russians starved. When I invited Germans to eat with me at
the Press Club, I remembered what it had once meant to me to be
invited to a good meal in a Moscow hotel by some visiting foreigner.
As I watched the German waiters at “our” clubs and hotels, I
remembered those in the Moscow Intourist ones, who like these
Germans served good food to others without ever partaking of it
themselves. Tips had been forbidden in Communist Russia, where
Russians still gave them but foreigners rarely did, because they had
been told it was beneath the dignity of a waiter to accept them in
the “Socialist fatherland.” In Germany, one was not allowed to
give tips either (since our occupation money could not legally be
used by Germans) except in the form of a cigarette or two left on
the table.
Worst of all, the attitude of the Military Government officials
toward the Germans reminded me all too forcibly of the aloof dis-
dain with which the Communist bureaucracy had treated the
Russian “common man”. Not, of course, that Americans had yet
learned to behave with the same arrogance as Soviet Russia’s ruling
class. There was still a good bit left of the natural American ten-
dency to be friendly and generous to everyone. But these Americans
had been taught to treat the Germans as inferiors and many of
them thought that to show sympathy or kindness, would be what
the British call “bad form.”
I could not feel superior to the Germans for I too had once been
guilty. If the Germans deserved to suffer indefinitely for having
followed the false and evil lead of the Nazis, so I also, and many
other Britishers and Americans, should also be punished for once
having been Communists or Communist fellow travelers and dupes.
“There, but for the Grace of God, go I,” was the thought which
came to me continually in Berlin and the other bombed cities of
Germany, where a people condemned by all the world, defenseless,
hungry and without rights or liberties, continues to live only be-
cause of its indestructible vitality or the consolations offered by
religion.
I knew that the impulses and illusions which led me to become
a Communist in my youth were not fundamentally so different to
THE SPIRIT OF BERLIN 45
those which led many young Germans to follow Hitler. Being
English, having been brought up a socialist, and living in a rich
country and in the capital of an Empire upon which, in those days,
the sun never set, I had been concerned with the emancipation of
the human race, not that of my own country. I had embraced com-
munism because it promised equality of all men, irrespective of na-
tion, race, or creed. The Communist ideal had seemed to me the
fulfillment of the age-long struggle of mankind for freedom and
justice.
The Nazis had not appealed to the same generous impulses and
international ideals as the Communists had done. But to many a
young German, Nazism must originally have seemed the only way
to obtain freedom and equality for the German people, “shackled”,
as they saw it, by the Versailles Treaty. When Hitler promised
them bread and work, an end to unemployment, and a proud and
strong Germany in place of the weak and defenseless Weimar Re-
public, most of them could not have known that he would lead
them to commit horrible atrocities and wage aggressive war; no
more than I had known that communism meant the liquidation
of millions of Russian peasants, starvation for the workers, and slave
labor on a scale never seen before. In Russia I had seen how young
men and women were induced by an appeal to “idealism” to carry
out the operation of liquidating the so-called kulaks—a crime as
great and horrible as the Nazi liquidation of the Jews. For to me
it seems equally terrible to kill people or send them to concentra-
tion camps for their “class” as for their “race.”
It is incomprehensible to me that the very same Americans who
had glorified Stalin’s bloody dictatorship during and after the war
are now most insistent in demanding endless punishment for all
Germans. If all the Germans are to be considered guilty of Hitler’s
crimes, and anyone who was ever a Nazi to be damned forever,
then Communists in all countries, and also those who were their
dupes and supported them, must be held accountable for the atro-
cities committed by Stalin.
I had escaped from Russia, and as a foreigner I had been able to
get out of the Communist Party without being liquidated years
before I left the Soviet Union. But I knew that if I had stayed, I
might have been forced by the Soviet dictatorship to do horrible
things myself, if the life of my husband or son were the penalty
for disobedience. Having lived under the Communist dictatorship,
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

46
and knowing what terror means, I cannot blame the Germans for
not having “revolted against Hitler,” as others do who are safe in
America and have all their lives enjoyed inherited liberties.
Another reason, besides my Russian experiences, for my inability
to regard the Germans as more wicked than other peoples, is no
doubt the fact that I was born an Englishwoman. I recognize the
fact that the Germans made the profound mistake of endeavoring
to follow in the footsteps of Britain, France, Holland, and Belgium,
in an age when empire building is no longer respectable except for
Communists. But I cannot quite see why the Germans, who have
no Asiatic and African colonies to exploit, should be considered as
innately more aggressive than the Western European nations who
derive revenues from their colonial empires.
My old anti-imperialist sentiments, and intense dislike for the
sight of any one lot of people denying to another the rights and
liberties it claims for itself, had made me both anti-Communist and
anti-Nazi. But I could not, on account of my own past mistakes and
lost illusions, consider the whole German people as guilty of Nazi
crimes, any more than I considered myself responsible for the past
evil doings of British imperialists, or past and present atrocities
committed by Stalin and his followers. My punishment for my past
foolishness, if nothing worse, had been the loss of my husband in
Russia. But I had saved my son and escaped with him to the free
Western world. The Germans, innocent and guilty alike, had suf-
fered obliteration bombing attacks, starvation, the torture of hus-
bands, sons and brothers in Russian prisons, and the opprobrium
of the world. I could not but feel that their punishment was out
of proportion to mine.
It was with a sense of shame that I heard the German driver of
the automobile assigned to me in Berlin say: “I have worked for
three years for the Americans and you are the first who has spoken
to me as a human being.”
I had asked him how much he earned, how many hours he
worked, whether he had a wife and family, whether they got enough
to eat, and how he got home at night after leaving me at my hotel.
It was not, I think, the fact that I displayed some interest in his
personal situation, or my gifts of chocolate, soap, and cigarettes, or
my sharing with him the ample breakfast I received, which even-
tually broke down the barrier he had erected between us by his cor-
rect behavior as a servant, or as one of the conquered toward the
THE SPIRIT OF BERLIN 47
new master race. It was after I remarked to him one day that we
were treating the Germans like colonial subjects that he became
communicative and friendly. My observation had been occasioned
by my first sight of the half-naked, barefoot young German boys
who pick up the balls on the Press Club tennis courts. It had
seemed to me they should be playing games themselves instead of
running around like little slaves.
It was from this chauffeur of mine that I got a view, from the
other end of the telescope, so to speak, of how our original “treat
the Germans rough” occupation policy affected the mass of the
German people. “I suppose,” he said, “that the rudeness and lack
of consideration of the Americans is due to the great size of their
country. Probably many Americans never go to school and learn
good manners, and that is why they are so rough and tactless.”
I told him that he was mistaken and tried to explain that Amer-
icans were not really either uneducated or heartless; that it was the
hatred of Nazi brutality and the consequent belief that all Germans
deserved punishment and rough treatment which had originally in-
spired our occupation policy. But he remained unconvinced. How,
he asked me, could I explain the American attitude of friendliness
and consideration toward the Russians if it was Nazi Germany’s
atrocities which had inspired the American lack of humanity to-
ward the conquered Germans?
The word which he used, and which I have translated as “lack
of humanity,” was Unmenschlichkeit. Menschlichkeit, its opposite,
was the word I heard most often on the lips of Germans. It is a
word difficult to translate because it means so much: behavior
worthy of a human being, decency, kindness, consideration for
others, respect for the individual irrespective of nationality, class,
religion, or power—everything which should distinguish a free man
from a brute, a slave, or a robot.
It is the realization that the Rights of Man, in the good old-
fashioned eighteenth-century sense which inspired the French and
American revolutions, are primary, and that no economic and so-
cial system which denies them is bearable; it was this realization
that had united the Socialist, Liberal, and Christian-Democratic
parties of Berlin in face of the Communist threat to their liberty.
Here, in the front line of the conflict between Western democ-
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

48
racy and Soviet totalitarian tyranny, there was a reborn faith in the
ideals of the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Counter Refor-
mation.
There was a unity to be found nowhere else in Europe, between
agnostics and Christians, Protestants and Catholics, socialists, lib-
erals, and conservatives, because they one and all realized that the
struggle for the world is primarily one between the individual and
the machine, or state, which seeks to reduce everyone to slavery;
between the totalitarians who would drag us all down to the level
of beasts by denying individual responsibility, conscience, and
Menschlichkeit, and those who insist that “security” is only to be
won by submission to tyranny.
Perhaps, I thought, it is the new content of socialism, as demon-
strated in Berlin, where the Social Democrats are the largest party
and the leaders in the anti-Communist resistance, which holds out
most hope for Western civilization.
“The change in the inner content of German socialism is the
most important development in Europe today,” was the comment
made to me by Frau Doctor Ulrich-Biel, a woman leader of Berlin’s
Liberal Party. A white-haired elderly lady whose former husband
is a professor of philosophy at Harvard, and whose son had been
miraculously restored to her through his daring escape from a Rus-
sian prison camp, she is today mainly occupied in trying to secure
relief for the homeless, ragged, and starved German refugees from
the East, many of whom are in the Russian zone of occupation.
In her little room in an apartment house in what was once a
sector of Berlin with a large Jewish population, she said to me:
I could not in the past join the Socialists because of my fear of regi-
mentation and because of the Socialist opposition to religion. Not that
I was a churchgoer, but because I always had respect for the secret of
the world and could not reduce everything to materialistic terms. Now
after all I have seen and experienced, all the sorrow and fear and misery
of our life in Berlin these past fifteen years, I look to having the church
on my side. The life of man is too short and he is too frail for him
to dispense with a home for the great truths of Christianity. Men are
too weak to preserve the truth alone; they must have a tradition to
preserve it: a church. Many German Socialists realize this today. They
are more concerned with preserving the values men live by than with
economic theories. All those who do not believe that liberty and human
rights are the primary concern have gone over to the SED [Socialist
Unity party].
THE SPIRIT OF BERLIN 49
Otto Stolz, a young man who had been expelled from the Uni-
versity of Berlin for his anti-Communist activities and had already
made a name for himself as a writer, told me that he and many
other German Socialists no longer believed that “nationalization
of the means of production and distribution” would solve the prob-
lems of human society. “We know now,” he said, “that the end of
capitalism may, as in Russia, lead only to tyranny.”
Writing on the anniversary of the Revolution of 1848 which had
failed, in Germany, to establish the liberal principles and demo-
cratic rights won in Western Europe, Otto Stolz, although he be-
longs to the Socialist party, reminded his countrymen that the
struggle then and now is not for “an economic theory of produc-
tion and distribution” but for the rights of man: equality before
the law, individual responsibility and freedom, security of personal
rights, government by consent, freedom of speech and opinion,
freedom from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment without trial by
due process of law.
From these premises he developed the thesis that in the twen-
tieth century, in countries where representative government and
free speech have already been secured, no violent revolution is re-
quired to establish greater social justice and a better economic sys-
tem. Revolutions today, far from being progressive, lead to the
establishment of authoritarian governments under “popular” dicta-
tors. Thus revolutions in democratically governed countries are in
fact counterrevolutions led by reactionaries calling themselves pro-
gressives, but wanting to lead the world back to the predemocratic
era when liberty of the individual and human rights were denied
by autocratic monarchies, as they are today denied by Nazis and
Communists.
“The real revolution of our time,” said Otto Stolz, “is a spiritual
one, not economic or social. And here in Europe it must be di-
rected toward the establishment of a European family of nations,
with equal rights for all in a democratic federation.”
The unity displayed by the Socialist, Christian-Democratic, and
Liberal-Democratic parties in resisting the Communist onslaught
was made possible by the recognition by members of all three par-
ties that no one has a monopoly of truth, and that tolerance, integ-
rity and Menschlichkeit are the primary needs of a free society.
Lothar Wille, Bürgermeister of the Berlin borough of Steglitz,
who is a Catholic and a Christian Democrat, said to me:
“Our party, the Christian-Democratic Union, should have leaders
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

50
who are not specifically Catholic or Protestant but Christian. To
defend the Christian culture and values of Europe the primary
need is good men. The best religion is a good moral life and a
man who never goes to church, even an agnostic, may be in fact
a good Christian. The important thing is to recognize one’s duty
to society and perform it.” “The Catholic church,” he added with
a smile, “has also got to change with the times and become more
catholic.”
Most people in Berlin have nothing to lose but their freedom.
Perhaps it is this and the terrible trials and privations they have
endured that gives them their clear view of essentials and their
inner strength. They have become so inured to material hardships
and have experienced such great sorrows that those who have not
been broken have acquired a rare spiritual fortitude.
Nora Melle, a City Council representative of the Liberal-Demo-
cratic party who had been thrown into the street with her little
girl when the Russians came, had seen her husband carried off by
them, her sister raped, her father killed, and her mother die of
shock, said to me: “We are no longer influenced by fear of losing
our possessions, since we have none, and because we have lost so
much more than material comforts. Germans in the Western zones
may think that there could be nothing worse than the Anglo-American
occupation, and the loss of their savings through the
recent currency reform. But in Berlin we know that all that is
nothing compared to the ultimate horror of the Communist domi-
nation.”
Jeanette Wolff told me: “The Berliners, unlike other people, do
not wear blinkers. They know what they are up against and are
facing it. It is vital to the survival of Western civilization that this
political center of resistance to totalitarian tyranny be preserved.”
Jeanette Wolff herself is one of the finest persons I ever met.
An old Socialist of Weimar Republic days, she spent six long and
terrible years in Hitler’s concentration camps and lost her whole
family except for one daughter who was crippled by the Nazis. But,
instead of hating the German people, like so many others who
have never even seen them; Jeanette has become one of the best-
loved leaders of the Berlin population. An eloquent and moving
speaker, elected member of the City Council in 1946, she is called
the Trumpet of the Socialist party. A woman with a warm heart
which has somehow failed to be corroded by the sufferings she has
undergone, she is full of compassion for all the oppressed and
THE SPIRIT OF BERLIN 51
miserable people of the world and also too good a socialist of the
old international kind to consider any one nation or race as worse
or better than another. Her understanding and human feeling are
so great that she has been known to argue on denazification boards
for the release of men who had belonged to the party which tor-
tured her and killed her family, saying she knew that many young
men had followed Hitler out of ignorance and should be forgiven
if they would “go and sin no more.”
I first met Jeanette Wolff, thanks to Hanna Bornovsky, a Ger-
man girl engaged to George Silver, who worked in the manpower
division of Military Government. George Silver was a former AFL
trade unionist from Philadelphia. Although a young man, he had
the same, prewar vintage, international socialist outlook as Jeanette.
Hanna’s Jewish mother had been killed in one of our air raids and
her Aryan father was also dead. After having been treated as a
second-class citizen by the Nazis because she was half-Jewish,
Hanna had not been allowed to marry George because we con-
sidered her a German. But now that he was about to leave Ger-
many after three years service there, they were getting married.
Many American visitors who might otherwise never have met any
Germans socially got to know the leading democratic leaders of
Berlin at the Silvers’ house. Hanna had also managed to raise funds
to reconstruct a part of Ribbentrop’s bombed-out Berlin residence,
which she had renamed Leuschner House and established as a
meeting place for the Germans who were taking the lead in Ber-
lin’s anti-Communist struggle.
I owe a lot to the Silvers who put me in touch with many Ger-
mans, both prominent and unknown, and gave me the opportunity
to meet men and women of all parties at their home.
Hanna and George were practicing socialists. She cooked a meal
every other day, out of her husband’s American rations and the
vegetables she grew in the gardens of Leuschner House, for the
students who came to her house, and who, like most German
students today, are the poorest of the poor and always hungry.
These Berlin students were extraordinarily mature in their think-
ing. I was impressed most of all by the fact that war, defeat, hunger,
and the ever-present fear of ending up in a Soviet concentration
camp had not broken their spirit or sapped their energies.
It seemed to me surprising that our original occupation policy
had not succeeded in turning German youths into cynics, time-
servers, or ruthless egotists. For in the first two years of our occupa-
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

52
tion we had made a mockery of our democratic professions and
ideals, not only by treating all of the Germans, including the vic-
tims of Hitler’s prisons, as pariahs, but also by condoning Soviet
atrocities and treating Communists as democrats. We had even
insisted upon the inclusion of Communists in the City and Länder
administrations and put Communists on denazification boards.
In Berlin, for instance, although the October 1946 elections had
given the Socialists, Liberals, and Christian Democrats 80 per cent
of the votes, the allied Kommandatura had refused to allow ma-
jority rule, insisting instead on the inclusion of Communists in
a “coalition,” although their party (Socialist Unity party—SED)
had polled only 19 per cent of the city’s vote. And even today, I
was told, the British and American Occupation authorities do not
permit the Germans to oust the Communists who still hold some
positions in the Food, Labor and Health offices of the Western
sectors of Berlin unless they are proved to be incompetent, or
sending “open” reports to the Russians!
“Yet you still place your trust in us?” I enquired.
“Yes,” replied a pretty girl with red hair and an impudent smile,
“we know we must have patience and wait until Americans stop
being political babies.”
“All the same,” said a young man studying Slavonic languages,
“it’s funny to hear you Americans now saying the same things
about the Soviet Union which you used to forbid us to say and
regarded as a proof of our being pro-Nazi.”
I am aware, of course, that not only is Berlin not Prague; it is
also not all of Germany. The important fact, it seemed to me
in Berlin, is that there is a movement there which could lead
Germany to become a real democracy, and which might also re-
invigorate and unite by its example the divided and confused anti-
totalitarian forces of Europe and America.
There was a sinister reverse side of the hopeful Berlin picture.
Some of the die-hard Nazis have made common cause with the
Communists, and there was the threat of a recrudescence of ag-
gressive German nationalism under a Red instead of a Black flag.
Former National Socialist theoreticians today hold leading posi-
tions in the University of Berlin and other universities under Rus-
sian control. The head of the disciplinary Court of the University
of Berlin, Fritz Moglich, who now gives lectures on the social and
THE SPIRIT OF BERLIN 53
political situation, which all Berlin students must attend, was for-
merly a leading Nazi anti-Semite and anti-Catholic writer. In a
famous book on Ludendorff he had once urged a union of German
and Russian National Bolshevism against the West.
Many other examples could be cited. Perhaps even more im-
portant is the fact that the Russians are using the full force of
economic pressure to suppress the democratic opposition. Only
“reliable” students can get grants to study, and special privileges
in money and kind are given to those who support the Communist
dictatorship. All Germans who can and will be useful to Russia
are offered “Stalin parcels” of food and fuel. Those who join the
Socialist Unity party for the material advantages this gives them
can perhaps not be counted upon by the Russians. Their most
reliable allies, and the most dangerous to us, are the former Nazis
who hope that by submitting to the Soviets now, and working with
them against the West, Hitler’s “Thousand-Year Reich” will
eventually be restored.
The political weakness of the Communists, evident in Berlin,
proves that there are as yet too few Nazi or other collaborators of
the Communists to bolster up their dictatorship.
Nevertheless, it is a mistake to assume that the Germans must
inevitably remain on our side, even if we continue to refuse them
the rights of free men.

54
3
The Material Cost of Vengeance
LEAVING BERLIN ON THE AIRLIFT EARLY IN SEPTEMBER AND ARRIVING
in the United States zone, I felt I had traveled farther in time
than in space. In Berlin, in spite of the gross inequalities between
the Germans and ourselves in sacrifice, privation, and danger, we
were standing shoulder to shoulder in resisting Soviet aggres-
sion. But in Bizonia we still seemed to be fighting the last
war. Here we were acting as if Germany, not Soviet Russia, now
menaces the peace of the world and the freedom of Europe. We
were still dismantling German industry, and in general carrying
out the Yalta and Potsdam agreements as if Soviet Russia had
never broken them, and with an almost total disregard of the Mar-
shall Plan and the Truman Doctrine which Americans at home
imagined were now the basis of United States policy.
Large shipments of “reparations and restitutions” were still going
to Russia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia, and other countries
behind the Iron Curtain, not only from the British and French
zones but also from the American.
Following the start, in June, of Soviet Russia’s blockade of Ber-
lin, such shipments from Bizonia and the French zone to the
countries behind the Iron Curtain, instead of being stopped, had
been doubled in quantity. The bulk of the shipments to the Soviet
Union in July 1948 and subsequent months went from the British
zone, and deliveries from the United States zone direct to Russia
had been stopped. But the United States had continued to give
aid and comfort to the Communists by supplying the Czechs, Poles,
and Yugoslavs with 5,790 tons of German machinery and other
assets in that one month. At the end of October, when bad weather
was endangering the lives of American pilots on the air lift and
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 55
the Berlin population was already shivering in its unheated homes,
the total reparations and restitutions shipments to the countries
behind the Iron Curtain from Bizonia and the French zone com-
bined, had been stepped up to nearly nine thousand tons, from the
six and a half thousand sent before Stalin started the blockade of
Berlin.
Factories were being dismantled in Western Germany to the
detriment of the whole European economy, and with a cynical
disregard of the needs of the German people and the danger of
losing Western Germany to the Communists while attempting to
save Berlin from them.
The cost to the United States taxpayer of subsidizing a pauper-
ized Germany, and a Europe deprived of the products of German
industry, was apparently also being disregarded not only by our
Western allies, but by the American authorities responsible for
our German policy.
In spite of the fact that it had been announced that Germany
was to participate in the rebuilding of Europe under the Marshall
Plan, the United States and Britain were implementing the 1947
“Revised Level of Industry Plan,” which severely limits Germany’s
capacity to produce in most major industries and was drawn up
with no provision for German exports of steel, machinery, and
other goods most urgently required for European reconstruction.
From the British point of view dismantlement makes sense, since
it helps to reduce Germany’s competitive power on the world
market. Originally the British authorities had held out for a higher
level of industry than the United States was willing to allow. They
understood that Western Germany could not be self-sustaining if
the reparations program were carried through; and so long as they
were themselves financially responsible for feeding the industrial
population of their zone, they pursued a more enlightened policy
than the United States. But since the merging of the British and
American zones and the United States’ commitment to meet the
deficits of Bizonia, Britain’s competitive motive has had free rein,
and the British now oppose revision of the dismantlement program.
In their frantic efforts to free themselves from dependence on
dollar subsidies, they have abandoned the policy of wisdom and
restraint toward defeated enemies which formerly made Britain
great and strong.
Today the British are sacrificing their long-term interests by
themselves exporting airplanes and capital goods to Soviet Russia,
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

56
and by alienating the Germans and weakening Continental Europe
by shipments of large quantities of dismantled German machines
to Stalin’s empire. According to figures given in a British Military
Government communique, published in “Die Tat,” on February 6,
1949, out of a total of 598,000 tons of machinery and other mate-
rials taken from German factories, 163,896 tons had been delivered
to Russia, 18,618 tons to Czechoslovakia, 1,789 to Albania, and
45,135 to Yugoslavia. The British have had no scruples even in
delivering armament factories to Russia. On December 20, 1948,
the London Times reported that the Borbeck-Krupps Armaments
Works was in process of being shipped to the Soviet Union.
In the French zone one could hardly have imagined that there
is such a thing as a Communist danger, a Marshall Plan or any
such question as the defense of Western Europe. The blindness of
the French, their obsession with a past danger, and seeming un-
awareness of the lively present danger of Soviet aggression, their
squeezing of their German zone to subsidize their own mismanaged
economy, and their futile parade of the trappings of a nonexistent
military might before the cowed but secretly mocking German
population, require a separate chapter. Here I shall be concerned
only with Bizonia, as the partially merged British and American
zones are called.
Whereas both the British and French treatment of the Germans
is easy to understand, if not to condone, American policy is incom-
prehensible. America has nothing to gain, and everything to lose
economically, politically, and militarily by dismantlement. Yet the
United States has exerted no strong pressure to bring it to an end
in the British and French zones, and has continued to carry it out
even in the American zone.
The comfortable assumption in America that the Marshall Plan
has replaced the Morgenthau Plan is, I quickly perceived, a delu-
sion. The spirit of Morgenthau, although it no longer dominates
our German policy, still inspires it. The fact that there is now a
Marshall Plan looking toward the integration of a revived and
democratic Germany in a reconstructed and self-supporting Europe
means that we are busy repairing with our right hand the damage
done by our left hand. It is as if one team of Americans were re-
building a bombed dwelling while another team is destroying the
foundations.
It would have been funny, were it not so tragic, to witness the
unending struggle between those Americans who had been sent to
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 57
Germany to revive industry and trade, and those whose orders were
to destroy the German economy. The conflict between the de-
stroyers and the rebuilders was even more acrimonious and bitter
than that between competitive Washington departments.
In Frankfurt, Essen, and Stuttgart, I have smiled to hear Ameri-
can coal, steel, and railway experts plotting, or pleading, to stop
dismantlement of the factories producing the mining, railway, and
other equipment without which coal production could not be in-
creased or the railways restored. I heard revealing conversations
between American and German authorities in which the former
warned the latter about which Americans were on the constructive
side and which on the destructive.
If there were some sort of collaboration between the Germans
and those Americans who are engaged in restoring the German
economy and furthering the Marshall Plan, there was naturally a
far closer relationship between the American “destroyers” and the
British Military Government. The United States experts endeavor-
ing to increase coal and steel production and to reconstruct trans-
portation facilities were dependent on the British, since not only
the mines and iron and steel works are in the British zone, but also
most of the factories producing mining equipment and railroad
supplies. The predicament of the American experts can be under-
stood if one notes the fact that the dismantlement list includes
forty-seven factories making mining equipment and thirty-two
specializing in the production of supplies for the German railways.
Fortunately there were some enlightened British officials also,
who were anxious to revive the German economy, so the conflict
between the constructors and the destroyers was not as unequal
as it might otherwise have been. The British official in charge of
the Bizonal Iron and Steel office in Düsseldorf, for instance, worked
in complete harmony with his American counterpart, and in 1948
they succeeded in bringing about an astonishing increase in steel
production. On the other hand, while $24,000,000 worth of Ameri-
can mining equipment had been earmarked for Germany by ECA,
the British insisted on continuing to dismantle the German fac-
tories which could have supplied this machinery. Among others
they were dismantling the plants producing 90 per cent of the
pneumatic mining tools produced in the Western zone.
Obviously the British, in view of their dependence on American
subsidies, could have been induced to stop the dismantlement of
German factories, the loss of whose production had to be made
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

58
good by ECA allocations. The trouble was that some United States
Military Government and Washington officials were still pursuing
a camouflaged Morgenthau line of policy.
Whether or not the contradictory and self-defeating nature of
American activities in Germany was due more to individual senti-
ments or to Washington’s desire to win votes by being all things
to all men, both the American destroyers of the German economy
and its rebuilders could claim they were only doing their duty.
Both were carrying out the orders they had received.
The situation was aptly summarized by one United States official
who told me:
“We are caught between opposing policies and are unable to
move forward. The forces of destruction, born of war hysteria, and
set in motion by the Morgenthau Plan, are still in operation; while
the constructive forces which the Marshall Plan was intended to
release are stymied for lack of new directives from Washington.”
“The American people,” he continued, “are only now beginning
to realize that unconditional surrender and total victory force them
to assume the same responsibilities in Germany as the inheritor of
a property. Although the bills are rolling in, and America has to
pay them; we still fail to understand fully that we must stop the
destruction of Germany’s assets if the United States is not to go
bankrupt. At present the old destructive policy is merely overlaid
by the new constructive one.”
Some American officials were in the awkward position of holding
positions with the destroyers and the reconstructors at the same
time. Major Holbrook, for instance, whom I met in Stuttgart, was
both Reparations Officer for Württemberg and Governor LaFol-
lette’s Chief of Industry and Commerce. While he had to fulfill
the dismantlement orders which came to him from the Reparations
Division of Military Government in Berlin, he also had to endeavor
to increase production in his province. This he had managed to do
with considerable ingenuity.
In the United States zone machinery is classified as already dis-
mantled when the bolts attaching it to the floor have been un-
screwed and it has been placed on wooden blocks. By allowing the
Germans to continue using it in this condition, Major Holbrook
had not only lightened the load of the American taxpayer by en-
abling more Germans to earn their own living than would other-
wise have been possible; he had also kept the “dismantled” ma-
chinery in good working order for use in other countries when the
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 59
time came to ship it. Elsewhere, particularly in the British zone, I
saw piles of rusty factory equipment long since dismantled which
was gradually becoming unusable as it lay in the open air or in
unheated damp depots. For it is the British practice to dismantle
machinery even when no country entitled to receive reparations
wants it. Hence the tremendous waste entailed by the Revised
Level of Industry program, which is implemented with the primary
objective of depriving the Germans of the capacity to produce,
rather than helping other countries to reconstruct their economies
with German reparations. Were the latter the real aim, new and
better machinery could be supplied to them in far less time by
stopping dismantlement and allowing the Germans to work to pro-
duce reparations.
Major Holbrook had also restored production in many of the
factories from which reparations had been taken, by scouring
Württemberg for unused machines which could have been taken
in the first place, had the Berlin Military Government authorities
not preferred to interrupt production and waste German labor by
taking reparations from factories actually working instead of from
those closed down.
Before I visited Stuttgart toward the end of October, I had be-
lieved that the various statements made by General Marshall and
other representatives of the State Department in Washington, and
by General Clay and his subordinates in Germany, meant that dis-
mantlement had been completed or stopped in the United States
zone. I was as bewildered as the Germans when I found that the
expected arrival of the ECA’s “Humphrey Committee” experts—
sent to Germany in accordance with the 1948 Foreign Aid Act to
ascertain which plants on the dismantlement list could better con-
tribute to European recovery by being left in Germany—far from
stopping reparations deliveries had led to a speed-up in shipments
of machinery out of the United States zone. Evidently it was not
only the British and French who were anxious to confront Paul
Hoffman’s Committee with a fait accompli. The United States
Reparations Office at Military Government headquarters in Berlin
had issued orders to crate and ship out immediately the machinery
which had hitherto been permitted to continue operating in its
“dismantled” condition on account of the great need of its products
in Germany or for export.
The Germans had been led to assume that the arrival of the
ECA revision committee meant a halt in reparations deliveries. The
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

60
Württemberg-Baden Ministry of Economics had been informed,
in a letter written by the United States chief of the Commerce and
Industry Group of the Bipartite Control Office in Frankfurt on
October 11, that removal of equipment from five plants in that
area would be held in abeyance until completion of the ECA re-
view. But a week or two later orders had come to crate and rush
shipment of this same equipment out of Germany in record time.
I was told that the United States official in Berlin who had
given these orders had said on the telephone that the European
Recovery Program might or might not be a good thing, but that in
any case it had nothing to do with him. Nor had he any interest
in the contrary orders given by the United States Commerce and
Industry authorities in Frankfurt.
The Germans, in addition to their impotent resentment at being
deprived of their means of livelihood, could not but reflect that
this democracy, which we told them was such a good and just
thing, could not be trusted, since the official promises made by one
set of United States authorities were not honored by others.
One of the factories which came under the hammer as a result
of the determination of the Berlin Reparations Office of Military
Government to forestall the ECA, was the Kiefer Works. In Stutt-
gart I visited this plant which produces ventilation and heating
equipment for factories and hospitals. Although the only factory
in Bizonia producing air-conditioning equipment for hospitals, it
was to be shipped to Greece. The Greek mission which had visited
the factory had told the Germans that they had neither the market,
nor the raw materials, nor the technical experts to make use of it.
The machinery would, no doubt, end up on the scrap heap but it
was “on the list.” Its main equipment had been shipped and the
Germans were trying to carry on production by cutting sheets by
hand and nailing instead of soldering the parts.
I also saw the Zaiser Works in Stuttgart, now stopped from pro-
ducing elevators and electric cranes, although the dismantlement
by the Russians of the Flohr Works in Berlin and Vienna had left
Germany with only five plants of this type, one of which was also
being dismantled; and although British dismantlement of a multi-
tude of cranes in the Ruhr had led to a large demand for new
cranes which could not be met. Nor was there any hope of Zaiser’s
being able to acquire new machines: most of those they required
are produced only in the Russian zone. I visited several other fac-
tories in Stuttgart, none of which could be classified either as po-
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 61
tential armament factories or as “surplus” to Bizonia’s needs, but
all of which were having their machinery taken away, presumably
to forestall any action to save them by the ECA authorities.
All over the United States zone the same thing was happening.
One case brought to my notice was that of the Frank factory in
Birkenau in Hesse, which produced artificial eyes for the blind,
measuring instruments for the textile industry, and fine optical in-
struments. It should presumably never have been put on the dis-
mantlement list. After representations to the Military Government
by the owners, they had been informed that dismantlement would
be halted pending review by the Humphrey Committee. But in the
second week of October, orders came from Berlin to start crating
and shipping the machinery at once. By October 22, before the
ECA experts could arrive, the whole plant had been stripped and
carried off.
Another example is that of the Gendorf factory in Bavaria which
produced chlornatrium, a chemical required by the artificial fiber
industry, which the Germans have been told is to be built up into
one of their major export industries. The other major producer of
chlornatrium in Western Germany, at Rheinfelden in the French
zone, was long ago stopped from working. In September the United
States Military Government ordered the Gendorf plant dismantled
and shipped to Czechoslovakia.
The outstanding example of the determination of someone,
somewhere, to sabotage the Marshall Plan, and strengthen the
Communists, was the order given on October 4 to dismantle the
power plant of the Norddeutsche Hütte at Bremen and ship it to
Czechoslovakia.
Bremen is America’s only large port in Germany and the gate of
entry of all United States Army and ERP supplies. The hasty ship-
ment to a Soviet satellite country of its main power plant at a time
when Berlin was being blockaded and after an announcement that
shipments of reparations from the Western zones would be halted
pending the ECA review of the dismantlement list, could, it
seemed, have no other explanation than the influence of the “Mor-
genthau boys” in Berlin or in Washington.
Dismantlement of the Bremen power plant caused an immediate
drastic cut in the supply of current to the town and port, and one
of the ECA experts informed me that it might be necessary to use
United States Navy vessels operating off shore to supply the defi-
ciency. While the United States Air Force had to be used to supply
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

62
blockaded Berlin, the United States Navy might have to be called
in to make good our voluntary curtailment of Bremen’s power sup-
ply for the benefit of Communist Europe.
Under military government it is always difficult to fix responsi-
bility. It is therefore impossible to say whether Washington or
General Clay’s economic advisors were responsible for the curious
decision to ship as much machinery as possible out of the United
States zone before the ECA could stop it. To the Germans it
seemed that it was impossible to trust any American promises. The
hopes raised by various official pronouncements that the dismantle-
ment program was to be reviewed and shipments halted pending
the ECA investigation were dashed. The assurances given that
Germany was to participate in the Marshall Plan for European
reconstruction could no longer be believed, since the Military Gov-
ernment had given orders to rush shipments even of the machinery
recognized as vital to the minimum requirements of the economy
of Bizonia.
When the German Economic Administration ventured to pro-
test, it was forbidden by both British and United States military
governments to approach the ECA authorities directly. In a letter
sent on September 21, 1948, to Dr. Pünder, head of Bizonia’s Eco-
nomic Administration, and signed jointly by Mr. Wilkinson,
economic advisor to General Clay, and Sir Cecil Weir, who holds
the same position in the British Military Government, it was
written :
“It is not appropriate for you to communicate directly with
ECA, since the Military Governors, as the supreme authorities,
are responsible for the relations of the Bizonal areas with the ECA.”
ECA’s representatives in Germany never admitted that they
were precluded from any direct contact with the Germans. Un-
fortunately, however, Paul Hoffman, when he paid a flying visit
to Germany in November, spent only twenty minutes with the
German Economic Administration representatives who had come
to meet him at Frankfurt. The latter were able to hand him the
printed report they had drawn up on “The Effect of Envisaged
Dismantling on Germany’s Economic Situation and Her Role in
European Reconstruction,” but they were given no opportunity to
discuss their case. Hoffman spent weeks in Paris, but either never
had time to study the German situation, or was unwilling to chal-
lenge the Military Government’s claim to exclusive power by a
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 63
conference with the German representatives of Bizonia, or with
German industrialists and labor leaders.
The Germans hate waste. These economical, hard-working and
practical people simply cannot understand why, in the British zone,
huge quantities of dismantled machinery lie rusting in the open
or in unheated warehouses; why so much unallocated machinery
is dismantled and converted into scrap; why the Germans are not
allowed to work to repair the damage done by the Nazis in the
countries they occupied instead of being converted into paupers
supported by an American dole.
“We can understand the justice of demanding that we make
reparations to the countries which suffered from German aggres-
sion,” I was told over and over again in the British zone by German
officials, workers, executives, and factory owners. “But we cannot
understand the decision to destroy factory equipment taken from
peacetime industries. This is not reparation; it is just waste.”
Of course, not all the machinery taken from German factories
in the British zone is thrown on the scrap heap. But even in the
case of machinery shipped abroad the huge gap between its eco-
nomic value in Germany, and its “residual value” after dismantle-
ment, as listed on the reparations account, is a measure of the
waste entailed. If the cost of labor involved in the dismantlement
and re-erection process is also taken into account the whole repara-
tions program appears ridiculous.
The far-reaching effects of dismantlement on the German econ-
omy are obscured by the method adopted in valuing the machinery.
This is done by first establishing its value in 1938 and then deduct-
ing not only war damage but a fixed yearly rate of depreciation
which takes no account of repairs and improvements. This fre-
quently results in machinery being valued at nothing, although
prior to dismantlement it was working full time. From the German
point of view it seems wholly unjust that a good proportion of the
machinery they lose through dismantlement is not even booked to
their credit on the reparations account.
This method of reckoning the value of the machinery taken as
reparations is of no help in determining the effect of dismantle-
ment on the German economy. The replacement cost of the ma-
chinery, or its “economic value”—capitalization according to the
net profits obtained before dismantlement—would be much fairer
methods of calculating the loss.
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

64
According to figures furnished by the United States Military
Government in October 1948, the value of the factory equipment
already dismantled was as follows in 1938 value Reichsmarks:
U. S. zone 187 factories
British zone 496 factories
French zone* 84 factories
—212 million marks
—600-700 million marks
—150-200 million marks
This makes a total of only about a billion prewar Reichsmarks,
equivalent to $400,000,000. According to German calculations,
however, the 1938 value of the plants already dismantled in the
Western zones was about $1,800,000,000 and would cost far more
to replace today.
According to an estimate made by Senator Harmssen of Bremen,
the 1938 value of the machinery and equipment already taken from
rump Germany is as follows:
Russian zone 1.6 billion Reichsmarks
French zone 1.2 billion Reichsmarks
Bizonia 3.5 billion Reichsmarks
Berlin 1.5 billion Reichsmarks
This calculation, although it may be exaggerated, gives a truer
picture of the losses the Germans have suffered, than the “residual
value” figures of the Military Government which obscure the effect
of dismantlement on the German economy.
The value of the 335 plants still to be dismantled in the Western
zones is about two billion dollars, according to German estimates,
but appears as only a fraction of this sum on the reparations ac-
count which gives its residual value. The cost of replacement of
the dismantled machinery is reckoned by the Germans as ten times
its residual value.
Since correct total estimates cannot be obtained, the best method
of ascertaining the loss to the European economy through dis-
mantlement is to consider individual cases of dismantled factories,
concerning which precise details can be obtained.
In the great G.H.H. (Good Hope) Works in the Ruhr, which
I visited after their dismantlement, the cost of moving the ma-
chinery and of shipping it to the eleven nations to whom it had
been allocated, amounted to between 800 and 1,000 marks a ton.
* Exclusive of the machinery taken by the French for their own use without
reference to the Inter-Allied Reparations Authority.
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 65
The cost of producing and installing new machinery for delivery
as reparations would have been only 400. This plant could have
“reproduced itself,” that is to say, manufactured new machinery
for delivery as reparations, in less time than it took to dismantle
it. It had had a big export trade but its products had been lost for
years, perhaps forever, since it was unlikely that the various nations
to whom its equipment had been sent would ever be able to make
use of the “bits and pieces” they received.
Nowhere was the waste entailed by dismantlement better illus-
trated than here. The Yugoslavs, who had received the lion’s share,
had got the press and hammer works and other shipbuilding ma-
chinery, and had insisted on shipment also of the bricks and
girders and wharves. The Greeks had received the boiler house,
including its roof which had been built in 1871. The Australians
had been awarded a five-thousand-ton press for pressing steel in-
gots which they had no place to house—it was lying on some rail-
way siding. England had taken an old freight wagon and some
molds as scrap. Pakistan had received a crane capable of lifting 125
tons which it probably had no use for; India received the equip-
ment which should have gone with the crane. A press, a pump, and
an accumulator taken out of one department of the works had each
been sent to a different nation.
Prior to the dismantlement the G.H.H. Works had export orders
on their books for a million D marks of oil-burning machinery, and
the Germans believed it had been torn down by the British to
eliminate its competition with their less efficient industry.
Fifteen thousand workers had lost their jobs through the dis-
mantlement of this one plant.
In the case of the Hörde Iron and Steel Works at Dortmund the
estimated cost of dismantling its 16.5-foot rolling mill was 1,000,000
D marks and the minimum cost of re-erecting it, including the
building, foundations, and the furnaces that served it, was 13,000,-
000. But the residual value as stated on the reparations account
was only 2,200,000.
In the case of the famous Thyssen Works in the Ruhr, dis-
mantlement costs were calculated at 65,000,000 marks, while the
residual value came to only 40,000,000. The cost of “putting
Humpty Dumpty together again” abroad was estimated to be
263,000,000 marks. Thus, if allowed to retain the plants, the Ger-
mans could easily have supplied new machinery in less time and
worth far more than the equipment removed.
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

66
Rubble and steel scrap represent the end result of dismantling
blast and open-hearth furnaces. Huge rolling mills and presses can-
not be moved because their weight or size are too great for bridges
or for rail clearances. Hydraulic piping, steam lines, electric con-
duits, automatic controls, and some other equipment cannot be
economically dismantled and are a complete loss.
The State Department, in November 1947, said that the cost in
labor and materials involved in the dismantling process is “rela-
tively negligible.” But the ECA experts I talked to in Germany
estimated that the dismantlement program would cost about ninety
thousand man-years of labor in Germany, and that at least the
same amount of labor would be needed in the recipient countries
to get the machines set up and working. In sum, their view was
that the dismantlement program is wasteful, inefficient, and im-
practical. They said that if the high cost of moving the equipment,
the time losses, and the production losses due to the separation of
the tools and dies from machinery as well as the cost of replacing
them, are all counted in, the value actually realized by the Euro-
pean economy through the recipient nations is negligible, when
measured against either the cost of European recovery or the cost
to the United States of meeting the deficit in Germany’s balance
of payments.
Whatever the exact cost, a telling argument was made in a New
York Times editorial of November 13, 1947, which said:
Having poured out billions to aid Europe in place of the reparations
that Germany did not pay [the United States] is entitled to ask that
these billions be counted against German reparations at least to the
extent of preventing an increase in American expenditures through eco-
nomic strangulation and destruction in Germany. Let the plants stand
and get to work. The United States has more than paid for them.
(Italics added.)
Although every American taxpayer is bearing a share of the bur-
den of supplying food and other essential imports to a semipauper-
ized Germany, the connection between our German policy and
high taxes is recognized by few. The cost of the vengeance wreaked
on Germany in the first years of the occupation is not a subject
which most politicians and journalists care to dwell upon. It is
nevertheless essential to realize it, if Americans are not to pay as
heavily in the future as up to date for the Morgenthau concepts
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 67
which shaped our original occupation policies, and still color them
in spite of assurances to the contrary.
The ignorance of the American public concerning the huge
waste entailed by dismantlement is to be ascribed to a variety of
reasons. In the first place, the Germans have neither a government,
nor a free press, nor representatives abroad to present their case.
In the second place, most American journalists, Congressmen and
Senatorial committees take their information entirely from Mili-
tary Government sources. Lastly, there is the fact that every one
of the reports written by the experts sent out by the War and
State departments and ECA have been suppressed. The Wolf
Report, the Keenan Report, and most recently, the report of the
ECA’s Humphrey Committee, have all been kept secret. They are
withheld both from the press and from most members of Congress.*
The Germans had imagined that, since the United States is a
democracy, all these visits and investigations would result in the
American voters’ learning the facts of the situation. Over and over
again I was asked what had been the reaction in America to the
reports of the United States experts who had carefully surveyed
the situation, and had to inform them that no one knew what these
reports contained nor what had been recommended.
My own method of investigation in Germany was first to go to
the German authorities for information and then to see for my-
self on the spot whether or not what they said seemed to be true.
After this I asked the Military Government for its answer to the
German contentions and its explanation for what I had seen. This
was apparently a novel method of procedure, and I found myself
regarded, if not with suspicion, at least as unorthodox in my
method of investigation, since it was unusual for journalists to
listen first, if at all, to what the Germans had to say. There was a
goodly number of United States officials, however, who were as
anxious as I was to have the true facts concerning the effects of
dismantlement presented to the American public. This was par-
ticularly true of the ECA authorities who told me their door was
open to any German who had facts to give them or representations
to make which concerned the European Recovery Program. So it

* The Humphrey Committee report was not made public until April 1949,
after Congress had already voted the ECA appropriations demanded, without
knowledge of the extent to which dismantlement is responsible for high taxes
in America.
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

68
was with the knowledge that I was not alone in my desire to stop
what former President Hoover has called “Destruction at our Ex-
pense,” that I advised the Germans in the British, United States,
and French zones to visit the ECA officials in Frankfurt and lay
before them the facts relating to the retarding of European re-
covery through dismantlement.
Herr Nolting, the Minister of Economics for North-Rhine West-
phalia, which comprises the Ruhr, told me in Düsseldorf that when
the dismantlement list was handed to the Germans in October
1947, they had said to the British: “Look, you can have all the
machines you ask for; only let us decide where they are to be taken
from. If you will let us select the machines, present production
need not be interrupted and our whole economy disorganized; if
you will leave it to us to deliver what you ask for, we will also be
able to ensure that the burden of reparations is equally distributed.
Surely you can see the injustice of mining some employers and
workers while letting others go scot free.”
The British had refused, although acceptance of the German
plea would have saved much time and labor as well as creating
confidence in democratic justice.
The fact that the British, instead of taking general-purpose ma-
chinery, insisted on dismantling specialized factories whose pro-
duction could not be compensated for by others, strengthened the
impression that the objective was not reparations but the elimina-
tion of German competition.
In September 1948, after the announcement of the Marshall
Plan had given hope to the Germans that the program of destruc-
tion of Germany’s industrial capacity would be stopped, Nolting
had had an interview with Brigadier Noel, the top British repara-
tions official in the Ruhr. The German minister had informed
Noel that, since representations to the British for changes in the
dismantlement program had proved useless, he had referred the
German plea to Mr. Hoffman. Brigadier Noel was very angry and
said: “Mr. Hoffman is only a private individual in so far as His
Majesty’s Government is concerned, and the British Foreign Office
will not consider any proposals brought forward by a private per-
son.” Brigadier Noel had gone on to advise Nolting not to rely on
any “interference” by Mr. Hoffman.
According to what I was told by one of Minister Nolting’s sub-
ordinates, Nolting had been summoned to London a few days
later, and urged not to demand a general stoppage of dismantle-
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 69
ment in the Ruhr, because this would not only embarrass the
British Labour Government but would cause such a furor in France
that De Gaulle might come to power. He had also been assured
that if he would cooperate with the British, they would “discuss”
with the Germans the elimination from the dismantlement list of
certain plants.
This slightly more conciliatory attitude of the British was as-
cribed by my informant as due to ECA pressure and the British
desire to prevent direct contact between the Germans and the ECA
authorities of the United States.
As I shall relate in a subsequent chapter, the British have taken
advantage all along of the German Social Democrats’ tendency
to regard the British Labour party as an ally, and to trust it more
than “capitalist” America. But the touching faith of the German
Socialists in the British Labour Government was now being sorely
tried by the fact that the British, in the summer and fall of 1948,
were rushing dismantlement in order to present the United States
ECA investigators with a fait accompli. Like Nolting, other Social
Democratic ministers in North-Rhine Westphalia, were not yet
prepared to reveal to correspondents the secret of their negotiations
with the British Labour Government, but some of their subordi-
nates were too outraged by the contrast between British Labour’s
statements and practices to be discreet.*
It would be unfair to the British to hold them mainly responsible
for the dismantlement program, although today, like the French,
they are opposing its discontinuance. Originally it was the United
States, under Roosevelt’s directives, which joined hands with the
Russians to implement the Morgenthau Plan for transforming
Germany into a “goat pasture.” The British in 1945 and 1946 were
the only Allied Power which opposed this program. They under-
stood then that the destruction of German industries and mass
unemployment and destitution in Germany was hardly conducive
to the “democratization” of the German people and would, in any
case, prove impossible to carry out once the British and American
people came to realize the mass starvation it would entail.
* According to the October 1948 report of the British Control Commission
for Germany reports “continued progress” in dismantlement, with 25 plants
completely dismantled that month. This made a total of 216 for the year with
a further 208 plants in process of being dismantled. The volume of machinery
already torn out of German factories was given as 528,000 tons, of which only
270,000 had been shipped to recipient nations.
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

70
Even if all occupied Germany had been administered as an eco-
nomic unit, as promised by the Soviet Government at Potsdam,
millions of Germans would have been condemned to die of hunger
under the original occupation directives. For the Polish and Rus-
sian seizure of Germany’s bread basket east of the Oder and Neisse
rivers not only deprived Germany of a quarter of its arable land, it
also drove the millions of Germans who had lived in these terri-
tories for hundreds of years into the truncated Reich.
If the Soviet Government had not at once proceeded to cut the
British, United States, and French zones off from the food supplies
of Soviet-occupied Germany, there would still have been no pos-
sibility for the Western Germans to obtain enough food to keep
alive under the Morgenthau Plan, which incidentally also advo-
cated detaching the Saar, the Ruhr, and some slices of German
territory next to Holland and Belgium. It is, therefore, no exaggera-
tion to say that in comparison with the Morgenthau Plan even the
Nazis would have appeared as comparatively humane conquerors.
Its recommendation that the Germans should become self-sub-
sistent farmers on the already overpopulated German soil is shown
to be only a disguised program for genocide by the fact that the
average yield per acre in Western Germany is already 50 per cent
higher than that in the United States. There is obviously no room
for a larger agricultural population in Germany than already exists.
American soldiers were too humane to be capable of watching
masses of the defeated enemy people dying before their eyes. More-
over, it was recognized even in Washington that the health and
safety of Americans would be endangered by widespread “disease
and unrest.” So almost from the beginning the United States
started importing food into Germany to provide a minimum ration,
just sufficient to maintain life and prevent people from dropping
dead of hunger in the streets.
Nevertheless, in 1946, a “Level of Industry Plan” was worked out
with the Russians which, if carried into effect, would have pre-
cluded any possibility of the Germans ever being able to produce
enough for their own support, and converted millions of them into
paupers.
This result was in fact recognized by General Draper and his
experts in the economics division of the United States Military
Government. The Potsdam agreement with Soviet Russia had stip-
ulated that the German standard of living was to be no higher
than the average in Continental Europe, excluding England and
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 71
the U.S.S.R. The Draper memorandum stated that “the data indi-
cates that the German standard in 1932 was near the average for
the remainder of the Continent for the years 1930 to 1938. For this
reason figures for 1932 consumption in Germany can be used as a
secondary basis of comparison or guide.”
In Germany the worst year of the Great Depression was 1932,
when there were some six million unemployed. Thus, it was the
declared aim of the United States in 1946 to reproduce in Germany
the conditions which had brought Hitler to power. Since the Level
of Industry Plan then drawn up would actually have reduced mil-
lions of Germans to far worse destitution than in 1932, the logical
result could have been expected to be a bigger and worse Hitler
in the future—in a word a German Stalin.
It is not necessary to go into the details of this plan, since it
was based on the fictitious assumption that the four zones of Ger-
many would be administered as an economic unit, and since the
program for the huge destruction and removals of German indus-
trial equipment it envisaged, was modified after it became obvious
that the Russian zone would continue to be treated as a purely
Russian preserve.
In 1947 a “Revised Level of Industry Plan” was worked out by
the American and British Occupation authorities on the assump-
tion that Western Germany would have to exist without the re-
sources of the Soviet zone, as well as without those of the former
German territories east of the Oder. A list of plants to be dismantled
as “surplus” to German needs at the level of existence to be per-
mitted by their conquerors was drawn up on the basis of this plan
and published in October 1947.
A cursory examination of the Revised Plan shows unmistakably
that it fails to allow Western Germany to retain sufficient produc-
tive capacity to pay its own way, even on the assumption that the
Germans are to continue indefinitely on their present diet, described
by the ECA’s chief representative in Germany as “subnormal both
in calories and proteins.”
Western Germany with forty-two millions has more than half of
the original Reich’s population, less than half of its arable land,
three-quarters of its hard-coal, and about a third of its brown-coal
production. According to the evidence given to Congress in February
1949 by Mr. N. H. Collisson, Deputy Chief of the ECA mission to
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

72
Bizonia, Western Germany can never produce more than 50 per
cent of the food it needs to feed its non-self-suppliers within rea-
sonable dietary levels. The remaining 50 per cent must therefore be
imported, and this can only be done if Germany can “so revive its
industries that it may produce cheaply and efficiently and compete
on world markets.”*
Mr. Collisson pointed out that production per acre in Germany
is already 50 per cent higher than in the United States, so that there
is little or no possibility of increasing the yield. He further stated
that even the bountiful harvest of 1948 had only increased the aver-
age daily diet of the nonfarming population to about 2,400 calories;
that the 1949-50 program plans for a still lower ration, and that
the goal of the long-term recovery program is only 2,700 calories.
By 1952-53 the Germans are expected to be still existing on a diet
consisting mainly of potatoes and other carbohydrates, and insuffi-
cient for productive efficiency.
Mr. Collisson stated that even the maintenance of the “sub-nor-
mal” diet in Western Germany and the continued denial to the
Germans of “desperately needed essential commodities” and ade-
quate housing, would require imports of $2,800,000,000 worth of
food and raw materials and a correspondingly high level of exports
of German manufacturers and coal.
As against these ECA estimates, the 1947 Level of Industry Plan
envisages exports amounting to only two billion dollars to pay for
Western Germany’s essential imports of food, fertilizer, and raw
materials. This figure of two billion dollars, although well below the
ECA estimate, requires a 15 per cent increase over the 1936 figure
of German exports.
The authors of the plan themselves recognized that this estimate
is probably too low, difficult as it is to imagine where in the world
such a volume of consumer goods is to be sold. They say that “at
least” two billion dollars is the minimum import requirement, but

* In a pamphlet entitled Is There Still a Chance for Germany? (Hinsdale,
Ill., Henry Regnery Company, 1948), Karl Brandt, Professor of Agricultural
Economics, Food Research Institute, Stanford University, and an internationally
recognized authority in this field, maintains that “doubt is warranted that
Western Germany, as presently constituted, will ever be able to attain the de-
gree of productivity that will permit her to pay her food bill” (p. 14). Brandt
is not alone in this opinion; it is shared by other competent experts. But it is
studiously ignored in public discussion, whether unofficial or official, because,
if the thesis is true, it takes away all ground from under Allied policies since
Potsdam.
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 73
they add: “Since trade between the Bizonal area and the rest of
Germany is subject to greater uncertainty than former internal
trade, the result may be to increase still further the need for trade
with other countries.”
In other words, as late as 1947, American authorities, in deciding
how much machinery to tear out of the German economy, still re-
fused to recognize as the basis of their calculations the fact that the
Eastern zone under the Russians is completely severed from the
rest of Germany.
Even assuming that two billion dollars is a correct figure for the
volume of exports required to meet Western Germany’s minimum
needs, the Revised Level of Industry Plan makes it impossible for
her ever to export this much, for it drastically limits her production
of steel, and thus precludes large exports of the machinery and con-
struction materials in greatest demand on the world market, which
made up the bulk of Germany’s prewar exports. Instead, Germany
is envisaged as having the possibility of exporting unlimited quan-
tities of textiles, ceramics, and other products of light industry. The
difficulty of finding outlets for the planned huge increase in con-
sumer-goods exports is recognized, but not taken into account. The
preamble to the plan states:
Before the war, the broad fields of metals, machinery and chemicals
accounted for two-thirds of the total exports. Production of textiles,
ceramics, and consumer goods can be raised, but the extent to which
additional sales above prewar levels can be sold on the export markets
is difficult to predict. Exports from the unrestricted industries would
need to be increased approximately 90 per cent if the higher export
requirements were provided entirely from the unrestricted industries,
which is obviously impracticable. Therefore the level of exports from
the restricted industries will need to be greater than prewar.
Having cut the ground from under their own feet by this state-
ment, the authors of the plan proceed to outline the cuts to be
made in the productive capacity of the German steel industry, me-
chanical and electrical industries, chemicals and other vital branches
of a modern economy. It also expressly states that no provision is
made in the plan for repayment of the advances made by the occu-
pying powers for imports of food, seed and fertilizer. Reparations
are thus given priority over Germany’s debt to the United States.
The plan limits Western Germany’s steel production to 10.7 mil-
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

74
lion tons a year, as against her 1936 production of 17.5 million tons,
and the United States estimate of 19.2 million tons as her end of
the war capacity. According to the Germans this latter figure takes
insufficient account of air-raid damage. They claim therefore that
the 6.5 million tons of steel capacity being dismantled will actually
reduce Germany’s capacity below the 10.7 million tons allowed in
the Revised Level of Industry Plan.
Whichever figures are accepted as correct, there is no doubt that
the planned dismantlement must deprive Western Germany of any
possibility of becoming self-supporting. It envisages a Germany pro-
ducing far less, and exporting more, than before the war. It makes
no provision for the rebuilding of Germany’s bombed cities and
bridges, the repair of railroads and rolling stock, and the replace-
ment of the engines and freight cars looted by the Russians, Poles,
and French; nor for the housing of the millions of expellees from the
East; nor for the support of the uncounted numbers of disabled
men, women, and children; nor for the hospitalization of the many
prisoners of war sent home from Russia, France, and Yugoslavia
only after they have become too ill and weak to be of any use as
slave laborers.
Like the old Level of Industry Plan it provides, even theoretically,
for a German income at the lowest level of the Depression years,
when Germany had six million unemployed. It is specifically stated
that per capita productive capacity is to be reduced to 75 per cent
of the 1936 level, which is precisely the 1932 level. In practice, Ger-
many’s per capita income would be reduced even lower than this,
for the plan gravely underestimates the present and expected popu-
lation increase of the Western zones.
The number of expellees from Silesia, the Sudetenland, and other
parts of Eastern Europe was about twelve million. Some three mil-
lion are estimated to have died of starvation and exposure, and some
are in the Soviet zone. But against this reduction of the total figure
of those who have to be provided for in Western Germany, there
is the constant and increasingly large influx of refugees fleeing to
Germany both from the Eastern zone and from all the countries
under Communist dictatorship. These refugees include many na-
tionalities, even Russians, but are not, for the most part, admitted
into the DP camps, and have to be provided for by the German
economy (see Chapter 7.)
If all these factors are taken into consideration the envisaged re-
duction in the standard of living of the population of Western
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 75
Germany is almost 50 per cent below prewar. Without American
subsidies it is bound to be even more miserably inadequate than at
present.
Since it provides only for minimum German needs, the Revised
Level of Industry Plan is also incompatible with the Marshall Plan,
which envisages German industries and skills contributing to the
rehabilitation of Western Europe. The ceiling placed on German
steel production is alone sufficient to preclude any possibility of
Germany’s contributing to the reconstruction and defense of West-
ern Europe.
As the London Economist pointed out on August 6, 1946, Ger-
many used five million tons of steel before the war for the output
only of such necessary peacetime requirements as nails, sheet iron,
cutlery, stoves, furnaces, pipes, tools, and household utensils. Even
in the last year of World War II 40 per cent of Greater Germany’s
steel output (8 or 9 million tons out of 22 to 24 million, according
to the Economist figures) was used for civilian purposes.
According to the calculations of German economists, Western
Germany needs, not 10.7, but at least 14 million tons of ingot steel
a year for the next five years for domestic use, even if a very low
standard of living is maintained. No one who has seen the havoc
wrought by bombing and battle all over the Western zone will quar-
rel with this estimate. With rare exceptions every town, large or
small, is in ruins. British and French removal of vast quantities of
timber from German forests has increased the need of metal in place
of wood for rebuilding. Yet Germany’s structural-steel production
is being reduced by 40 per cent.
Steel allocations for highway maintenance and repair of the
Rhine bridges alone came to 8,000 tons in the first half of 1948.
The future need is calculated at 40,000 tons a year for the next
seven years. Rail repair requires a minimum of 150,000 tons a year
for several years to come.
To anyone not blinded by the desire for revenge, it is obvious
that Western Germany can never support itself unless permitted
to produce at least as much steel for its own requirements, and to
export even larger quantities of machinery, than before the war. As
Mr. Collisson told Congress:
The industries of Western Germany need steel for the processing
and manufacturing of the machinery, apparatus and precision goods
which constitute the bulk of its export trade. Into these finished goods
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

76
go the skills and craftsmanship which represent the ingredient contrib-
uting the most to the value of the finished article. . . .
Germany is a country with practically no raw materials except
coal; her “riches” consist in the skills and industry of her working
population. Unless allowed to use them for her own benefit and
that of Europe she cannot support her people. At the same time
Europe desperately needs German machinery. Nevertheless ninety-
four iron and steel plants were placed on the dismantlement list
handed to the Germans in October 1947. The list included Ger-
many’s most up-to-date and efficient plants.
As every American iron and steel man will tell you, a blast fur-
nace, or melting or annealing furnace, can not be transplanted. It
can only be destroyed. Thus a “dismantled” iron and steel works
yields as reparations, at most, 20 to 25 per cent of its former pro-
duction facilities. Germany’s loss of her capacity to produce steel
constitutes a lasting loss to the whole European economy.
The American public has not been permitted to see the Wolf
Report on the German iron and steel industry. It is, however, no
secret that Mr. Wolf reported that even the 10.7 million tons of
steel ingots permitted under the Revised Level of Industry Plan
would be useless if the machinery necessary to roll it at low cost in
labor and materials is not retained in Germany; and that scheduled
dismantlements of rolling mills would make this impossible.
Some 80 per cent of German steel production consists of rolled
products. According to the German Bizonal Economic Administra-
tion the dismantlement of rolling mills being carried out will re-
duce productive capacity far below the 10.7 million tons steel level
prescribed, and nearer to the 6 million tons level insisted upon by
the Russians in 1946.
Since the capacity of the United States to meet even the home
demand for sheets and strips is estimated to be insufficient, where is
Europe to obtain its basic requirements if the British insist on car-
rying through the scheduled dismantlements in the Ruhr? As Mr.
Collisson said in his evidence before the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, “The critical shortage of steel in the world today de-
mands maximum use of facilities permitted to remain in Germany.”
According to the Herter Committee report, the United States, up
to 1951, will not be in a position to supply either the home market
or the European and Near Eastern demand for rolled pipes of large
diameter. Yet 46 per cent of Germany’s welded-pipe producing ca-
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 77
pacity is being dismantled, and her large-diameter pipe production
entirely destroyed.
Ten per cent of Germany’s rolled milled products consists of
steel wire. Thus she should have been left the capacity to produce
800,000 tons, but scheduled dismantlements are reducing it to only
530,000.
In visiting the Ruhr I was made aware of the fact that the man-
ner in which dismantlement is carried out also greatly increases Ger-
man costs of production, coal consumption, and transport charges.
With an eye mainly to the elimination of German competition,
the British are crippling a large number of plants instead of com-
pletely dismantling only a few. By this method they raise German
costs of production to noncompetitive levels, while making it ap-
pear that the total reparations removals are comparatively small.
In a modern iron and steel works the whole process of extracting
iron from the ore in a blast furnace, making steel ingots from pig
iron or scrap in a furnace, and shaping the red-hot steel into bars,
plates, wire, or tubes is carried out in the same plant. This econo-
mizes fuel, power, and transport. The British in the Ruhr disrupt
the process by removing a part of the equipment.
In one plant they remove the rolling mill, in another the presses,
and in others they destroy the furnaces. Thus, in one iron and steel
works the steel used can no longer be produced on the premises,
while in others it can no longer be rolled or pressed and has to be
sent elsewhere for processing.
At the Hörde Works in Dortmund, for instance, I saw the giant
16.5-foot rolling mill, which is the only one of its kind in Europe
and has a production capacity of 200,000 tons of rolled steel a year,
standing idle by British order. It had been producing some 7,000
tons a month before the British ordered it dismantled in the fall
of 1948. The greater part of the steel produced at Hörde’s and for-
merly immediately processed, now had to be cooled and sent else-
where for use, with consequently greatly increased coal consumption
and transport costs. The latter charges were high since there was no
water transport and no other rolling mill in the vicinity to make
use of the steel produced at Hörde’s.
Not only would the Hörde Works no longer be able to operate
profitably. The Dutch, Swedes, and Norwegians had placed orders
in the Ruhr for 200,000 tons of wide metal plates for shipbuilding,
which England and France could not supply, and which dismantle-
ment of the Hörde 16.5-foot rolling mill prevented Germany from
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

78
producing. There was no other rolling mill in Europe making such
large plates. The two German plants in existence producing 14.7-
and 13.5-foot plates had insufficient capacity to fulfill the whole
foreign shipbuilding order in addition to their existing commit-
ments, since the demand in Germany for wide steel plates was also
very great. The Hörde Works had, for instance, produced the plates
for rebuilding the bridge over the Rhine at Cologne, reopened in
the fall of 1948, and there were many other destroyed German
bridges waiting to be rebuilt.
In February 1949, following the visit of the Norwegian Foreign
Minister to Washington to discuss Norway’s adherence to the At-
lantic Pact, it was reported in the press that the United States had
promised to deliver American steel plates for the reconstruction of
Norway’s mercantile marine, in place, presumably, of the German
deliveries which had been cut off.
The Germans had offered to deliver a new rolling mill in place
of Hörde’s. This new equipment was already half finished and
could have been completed in nine months, whereas three and a
half years would be required to dismantle, pack, and ship the Hörde
mill, if it could ever be accomplished, and this was most unlikely
in view of its huge size and weight. Nevertheless the offer was re-
fused by the British Reparations Office in Düsseldorf.
The Hörde workers, at the time of my visit, had succeeded in
preventing dismantlement by forming a picket line and preventing
the wrecking crew from entering the plant. The giant mill stood
idle, since use of it was forbidden, and no one knew whether the
British would use troops to force the workers to give way, and use
DP’s to destroy the mill should German workers refuse the task.
The workers had put up notices on blackboards which read:
“Hands off! You are taking away the livelihood of 8.000 workers
and their families.”
“Marshall Plan : Reconstruction or Destruction?”
“Let us work! We want to help in the rebuilding of Europe!”
I spent several hours at the Hörde Works where thin and under-
nourished German workers left their arduous labors in the smelting
works to ask me if there was any hope that America would inter-
vene to prevent the destruction of their livelihood. I gave them all
the encouragement I could, saying that I was sure that in time the
American people would stop the senseless and cruel destruction of
Germany’s industrial capacity. But not wishing to raise false hopes
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 79
I admitted that America’s awakening might not come in time to
save their jobs.
Early in 1949, while writing this book, I received a letter from
Herr Wilms, the engineer in charge of the 16.5-foot rolling mill.
He wrote to tell me that after stopping dismantlement according
to their promises to the ECA the British had removed and shipped
to England the turning lathe and grinding machine without which
the mill cannot operate. He added:
On November 1, 1948, in “honor of the visit” of Mr. King, the
Wolf Commission expert, the first of these machines was removed;
and now, on Christmas Eve, the second one has been torn out and
both essential machines shipped to England via Hamburg. Yet there
is no one in England who wants them. The Thomson Houston Com-
pany in Rugby has refused to take them, and Messrs. Francis Shaw in
Manchester have accepted delivery with reluctance.
At the end of his letter Herr Wilms remarks:
The belief in Germany that the American view concerning European
rehabilitation would prevail and bring an end to dismantlement, is
fading. I myself still hope for the best while preparing for the worst.
Can you give us some good advice? Perhaps now that masculine reason
is in eclipse, feminine feeling will achieve better results!
Unfortunately for the Hörde workers, the ECA Commission de-
ferred to the British, who presumably wish to prevent reconstruc-
tion of the Norwegian and Dutch merchant marine. So the giant
rolling mill is now being torn down.
In Dortmund I also visited the Dortmund Union Works which
after the decartelization operation had been cut off from its coal
mines, subsuppliers, and markets. Here again I found that the whole
works was not being dismantled, but measures had been taken to
ensure that the steel produced in its foundry could no longer be
used on the premises in its molten state. A gigantic press, far too
big to be moved but nevertheless placed on the reparations list, was
being destroyed. The ovens which served it had already been torn
down, and the press itself being irremovable would presumably be
broken up and converted into scrap. It had originally been con-
structed on the premises and was the largest press in Europe. Two
other presses and four steam hammers had already been dismantled
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

80
and 29 ovens destroyed; one crane able to lift a weight of 250 tons
had been torn down, and five smaller cranes removed.
This plant had formerly manufactured equipment for the mining
and electrical industries, and gears for large sea-going ships, all of
which production depended on the presses which were being de-
stroyed or dismantled.
The value of the annual output of the Dortmund Union Works
prior to dismantlement had been 25,000,000 marks a year. Its resid-
ual value on reparations account was only a fraction of this sum.
The plant could not be reconstituted because its former affiliated
works, the Wagner Company which made presses, had already been
dismantled and its equipment shipped to India.
The Germans had offered to supply new machinery to India in-
stead, and India would have preferred to receive machinery made
to its specifications, but the British had insisted that Wagner’s be
dismantled. It could only be presumed that from the British point
of view it was better that the Indians should receive factory equip-
ment they could make no use of, than machinery with which to
compete with the British. Dismantlement both eliminated Ger-
man competition and prevented the creation of effective new com-
petitors.
Following its dismantlement, the Wagner Company in Dort-
mund had made a contract with the British to use its labor force
to dismantle other factories. But, faced with the rising tide of Ger-
man resentment at the destruction of their country’s assets, the re-
luctance of all German workers to dismantle the machinery which
their fellow trade-unionists depended upon for their livelihood, and
the general opprobrium attached to all Germans who collaborated
with the British in destroying Germany’s productive capacity, Wag-
ner’s in October 1948 had refused to renew their contract. As pun-
ishment the British, at the time of my visit to Dortmund, had
announced their intention of tearing down the empty Wagner
buildings which had hitherto been spared and used as a storage
depot for the machinery torn out of other factories in the town.
The “captains of industry” I met in Dortmund considered the
Revised Level of Industry Plan limiting future German production
worse than dismantlement, costly as the latter is. This was also the
view of the trade-union representatives with whom I talked in the
Ruhr. Executives and workers, indignant as they all were at the
senseless destruction of machinery going on, had faith in German
capacity to repair the damage if only they were allowed to work.
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 81
The most terrible thing about Allied occupation policies was the
setting of limits to man’s endeavor, inventiveness, and willingness
to work.
Germany’s coal, iron, and steel industry was formerly the most
closely and economically integrated in Europe. Combines used their
own locally mined coal to produce steel and roll it immediately
into plates or strips or press it into shape while still red hot. In
many plants production from blasting to finished products, such as
pipes and wire, was all carried out on the same premises, with a
minimum cost for handling and transport.
Dismantlement, coupled with so-called “decartelization” is wip-
ing out these economies and reducing Germany’s coal, iron, and
steel industry to a nineteenth century level of efficiency.
“Decartelization” was originally sold to the American people un-
der a false label. It was represented as a method of eliminating
“monopoly,” and clearing the ground for free private enterprise. In
fact, however, under the influence of Communist fellow travelers in
key positions in the economic division of the United States Mili-
tary Government, decartelization became an instrument for under-
mining the capitalist system. “Operation Severance,” as it was
called, first set 1,000 employees as the maximum for any German
enterprise. Later the figure was raised to 10,000, but even this num-
ber of permitted workers destroyed the former economic and effi-
cient vertical integration of the German coal, iron, and steel in-
dustry.
Communist sympathizers, in combination with the disciples of
Morgenthau, no longer enjoy predominant influence in the United
States Military Government. Many of them have been sent home.
Those who remain are careful to camouflage their real objectives.
Nevertheless they are by no means eliminated and still exert con-
siderable undercover influence. They can still work through the
British, who, although they never subscribed to the absurdities of
the Morgenthau Plan or let Communist sympathizers direct their
policy, took advantage of the decartelization program to decrease
Germany’s productive capacity and raise her costs of production to
the advantage of her British competitors on the world market.
The outstanding example of dismantlement of a model enter-
prise is the August Thyssen works in the Ruhr. This was the most
efficient smelting works in Europe. It formerly produced 1,250,000
tons of crude steel, all used on the spot to turn out high quality
dynamo and transformer sheets, materials for bridge building, and
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

82
heat resistant and acid-proof steels. Situated on the river, it had its
own wharves for the landing of coal and iron ore and for shipping
of finished products. The Thyssen works formerly accounted for
half of Germany’s total production of the transformer sheets now
so desperately needed. Ever since the end of the war the British
have prohibited its operation, and it is now being dismantled.
Repeated testimony before Congressional committees, and state-
ments by ECA and United States Military Government spokes-
men, confirm the fact that the basic limiting factor in the German
recovery program is the power shortage. This is caused by the result
of our air raids, long-neglected repairs, dismantlement of power
plants, and shortage of coal supplies. Without new supplies of elec-
trical sheets for transformers and dynamos the power shortage can-
not be remedied. Fifty per cent of Bizonia’s capacity for the produc-
tion of electrical sheets was located in the August Thyssen Works.
Yet the State Department, in its memorandum of March 1, 1948,
asserted that “no plants producing electric generating equipment
are scheduled for dismantlement in the British Zone.”
How is this statement to be explained? Are the experts of the
State Department even more ignorant of technology and the re-
quirements of modern industry than the author of this book? Or is
someone interested in misleading the Secretary of State, Congress,
and the American public? Or is it worth nearly a billion dollars a
year to preserve the reputations of the incompetents who made the
past mistakes?
Technical progress in all countries is leading to increased use of
electric and fine steels, and the Level of Industry Plan requires that
Germany produce more, not less, of the high-grade machine tools
and fine optical and electrotechnical instruments which require
such steel. But Germany’s capacity to produce electric steel is being
reduced to a mere 300,000 tons a year. One hundred and eighteen
electric furnaces out of a total of 209 are being dismantled.
Thus, while promising that the Germans would be allowed to in-
crease their production and export of machine tools and optical
instruments, we are busy depriving them of the capacity to procure
the specialized steels these industries require.
This crippling of Germany’s capacity to produce the fine steels
increasingly in demand on the world market is of particular impor-
tance to the American taxpayer, since it drastically reduces Ger-
many’s capacity to export high quality tools, and perpetuates the
unfavorable balance of trade now met by American food subsidies.
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 83
It also cripples the chemical industry because Germany will hence-
forth be unable to produce sufficient quantities of heat- and acid-
proof stainless steel.
It was promised in the Revised Level of Industry Plan that the
fine machine-tool mechanics and optical-instrument industry would
not be touched, but even in this field factories have been disman-
tled in the United States zone, sometimes with the excuse that
they had been “substantially modified” for war use. There has also
been dismantlement of factories producing fine precision tools es-
sential to the permitted export industries.
It was also stated that the production of agricultural machinery
and road tractors in the Bizone was insufficient, and none should
be taken for reparations. But here again a promise to the Germans
was broken. In 1948 the section of Krupps producing agricultural
machinery was dismantled in spite of bitter protests by the workers
employed there.
In spite of the admitted necessity to increase German exports of
machinery, the 1947 plan provides for the following removals of
productive capacity:
Thirty-five per cent of the production facilities of the heavy me-
chanical engineering industry.
Twenty-three per cent of the capacity of the light machinery in-
dustry.
Thirty-five per cent of the present productive capacity of the
machine-tool industry.
Removal of “only” three electrical engineering plants, because
“the pre-war requirements of the Bizonal area were in large part
met from capacities in Berlin, which have been almost totally
dismantled.”
Regarding automobiles and trucks, the plan states that capacity
to produce 160.000 passenger cars and 61,500 commercial vehicles
will be left in Western Germany. Prewar production was far above
this level. It should be noted that up to 1948 practically the whole
production of Volkswagen and trucks was taken by the British and
French occupation authorities for their own use or for sale for
their own profit. Moreover, a large number of German automobiles
and trucks were confiscated at the beginning of the occupation.
Thus very few Germans still have automobiles and those still in
their possession are usually very old. Most business enterprises lack
essential transport. The backlog demand is accordingly huge.
As for chemicals, 40 to 50 per cent of existing capacity is to be
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

84
removed or destroyed. All explosive plants are to be removed or
destroyed. A quarter of the capacity of the plastics industry is made
available for reparations. Less than the prewar capacity of dye-
stuffs is to be retained. The production of atabrine is to be re-
duced below prewar by removal of a pharmaceutical plant. Fifteen
per cent of the capacity of the “miscellaneous chemicals” group is
to be removed, and 17 per cent of the capacity of the “basic, or-
ganic and inorganic” chemical industries.
The prohibited list of industries still includes ships, aluminum,
beryllium, vanadium, magnesium, ball bearings, synthetic ammo-
nia, rubber, gasoline, and oil.
Under a temporary provision Germany has been allowed to con-
tinue producing some ball bearings until such time as her exports
shall enable her to buy them abroad. Both the British and Ameri-
cans now agree this is impracticable, but in the meantime half the
equipment at the large ball-bearing factory at Schweinfurt in
Bavaria has been sent to the Soviet Union.
The British, obviously because they want no German competi-
tion in this sphere, have as yet refused to agree to remove the ban
on shipbuilding except for small and slow vessels.
The British in their implementation of the plan have included
the light-metal industries in the category of “light machine indus-
try” scheduled for a 23 per cent reduction in productive capacity.
In spite of German protests the British have dismantled factories
making coffee pots, skillets, kettles, and other household goods
made of sheet metal. Some 40 plants producing such peacetime
necessities were included on the British dismantlement list.
The State Department has contended that the task of selecting
the plants to be dismantled was performed with great care, that
none of them could be used in Germany if retained there, and that
their removal facilitates the economic recovery of the recipient
nations.
This statement must be based on inadequate information. For
nothing is more obvious in Germany than the fact that many of the
plants being dismantled are precisely those working to full capacity,
having been given priority in the allocation of coal and raw mate-
rials, precisely because their products were essential to the working
of the civilian economy. Telling the Germans that the machinery
being dismantled is “surplus” to their requirements is a heartless
joke.
The State Department’s contention that the plants dismantled
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 85
were those which could not be used in Germany if retained there
is contradicted by information given by the Military Government,
as well as by the evidence presented by the Germans. I was told by
Military Government authorities in Berlin in November 1948 that
the plants dismantled in the United States zone were now once
again producing half as much as before they were dismantled. They
had been put back into production by providing them with equip-
ment formerly unused in plants which were not dismantled. In
other words, reparations were not taken from “surplus” capacity in
idle factories, but from those working to capacity.
In any case the contention that German reparations have not
impeded recovery because capacities are not fully utilized, begs the
question. It should, instead, be asked why potential capacities have
not been fully utilized in view of Europe’s needs. The answer re-
veals the vicious cycle for which the Allied wrecking policy in
Germany is responsible.
The inadequate food supplied to the German miners and their
families, and their miserable housing conditions, combined with
the dismantlement of the factories producing mining equipment,
has held down coal production.
The obligation to export 20 per cent of the Ruhr’s coal produc-
tion (mainly to France) and the loss of the Saar and of the brown
coal of Eastern Germany, has further drastically curtailed the
amount of coal available for German consumption.
This in turn limits steel production and has led some iron and
steel works to be represented as “surplus,” only because Germany
is not permitted to obtain the coal and iron ore she requires to
make a major contribution to European recovery.
The real reason for dismantlement is that given by the head of
the Steel Production Board in Düsseldorf, who in August 1948,
said to my friend Mrs. John Crane, who was representing Senator
George W. Malone: “There is no intention that Germany will be
left with enough steel-making capacity ever again to be able to
export steel or steel products in significant quantities.”
The Revised Plan would be unrealistic in view of the necessity
for increased German exports, even if based on a correct estimate
of existing capacities. There is, however, evidence that the list of
plants to be dismantled was drawn up without a proper survey of
what equipment remained in Germany.
The Germans contend that the basis of United States-British
calculations of productive capacity was the maximum output
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

86
reached temporarily during the war and impossible to sustain.
Normal utilization is only 80 to 90 per cent, and the many years
during which no repairs were carried out have reduced the capacity
by a greater degree than normal depreciation. These facts too were
not taken into consideration. They also contend that the use of
gross capacities in Allied calculations results in an overestimation
of production facilities, since some subsuppliers are counted twice
over.
Secondly, the Germans say, since the most efficient plants were
chosen for dismantlement, and since the destruction of one branch
of an industry deprives others of the material they use, the net
reduction in productive capacity is far greater than indicated by the
total figures of dismantlement. Insuperable bottlenecks result from
reparations deliveries which affect the whole German economy,
and in some cases the whole of Europe, since some plants can
never be reconstructed in other countries, and even those which are
re-erected take months or years before they can produce again.
Thirdly, the basis on which Germany’s productive capacity was
calculated was not, as the State Department has asserted, any “care-
ful” investigation of existing capacity. The basis was apparently
the so called “Mecit” reports of the winter of 1945-46 when the
German factory owners were instructed to fill in forms stating the
productive capacity of their plants. The object of these question-
naires was not stated at the time and the Germans thought they
were to be the basis for fuel and raw-material allocations. Human
nature being what it is, they almost all overestimated their pro-
ductive capacities at a time when no one expected to be supplied
with anything but a small proportion of their needs. It was cer-
tainly the Germans’ fault that productive capacities were accord-
ingly overestimated, but the fact remains that these “Mecit” reports
are not reliable, and should not have been taken as the basis for
the calculation of which plants are surplus under the Revised Level
of Industry Plan.
There are numerous established cases in which data on plants
have been so inaccurate that they were not even listed in the right
industry.
Even if the original Anglo-American estimates of Germany’s
productive capacity are accepted as correct, British “multilateral
deliveries,” French “prélèvements,” and “restitutions” from all
three zones have destroyed their validity. No one, not even the
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 87
Germans, now knows exactly what is left of Germany’s productive
capacity.
“Multilateral deliveries” is the British term for the removal of
specially valuable, or special-purpose and frequently irreplaceable,
machinery from German factories to England. “Prélèvements”
is the French term for their seizure of whole plants and of indi-
vidual machines in their zone without reference to the Inter-Allied
Reparations Authority (IARA) in Brussels. Both terms are a
“legalized” synonym for what would be described as looting if
practiced by an enemy country.
In the British zone a commission would come to a German fac-
tory not on the dismantlement list, pick out certain machines, and
order them dismantled “to meet United Kingdom requirements.”
Although on October 18, 1947, General Robertson made an official
promise that no further multilateral deliveries would be demanded,
in the fall of 1948 they were resumed in some places. In Düssel-
dorf, for instance, in September 1948, the British demanded
seventy-two machines, this time however from factories on the dis-
mantlement list. The point, of course, was that these machines had
to be delivered earlier than the dates set for general dismantlement,
and the Germans were convinced that the British hoped thus to
forestall the ECA commission’s recommendations.
The machines taken as multilateral deliveries were for British use,
since they were not being allocated by the IARA at Brussels. Some
of the machinery thus torn out of German factories and not taken
into consideration in drawing up the Level of Industry Plan is ir-
replaceable, because it is made only in the Russian zone. Many
factories have been permanently crippled although they do not
figure on the dismantlement list.
“Restitutions” have further invalidated the original estimate of
Germany’s productive assets. Originally the term “restitutions” was
taken to mean only the restoration of property stolen by the Ger-
mans in occupied countries, or transferred to German ownership
“under duress.” Confined to this interpretation restitutions are
entirely justified on both moral and economic grounds. But, in
July 1948, the United States Military Government began to give
an interpretation to the term “restitutions” which has no basis in
law or equity. The 1946 ruling by General Clay, according to
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

88
which “duress” had to be proved, was canceled, and it was decreed
that no transfers of property under German occupation were to be
considered as “normal commercial transactions.” According to this
ruling machinery and other goods, bought and paid for by German
merchants or manufacturers, must be returned to the country of
origin as restitutions without any need to prove they were sold
under duress.
Even if the German buyer can produce documentary evidence
that the seller considers that he was properly paid and does not
now claim return of the property, the German purchaser has to
give it up without compensation, because, “restitution claims are
government claims and not those of individuals.” As a result of
this United States Military Government ruling, property for resti-
tution is not delivered to those who originally sold it to the Ger-
mans, but to foreign governments. Most of the foreign governments
who thus obtain restitution of the machinery and other goods
originally sold by their nationals are Soviet satellites today, and
they often dispose of the “restored” property by sale to foreign
countries for dollars. In a considerable number of cases they have
offered to sell these restitutions to their dispossessed German
owners for foreign currency—to be used presumably for strengthen-
ing themselves against the “menace of American imperialism.”
The only exception to this American ruling concerning the resto-
ration to former occupied countries of the machinery and other
goods bought by the Germans, is the proviso that if a German can
produce “figures and dates” to prove that he bought the same kind
of machinery or other goods in the same quantities before the war,
he may perhaps be allowed to retain his property.
Commerce between Germany and France, Belgium, Holland,
Czechoslovakia, and other East European countries, always large,
naturally increased greatly during the war and blockade, especially
since the Nazis concentrated as much production as possible in
Czechoslovakia and France because of our air raids on Germany.
The demand that all goods delivered to Germany during the war
should be now returned to the country of origin, even if paid for,
therefore opens up limitless demands on the economy of Bizonia.
A country like Czechoslovakia, which probably received more
equipment from Germany than it sold to Germany, is in a par-
ticularly happy situation under the United States interpretation
of restitutions, although it must be noted that in the case of
Czechoslovakia the United States does not accept claims for the
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 89
restitution of property sold to the Germans prior to the Allied
London declaration of January 5, 1943, which warned Germany
that we would set aside all forcible transfers of property in occu-
pied countries. Nevertheless, Czechoslovakia, whose country was
not bombed and never became a battlefield, and whose manu-
facturers made profits working for Germany during the war, is in
far better position today in claiming “restitutions” than the Poles
who suffered so much more under the German occupation and
whose country never became a Nazi arsenal. The destruction of
Warsaw caused the Poles to lose many of the records necessary to
claim restitutions of the machinery taken from them by the Ger-
mans without compensation, whereas the Czechs and the French
find little difficulty in specifying, finding, and claiming the ma-
chines they sold to Germany.
Perhaps it makes little difference in the end since Poland and
Czechoslovakia are both under Stalin’s domination, but I found
myself sympathizing with the Polish officer who represented his
country at the United States Restitutions Office in Karlsruhe, when
he told me how great a handicap it was to the Poles not to be
allowed to visit German factories, unless authorized to do so by
the United States authorities, and unless they could give a descrip-
tion of the Polish machinery they expected to find and the date
on which the Germans had taken it. Clearly Poland was at a great
disadvantage as compared with Czechoslovakia and France which
had collaborated with the Germans and knew to whom they had
sold their manufactures, or as compared with Germany’s former
allies, Italy, Hungary, and Rumania, whose representatives in the
United States zone also found it easy to claim restitutions.
The British, said my Polish informant, were far more co-opera-
tive than the Americans in enabling Poland to receive the ma-
chinery looted by the Germans. In the British zone the Poles could
inspect all German factories at will, and had received hundreds of
loaded railway cars of restitutions.
If the Poles were dissatisfied at the small number of restitutions
they had been able to obtain in the United States zone, the sum
total of which the Soviet satellite countries was getting was not
inconsiderable.
When I arrived in Karlsruhe, where the Restitutions branch of
the United States Military Government is located, I first ran into
a group of Yugoslav officers whom at first sight I took to be Rus-
sians, on account of the similarity of their uniforms and gold and
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

90
scarlet epaulettes. Then I met Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, Italians,
and Rumanians and learnt that almost every nation in Europe
(including Germany’s former allies) is busy claiming something or
other from Germany at our expense.
No accounts are kept concerning such “restitutions” to show the
effect on the German economy. The head of the United States
Restitutions Office, a German born American citizen, who has
changed his name from von, to de, Kaiserlinck, told me that he
“had not the least idea nor any interest in the quantity and volume
of machinery” taken out of Germany in the form of restitutions.
The only figures he could give me were the over-all values of resti-
tution deliveries which amounted to 287,000,000 Reichsmarks of
1938 value.
I told Herr von, or Monsieur de, Kaiserlinck that, although my
main interest was the economic effect of restitutions, I was also
interested in ascertaining the legal justification for the wide inter-
pretation given the term by his office, since in the future we might,
like the Germans, be arraigned as “war criminals” for our failure
to observe the Hague rules of land warfare concerning enemy prop-
erty. His indignation at my statement was, at first, unbounded. But
after a while he started telling me that if I would visit the Poles,
the French, and other Allied representatives in Karlsruhe, I would
revise my estimate of the attitude of the United States Restitutions
Office. After talking to the Poles I understood what he meant.
Nevertheless I continued to have my doubts about the legality of
the orders issued by the United States Restitutions Office.
Just how broad the distinction of “restitutions” can he made is
illustrated by a French demand in the summer of 1948 that certain
pure-bred horses in Germany should be returned to France. None
of the horses was more than three or four years old, and could not
therefore have been stolen during the Nazi occupation. The
French, however, contended that the horses in question had been
sired by French stallions. It was assumed that a good and patriotic
French horse could only have acted “under duress” when con-
fronted by a German mare.
Other and less humorous examples of what restitutions can be
held to cover are the following:
A tailor called Hans Schweighofer of Regen, having been bombed
out, bought an old second-hand sewing machine of Czech make
and got it repaired. He was ordered to “restitute” it to Czecho-
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 91
slovakia, and thus deprived of the possibility of earning his living
and supporting his five children.
Frau Leni Kraus, whose husband was killed in action, lost all
her property in Berlin by bombing. She bought some second-hand
furniture at Mülhausen in Alsace and took it with her when she
was evacuated to Bavaria. Now the French are claiming the bed
she shares with her son as restitution.
The list of such cases could be continued indefinitely.
The French have given the term restitutions so wide a meaning
that they have confiscated automobiles of French make bought by
the Germans before the war.
The Americans are now confiscating the automobiles they sold
to the Germans in the first years of the occupation from confiscated
Wehrmacht supplies. Several thousands of automobiles paid for
by the Germans are now being taken from them without compensa-
tion in the combined British and American zones, and “restituted”
to the French and others who originally sold them to the Germans.
American and British military governments, having first derived a
profit from selling confiscated Wehrmacht property to the Ger-
mans, are now annulling the contract, and restoring it to the
original seller at no cost to the Military Government.
The British with the respect for law which they display when-
ever it does not conflict with their vital interests, originally refused
to accept restitution claims unless duress could be proved. Only
such items were restituted from the British zone which had been
illegally acquired from occupied territories. Since September 1948,
however, the British have adopted the “more comprehensive”
American interpretation of restitutions, and have been declaring
property brought to Germany by legal business transactions as
liable to be returned to the countries from which it was bought.
A confidential instruction issued by the British Foreign Office
on August 18th, 1948, Reference No. 45 Basic (Saving), a copy of
which was obtained by the Germans, reads as follows:
I also believe it to be in the economic and security interests of
Europe that some of Germany’s surplus industrial equipment should
be removed and put to productive use elsewhere, and a liberal restitu-
tion policy would be consonant with this aim (italics added).
There is little doubt that the change in British practice last fall
was due to the expected halt in the dismantlement of German
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

92
factories to be shipped abroad as reparations. When I left Ger-
many, restitutions from both the British and United States zones
were already threatening to supplant reparations as the means to
reduce Germany’s industrial capacity and increase her need of
American ECA aid.
On February 28, 1949, Dr. Kutscher, of the German Economic
Administration for Bizonia, wrote to me that since I left Germany
“the situation in the field of restitutions, especially in the British
zone, has gone from bad to worse.” According to the information
he sent me, the productive assets being withdrawn from Western
Germany under the heading of restitutions now almost equal rep-
arations, and in the United States zone they are even greater.
According to the official statistics of the United States Military
Government the value of restitutions from the United States zone,
up to September 1948, amounted to 287,075,915 marks, as against
a figure of 235,000,000 marks given as the residual value of the
plants dismantled on reparation account.
In Hamburg, in the British zone, the Allied Missions compute
restitutions already delivered as totalling 36,000,000 marks, as
against the 32,000,000 marks residual value of the plants dis-
mantled on the reparation account.
My German informant also wrote concerning the fresh blow
delivered to the German economy by the decision to hand over to
the Netherlands as restitutions five of the few surviving modernly
equipped trawlers of the German fishing fleet, thereby reducing
Germany’s present small catch by 30 per cent. This is being done
at a time when the United States is considering appropriating ECA
funds for the purpose of enlarging the German fishing fleet, in
order to reduce Germany’s dependence on American food imports.
The Netherlands are also claiming restitution of nineteen
tankers, the withdrawal of which from Germany will mean that
Bizonia’s crude oil supply will require the gift of American tankers.
The fact that Holland is using her resources to impose the same
kind of servitude on the Indonesians as the Dutch suffered under
the Nazis, makes such restitutions at America’s expense seem not
only absurd but an outrage.
Restitutions are also now affecting the supply of essential ma-
chinery to the Ruhr mines. A number of coal mines are threatened
with the necessity to close down or curtail operations, because the
new equipment they need will not be delivered on account of
restitutions.
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 93
According to a compilation made at the instigation of the Anglo-
American Bipartite Steel Production Office, restitution claims af-
fecting the iron and steel industry amount to a total of more than
40,000,000 marks (1938 value). Losses through the disruption of
production entailed by the removal of bottleneck machinery as
restitutions, are calculated to amount to a far larger sum.
The Germans, having earlier been led to believe that the Mar-
shall Plan meant an end to the wrecking of their economy, are
becoming thoroughly disillusioned, now that restitutions are held
to cover machinery legally acquired and fully paid for, and are
taking the place of reparations as the means to deprive them of
any possibility of earning a living.
They can see no end to the various methods adopted by their
conquerors to reduce them to a pauper status. They can no longer
place any trust even in the 1947 Revised Level of Industry Plan,
which, harsh and unrealistic as it was, at least promised to allow
them to retain the industrial capacity to produce to the limit in
certain purely peacetime industries. The factories already dis-
mantled, or now being dismantled, include many which are outside
the categories scheduled to be delivered as reparations according to
the Revised Level of Industry Plan.
Factories making soap, toys, furniture, pots and pans, fine optical
instruments, agricultural machinery, hospital equipment, and a
multitude of other peacetime needs and exports have been dis-
mantled not only in the British and French zones, but also in the
American. There were bad enough examples in the United States
zone, but there seemed no limit to the injustice caused by the
British desire to eliminate competition, or to the hypocritical ex-
cuses made by the British to obtain German assets for the purpose
of decreasing their own dollar deficit.
There was, for instance, the case of the Diana Toy Factory in
the French zone, making air guns, which the British had induced
the French to classify as an “armaments factory” in order that they
might obtain its equipment.
On the way out of Germany in December 1948 I happened to
share a compartment on the train to Ostende with a British
toy manufacturer on his way home from Nuremberg. He showed
me samples of toy motor cars with three gears, and other examples
of German inventiveness and ingenuity, saying that no other toy
manufacturers could compete with the Germans. Then he told me
how, immediately following the war’s end, he and other British
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

94
manufacturers had been told by the Board of Trade that they
would be furnished suitable army or navy uniforms to go to Ger-
many and pick out as “reparations officials” any machinery they
wanted or thought they could make use of. He himself was friendly
to the Germans and had no desire to deprive them of their liveli-
hood, so he had not accepted the offer. In any case, he said, it
paid him better to buy German toys than to make them in Eng-
land. Because British workers were less efficient and refused to work
as hard as the Germans it was cheaper to import German toys than
to take German machinery to compete against them.
The outstanding example of the failure of the Western Powers
to allow the Germans to retain even those industries which are not
supposed to be on the dismantlement list, is the watch and clock
industry. Centered in the Black Forest and consisting mainly of
very small enterprises, this is one of the oldest of German industries
and in no way related to armaments production. But the French
at the beginning of the occupation started to destroy it and remove
its equipment to France. The British were equally interested in
stopping the Germans from making watches and clocks, and thanks
to the efforts made by some liberal Englishmen, who have en-
deavored to stop dismantlement, the following excerpt from the
trade journal, British Jeweler and Metal Worker received wide
publicity in 1948.
Lengthy negotiations and discussions have been conducted by Mr.
Barrett (Chairman of the Export Group) over the past three years
with a view to fixing the future level of the German horological in-
dustry below the 72 per cent of the 1938 level which had been agreed
by the Allied Control Commission. It is pleasing to be able to record
that the final result has been to reach agreement that the German
industry is to be reduced to 50 per cent of the 1938 level. This result
is what we wanted to achieve; and although there can be no doubt
that the Germans will ultimately re-develop their horological industry
on a strong basis the present position means that the British industry
has been given a certain amount of breathing space in order to become
organized on a sound basis. The thanks of the Association have already
been conveyed to Mr. Barrett for his patient and untiring work in
achieving this result. Following upon this, the contents of a number
of German factories are to be thrown up for reparations, and Mr.
W. W. Cope has recently made an inspection of these factories, as
also of certain other machines which are available to this country.
The scandal occasioned in England by this exposure of the com-
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 95
mercial motive which inspires dismantlement led to the appoint-
ment by the Foreign Office of a commission, headed by the former
Soviet-friendly Labour M.P. Crossman, to investigate what was
happening to the German watch and clock industry. In Frankfurt
I happened to meet the wife of an old English friend of mine,
H. N. Brailsford, who is among the small number of liberals who
have always fought for justice. Mrs. Brailsford had accompanied
Crossman on his tour of the French zone, and had been horrified
at what she had seen. She was full of sympathy for the German
workers deprived of their livelihood by dismantlement, but, she
said to me, “After all, America is to blame for it.”
I couldn’t quite get my bearings. America’s sins might be great
and her stupidities even greater, but I could not see how the United
States could be held responsible for France’s and England’s destruc-
tion of the German watch and clock industry. Mrs. Brailsford en-
lightened me: “Don’t you see,” she said, “it’s all due to America’s
failure to give enough dollars to Britain and France. They have to
do these mean things in order to get enough dollars.”
Although Mrs. Brailsford’s remarks must strike any American as
not only ungrateful but absurd, they revealed the basic problem
which no Marshall Plan can resolve. Whether or not one believes
that it was commercial competition which was the root cause of
both world wars, the fact remains that Germany and Britain are
the two European countries which must “Export or Die.” True as
this was before America’s wartime President agreed to let Russia
have most of Eastern Europe and its agricultural resources, it is
even truer today. It would now seem that America has only the
choice between subsidizing a Western Germany deprived of the
possibility of sustaining itself because of British and French de-
struction of her assets, or of continuing to supply dollars to Britain
under an everlasting European Reconstruction Program.
According to a report from the Ruhr, published in the New York
Herald Tribune on February 27, 1949,
Britons here do not deny that the West Germans with increased popu-
lation and greatly decreased resources will have good arguments for
raising production even beyond that of prewar. But they foresee that
the production drive designed to end the billion-dollar-a-year subsidy
being poured into Germany, mainly by the United States, will prob-
ably bring a bitter struggle for world markets.
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

96
Is America to side with the defeated enemy country which has be-
come her ward, or with her British ally? The British, of course, have
no doubts as to what American policy should be. “The British view
as explained by a high official in Düsseldorf,” continued Miss Mar-
guerite Higgins’ dispatch in the Herald Tribune, is as follows:
It is true that the slogan “Export or Die” holds good for both Britain
and Germany. But from our point of view, if anybody has to die in
the ensuing struggle for world markets, it is going to be the Germans.
We feel entitled to demand the fruits of victory. Britain will demand
sufficient priority on world markets to insure the success of its own
great battle to become self-sustaining.
Miss Higgins further reports that the British view is that German
production must be allowed to expand, but not to a point where it
would interfere with efforts of Britain and France to sell enough
abroad to pay for imports on which they must live.
I am not presuming to pronounce judgment, but it seems high
time that Americans understood that, having twice intervened in
Europe’s “interminable wars” to prevent a settlement by the ver-
dict of arms without benefit of American aid of the conflict be-
tween Germany and England for industrial and political supremacy,
the United States cannot now refuse to arbitrate, unless all Europe
is to succumb to Soviet Russia by reason of its internal conflicts.
The British, having lost a large part of their colonial Empire and
foreign investments, are now in a situation comparable to that of
the Germans between the two World Wars; but the Germans, by
reason of their defeat and lost territories, are in a far worse situa-
tion. The old commercial rivalry between England and Germany,
therefore leads inevitably to cutthroat competition, in which Brit-
ain’s advantage as a victor is counterbalanced by Germany’s greater
capacity for hard work, and America’s interest in preventing her re-
maining an economic dead weight around the American taxpayer’s
neck.
On the other hand, the bitter competition for markets among
the nations of Europe seems an absurdity today since the whole
world is short of the manufactures they can supply. Moreover, Ger-
many and England, however difficult it is for them to be reconciled,
have an equal interest in preventing further encroachments on
European territory by Soviet Russia. Some way must be found to
stop the internecine struggle, if Western European and American
civilization are to be saved. The issue and the desperate need for a
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 97
solution are only obscured by the passionate appeal to hatred and
the desire for vengeance on the Germans as an aggressor nation.
When I returned to Berlin at the end of November, I endeavored
to ascertain not only the cause of our self-defeating reparations pol-
icy, but also how it was that the Military Government’s official
statements on dismantlement failed to correspond to the facts as I
had seen them.
After interviewing various Military Government officials, it
seemed to me that the explanation of both phenomena was partly
political and partly ignorance. The camouflaged influence of Mor-
genthau’s remaining disciples, some of whom are still ensconced in
the economic and financial divisions of the United States Military
Government, had, it seemed to me, given the highest authorities an
incomplete, if not actually false, account of the dismantlement
operation.
Either because of their preoccupation with the Cold War in
Berlin and consequent reliance on civilian subordinates for eco-
nomic information, or because of sentiment at home and Washing-
ton’s directives, or because of the reluctance of the British and
French to back up the United States against the Soviet Union, I
found that the highest United States Military Government author-
ities in Berlin refused to consider dismantlement as a matter of
urgent importance.
General Hays, who is General Clay’s deputy, and is far from being
an apostle of vengeance, was clearly misinformed on the question
of the cost and effect of dismantlement. He quoted a figure of only
sixty or eighty million dollars as the value of the equipment of the
215 German factories in the American Zone on the dismantlement
list. This he considered negligible in comparison with the need to
reach an agreement with the French on the Ruhr and the forma-
tion of a West German state.
Besides having accepted the fictitiously low value placed on the
machinery delivered as reparations, General Hays, like so many
other Americans, thinking in American terms of large natural re-
sources and industrial capacity, considered German losses through
dismantlement as easily remediable by ECA aid. In the summer,
when I had interviewed General Clay, I had found him similarly
inclined to dismiss German complaints and to consider Germany’s
loss through dismantlement as insignificant and easily remediable.
The assumption that a few more million dollars of ECA aid can
make good the loss ignores the social and political effects of dis-
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

98
mantlement. As Carlo Schmidt, the Social-Democratic leader from
the French zone, said to me in Bonn:
“Men are losing hope and the spirit of enterprise. Denied the
right to work and be independent by Western occupation policies,
they are beginning to view foreigners in the light of who can give
them something. You are destroying morality and self-respect and
pauperizing us by your dismantlement and other economic policies.
Those who only hope for charity will never be able to resist Com-
munism.”
I understood the obstacles to clear judgment better after I heard
the views expressed to me by Mr. Wilkinson, General Clay’s chief
economic adviser.
Mr. Wilkinson, who had served in Germany since the beginning
of the occupation and was appointed while Mr. Morgenthau and
his friends ran the Treasury Department, told me that he “couldn’t
care less” about what the Germans felt about dismantlement. He
had, he said, very vivid memories of what the Germans had done
in occupied countries when they were the conquerors. He “neither
liked nor trusted any Germans.”
Having thus proclaimed his readiness to indict the whole Ger-
man nation, Mr. Wilkinson proceeded to tell me that the Germans,
in his view, “did not deserve any consideration” from their con-
querors. He was, however, intelligent enough to realize that Europe
could not recover unless the Germans were allowed and encouraged
to work. “Just as you can’t get a horse to work unless you give it
enough to eat,” he said to me in his Berlin office, “so also the Ger-
man people must be made contented enough to labor.”
The inverted Nazi sentiments expressed to me by General Clay’s
chief economic adviser went far to explain the otherwise incompre-
hensible policies I had seen being implemented in the United States
zone. Racial antipathies, or the blind desire for retribution on a de-
feated people, preclude wise statesmanship. By playing upon such
feelings the Communists are able to induce us to follow policies
detrimental to our own interests. I was therefore not greatly sur-
prised when Mr. Wilkinson handed me a copy of the latest issue
of the journal of the “Society for the Prevention of World War
III,” with the suggestion that I read the article it contained on dis-
mantlement and reparations. He was, I presume, completely una-
ware of the manner in which this notorious organization’s propa-
ganda of hatred and vengeance helps the Communists.
After talking to Mr. Wilkinson in Berlin I have been better able
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 99
to comprehend why dismantled equipment from the United States
zone is still being shipped to the Communist countries of Eastern
Europe. One example is that of the firm of Martin Beilhack at
Rosenheim, from which 115 tons of machinery were shipped to
Czechoslovakia and 190 tons to Yugoslavia as late as February
1949. A horizontal forging press of 900 tons pressure capacity is
also, I learned in a letter received from Germany, to be handed
over to the Czech Communists. The fact that this Beilhack firm
is listed in the ERP program to be aided with new machinery for
the construction of freight cars shows the cost to America of dis-
mantlement for the benefit of Soviet Russia and her satellites.
Sir Cecil Weir, the British Chief of Reparations whom I inter-
viewed next day, could not be accused of hatred for the Germans
like his American counterpart. He is a mild little man who, far
from desiring to treat the Germans as work horses, was full of hu-
mane and decent sentiments. Unfortunately, he obviously had no
idea of what was going on in the Ruhr. He assured me over and
over again that no machinery was being removed as reparations
which was not surplus to the needs of the German economy. I
felt convinced that he believed his assertion that reparations were
not being taken from factories serving the essential needs of Ger-
many’s peacetime economy and that “never had a victor treated a
vanquished nation so well” as the Western Powers were treating
the Germans. It was no use telling him that he was misinformed.
He simply would not believe that I had seen machinery being dis-
mantled which was anything but surplus, and that much of it was
being thrown on the scrap heap.
Mr. Wilkinson had appalled me by his cold-blooded hatred of
the German people. Sir Cecil Weir made me wonder whether the
ignorance of highly placed members of the Military Government
was not even more destructive of the democratic cause in Europe
than the race hatred of Morgenthau’s disciples. Since leaving Ger-
many I have wondered if he knew that his subordinates were ship-
ping the Borbeck Krupps Armaments Works to the Soviet Union.
The London Times reported this on December 20, 1948, but it is
possible that Sr. Cecil Weir does not know it.
My interview with Mr. McJunkins, chief of the reparations divi-
sion of the United States Military Government and a subordinate
of Mr. Wilkinson, was far less revealing. According to McJunkins,
the United States Military Government had no choice but to de-
liver the reparations promised to Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

100
other Communist countries. He was the model civil servant carry-
ing out his orders without prejudice or favor. I was unable to judge
how far he himself was responsible for the orders to dismantle and
ship from the American zone the machinery which would otherwise
have been able to contribute to both German and European re-
covery. He never once displayed his personal antipathies as Mr.
Wilkinson had done. Yet he is held mainly responsible for the sab-
otage of the ECA program by local United States authorities in the
American zone.
One thing I learned in Berlin in November gave cause for hope
of a future intelligent United States policy. The United States Mili-
tary Government had begun to take the line that the Revised Level
of Industry Plan was not intended to tie the German economy
down permanently to the low levels prescribed, but was merely an
estimate of how much machinery could be removed as reparations.
In practice, in the United States zone, no obstacles have been
placed in the way of German installation of new machines to re-
place the dismantled ones, when the factory owners are able to do
so. The British and French have, however, not accepted this view,
nor, in fact, does it seem that this was the original American atti-
tude. It is rather that the United States authorities, without ad-
mitting that the Level of Industry Plan was a mistake from the
beginning, have adapted themselves to the changed international
situation. They have not stopped dismantlement and reparations
shipments, to which they consider themselves committed by earlier
agreements, but they see the necessity for letting the Germans pro-
duce all they can if Europe is to resist the Communist threat and
America be relieved of permanent annual contributions of billions
of dollars to Europe.
In regard to steel, however, the 10.7 million tons of steel capacity
envisaged in the plan is still accepted by the United States as a per-
manent ceiling in spite of the tremendous need for steel in Europe
and the strain on the United States economy of supplying even a
part of the present European deficit. According to the Herter Com-
mittee’s report, fulfilling the most urgent requirements of the six-
teen nations receiving ECA assistance will increase the steel deficit
in America from 1.6 to 5 million tons.
The whole futility, stupidity, and expense of the dismantlement
program is best illustrated by the long-term report of the Bizonal
representatives to the Organization for European Economic Co-
operation (OEEC) in October 1948. This report recommends a 10
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 101
per cent increase over the 1936 level in Germany’s productive ca-
pacity, to be realized by 1952 through Marshall Plan assistance.
Washington ECA authorities consider that, if Western Germany
is to be able to support itself, an even greater increase is required—
15 or 20 per cent instead of 10 per cent.
Thus, while busy reducing Western Germany’s capacity to three-
quarters of the 1936 figure by dismantlement, the United States is
planning to increase it by 10 or 15 per cent out of funds supplied
by the American taxpayer.
Dismantlement today no longer even pretends to remove only
surplus equipment. The 1947 Revised Level of Industry Plan has
become an absurdity now that we plan to replace the machinery
being torn out of German factories. As the ECA representative in
Germany has said: “We find in Western Germany today the para-
dox of outside aid for recovery, and on the other hand, restrictions
as to the extent to which such recovery is permitted. The current
dismantlement program is one under which a percentage of indus-
tries will be removed or scrapped.”
There is no validity left in the State Department argument that
shortage of labor and materials precludes the use of Germany’s ex-
isting productive capacity, and that reparations removals are there-
fore economically as well as morally justified. For the OEEC rates
Germany as a country where there will be unemployment in the
future even if the Marshall recovery plan, as now drawn, is carried
out. As regards shortages of raw materials, it is surely one of the
main objectives of ECA to enable the countries of Europe to obtain
the raw materials necessary to make them self-supporting instead
of living on an American dole.
Digging holes in the ground and paying the unemployed to fill
them up again in the United States in depression years was an eco-
nomic operation as compared with present United States policy.
The cost of vengeance is even higher than the cost of economic
crisis and unemployment. The State Department may, or may not
be justified in its insistence as late as February 2, 1948, that: “The
obligation of the aggressor to pay the maximum reparations com-
patible with economic political realities is incontestable.” The im-
portant point is that the economic and political realities of the
world situation require an end to reparations and the reconstruc-
tion of Germany as an integral part of a self-supporting Europe,
able to resist Communist propaganda and Soviet aggression without
making impossible demands on American resources.
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

102
In the present world situation our endeavor should not be to
make restrictive plans on the basis of incomplete information, but
to encourage the highest possible amount of production. Only by
reviving the profit motive and encouraging initiative, self-help, and
hard work can Germany and Europe be rendered self-supporting
and cease to be a millstone around the neck of the American people.
In 1949-50 the American taxpayer contributed close to a billion
dollars to Germany ($987,000,000), consisting of $573.400.000 of
Army appropriations for the “prevention of disease and unrest,” and
$414.000,000 under the European Reconstruction Program which
consisted mainly of raw material supplies. The total for 1949-50 is
estimated at $881,600,000, but the ECA authorities consider that
the capital investment figure included is too small to contribute ap-
preciably to the recovery essential to make Germany self-supporting.
The strain on the American economy resulting from the Euro-
pean Recovery Program as a whole could be appreciably diminished
if dismantlement were stopped, the Revised Level of Industry Plan
scrapped, and Germany permitted to supply the countries of West-
ern Europe with the steel, machinery, and other industrial products
which America now has to give to them.
To quote Mr. Collisson once again:
I have stated my firm conviction that recovery in Western Europe
is not possible without the important contribution which Western
Germany can and must make. Every foreign trade delegation coming
to Western Germany has pleaded for more goods of the kind Germany
once supplied, in fact in amounts far beyond Germany’s present ability
to produce. To satisfy these requirements for a peaceful rehabilitation
of Europe, recovery in Western Germany must be brought about. It
is in this light that we have made our recommendations; not a pattern
of what is good for Germany alone, but of what is best for Europe as
a whole.
There is little doubt that if the American public were made
aware of the facts of the situation, the postwar policy, described by
the London Economist as one of “keeping Germany in chains and
Europe in rags,” would be completely abandoned, instead of modi-
fied as at present by American subsidies.
Unfortunately most Americans are unaware of the degree to
which the ECA and the State Department have deferred to Brit-
ain’s desire to eliminate German competition and the blind fears
of France. When on April 13, 1949, the State Department an-
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE 103
nounced the final intergovernmental agreement on dismantlement,
reached with Britain and France, the American press as a whole
failed to point out that destruction at our expense is to be con-
tinued.
The Humphrey Committee, whose report was made public at
the same time, had considered 381 of the original 900-odd factories
on the 1947 dismantlement list, and had recommended the reten-
tion of only 148 in whole and of another 19 in part. And the State
Department gave way to France and Britain concerning the most
important plants recommended for retention in Germany by the
ECA; for example, the August Thyssen and the Bochum iron and
steel works and the Oppau fertilizer plant (see Chapter 10). The
ECA Committee had proposed retaining only 21 of the 84 steel
plants it surveyed, and allowing 47 to be removed, with another
16 to be partially allocated as reparations. The State Department
went further and agreed to sacrifice the five largest and most effi-
cient of the steel plants recommended for retention by the ECA.
In spite of the grave shortage of power in Germany which now
prevents further recovery the State Department agreed that two
power plants are to be torn down. Similarly in regard to the chem-
ical industry: 43 plants are “released” for reparations and only 32
retained out of a total of 75 surveyed. Thus the final agreement on
dismantlement has only slightly modified the original program,
and therefore not substantially altered the picture given in this
chapter.

104
4
Tragedy in Siegerland
BILLION-DOLLAR CALCULATIONS AND OVER-ALL STATISTICS ARE LESS
easy for the human mind to grasp than individual tragedies. My
visit to Siegerland in the southeast comer of the British zone en-
abled me to appraise in human terms the effect of the blueprint
for dismantlement drawn up in Berlin without regard for the
social and political consequences, or the ruin it brings to innocent
people.
Siegerland takes its name from a river which flows into the
Rhine below Bonn, winding first through a beautiful valley at the
edge of the Westerwald—the western forest which extends south-
ward into Hesse in the United States zone.
The town of Siegen, which like Rome is built on seven hills,
is seven hundred years old and the center of an ancient industry
based on the iron ores of the surrounding hills. These ore deposits,
although not abundant according to modern standards, are of good
quality and have been mined since the fourth century B.C. A cen-
tury ago, before Prussia had forged the modern German state, the
ironmasters of Siegen had begun to develop a modern, highly
specialized industry. Even today nearly all of the Siegen factories
are small and individually owned, and have always depended on
skill, enterprise, and hard work, not on large capital assets or gov-
ernment favors, for their existence.
The Siegen workers, who usually spend their whole lives in one
factory, and apprentice their sons there, feel themselves part of
the enterprise in which they work. Many of the factory owners
started as workers and class divisions are almost nonexistent. Some
of the workers own small tracts of poor land cleared on the forest
hillsides, or garden plots, and graze a cow on the common land.
TRAGEDY IN SIEGERLAND 105
Some come to work in Siegen from little villages ten or twenty
miles away in the forest, depending on industry for a part, but not
all, of their income.
Neither Nazis nor Communists had ever been able to make
headway in the town and villages of Siegerland where almost every-
one has a stake in free private enterprise, and almost all the people
are devout Protestants.
Here in a word was the Germany of pre-Hitler and pre-Prussian
days. The peaceful Germany which gave America some of her best
citizens: a deeply religious, industrious, and hardworking people
among whom skillful farmers, artisans, and engineers predominate.
Yet, Siegerland had been marked out for destruction. Twenty-eight
factories had been or were to be dismantled, and a third of the
working population deprived of its main income. The Russians
could hardly have done a better job in destroying private property,
free enterprise and the free institutions built upon it, and in pre-
paring the way for Communism, than the British were doing in
Siegerland.
Driving to Siegen from Frankfurt for the first time, on a lovely
September morning, I first crossed the Taunus Range which once
formed the limits of the Roman Empire. I stopped at Saalburg to
see the Roman fort there, which had been one of a chain of forti-
fied posts stretching between the Rhine and the Danube. The
Saalburg fort was restored by Kaiser Wilhelm, and was never
bombed, so it looks much the same as it did nearly two thousand
years ago when Roman legions guarded the gates of the Empire
from the Teutonic tribes to the north.
There is a museum at Saalburg stocked with spears, swords and
armor, pottery, old shoes, and other relics of the days before the
Franks, who were to give their name to the future kingdom of
France, burst the barriers of the Empire and entered Gaul. The
Romans are long since forgotten, but the wars between Teutons
and Latins seem to go on forever, although the people of South
Germany and Northern France are of similar mixed ancestry.
From Saalburg the road winds downward and passes through
picturesque Old World cities and villages before entering the
green Westerwald. As we drew near to Siegen the glorious woods
of pine, fir, and beech were broken by small villages close to ancient
iron works, and green meadows where the cattle owned by the
peasants grazed on the common land as in centuries past.
As in Roman times, as in the Middle Ages, as in the terrible days
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

106
when the Thirty Years’ War between Protestants and Catholics
drenched these lands in blood, and as in early modern times when
Siegen formed part of the domain of the Princes of Orange, the
people are part farmers, part miners, ironworkers and leather-
workers. There has also always been hunting in the forest but the
soil is too poor for the little farms to support the people. Today
they produce only enough food to feed Siegerland forty days in
the year. Part of the living of the population always had to be
gained in the forges of Siegen and its surrounding villages.
Before the war, in spite of its belching factory chimneys, Siegen
still had a medieval appearance with narrow streets of Hans Chris-
tian Andersen houses, a fine old Rathaus and the strong walled
castle of the Princes of Orange-Nassau dominating the town.
Two bombing attacks completely destroyed more than half of
the town altogether, and partially destroyed another quarter of it.
The old Evangelical Church of St. Nicholas was reduced to a shell,
and many other beautiful buildings wiped out. But war could not
impair the beauty of the wooded hills and meadows which sur-
round the Siegen Valley.
Many factories had been bombed and many people killed and
maimed in the air raids, while others had died in the fierce fighting
which occurred before the Nazis blew up the bridges and died or
retreated northward. Those who survived had started to work again,
expecting they could at long last live in peace in the fruits of their
labor, however hard the task of reconstruction. But in the fall of
1948, they had to fear something worse even than bombing: the
ruin of their land by the conquerors who were busy removing the
machinery without which they could no longer earn their bread.
One of the oldest industrial centers in Europe was being destroyed
by dismantlement.
Although never a center of war industries, nor a Nazi strong-
hold, Siegerland had been marked down for relatively heavier losses
of productive capacity than any other area I visited, or heard of,
in Germany. It only covered 43 square miles and had some 35,000
inhabitants, but was losing 25 factories. Several neighboring vil-
lages were also having their factories dismantled, bringing the total
figure to 28. Originally there had been 29 on the list, but one,
belonging to a Catholic, a rarity in Siegen, had been saved by the
intervention of a Catholic Cardinal.
The ruin of one enterprise affected many others dependent on
it for supplies or as customers. At least a quarter of the population
TRAGEDY IN SIEGERLAND 107
was losing its income, and even before dismantlement there were
already fifteen hundred unemployed.
Siegen not only had its own population to take care of, includ-
ing sixteen hundred disabled people, and widows and orphans of
the fallen and of those still held in Russia as prisoners of war. It
also had a large number of expellees from the East of Germany
to house and feed. A large transient camp had been established in its
damaged barracks, through which nearly a quarter of a million of
these destitute victims of racial persecution had already passed,
and kept on coming. Three thousand German refugees were per-
manently quartered on the town and had to be provided with
food, clothing, and furniture, as well as precious space in the
bombed houses and cellars where most of the population lived.
It was in Siegen that I learned that in Germany as a whole only
one of every four or five children has a bed of its own, and that
five million children are orphans, half of whom come from the lost
Eastern territories.
Siegen’s hinterland, from which it had formerly derived food,
was now in the French zone where all agricultural produce which
could be wrung out of the peasants is taken for French consump-
tion. So in 1946 the Siegen population had starved and even in
1947 it had had to exist on less than 1,000 calories a day. Tuber-
culosis had increased alarmingly. Children of fourteen and fifteen
who were already working looked no more than ten or eleven years
old, so stunted was their growth.
The local British reparations officer hated his job and told me
he felt like a criminal, especially because Siegen reminded him of
his own North Country England. “A miniature Sheffield,” he
called it. He told me that all his life until now he had been en-
gaged in constructing, having been apprenticed in a Lancashire
engineering works at the age of twelve and having worked his way
up to an executive position. “I just can’t feel it’s right to destroy
machinery.” he said, “but if I didn’t keep this job someone else
would take it; and at least I try to carry out the dismantlement
program with as little damage as possible.”
As against this kind and decent Englishman I was told about
the local Gauleiter, the British military governor of the area who
had left-wing sympathies and had carried through many high-
handed acts, and took a malicious joy in ruining the Germans
under a “socialist” cover. His personal reputation was also unsavory,
for he had sent a man to prison on a false charge to clear the way
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

108
for his seduction of a German woman. The victim, whose name
was Zezulak, spoke good English and acted as interpreter for
the Germans. He had a wife and child whom he was obviously
devoted to, and he had had no interest in the woman the governor
coveted, but had protected her from the English major’s rude
advances. This all sounds like a grade C movie, but such things do
happen, and the truth of the story was attested to by the doctor
who had subsequently performed an abortion for the lady at the
British major’s expense.
The factories being dismantled in Siegen were producing mining
and railway equipment, pipes and flanges, welding torches and
cutting machinery, rolling-mill equipment, food-processing ma-
chinery, steel containers for the transport of gas, fittings for the
automobile industry, kitchen utensils, garbage containers, and other
necessary articles for a peacetime economy. The one really big
plant dismantled was the Waldrich Iron and Steel Works, shipped
to Czechoslovakia. One smaller plant which had manufactured
munitions, the Inko Works which had made flame throwers, and
whose owner was a Nazi, was not to be dismantled and was pro-
ducing typewriters.
Many Siegen factories had already lost their most valuable ma-
chinery through the “multilateral deliveries” demanded by the
British for their own use. In other factories also the most necessary
machinery was now being removed even when they were not “on
the list” for total destruction.
There was, for instance, the case of Herr Steinmetz, whom I
found up a tree picking apples in the garden behind his small fac-
tory on a Saturday afternoon. In addition to losing half his sheet
scrubbing and shearing machines, his crane was to be removed the
following Monday. He had offered to supply a new crane instead
of the old one, so that his factory would not be put out of com-
mission for months by his inability to get a motor to work the
new one he had managed to buy. The offer had been refused
although the old crane would have to be cut in two to get it down.
The old crane must be delivered to the scrap heap although Herr
Steinmetz had a hundred thousand dollars worth of orders to ful-
fill. Unable now to fill his orders from Holland and Belgium for
sheet-metal-working machinery, such foreign exchange would be
lost to the German economy and American taxpayers.
The decisions of the British authorities in Düsseldorf were quite
incalculable. In another case they accepted a new crane instead of
TRAGEDY IN SIEGERLAND 109
the old one scheduled for dismantlement, but decreed that the
new one should at once be converted into scrap!
Most of the machinery I saw being dismantled in Siegen would
never be set up and utilized in other countries. Having been built
for a special purpose, and much of it being too old to be used by
any other workers than the skilled men of Siegen who had worked
on it for decades, it was of no use to anyone else. Yet many ma-
chines could not be replaced because they were made only in the
Russian zone.
In every one of the nine Siegen factories I personally visited, the
representatives of the countries entitled to reparations had ex-
pressed no interest in acquiring the dismantled machines. It was
all taken away to rust at the depot. The same was true of most of
the others scheduled for dismantlement. The British were taking
away the livelihood of thousands of people for no rhyme or reason
—except vengeance, or, in some cases, for the advantage of Ger-
many’s British competitors in European markets.
Saddest of all was my sight of Herr Fuchs, an old man of sixty-
eight who had lost his only son in the war, who had never taken
a holiday in his life, and whose whole being was wrapped up in
his factory which had produced nothing but stowing pipes for the
Ruhr mines—the pipes of highly resistant steel which are used to
blow rubble by air pressure into the empty spaces left after the
coal has been mined, to prevent collapse of the walls.
Every bit of machinery had already been taken out of Herr
Fuchs’ plant and his life’s work wrecked. And to what purpose, I
thought, as we stood in the empty building, and he told me, with
tears in his eyes, that after his son had fallen in the war, and his
factory had been bombed and left with only walls standing, he and
his faithful workers had just managed to rebuild it and repair the
machines, when the British ordered it to be dismantled.
Although the Bizonal coal commission had placed Herr Fuchs’
factory on the list of essential factories, and although no foreign
country wanted his machinery and it was now rotting away at the
storage depot, he had been ruined and his 130 workers and their
families deprived of their livelihood. I was close to tears myself as
I said good-bye to poor old Herr Fuchs as the sun went down be-
hind the mountains in sad Siegerland.
Herr Fuchs was too old to start again.
Others, like Herr Hensch, whose factory I visited the same day,
made me think that all the cruelty and stupidity of Allied occupa-
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110
tion policies could not permanently down the German people.
However hard we tried to turn them into paupers, they would in-
sist on trying to go on working.
Faced with utter ruin, for the British had already torn down his
furnaces and dismantled almost all his machines, Fritz Hensch
was going somehow or other to start over again. His factory, the
Siegerthaler Works in the village of Eisenfeld, made vacuum equip-
ment (giant pressure cookers) for the food industry, and flanges
for large pipes. He had been allowed to keep a few machines for
a few weeks longer to complete an order for the Iraq Petroleum
Company because no British factory could supply the large diam-
eter flanges required. But as soon as this order was fulfilled dis-
mantlement was to be completed. His ten cranes and all his butt-
welding machinery, specially built for his factory and useless to
anyone else, was to be put on the scrap heap.
Hensch had started life as an apprentice without a cent, since he
was one of ten children of a tailor. Through the years he had built
up his own factory, adding machine after machine through his own
efforts, each built to his specifications for a special purpose. Pro-
duction was so efficiently arranged that each worker could help
himself by means of the many small cranes built into the roof.
Here was a man who loved his machines, knew every detail of
every process in his factory, and had a craftman’s pride in his prod-
ucts. Middle-aged, thin and wiry, with keen intelligent eyes, Hensch
was a living embodiment of the spirit of free enterprise which will
not be killed however hard we try to extinguish it in Germany.
The 300 tons of machinery being dismantled was valued at half
a million marks in 1938 and would cost one and a half million D
marks to replace today, but the British had put it down on the repa-
rations list as worth only 160,000. Hensch had no money to replace
the machinery scheduled for destruction, but he was building a
new furnace out of the bricks torn out of the dismantled one and
left lying around; and he had managed to borrow one new ring-
bending machine from a friend in another town. He was starting
again. He was the living embodiment of the German people who,
knocked out and kicked while down, refusing to die, stagger to
their feet and start struggling again.
The Bender brothers, whose factory I also visited, were like
Tweedledum and Tweedledee, fat and short with faces so alike that
I could not tell one from the other. They were old and seemed re-
signed to the fate which was stripping their factory bare, although,
TRAGEDY IN SIEGERLAND 111
like Herr Fuchs’, it manufactured stowing pipes for the Ruhr mines,
and 90 per cent of Bizonia’s production of this essential product
would be wiped out when the Benders’ machinery followed Fuchs’
to the scrap heap.
One of the Bender brothers had a son who was as eloquent as
his father and uncle were dumb. This young Bender had been
a prisoner of war in the States, spoke slangy colloquial American
with great fluency and hoped eventually to be able to emigrate to
America where he has relatives. He was certain that the Bender
factory was being dismantled by mistake, but owing to British
competition. The dismantlement list referred to “boilers, tanks
and oil pipes” and did not mention stowing pipes. Young Bender
suggested that some ignorant British official did not know the
difference between one kind of pipe and another, but knew that
the British wanted to wipe out German competition in oil pipe
lines and had therefore put Benders on the dismantlement list.
It was this young Bender who also first drew my attention to the
fact that dismantlement on a big scale had begun following the
currency reform of June 1948 which had wiped out all savings. If
it had been carried out sooner the factory owners might still have
been able to get new machinery, and German competition would
still have been dangerous to the British.
Dismantlement, like bombing, or the rain, takes no account of
the just and the unjust. The factories to be torn down had evi-
dently been selected by rule of thumb, not by any idea of punish-
ing the guilty any more than of preserving the elements most
likely to contribute to the conversion of Germany into a democracy.
The case of the Weber family, with whom I stayed in Siegen and
whom I came to know well, is an illustration.
While her four sons were away fighting on the Russian front, the
widow Weber and her teen-age daughter Margarita, had got into
trouble with the Nazi authorities on account of their kindness to
the French and Russian prisoners assigned to work in the Weber
factory. Frau Weber could not forbear from occasionally giving a
good warm meal to the poor wretches who worked in the factory
by day and slept in a little house at the bottom of her garden. One
of the prisoners was a young Frenchman who used to talk to
Margarita from the barred window of his prison as she worked in
the evenings in the Weber vegetable patch. René was frail and
unaccustomed to hard physical labor, so kind-hearted Frau Weber,
seeing him one day staggering under a heavy load, had assigned
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112
him to clerical work. Soon he was being invited into the Weber
house and started giving French lessons to Margarita. The young
couple fell in love. Unfortunately, a Nazi workman in the factory
heard of this “fraternization” with the enemy and reported it to
the authorities. Frau Weber was severely reprimanded and René
was removed to another factory in Siegen where he was so brutally
treated that he ran away, and, after being caught, was assigned to
a punishment camp in Poland. Here he developed tuberculosis
and was sent to a prison hospital in Cologne. On Christmas Eve
of 1944 Margarita traveled there with a cake and a few apples
which she tried to smuggle in to her lover. She was caught and
sent to prison for six months by the Nazis, and a Nazi manager
was installed in the Weber factory.
One of Frau Weber’s sons, Otto, on leave from the Russian
front at the time, tried to commit suicide but survived with the
loss of one eye. Later the Weber factory was bombed to the
ground. Their house, also bombed, was saved from complete des-
truction by Russian prisoners who, remembering Frau Weber’s
kindness, rushed to put out the flames. At the war’s end these
former prisoners also saved Frau Weber from being robbed by
the many other ex-prisoners who now became displaced persons.
The second of Frau Weber’s sons, Günther, died of starvation
in April 1946, after working for two years as a Russian prisoner in
the stone quarries near Kuibyshev. One of his comrades, who later
returned to Siegen, told the Webers that Günther, who had been
a big man weighing 260 pounds, had been reduced to a living
skeleton weighing 48 pounds before he died. A Russian doctor had
tried to save his life after he collapsed and was sent to a hospital,
but it was too late. Frau Weber had loved Günther best of all
her sons. He was, she told me often, the boy with the sweetest
disposition, the strongest and most loving. All the rest of her days
she would live with the thought of the agonies he had suffered
before dying of hunger, and remembering him, she would weep
even when the rest of the family was happy.
The youngest Weber boy, Helmuth, is today slowly dying in
hospital from the injuries he sustained during and after the war.
His kidneys having been injured while a soldier, the disease was
rendered incurable by the treatment he received after the war’s
end. As an American prisoner of war, although ill, he was kept
for months sleeping on the cold wet ground without even a tent
to cover him. His shrunken kidneys now no longer function to
TRAGEDY IN SIEGERLAND 113
clear the bloodstream of poisonous matter, and the doctors expect
he will go mad or blind before he dies.
Erhardt came home after three years at the Russian front as a
private, and a year and a half of slave labor. He had first worked in
a coal mine at Karaganda in Siberia, 800 miles from the Chinese
frontier. After he had been discovered throwing dirt instead of coal
into the tubs, he was beaten and threatened with death. This had
meant little to him. “Many of us,” he said, “had reached the point
at which one no longer cares whether one lives or dies.”
After it was found that he was a qualified engineer, Erhardt had
been taken out of the mines but he had already developed water
swelling in his feet through starvation and was sent to a hospital
on the Volga. The patients here were all Germans and they were
as badly starved as before. Sometimes they received no bread for a
month and existed entirely on spoonfuls of gruel given them morn-
ing and evening and a midday bowl of watery soup. When they
complained to the woman doctor in charge she told them to go to
Hitler for food. Finally, in November 1945, when his weight had
sunk to 92 pounds and he could not stand upright Erhardt had
been sent home to die. But he had gradually recovered under his
mother’s care. When I met him he was still terribly emaciated, with
deep sunken eyes, still a young man but one who smiled rarely
and talked very little. When I asked him what had sustained him
through his terrible experiences, he said simply that it was the hope
of coming home. He had fought through the whole war, been at
Dunkirk and in occupied France, marched thousands of miles and
refused a commission because he hated the army, but he had done
his duty as a man and a German and felt the ruin of his country
as deeply as his family’s personal losses.
Margarita had meanwhile married her René, who had been sent
home by the Germans after he became useless as a slave laborer,
but had rushed back to Siegen from France to find his love, imme-
diately the war ended.
René Devilliers was slim and elegant, witty, intellectual, and so-
phisticated. Margarita was like a little girl in a fairy tale, simply
dressed, without make-up, gay and sweet, with her heart on her
sleeve. I have rarely seen two young people so much in love and so
devoted to one another. Margarita had a kidney ailment as the
legacy of her ill treatment in prison, and René was tubercular, but
they were both radiantly happy, and when they visited the Weber
house the sad atmosphere gave way to gaiety.
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114
Erhardt and René, so different in temperament, one so very
French and the other so very German, were good friends—better
friends than Erhardt and his brother Otto who was the black sheep
of the family, and earned his living by his wits rather than by hard
work. René and Erhardt had both fought and suffered and endured
the horrors of forced labor and hunger as prisoners of war, and al-
though they had been on opposite sides they understood and re-
spected each other while Margarita adored them both. Each repre-
sented in his own way the best qualities of their two nations. Er-
hardt complained that René, being a Frenchman, did not know
how to work hard, while René said Erhardt was married to his fac-
tory and had never learned to enjoy life.
I used to think, while staying with the Webers, that I had the
whole picture of Germany and France in that household. If only
the two nations could get together and combine their virtues and
their talents, the Germans putting diligence and endurance into
the French, and the French teaching the Germans the graces of
life, Europe could be made peaceful and strong. In fact, there is
not really so wide a gap between the South Germans and the
Northern French. René came from the Vosges district on the other
side of the Rhine and in ages past his ancestors and Erhardt’s were
one people.
As soon as he was able to walk and work, Erhardt had started to
dig out the machinery from under the debris of the Weber Works,
and repair it with the aid of the skilled workers who from genera-
tion to generation had worked for the Weber family. By 1947 the
factory was working again producing welding torches, gas cutting ma-
chines, and other badly needed reconstruction machinery, and em-
ploying a hundred workers. Frau Weber now had German refugees
from the East to feed and care for instead of Russian and French
prisoners. Otto was married and had a child. The vegetable and
flower gardens which were Frau Weber’s pride were both bloom-
ing. New red brick walls were rising where the original bombed-out
buildings had stood. For a few months it had seemed that the
Webers’ troubles were ended, although Frau Weber’s dearest son,
Günther, would never come home and Helmuth was slowly dying.
Then the British ordered the Weber works dismantled. All Er-
hardt’s gallant labors had gone for nothing. He and his family were
to be ruined. Margarita and René would also be destitute, for René
having married a German had to give up the career of an officer
TRAGEDY IN SIEGERLAND 115
in the French Army, which his father had followed before him, and
was also working for Webers.
The residual value of the Weber Works was calculated at only
36,000 marks, but the cost of replacing the machinery to be sent
to the scrap heap was 750,000, a sum way beyond the reach of the
family, for they had not hoarded before currency reform, but sold
all the product of their factory. The annual production of their
works, according to the orders on their books, was five times its
dismantled value.
The planned destruction of the Weber Works could affect many
other firms, since Webers supplied the welding and cutting equip-
ment and sheet-metal-working machinery required to start up pro-
duction again after dismantlement. This was proved by the fact
that the Webers had received orders from other countries for their
machine tools but had been refused permission to export by the
Allied authorities because of the need for their products in Ger-
many. Czechs, Yugoslavs, Belgians, Indians, and representatives of
other countries entitled to reparations had inspected the Weber
Works, but none had desired to acquire the machinery, much of
which was old and all of which required skilled labor to operate.
The whole equipment to be dismantled was destined for the scrap
heap.
I spent hours watching the Weber workers, who were working
night and day in two long shifts to earn as much as possible before
being deprived of their livelihood. One of them said to me: “We
thought that after Hitler’s overthrow the German workers would
be helped. Now we must assume the contrary. England and America
evidently want to destroy us. Why else would they be taking away
our jobs?”
In an appeal which Erhardt Weber subsequently sent to the
ECA authorities in Frankfurt he wrote:
This is a last hour appeal to the victors of this war not to create new
wounds, and by senseless destruction create more misery. At this hour
when reconstruction of Europe is required and can be carried out only
by substantial sacrifices, lend a helping hand to the peaceful will to
work for it.
Dismantlement of the Weber Works was to begin on October
2, a few days ahead of my first visit to Siegen. I was so disturbed
by this injustice, and had by then already come to feel such sym-
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116
pathy for the Weber family and their workers, that I decided to go
to Detmold and appeal to Mr. Whitham, the British official re-
sponsible for reparations shipments.
Erhardt drove me there in his ancient Mercedes which was liable
to break down occasionally but was the only one of their automo-
biles which had not been confiscated by the British. On the way
north he told me what the men of Hitler’s armies had gone through
in Russia, both during and after the war. A reserved and embittered
young man whose best years had been spent in fighting, and whose
experiences in Russia as a prisoner had been too terrible to talk
about even to his family, he slowly relaxed and unburdened himself
to me, after I had convinced him that I, too, knew the bitterness of
existence in Soviet Russia. He had served three years on the Rus-
sian front before being wounded and taken prisoner. He had been
starved and frozen and had suffered about as much as a human be-
ing can bear, both physically and mentally. I began to understand
that his absorption in the Weber factory was his defense against
memories which would otherwise make life unendurable.
We passed out of Siegerland into Sauerland and thence through
the flat plains of Hanoverian territory. Every now and again in
Sauerland Erhardt would point to the ugly naked hills where for-
ests had once flourished, but which had been stripped bare by the
British, who had not spared even the young trees and had left noth-
ing but raw stumps.
We spent the night at Bad Oyenhausen, headquarters of the
British Army of the Rhine, where I had a friend whom I had not
seen since 1938 in Singapore, and who was now a brigadier in charge
of all British Army automobile transport.
British quarters at Bad Oyenhausen were surrounded by barbed
wire to keep out “the natives.” Erhardt was probably the first Ger-
man whom Joss and his wife had received in their house. But
one had to admit that the British were better than the Americans
in at least one respect. They allowed their soldiers to marry German
girls and live with them in camp, whereas the United States did
not permit such marriages unless an officer or GI was about to re-
turn home. It was also true that although the British army of occu-
pation was enjoying far better material conditions than the British
at home, their allowances of food were far below the United States
standard. In respect to housing and personnel services they were,
however, exacting a higher toll from the Germans than the Ameri-
can occupation forces.
TRAGEDY IN SIEGERLAND 117
Erhardt spoke little the whole evening while I argued with Joss
and his wife, who nice as they were, often resorted to the stock
British argument when confronted by examples of our treatment
of the Germans: “We won the war, didn’t we?” But next morning,
on our way to see Mr. Whitham at Detmold, Erhardt remarked
that it was kind of funny that the British used this phrase so often
since, whoever had won the war, it certainly wasn’t England.
Joss had warned me that Mr. Whitham was a tough nut to
crack; that he even insisted on dismantling factories needed by the
British Army for repairs and equipment. “Be very American,” he
had said to me, “but don’t lose your temper. Try to appeal to him
as a gentleman and maybe, though I doubt it, you will save Herr
Weber’s factory.”
I succeeded with Mr. Whitham, though only after more than an
hour’s argument and only temporarily. He finally agreed to suspend
the dismantlement order, but would not say for how many weeks.
In the course of our discussion during which Erhardt waited out-
side because Whitham did not wish to see him, this British official
who wielded such great power waved his hand toward the window
and said, “These Germans still have more resources than we have.”
Arriving back at Siegen at midnight we found that dismantle-
ment, which had started that morning, had been stopped in the
afternoon. Knowing that I had secured only a suspension of sen-
tence, I determined to see what could be done with the Industry
and Commerce Division of the Bizone administration in Frank-
furt. But first I spent a few days more in Siegen seeing other fac-
tories, and also visiting the barracks where thousands of German
expellees were being cared for in Siegen. Other flüchtlinge, as the
Germans call the millions of poor wretches expelled from their
homes in Silesia, the Sudetenland and other Eastern territories,
were housed in private homes. A considerable number of them
were working in the factories marked down for destruction.
The other family I came to know well in Siegen were the Bar-
tens who owned the ancient firm of Achenbach Söhne. This mod-
ern iron and steel works had grown out of a forge which began
working the iron ores of the Westerwald in 1452. It had begun
its development as a modern factory in 1846, before Bismarck had
been heard of, and while Siegen was still part of a principality of
the house of Orange which today rules Holland. Achenbach pro-
duced high quality rolling-mill equipment which used to be ex-
ported all over Europe and which is so well known that a British
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118
Birmingham firm today advertises the quality of its products by
showing a picture with the Achenbach name on its machinery.
This part of the plant had already been dismantled and shipped to
England. Now Achenbach was also to lose the special purpose
machine tools used exclusively for the production of spare loco-
motive parts. Achenbach was producing 90 per cent of the piston
ring requirements of Bizonia’s railways, but dismantlement was
scheduled to begin in December. The absurdity of the proceeding
was apparent since this department of Achenbach had been placed
on the list of “absolutely essential plants” to be immediately re-
constructed following dismantlement. Allied officials concerned
with the reconstruction of the German transport system had re-
cently visited Achenbach’s to find out how quickly it could get
production going again. But, as old Dr. Barten pointed out, the
British were not only removing his machinery; they were also going
to tear down and destroy the three cranes which were built into
the roof of his railway plant, and this damage was irreparable at
the present time. (As I learned later in Stuttgart, the reparations
branch of the United States Military Government was busy there
dismantling one of the few factories in Western Germany which
makes cranes.)
Repeated protests to the British authorities had been unavailing,
although several British officers had admitted that an error had
almost certainly been made in the first place. There is hardly ever
any way of getting errors on the dismantlement list corrected. One
office refers the matter to another, and no one can or will take the
responsibility of canceling an order once given.
Achenbach’s was a larger enterprise than the Weber Works and
had employed three hundred workers. The residual value of its
equipment was set at only 17,000 Reichsmarks, but its replacement
value at 1948 prices was 3,000,000 D marks. Before the war its
monthly output was 250,000 marks a month—a larger figure than
the total value of its dismantled machinery as calculated by the
reparations authorities. Thus Achenbach’s could have produced in
a single month new equipment worth more than the total being
destroyed. Dismantlement in this and many other cases could have
been aptly described as “Operation Killing the Goose.”
When I visited the Achenbach factory I was struck by the num-
ber of young women working there. When I spoke to them I found
they were all refugees from the East, whom the Bartens were hous-
ing as well as training. They were quick and able workers and some
TRAGEDY IN SIEGERLAND 119
were already earning 1.20 marks an hour turning out piston rings.
A large proportion of the expellees are women, since the Poles and
Czechs and Yugoslavs kept many German men as slave laborers
while throwing out the women and children. These women, shortly
to lose their jobs through dismantlement just after having acquired
the means to support themselves and their children, would have
to return to the crowded refugee camps again to become paupers.
Even the machines on which boy apprentices were being taught
to be engineers were to be taken away. Thirty youngsters whom
I saw as immersed in their work as if they were constructing toy
airplanes, were to be deprived of the opportunity to learn a trade.
The Achenbach foreman, having a brother in Milwaukee who sends
him food parcels, feels very friendly to America. But, he said to me,
how can we or the British hope to save Europe from communism
if we drive the German workers to despair by our policies, and de-
prive their sons of technical training?
Later in the day I visited some of the refugee workers in the
temporary homes constructed for them close to the factory. Here
I talked to an old gaunt worker from Silesia called Winter. He
had been a blacksmith with his own small forge in a village near
Glatz where the population was part German and part Polish. He
had been on friendly terms with the Polish peasants of his district,
and they had tried to save him from expropriation. But the Polish
Communist government had thrown him out of his house together
with his wife and his grandchildren, and they had all walked
hundreds of miles before they got to Berlin. There he had managed
to find work, but the Russians soon came and dismantled the fac-
tory where he had a job. So they had started again on their travels
and ended up at Siegen. Now for the third time the old blacksmith
faced destitution just when he had expected to live out the rest
of his life in peace.
The Bartens were better off than the Webers in some respects.
There was a better chance of saving their factory, as I found out
later in Frankfurt. The only Barten son, a tall handsome young
man with a gay temperament, had come home safe from the wars,
and was newly married to a charming girl from the Saar. Young
Barten had endured the hardships of the Russian front like so many
others of the men I talked to in Siegen, but he had not been a
Russian prisoner of war like Erhardt Weber, and there were no
such shadows of death and horror at the Bartens as those which
darkened the Weber home. On one occasion I asked young
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120
Barten and his wife how they managed to be so happy in spite
of the ruin which threatened them, and he said: “We younger
Germans who have survived the war have learned to live in danger;
we know how good it is to be alive, whatever the future may bring.”
Barten senior was stout, red faced and kindly; the type of Ger-
man who is represented in caricatures as swilling beer in some sum-
mer cafe on the Rhine, but was energetic and intelligent and
kindhearted. His wife is a Berliner and looked almost young enough
to be his daughter. Fair, elegant and witty, with a lovely singing
voice, she had the same happy temperament as her son. She did
not mind so much that the British had requisitioned the Barten
home and were keeping its twelve rooms for the use of two bache-
lors, but she longed to get her piano back. When I happened to
be invited in for a drink by the two British officials who occupied
the Barten house, I asked them whether they did not think they
might let Frau Barten have the use of the piano which meant so
much to her. They protested that although they could not play
themselves, it was used when they entertained, and I should re-
member that the British in Siegen had precious little to amuse
them. This was of course quite true. If the pattern of occupation
had followed normal lines, with the conquerors billeted in the
houses of the conquered instead of throwing them out of their
homes for an indefinite period, whether or not the whole space
requisitioned was needed, the British Tommies and American
GI’s, officers, and civilians, as well as the Germans, would have
been far happier. The race discrimination policy adopted by both
the British and Americans was almost as hard on the occupying
forces as the occupied. True, the original “nonfraternization” rules
had been modified, but a great gulf still separated the conquerors
from the conquered in both zones.
In Siegen the racial bar meant that the handful of Britishers
there had nothing much to do in their leisure hours, if they were
married men unwilling to seek the only companionship possible:
association with ladies of easy virtue. In a small community like
Siegen, where almost everyone knows everyone else, and where
puritanical Protestant morality was little undermined by the Nazis
and has not been destroyed even by defeat and hunger, “fräuleins,”
in the accepted occupation meaning of the term, are few and hard
to come by. On the other hand the British reparations people were
naturally not persona grata with the Germans, while the resident
British “governor,” as I have already mentioned, was extremely un-
TRAGEDY IN SIEGERLAND 121
popular both on account of his reputed seductions by pressure, and
his suspected Communist sympathies. So it was seldom that the
lonely British occupation officials entered a German home.
There were no British military forces in Siegerland, which was
part of the area occupied by Belgian troops. The latter, while oc-
cupying a great deal of precious housing space, were doing a
profitable black-market business. Like the French they are unham-
pered by the regulations and customs controls which rendered the
import and sale of cigarettes, cognac, coffee, and other luxuries,
and the export of German manufactures or currency, hazardous for
the Americans and the British. The Belgians were on better per-
sonal terms with the Germans than the British or Americans, since
there was less of a language barrier as well as no regulation “master
race” behavior. The Germans regarded them as a minor pest, since
although they complained of their dirtiness and drunkenness, they
were not concerned with dismantlement, and their cigarette and
coffee black-marketing brought prices down. Compared with the
Belgians even the French soldiers in Germany looked smart—
which is saying a lot. Frenchmen, whatever their other vices, rarely
drink too much, but the Belgians I saw in Siegen were as drunk
as they were dirty and unmilitary in appearance. Nor did they make
any pretense of ever intending to fight. They frankly told the Ger-
mans that if war came they would at once run away.
I spent a few more days in Siegerland after my return with
Erhardt Weber from Detmold. I visited many factories, talked to
the workers and visited their homes; spent a few hours in the mu-
seum in the castle where there was also an exhibition of striking
paintings of Russia done by returned prisoners of war; visited René
and Margarita in their home a few miles away in the French zone,
and spent another day in the French zone with Otto and Helmuth.
I now felt as if I had known these people all my life; I was ad-
mitted to the intimacy of their family quarrels, and came to ap-
preciate the good and bad qualities of each member of the family.
The differences in their characters and outlook were as great as
their solidarity as a family. Poor Frau Weber used to sigh for her
husband who had known how to reconcile these differences among
her sons, while she could only bewail them and mourn the death
of Günther who had had the virtues of each and the vices of none.
The curious thing in the Weber family was that only the men
quarreled. Otto’s wife, Margarita, and Frau Weber lived on the
most amicable terms.
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122
I returned to Frankfurt, determined to see what could be done
to save the people of the town and forest villages, whose troubles
I had come to feel were my concern. Surely, I thought, either the
Anglo-American officials engaged in restoring the railways and in-
creasing coal production, or the ECA authorities, would be inter-
ested in stopping the destruction of some of the Siegen factories.
The first morning in Frankfurt I left the Press Center bright and
early to visit the Commerce and Industry Division of Bicom, the
joint Anglo-American administration of the combined British and
American zones. Frankfurt is the de facto capital of Bizonia and
the Bipartite offices are situated in the huge I. G. Farben building
which we refrained from bombing during the war. It is not much
smaller than the Pentagon and, since the various departments
are continually playing General Post, you have to be employed
there to know where to find what any day in the week. However,
there is always the fun of traveling up and down in the moving
boxes accommodating two persons, which take the place of ele-
vators or escalators in the most modern German buildings.
Finally, I located the brigadier supposed to be at the head of
the British section of the Bipartite Commerce and Industry Divi-
sion. I could accomplish this feat because I was an American cor-
respondent and could wander about the corridors at will. But few
Germans, permitted to enter the buildings only if they got a pass,
and able to get a pass only if they knew exactly whom they needed
to see, could succeed in putting their grievance or appeal before
the proper authorities. To make it just so much more difficult for
them, the Information desk is situated inside, so that they cannot
find out whom they want to see and where they are to be found,
until after they get the permit which allows them to pass the sen-
tries at the door. Not that the girls at the Information desk usually
know anything, but at least you can consult the book giving the
names and locations of the many and varied departments; although
the rooms given are rarely the right ones, you can start out and
eventually find what you want.
The British brigadier was amiable and quite decent as well he
might be since he didn’t seem to be doing anything, and his room
and anteroom were empty of visitors. He told me he had just been
appointed to his job, and as yet didn’t know the faintest thing
about it. “Go and see Mr. Radford, further along the corridor,”
he suggested. “He’s the fellow who knows all about German in-
dustry.”
TRAGEDY IN SIEGERLAND 123
So I walked along the corridor and found Mr. Radford. Unfortu-
nately, Mr. Radford hadn’t the slightest interest in my story. He
made it clear at once that he was a Vansittartist—the British
equivalent of one of the Morgenthau Boys. He smiled coldly when
I started to tell him about Siegen, and said: “I have fought twice
against Germany and lost my brothers in the war. This time, I
assure you, we are going to make the Germans pay.”
It was obviously useless to argue with a man like Radford, even
about the outstanding case of Achenbach, although as deputy head
of the British Section of the Bipartite Commerce and Industry Divi-
sion, he was supposed to be concerned with reconstruction rather
than vengeance.
So I left him and sought out his American counterpart, Mr.
Messler. Here I had a totally different reception. Mr. Messler was
very much interested, although he told me that the decisions of
the Military Government reparations authorities in Berlin were
“outside the terms of reference” of the Frankfurt authorities. Here
for the first time I was up against the disastrous duality of Ameri-
can occupation policies. The officials concerned with reconstruc-
tion of the German economy had nothing to do with the repara-
tions authorities whose mandate was to destroy Germany’s capacity
for self-support.
Messler sent for a Mr. Yule who was in charge, among other
things, of the reconstruction of the German railways. Mr. Yule
proved to be one of the most active, well-informed and unpreju-
diced United States officials I met in Germany. He said that he
knew Achenbach’s production was absolutely essential to the rail-
ways; that it was quite true that it produced almost the whole of
the Bizonia railways’ piston rings, and that its dismantlement would
be disastrous. Mr. Yule took me off to see the two United
States technical experts concerned with Reichsbahn supplies, Mr.
Pumphrey and Mr. Hartlaub, on leave of absence from the Penn-
sylvania and New York Central railways to help the German rail-
ways overcome the difficulties which threatened to block European
recovery.
Unlike the offices of the big shots with military titles, the room
and anteroom occupied by Mr. Pumphrey and Mr. Hartlaub were
full of Germans, and wonder of wonders, both these Americans
spoke German themselves. They were actually dealing directly
with the Germans and helping them solve their problems and ours.
It was a refreshing experience, for most United States officials in
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

124
Germany seemed only to deal with the Germans through their sec-
retaries, and it was almost as hard for a German to get to see an
American official as for the proverbial camel to pass through the
needle’s eye.
I told these Americans that I was a Readers’ Digest corre-
spondent, but that I had come to see them, not as a writer seeking
information, but in order to tell them some facts I had learned
of immediate concern to them, and indeed to all Americans. Since
I am not an engineer and could not therefore give them all the
details, I suggested they should talk to Dr. Barten.
All three immediately agreed and asked me to try and get Barten
to come over from Siegen the following day. They warned me, as
Mr. Messler had done, that reparations deliveries were outside their
sphere, but they nevertheless made it clear that they were prepared
to fight to prevent the Morgenthau boys in Berlin from dis-
mantling, or permitting the British to dismantle, the factories most
essential to the reconstruction of the railways.
Dr. Barten will never forget his meeting with these American
technical experts. They were the first Americans he had met, and
he was overwhelmed; not only by the contrast between the way
they received him and the manner in which he was accustomed to
be treated by the British, but also by the difference between
American and German officials.
Beaming with joy as we left the I. G. Farben building after the
interview, he said:
“Really, we Germans have something to learn from America.
It’s almost incredible! Those American gentlemen didn’t even
keep me waiting a half hour or so to show their importance, as a
German bureaucrat would certainly have done. And they talked to
me so kindly, as if I were a friend, without any pompousness or
formality. Perhaps this American democracy really means some-
thing. Ach, its unbelievable how I was treated. I want to get back
home to tell everyone about it.”
Dr. Barten wanted to take me off to have dinner at a German
restaurant with him and Zezulak, who had accompanied him from
Siegen as interpreter, but whose services had hardly been neces-
sary since Hartlaub spoke German fluently, and both Pumphrey
and Yule were sufficiently conversant with the language. I insisted
that they should both, instead, come with me to Schuman Hall,
the Post Exchange cafeteria where there are no race or class dis-
tinctions, and GI’s and officers can both bring their German
TRAGEDY IN SIEGERLAND 125
guests. Here again Dr. Barten waxed enthusiastic over American
ways. “How sensible it was to take a tray and wait on yourself.”
“How extraordinary to see American officers standing in line be-
hind GI’s.” “How friendly everyone seemed.” “How unexpected
to see Germans and Americans sitting down together. One could
not imagine such a thing happening in the British zone where no
Germans are admitted to British restaurants and clubs.”
“Wirklich, wir könnten von den Amerikanern viel gutes lernen,”
he repeated again, too busy observing the noisy crowded cafeteria,
to eat his sandwiches. He had received a practical lesson in democ-
racy worth more than a thousand lectures, or any amount of radio
and newspaper propaganda. He had seen the reality of American
democracy, usually obscured by Military Government, and had
met Americans who behaved as if they were at home, instead of
as conquerors ruling over a beaten people.
I was not, of course, satisfied by the prospect that Achenbach’s
would in all probability be saved. Dr. Barten’s plant was only one
of the most obviously indefensible examples of dismantlement in
Siegerland, but the United States railways experts whom I had
found to be so keen on their reconstruction job, could not help the
Webers, or Hensch, or others, the destruction of whose factories
constituted sabotage of the Marshall Plan, but was not of direct
concern to the railways.
My next appeal, accordingly, was to the ECA authorities. Thanks
to Mr. Haroldson, the State Department representative in Frank-
furt and one of the real liberals I met in Germany, I met Mr.
Collisson, the ECA representative in Germany, and Commander
Paul F. Griffin, USNR, who had just arrived from Washington
with the experts of the Humphrey Committee charged by Congress
to find out which plants on the dismantlement list could better
contribute to European reconstruction by being left in Germany.
I first asked the ECA representatives whether they intended to
get information direct from the Germans, or would deal with them
only through Military Government. I was assured that “the door
is open here to anyone who has information to give us which bears
upon the European Recovery Program.”
I welcomed this statement and subsequently passed it on to the
Germans in the Ruhr and the French zone, with the result that
the ECA offices in Frankfurt received quite a stream of letters and
visits from the German industrialists and labor leaders I met in
my travels. I made it quite clear, of course, that Mr. Collisson and
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

126
his colleagues could not be approached by just anyone who had a
grievance; that their competence extended only to such cases where
the question of European recovery was involved.
For the moment, however, I was still concerned mainly with en-
listing ECA’s interest in the Siegerland tragedy. After hearing my
story with great patience and interest, Mr. Collisson agreed to re-
ceive a deputation from Siegen.
A week or two later, after I had left Frankfurt for the Ruhr, five
representatives of Siegerland industries were received by Mr. Col-
lisson, who, after hearing them state their case, promised that Sie-
gen would soon be visited by the ECA technical experts.
Actually the ECA experts visited Siegen twice. The first time, the
British refused to allow the Siegen people to have their own inter-
preter and the factory owners who could speak no English were at
a serious disadvantage. Those, like Erhardt Weber, who under-
stands English moderately well, heard the British interpreter giving
false information to the delegation, but did not know whether his
protest, in halting English, was understood or not. However, Mr.
Lewis, the ECA expert, made a great impression in Siegen, for he
arrived early in the morning and worked without let-up all day,
noting everything and refusing British offers of hospitality. He was,
it seemed, a man with a big and difficult job to do, working ten to
twelve hours a day, showing favor to none, an impartial highly
qualified expert making the detailed survey assigned to him and
caring nothing for anything but his job.
After my return to the United States I received a letter from
Hans Zezulak, informing me that members of the Humphrey Com-
mittee had visited Siegen on December 3 and 4 and inspected four-
teen of the plants on the dismantlement list. Mr. Lewis came
again, but this time he was accompanied by Frederick V. Geier of
the Cincinnati Milling Machine Company, who was said to be a
brother-in-law of Albert Einstein. Mr. Geier, Zezulak wrote, seemed
to be very well informed in every detail and when a British Military
Government interpreter was offered him, declined on the ground
that he spoke German fluently. This turned the tables on the Brit-
ish who had refused to let the Germans have an interpreter on the
occasion of Mr. Lewis’ first visit. As Zezulak reported to me: “So
the British left their interpreter behind and all the firms spoke
German to him, and the British could not follow the conversation
and the people could speak what they liked freely. It was a great
day indeed.”.
TRAGEDY IN SIEGERLAND 127
Whether or not Paul Hoffman or Washington would make
proper use of it, there seemed no doubt from the example of Siegen
that Mr. Geier and Mr. Lewis and their colleagues must have pro-
vided Washington with the material to make an intelligent and
realistic decision about dismantlement.
I visited Siegen again after visiting the Ruhr in October, and was
detained there for a week, having developed an inflammation of the
lungs—no doubt on account of my too strenuous investigation of
dismantlement in Düsseldorf, Dortmund, and Essen. During my
stay in bed at the Weber house I got to know this family better
than many old friends, and also had frequent visits from the Bar-
tens, Senior and Junior. Even Mr. Paisley, the British reparations
officer, came to visit me and became distantly friendly with the
Webers, once he realized that they did not account him personally
responsible for dismantlement. He said I was probably depriving
him of his job by my activities on behalf of Siegen, but he did not
resent this and was himself longing for the day when he would be
working to create instead of to destroy. One evening, in his pres-
ence, the Webers told me that many Siegen people were asking if
there was not something they could do for me in gratitude for my
attempts to save the town. I said, laughing, that I thought they
ought to erect a gold statue to me in the market place, if it proved
that I really had saved Siegerland from destruction. Paisley there-
upon remarked that if so the statue should represent me standing
with my foot on his dead body.
This joke had a sequel which touched me very much. Just before
I left Germany the Bartens, Senior and Junior, Erhardt Weber,
and Zezulak arrived in Frankfurt with a small bronze replica of the
huge old medieval statue of an ironworker which used to stand be-
side the bridge over the river Sieg. On it they had had inscribed:
“In friendly remembrance of the visit of Mrs. Freda Utley to Sieger-
land, and her successful efforts in saving the existence of the indus-
tries of the district.”
They told me it was not a gift only from themselves, but was in-
tended to express the gratitude of many others. The statue weighed
at least a hundred pounds and, as I was flying back to the United
States, I had to leave it to be sent on to me. I only hoped that I
had really helped to save the livelihood of the people of Siegerland,
and not merely postponed the day of their ruin.
Erhardt Weber now looked more gaunt than ever. His brother
was in the hospital and had been given up for lost by the doctors.
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

128
Otto, the unstable though charming and gay member of the Weber
family, had taken to drink and no longer did any work. He saw no
sense in working, since Germans were apparently doomed to be-
come paupers. Why struggle? He would gather such few rosebuds
as might come his way and forget his own and others’ sorrows in
alcohol.
Erhardt was of stiffer fiber. Whether or not the Weber factory
would finally be dismantled, he was continuing to rebuild it. An-
other red brick wall had gone up. Three buildings would soon be
restored. In spite of Otto’s protests that it was senseless to recon-
struct if all the machinery was to be taken away; in spite of Hel-
muth’s contention that the only way to make money in Germany
today is by buying and selling on or off the black market, Erhardt,
head of the family (or its dictator as his brothers said) insisted on
work, and yet more work. If the British took away all the fruits of
his and his workers’ labors, he for one, was not going to give up
hope. Grimly and silently, insisting that work must go on, and
sparing himself least of anyone, Erhardt refused to say die. He epit-
omized the best of the German spirit, which seems indomitable,
perhaps because it has never been softened by facile conquests and
easy living. Erhardt had never been a Nazi and had refused a com-
mission in the German Army, but he was a patriot in the best sense.
No one I met in Germany made me realize as vividly as Erhardt
the bitter sorrow which the destruction and virtual enslavement of
their country means to the Germans.
Old beyond his years, unmarried and with no time for the women
attracted by his aloofness and lean good looks, he was a lover of
music and poetry, with a gentle sense of humor under his reserve;
loved less by his mother than her weaker sons, given to few words
or expressions of affection, but sensitive and intelligent, Erhardt
had an unconquerable spirit. He might die of overwork but he
would never surrender to Giant Despair.
Germans like Erhardt Weber and other Siegerlanders, given the
chance to utilize their energies and talents for peace instead of the
wars they fight but never want, are capable of rebuilding Germany
and teaching Western Europe how to live by its own labors, instead
of depending upon the revenues from vanishing colonial empires
or the American subsidies which have taken their place.

129
5
German Democracy between Scylla
and Charybdis
THE MARSHALL PLAN IS BASED ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT POVERTY
and despair lead people to reject democracy and follow the Com-
munist lead; and that, in order to save the Western world from
totalitarian tyranny, America must give the European nations on
our side of the Iron Curtain enough dollars to reconstruct their
economies and afford their people the opportunity to earn a decent
living.
This theory is not, however, applied to Germany. We refuse to
admit that it was poverty, unemployment, and despair which
brought the Nazis to power, and may once again drive the German
people to reject the political concepts and moral values of the
West. Instead, we regard the Germans as a naturally aggressive
people with a predilection for authoritarian rule, and treat them
as if they were possessed of a devil which must be driven out by
chastising them.
It is today forgotten that the Nazis did not win power by advo-
cating war. They appealed in the first place to the German people’s
longing for delivery from intolerable disorders and economic chaos.
Their main slogan was “bread and work.” Hitler did not start to
talk about the need to obtain Lebensraum by force until after he
came to power, and while many a German joined the Nazi party
because it was anti-Communist, others supported it because of the
failure of the democratic parties to solve the unemployment prob-
lem or to induce the democracies to make the concessions neces-
sary for the German people to exist.
At the First Assembly of the Nazi Reichstag on May 17, 1933,
Hitler specifically abjured war, saying:
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

130
The outcome of war would be greater insecurity, increased economic
misery and yet more wars. To start such utterly senseless action would
lead to the collapse of the present order of society. A Europe sinking
into Communist chaos would produce a period of crisis the duration of
which cannot he estimated. The three principles which are the main-
spring of our revolution do not menace the interests of other nations
at all. On the contrary they can prevent the threatening Communist
upheaval and lead to the construction of a people’s state based on the
principle of private property as the basis of culture. The re-establish-
ment of a stable and authoritative state leadership.*
Since many foreigners believed Hitler’s lies, it is hardly surprising
that so many Germans did. To account them all guilty of Hitler’s
crimes, after it was too late for them to escape from his tyranny,
is to be unaware of the nature of totalitarian rule. It is doubtful
whether any other nation, placed as Germany was, would have re-
sisted the lure of Nazi propaganda. It should have been our objec-
tive after the second World War to convince the German people
that Hitler had not only failed but had been wrong, and that de-
mocracy offers life and hope.
Instead, for the second time in thirty years, democracy has be-
come synonymous in Germany with submission to intolerable con-
ditions, and the denial of freedom, security and self-respect to the
German people.
It is one of the paradoxes of modern times that in an age in
which psychology is studied even in the schoolroom, and psycholog-
ical warfare has become a branch of military science, we should
conduct our foreign policy with less understanding of other peoples
than our ancestors whose knowledge was confined to history and
philosophy.
The lessons of psychology are apparently considered as having no
application to the Germans. For although most Americans have
been sold on the idea that criminal tendencies are the result of en-
vironment and that juvenile delinquency can be cured by psycho-
logical treatment, they believe that the way to reform the Ger-
mans is to treat them as hardened criminals, and punish them all,
including the children who were unborn when Hitler came to
power.
“If you call a child a thief often enough,” a German said to me,

* Quoted by Gunther Reimann in Germany: World Power or World
Revolution?
GERMAN DEMOCRACY BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 131
“he eventually becomes one. Similarly by treating all Germans as
Nazi criminals, you have made more Nazis than Hitler ever did.”
The same idea was expressed in a variety show called “Mouse-
trap” which my friend Joan Crane saw in Stuttgart. In one scene
a dog who had done something naughty was shown as very ashamed
of himself. But after a succession of people had screamed “Guilty,
guilty,” and punished him, the dog became very fierce and com-
pletely untamable.
People cannot be bludgeoned into repentance. They must retain
their self-respect if they are to admit their guilt. Many Germans
never realized what they were doing, or abetting, under Nazi rule,
but might have been shocked into repentance after Nazi atrocities
in occupied countries were revealed to them following Germany’s
defeat, had not they themselves become the victims of similar
“crimes against humanity.” All we have done is to convince them
that everyone is bad and cruel.
How can we expect to bring home to the Germans a conscious-
ness of their “guilt”, if we ourselves or our allies treat them as the
Nazis treated the conquered? Today the Germans, far from being
repentant, consider themselves to be the most oppressed of all peo-
ples, and see no difference between Nazi rule and that of Western
military government.
As Dr. Helmuth Becker, son of the internationally known edu-
cator who was Minister of Education in Prussia before 1933, said
to me at Nuremberg: “If the Military Government’s conception of
democracy continues much longer, there will be no chance for de-
mocracy in Germany for a hundred years.”
“Few Americans,” he continued, “realize that Germany followed
Hitler because the democratic parties were bankrupt. Nor do they
see that Military Government is very similar to Nazi rule. The
Nazis and the Military Government would have got on very well
together. They have the same belief in authoritarian rule, and they
are regarded by the Germans in much the same light.
“We don’t believe your propaganda any more than we believed
Nazi propaganda after the first year or two. We judge you by what
you do, not by what you say, and what you do is much the same as
what the Nazis did.”
There is an inescapable contradiction between democracy, which
means government by consent of the governed, and military gov-
ernment based on force and the power of the conquerors to impose
their will on the conquered. This contradiction has been accentu-
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

132
ated by the attitude and behavior prescribed for the occupation
forces in Germany; but it would in any case preclude the growth of
a vigorous democratic movement in Germany.
Inevitably the German democrats in the Western zones appear
in the eyes of most of their compatriots as quislings carrying out
the orders of the conquerors. Since those orders have kept the Ger-
mans starving in the bombed-out remnants of their cities without
allowing them to rebuild them, deprived the workers of their liveli-
hood by dismantlement, and the whole population of freedom, de-
mocracy has once again become synonymous with defeat, misery,
injustice, and servitude.
Once again, as in the days of the Weimar Republic, and to a far
greater degree, we are denying the German democrats any possi-
bility of proving to their countrymen that justice, the right to work
and earn a living wage, and equality among the nations can be ob-
tained except by force.
The predicament of the German Social Democrats outside of
Berlin illustrates the sad consequences of our undemocratic atti-
tude toward the Germans.
Talking to German labor leaders in the Ruhr, I could have ima-
gined myself back in the days of the Weimar Republic when I had
often visited Germany. The old Socialists who had survived both
Nazi persecution and the war were back where they had been
twenty years ago, but more gravely handicapped in their efforts to
“sell democracy” to the German people. Yet they still had faith in
peaceful methods and rational argument. They eschewed “direct
action” or revolutionary methods to obtain just demands. They
still believed in the possibility of uniting the “workers of the world”;
they still placed their trust in British and French Socialists; they
are as law abiding under British Military Government as under
former German governments; they are not lacking in courage, but
they seem incapable of bold and decisive action in a crisis.
They are in the tragic position of not being able to learn from
past experience because to do so would be a denial of the demo-
cratic basis of their beliefs. And since the situation they face today
is similar to the one they faced following the first World War, they
are once again in danger of losing the support of the German
workers, and giving the right of way to the demagogues and apos-
tles of violence and tyranny: to the extreme nationalists on the
right and the Communists on the left who once before destroyed
German democracy.
GERMAN DEMOCRACY BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 133
The Germans always seem to “go the whole hog.” Either they
are extreme nationalists and violently aggressive, or they are more
pacific, rational, and internationally minded than the socialists and
liberals of any other country.
As one young German trade-union official said to me in Düssel-
dorf: “Placed as we are in the center of Europe, influences from
all sides meet and clash most violently in Germany. Here issues
are more sharply defined than in any other country. Germans are
inclined to make every issue a question of basic philosophy. The re-
ligious wars were more destructive in Germany than anywhere else
because we embrace our beliefs so wholeheartedly and see no virtue
in compromise. So today in politics we go to the same extremes:
from ultranationalism to the repudiation of all nationalist senti-
ment. We adopt our politics with religious conviction and see an
enemy in everyone who thinks differently. Like the power generated
by positive and negative in electricity, the strongest incentives for
good or ill are present in the German character.”
When nationalism is in the ascendant, the Germans are among
the most violent and unscrupulous peoples; when they turn to paci-
fism, internationalism, and reasonableness, they turn the other
cheek with a restraint in face of provocation, injustice, and suffer-
ing which few other nations ever exhibit. This tendency to go to
extremes and eschew compromise also accounts for the violent
party strife which helped destroy the Weimar Republic. Unlike the
English, who instinctively put the national interest above party in-
terests, the Germans carry political antagonisms to such lengths
that, except when united for war under authoritarian rule, internal
conflicts split the nation into warring factions. This is no doubt the
reason why even liberal Germans will tell you today that Germany
needs a monarchy, because only an established authority recognized
by all parties can overcome the schisms which tear Germany apart.
Germany is not, perhaps, peculiar in this respect. The French are
displaying a similar incapacity in making democracy work, and the
British had their civil wars in the past. It is the comparative youth-
fulness of the German state which has caused the swing from over-
emphasis on nationalism, to internecine strife regardless of the na-
tional interest, and back again to extreme nationalism.
The renunciation of nationalist sentiment and aims by the Ger-
man Social Democrats plays into the hands of both the extreme
nationalists, and the Communists, who use German national senti-
ment to further Russian aims: Many German Socialists in the
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

134
Western zones strengthen the impression that they are puppets by
seeming to echo the views of the conquerors who demand that the
Germans, unlike other nations, should have no national feelings.
Patriotism, regarded as a virtue by the victors, is considered to
be a sign of perverse tendencies when displayed by Germans. Every
sign of “reviving German nationalism” is made the excuse for the
revival of repressive measures. We treat the Germans like sexual
delinquents who must be castrated or kept in prison and deprived
of normal sexual intercourse, while their jailers are permitted to in-
dulge their natural human instincts to the full.
Yesterday it was the Nazis; today it is their erstwhile allies and
spiritual brothers, the Communists, who are taking advantage of
Germany’s treatment at the hands of the Allies and of the weak-
ness of German democracy. The Communists are appealing to the
same passions and hatreds and aggressive nationalistic sentiments
as the Nazis. They are leading the struggle against dismantlement
and the so-called internationalization of the Ruhr, and in general
showing up the incapacity of the German democrats to obtain,
and the unwillingness of the democratic powers to grant, elemen-
tary justice to the German people.
Although German experience of Communist terror in the Eastern
zone and Berlin, and the German Army’s first-hand view of Soviet
Russia as soldiers and prisoners of war, have so far prevented the re-
vival of a strong German Communist movement, there is a sub-
stantial minority of Communists in the Ruhr held in check only
by the Socialists and Christian Democrats who still hope the West-
ern Powers will come to their senses in face of the Soviet danger
and permit the German people to live and work.
About a third of the German trade-union members in the coal
and steel industries of the Ruhr are reputed to be Communists or
to follow the Communist lead. This substantial minority is bound
to increase if only the Communists seem to be fighting against dis-
mantlement. It must also grow if the occupation authorities, de-
sirous of re-establishing free enterprise in Germany but refusing to
release the German economy from the burden of reparations pay-
ments and the tight controls established in the interests of Ger-
many’s British and French competitors on the world market, con-
tinue to promote the scarcity and inflation which keep the German
workers without the necessities of life.
If the German Socialists who control the trade unions in the
Ruhr fail to see that they will never obtain a fair deal from the
GERMAN DEMOCRACY BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 135
British by collaborating with them; if they continue to hold back
the rank and file from organized strikes against dismantlement; if
they fail in every possible way to support the German workers who
are going to jail for refusal to obey British orders to destroy or re-
move the machinery on which other Germans depend for their
livelihood, the Communists will inevitably win the leadership of
the German workers, in spite of German fear and hatred of the
Soviet Union.
The British, so far, have derived great profit from the trusting at-
titude of the German labor leaders. But in the long run the advan-
tage they have taken of the German Socialists’ faith in the British
Labour Government is likely to rebound to the advantage of the
Communists. Just as the British are deriving temporary profit from
the sale to Soviet Russia and her satellites of armaments and planes
or the materials and machinery with which to manufacture them,
but are likely in the future bitterly to regret their exclusive preoc-
cupation with the accumulation of dollar funds to the detriment
of their defenses, so also in Germany they may come to rue the
day when they sacrificed to a commercial motive the good will
of those who trusted them and could have become their strongest
allies.
My visit to the Ruhr in the fall of 1948 brought home to me not
only awareness of the similarity in the victors’ treatment of German
democracy today and following the first World War, but also un-
derstanding of the weakness of German social democracy.
Before Hitler came to power, when German social democracy
still held the allegiance of a majority of the German working and
professional classes, the German democrats had believed that the
Western democracies would not allow them to perish by refusing
the concessions which could keep the German people under peace-
ful leadership. In 1948, in the Ruhr, I found that the German trade-
unionists had been convinced that the British Labour Government
would not actually carry through the dismantlement program which
must drive the German people once again to reject democracy.
Others had apparently been won over to accept dismantlement
by a British promise to support socialization of the mining and
steel industries against the Americans who favor private enterprise,
if the trade-union leaders would collaborate with the British Mili-
tary Government, or at least take no concerted measures to prevent
the removal of machinery from German factories. This apparently
accounted for the refusal of Hans Boekler and other old German
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

136
trade union leaders to accede to the demands of the rank and file
for a general strike against dismantlement. Like Samson, German
labor had been shorn of its strength, the temptress being the So-
cialist ideal. Hoping to establish socialism by collaboration with the
British conquerors the old German trade-union leaders had dis-
armed the working class.
Whether or not a bargain had actually been struck between the
British and German Socialists, it was made clear to me in my con-
versations with Ruhr labor leaders that they were anxious above all
not to embarrass or annoy the British Labour Government.
On the other hand I also had to realize that the German trade-
union leaders had little choice but to collaborate with the British.
The dependence of the Germans on the food supplied by their
conquerors constituted a terrible weapon in the hands of the Brit-
ish and American military governments, and was used with few
scruples. No one could forget that in 1947 the Western Powers had
threatened to stop food shipments if the German workers went on
strike.
As an outsider I cannot judge whether it is the carrot or the
stick which plays the greater role in inducing the German trade-
union leaders to collaborate with the British Military Government.
The stick, starvation, is in all probability more potent than the So-
cialist lure. Starvation as a method of coercion is used less blatantly
by the British and American occupation authorities than by the So-
viets, but hardly less effectively. It is the dependence of Western
Germany on food imports which has cut the ground from under
the feet of the German democrats, and placed German labor in an
even weaker position today than under the Nazi tyranny.
It was essential for the Nazi government to encourage the Ger-
mans to work to the limit of their capacity, since compulsion alone
cannot secure maximum production. But the British Military Gov-
ernment has no such interest. The British, to use their favorite
expression, “couldn’t care less” if German labor chooses to starve
by going on strike. Cessation of production in German factories
may even be welcome to the British conquerors who are also Ger-
many’s competitors. Thus the German workers in the Ruhr have
in effect been deprived of their only weapon against the destruction
of their means of existence.
Since every German working class family is at all times on the
verge of destitution, and dependent for its inadequate food on the
good will of the conquerors, no German labor leader can lightly
GERMAN DEMOCRACY BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 137
defy the occupation authorities. “A week without work and wages,”
one of them said to me, “means so many more thousands tuber-
cular children, so many more invalids; we are so undernourished
and weak that we can barely keep alive, and have no reserves of
strength or food. One little extra push can mean collapse. How
can we stand up against the organized might of the conquerors
who hold our lives in their hands, and treat us all as criminals, or
at best as prisoners on parole?”
Nevertheless, it was hard for me to understand the attitude of
such men as Hans Boekler, the William Green of German labor.
He had recently returned from London where he had talked to
Ernest Bevin. When I asked him what answer Bevin had given to
his argument against dismantlement, Boekler made excuses for the
British Foreign Minister. “Bevin is so overburdened with other
cares,” said Boekler, “so absorbed in the difficulties of foreign pol-
icy: Palestine, Russia, and the rest, that he simply has no time to
attend to our German problems.”
After this conversation I was hardly surprised when one of the
Ministers in North-Rhine Westphalia, who is himself a Socialist,
told me that Boekler was “too much orientated toward Britain.”
The middle ranks of trade-union officials, this Minister also told
me, realized that the German workers were being victimized by the
British and the workers themselves wanted to strike against dis-
mantlement, but Boekler had prevented any effective action being
taken. Boekler is both head of the metal workers trade union and
chairman of the Federation of German Trade Unions.
Arnold Schmidt, the German miners’ leader, holds the same
pro-British opinions. When I interviewed him in his house near
Bochum I had already heard him speak to the British and Ameri-
can Military Government officials assembled at Essen on October
2, and waited in vain for him to protest against dismantlement. So
I was hardly surprised when he told me that the German workers
were “full of admiration for the Socialist achievements of the
British Labour Government.” Either from discretion or conviction,
he had nothing to say against British policy.
Much as I respect the old-fashioned trade union leaders I met
in the Ruhr I found it pathetic to witness their touching faith in
the British Labour Government. In spite of the superior attitude
adopted toward them as toward all other Germans by British Mili-
tary Government officials, and in spite of the abundant evidence of
British determination to wipe out German competition by ruthless
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

138
dismantlement, they refused to believe that a British Labour Gov-
ernment was not their friend. So, instead of leading the strikes and
demonstrations demanded by the rank and file, they continued to
argue that if the Germans were patient and submissive the British
and French would eventually listen to reason and stop taking the
bread out of the mouths of the German workers.
I was accompanied on some of my Ruhr visits by a German
from the Social Ministry, recommended to me by Richard Stokes,
the English Member of Parliament who has fought hardest to stop
dismantlement. Although I speak German, my knowledge of the
language is not such as to make it easy to understand every word
when technical terms are involved. So Stokes’ friend, Zilliken, who
spoke English fluently, was of great assistance to me in investigat-
ing dismantlement in the Ruhr. He was, moreover, an intelligent,
fearless and well-informed young man.
When I expressed my astonishment at the confiding trust which
the older generation of German labor leaders appeared to place in
the British Labour Government, Zilliken remarked, “Yes, the rela-
tionship which the British Labour Government has managed to
establish with the Social Democrats of the Ruhr is similar to that
between the English aristocracy and the British working class.”
This comparison is not as apt today as fifty years ago. It would
be truer to say that the Social Democrats in Western Germany
stand in much the same position in relation to the British Labour
Government as the Socialist Unity party (SED) in the Russian
zone to Moscow. Both are dependent for such power as they have
on the occupation authorities. Certainly the Social Democrats
have more popular support than the SED, but they are well aware
that if the occupation forces were withdrawn they would in all
probability be swept from office. This is not a reflection on the in-
tegrity of the German Socialists, but a result of the identification
of democracy in German eyes with subservience to the will of the
conquerors.
In spite of its weak position German Social Democracy does not
lack leaders who advocate a bolder course than that pursued by
the Boeklers and Schmidts. There is a militant opposition which
argues that effective direct action against both dismantlement and
the conversion of the Ruhr into an Anglo-French colony, is pos-
sible; and that if the Socialists fail to fight for the rights of German
labor and the German people, the Communists will take the lead.
This militant wing of the German Socialist and trade-union move-
GERMAN DEMOCRACY BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 139
ment advocates mass strikes and demonstrations against dismantle-
ment, believing that the British will not dare, at this stage, to
crush the German working class by naked force, seeing that the
only beneficiaries must be Communists.
Early in 1949 the militants appeared to be assuming the lead in
the Ruhr, no doubt because the Communists had begun to take
the lead in opposing dismantlement, and because the number of
registered unemployed has risen to a million in the combined Brit-
ish and American zones.*
In Dortmund I visited an outstanding personality among the
militant Socialist trade union leaders, who was in hospital after
losing his right hand in a street accident a few days before. Herr
Meyer had started life as a miner, been a trade-union organizer
before Hitler came to power, and subsequently earned his living in
such various occupations as a film company publicity agent, elec-
tric-bulb salesman and hotel manager, and had been both a soldier
and a draftee in a glass plant during the war. But he looked like
Beethoven. His massive torso, pale face, aquiline nose, generous
mouth and massive forehead, shock of black hair streaked with
grey, and burning black eyes made an unforgettable impression,
and I was no less struck by his outspoken and fearless attitude, and
the contrast between his views and the narrow sectarian Socialist
attitude of such men as Boekler and Schmidt.
Meyer told me how, after being redrafted into the army, in spite
of his age, in the last desperate weeks of the war, he had been
taken prisoner by the Americans but had been lucky enough to be
interrogated by a former trade-union colleague who had emigrated
to the United States and become an American citizen. This friend
of Weimar Republic days had at once released him, and he had
thereupon joined up with his former trade-union chief, Boekler, in
reconstituting the German trade-union movement.
Meyer did not, however, agree with Boekler in his present tactics.
In the summer of 1948, when dismantlement on a big scale began
in the British zone, he had proposed that the German trade unions,
chambers of commerce and guilds of artisans, executives and owners
of German factories, together with the Protestant and Catholic
clergy, should all simultaneously go on strike and refuse all co-oper-
ation with the British Military Government.
Meyer’s proposal, he told me, had been squashed by Boekler’s

* These unemployment figures do not include the mass of German expellees
living in camps.
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140
lieutenants who had said that Boekler did not want any disturb-
ances or threats to mar the good results he expected from his talks
in London and Paris. It was also probable that Boekler was averse
to taking any action which involved forming a united front with
“the capitalists” and the churches in defense of the whole German
people.
Fritz Hentzler, the Socialist mayor of Dortmund, whom I inter-
viewed the same day, although not a young man, was also a mili-
tant man of broad outlook. Like Ernst Reuter of Berlin he repre-
sented the interests of all his people, and was more concerned with
human needs, freedom and justice than with “state ownership of
the means of production and distribution.” He shared none of the
illusions of the Boeklers and Schmidts who like Rip Van Winkles
in a changed world, continue to believe that the Socialists of other
countries are as internationally minded as themselves.
Hentzler told me that the German trade-union leaders had at
first refused to believe that a British Labour Government would
ever deprive the German workers of their means of existence, and
that the majority of German workers had accordingly never imag-
ined that dismantlement on a big scale would actually be carried
out. They had ascribed the outcry of the employers and executives
as merely a capitalist or nationalist reaction against disarmament
measures. Thus the trade unions in the Ruhr, voting to restrict
their activities to particular objectives, refrained from causing diffi-
culties for the British occupation forces. Later when the full effect
of the planned dismantlement was becoming obvious, the German
workers had been confident that the Marshall Plan meant that it
would stop, and that a higher level of industry would be permitted
to Germany. Having first vainly placed their trust in the British
Labour Government, they were now looking for justice from cap-
italist America.
Hentzler and a few others had realized from the beginning that
dismantling was a serious menace and had little hope that America
would stop it. For, in his view, dismantlement on a big scale had
been planned by the United States and Britain as the means to
bring about an accord with France; and he thought that in 1948
they had promised to carry it through, whatever its cost and how-
ever disastrous the consequences to the German workers and the
German democrats.
Hentzler also told me that when he had first spoken to General
Robertson about the financial consequences, the British Military
GERMAN DEMOCRACY BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 141
Governor had been sympathetic but now was “ice cold.” Evidently
there was a firm Anglo-French-American agreement on steel, de-
signed to destroy Germany’s productive capacity and double French
and Belgian production.
“Since antidemocratic and destructive are synonymous terms,
the net result of dismantlement,” said Hentzler, “is the ‘demon-
tage* of democracy.’ ”
“Every economic difficulty,” he continued, “is a reflection on
democracy and is welcomed by the Nazis and other extreme na-
tionalists in Germany, as well as by the Communists.”
The Ruhr is the center of Communist influence in Germany
and the Communists take every possible advantage in their propa-
ganda of the ruin brought about by dismantlement. They play
upon nationalist sentiment almost as effectively as the Nazis did,
proclaiming that dismantlement and the Anglo-American-French
agreement on control of the Ruhr, are planned to turn Germany
into a colony of slaves working for the profit of the Anglo-Saxon
and French imperialists. Their propaganda contains sufficient truth
for it to be effective. Seeing their Social-Democratic leaders failing
to protect their livelihood and Germany’s basic interests, the Ger-
man workers would naturally follow the Communists, were it not
for their firsthand experience of the Russian terror.
When I asked Hentzler how it was possible for any German to
fall for Communist propaganda, since all knew or heard of the
terrible treatment Germans received in Russia and in the Eastern
zone, Hentzler smiled sadly and said:
“You underrate the stupidity of the masses. Roosevelt and
Churchill were both hoodwinked by Stalin, so why shouldn’t the
German people be?”
He went on to tell me that some German nationalists believe
today that they can rearm Germany with the help of the Soviets.
“They are ready to be Russian mercenaries today in the hope of
creating an independent Germany in the future.”
As an example, Hentzler pointed to the case of Graf Einsiedel,
Bismarck’s grandson, who today plays an important role in Rus-
sia’s “Free German” movement, because he wants to revert to his
grandfather’s policy of friendship with Russia.
I asked Hentzler whether he thought that such German national-
ists really believed that Germany could regain her independence

* The German and French term for dismantlement.
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142
by collaborating with Russia against the West, or whether they
were preparing to betray the Russians when they got the chance.
He replied: “People on the negative side are always more apt to
unite than progressives.”
I asked Hentzler if he thought that many former Nazis were
now Communist collaborators, and he replied, “Very few with the
idea of winning Germany for the Russians. A great many on the
basis of the belief that they must win Russia’s aid to rebuild Ger-
many and free her from Western domination.” He went on to
point out that only a minority, such as the Nazis had been, was
needed to swing a country. “The former high Nazis and many for-
mer Wehrmacht officers,” he continued, “will never be satisfied
with low positions. They long above all for a system in which they
can once again occupy the seats of power.”
Arnold, the president of North-Rhine Westphalia, whom I in-
terviewed in Düsseldorf, drew my attention to the aid and comfort
given to the German Communists by Bevin’s reported statement
to General Marshall that dismantlement in the Ruhr should be
continued “on security grounds,” since otherwise the Soviets might
capture intact plants which could be put to their service.*
Naturally, he said, if it was expected that unarmed Germany
would not be defended, but surrendered to the Russians in the
event of war, many Germans would feel that there was no choice
but to get on good terms with the Communists in advance.
“The anti-Communist sentiments of the Germans,” said Arnold,
“are good and strong.” If only England and America would draw
up an occupation statute giving the Germans freedom, self-govern-
ment, and responsibility, there would be a solid basis for a demo-
cratic development. “Then,” he continued, “we could speak to the
East zone with a strong voice.”
The effect of a declaration that dismantlement was to be stopped
at once would have an electrifying effect on the Germans. “Ger-
mans are so ready to cooperate in European reconstruction,” said
Arnold, “that ‘Europa über Alles’ would then supplant ‘Deutsch-
land über Alles’ † in German hearts.”
It is easy to dismiss such statements as this as unworthy of belief
and to argue that the Germans under the pretext of being good
Europeans plan to dominate the Continent. Such distrust ignores

* Cf. Newsweek, XXXII (September 27, 1948), 11.
† “Europe over (or above) all” instead of “Germany over (or above) all.”
GERMAN DEMOCRACY BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 143
the “all or nothing” nature of the German character. Since they
are inclined to pursue a line of policy to its logical conclusion, the
Germans today, given the chance to utilize their brains, skills, and
capacity for hard work in peaceful ways are perhaps more, not less,
likely to become good Europeans than other nations with less
singleness of purpose.
War propaganda has obscured the true facts of history, other-
wise Americans might realize that the German record is no more
aggressive, if as aggressive, as that of the French, British, and
Dutch who conquered huge empires in Asia and Africa while the
Germans stayed at home composing music, studying philosophy,
and listening to their poets. Not so long ago the Germans were, in
fact, among the most “peace-loving” peoples of the world and
might become so again, given a world in which it is possible to live
in peace.
Mistaken as the Boeklers of Germany may be in believing that
concessions can be won from the Western powers by negotiation,
their attitude proves the willingness of many Germans to trust to
peaceful means to obtain their ends.
There is unfortunately little prospect that they will be able to
do so. Again, as in pre-Hitler days, the German Social Democrats
are between two fires. Twenty years ago they had to struggle against
the Nazis on the one hand, and the Communists on the other.
Today they are weakened in their struggle against the Communists
by British and American Military Government.
“We are compelled to go softly in the Ruhr,” I was told, “be-
cause there are strong Communist groups among the German
workers, who interpret any action we take against dismantlement
as opposition to the Western democracies.”
The force of this remark had already been borne in on me by
what I had read in the Russian-licensed press in Berlin, which in-
veighed against dismantlement in the Ruhr (though not of course
in the Russian zone), and the treatment of Germany as a colony
by the Western Powers. But it seemed to me that the German
Social Democrats had no hope of maintaining their leadership of
the workers, or any other Germans, if they were so afraid of seem-
ing to be on the side of the Communists that they failed to lead
Germany’s struggle for national freedom and the right to work.
This was notably the case with regard to the so-called international-
ization of the Ruhr agreed upon by the British, French, and Ameri-
cans early in 1949. This agreement provides for the permanent, or
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

144
long-term, control of Ruhr industries by Germany’s conquerors
with only a minority voice for the Germans in the disposal of the
product of their labors. There is no question that it does, in fact,
reduce the Ruhr to the status of a British Crown Colony under tri-
partite control. The leaders of German labor in the Ruhr, however,
have seemed to display more interest in ensuring the appointment
of their nominees as trustees of the Ruhr coal mines and iron and
steel industries, than in opposing the virtual detachment of the
Ruhr from the German economy.
So in January 1949 the Communists took advantage of the won-
derful opportunity presented to them to pose as the champions of
the conquered and oppressed German people. Max Reimann, the
Communist leader in the Ruhr, struck a powerful blow for the
Communist cause when he said in a public speech:
“German politicians who today co-operate with the occupation
forces under the international Ruhr statute should not be surprised
if they are considered quislings by the German nation. They may
one day have to face reprisals.”
The British hardly helped their Social-Democrat friends by ar-
resting Max Reimann for this statement and turning him into a
hero of the German resistance. The Communists turned his trial
into a mass demonstration against the conversion of the Ruhr into
an Anglo-French-American colony.
The crowd assembled by the Communists sang the “Interna-
tionale” so loudly during Reimann’s trial that it forced a recess,
and compelled the British public-safety officer, Colonel Pollock, to
beg the Communist leader to calm the crowd and tell them to
go away. Max Reimann was thereupon reported to have “smiled
broadly” and answered, “I didn’t call them here.”
Finally German police dispersed the crowd, but when Reimann
emerged from the court room he was carried for miles on the
shoulders of cheering crowds. As a high British official is reported
to have ruefully admitted: “It looks like the trial is backfiring. It
has made the Communists the champions of all Germans who op-
pose the control given to the International Ruhr Authority over
German coal, coke and steel.”*
Reimann was nevertheless sent to prison by the British court on
the charge of having broken a Military Government law against
“interference with persons who give aid and sustenance to the oc-

* New York Herald Tribune, January 19, 1949.
GERMAN DEMOCRACY BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 145
cupying powers,” that is, persons who collaborate with the con-
querors. Nothing could have suited the Communists better. Their
leader was now able to pose as the champion of the oppressed
German nation. Anti-Communist German politicians were com-
pelled to come to Reimann’s defense. Kurt Schumacher, chairman
of the German Social-Democratic party, stated that if the principle
of “obedience” to Military Government was applied as a protection
for German politicians, it would prove helpful to the Communist
cause; and Heinrich Hellwege, chairman of the right-wing Deutsche
Partei, declared that Reimann’s conviction appeared to confirm
the Communist charge that non-Communist German politicians
were “performers of the will of the occupation power,” and that
those who openly criticized measures of the Western Powers were
subject to punishment.
Subsequently Military Government officials reported privately
that they were again having trouble in getting Germans to take
responsible administration positions.*
Unfortunately for the democratic cause, when some German
workers at Essen were arrested by the British for their refusal to
dismantle the Bochum Iron and Steel Works, or to permit its being
dismantled, there was no such powerful popular support for them
as the Communists had organized for their leader, Max Reimann.
They were sent to jail unheralded and unsung. Nor did the Social-
Democrat trade-union leaders do anything effective to prevent the
use of British troops to compel the Bochum workers to give way,
after the British had announced, on January 5, 1949, that “there
will be sufficient British troops standing by to insure that the job
will start, and that if the Bochumer Verein workers try to interfere
this time, we are prepared to take counter measures.”
A year earlier, in January 1948, the Social-Democratic leaders in
the British zone had been intimidated by the double threat of
starvation and British tanks into preventing the general strike de-
manded by the rank and file. The Ruhr workers had been literally
starving that winter of 1947-48 when for a long period the daily
ration had been reduced to 800-900 calories, which is less than
the Nazis gave their concentration camp victims. Finally the trade
union leaders had been called into a conference by the Minister
of Food of North-Rhine Westphalia and told that there were only
3,000 tons of fat in the whole Ruhr area. The question was whether

* New York Times, February 4, 1949.
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

146
to divide it so as to give a four-week fat ration to the miners, on
whose labors all industry depended, or to give each worker an
ounce a month for two months.
The trade-union leaders had refused to decide this awful ques-
tion. Then the Minister of Food, having referred the decision to
the Economic Council at Frankfurt, was told that even the 3,000
tons did not exist—that in the whole of North-Rhine Westphalia
there was only 460 tons of fat, which constituted a bare week’s
supply for the miners if no other Germans received any fat at all.
In this desperate situation an appeal was made to Bavaria, which
came through and supplied some fats.
“If we had allowed a general strike as was demanded by a third
of the Ruhr workers,” one trade union official said to me, “the last
possibility of acquiring fats would have been destroyed by the stop-
page of transport.”
“We told the workers the truth,” he continued, “and asked them
to continue working without any fat ration. We prevented riots
believing that if they occurred, the British would have used tanks,
and there was a real danger that the Russians would then have
come as our ‘liberators’ from Anglo-American tyranny. Anything
was preferable to that.”
In that terrible month of January 1948 Boekler had told the
British and American authorities that they had better use their
troops to get food from the German peasants, rather than send
their tanks against the Ruhr workers.
It was hard in the Ruhr to resist the conclusion that by their
law-abiding nature, their pacifism, and the mixture of respect, trust,
and fear with which they regarded the British Labour Government,
the German Social Democrats had indeed made themselves ap-
pear to be quislings. As in the late twenties, they were losing popu-
lar support and preparing the way for their own demise.
If most of the Ruhr’s trade-union and Social-Democratic leaders
appeared to have learned no more than the Occupation Powers
from the tragic history of the past thirty years, the same could not
be said of other Social-Democratic leaders in Germany. In an
earlier chapter I have spoken of the clear-sighted and courageous
Berlin Socialists. The views of Carlo Schmidt, the Social-Demo-
cratic leader from the French zone, offered a similar contrast.
Carlo Schmidt is an outstanding personality. The son of a
French mother and a German father, he combines Teutonic
strength and determination with Gallic wit and fire, and love of
GERMAN DEMOCRACY BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 147
life and beauty. A poet, a philosopher, and a professor of interna-
tional law, as well as an eloquent speaker, Carlo Schmidt is too well
known in the European literary world, and too influential, for the
French to dare imprison him. Lesser German “heroes of the re-
sistance” against French tyranny are summarily disposed of by the
Sûreté. But Carlo Schmidt, who ruled a French province during
the days of the German occupation, and achieved an enviable rep-
utation for justice and fair dealing and courage in protecting the
French from the Gestapo, is a man who can neither be smeared nor
easily repressed.
I met Carlo Schmidt first in October 1948 in Bonn, where he
was a delegate to the Parliamentary council endeavoring to ham-
mer out a Constitution for Western Germany. In late November
I met him again in Berlin where he had come to help his Social-
Democratic colleagues in the elections. On both occasions I was
impressed, not only by his intelligence and understanding of the
problems of our time, but also by his humanity and freedom from
class, racial, or national prejudices. Like Ernst Reuter of Berlin,
and unlike most of the Socialists I met in the Ruhr, Carlo Schmidt
represents a new, nondoctrinaire, Socialist movement, which is
more liberal than socialist, more concerned with the preservation of
freedom and the basic values of Western civilization than with
economic theories.
“If the Allies decide to let us live,” Carlo Schmidt said to me in
Bonn, “they must be reasonable, they must leave us the means to
earn our bread. If not, they should announce that they intend us
to die of hunger, and, if they are merciful, they should provide the
necessary gas chambers for our painless extermination.”
The least harm, he said, was being done by the Americans, who
took account of economic realities. But the British were deter-
mined to wipe out German competition whatever the political and
moral cost, while in the French zone destruction had been carried
to such lengths that the exports of major industries had been wiped
out, and there was no longer any possibility of self-support.
Carlo Schmidt thinks it is a mistake to believe that Communist
propaganda in Germany today falls on deaf ears. “If the Germans
are driven to despair,” he said to me in French, “they will follow
the Communists, if only with the hope that the others will also die
like dogs.”
Later, at a factory in the French zone, I was told that some of
the workers were already saying, “Let the Russians come. What-
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148
ever they do to us, we shall at least be able to cut the throats of
the French first.”
I had no reason to doubt the value of Carlo Schmidt’s warning
that the day might come when the masses would get out of con-
trol. Like other German democrats, he also told me that the day
after victory the Western Allies could have done anything they
liked with the Germans.
“America,” he said, “was like Almighty God in those days. Had
she known what she wanted and announced it, she could have
shaped Germany and Europe to her will. Today this is no longer
the case, not only on account of Soviet Russia, but because the
Germans have been disillusioned by the wide gap between demo-
cratic pretensions and practices, and the vacillation, weakness, and
contradictions in American policy.”
When later in our conversation I commented on the contrast
between the heroism of the Berlin Social Democrats and the weak-
ness of their Western colleagues in dealing with British and United
States Military Government, Carlo Schmidt said this was not due
to the cowardice of the latter, but to bitter experience. In Berlin
the Germans could look to American support, but in the Western
zones they were alone and defenseless. Moreover, the fact that they
realized that all open and strong criticisms of the Military Govern-
ment played into the hands of the Communists, put them in an
extremely difficult position.
In Berlin the German democrats had the Western democracies
on their side; in the Western zones they had no support since they
refused to accept the Communists as allies, or play off Russia
against the West.
Nor could the German democrats in the Western zone count on
having grievances and injustices remedied by publicity or appeals
to the Congress of the United States and the British Parliament.
The Germans have no government to speak for them. They are
without rights and live in what is in many respects a vast intern-
ment camp. Very few Germans are allowed to travel abroad; for-
eign newspapers and books are generally unobtainable; their
contacts with foreigners outside the Military Government are few,
and they are not even informed about the debates in Congress on
Germany, or given the official texts of documents, such as those
relating to ECA, which most intimately concern them.
After fifteen years of semi-isolation under Hitler, the Germans
under Western Military Government are still cut off from the free
world outside.
GERMAN DEMOCRACY BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 149
At a meeting of Generals Clay and Robertson with German in-
dustrialists, officials, and trade-union leaders which I attended at
Essen on October 2, 1948, I was astonished to hear neither Hans
Boekler nor Arnold Schmidt speak up strongly against dismantle-
ment. Here was a meeting open to the press of the world in which
the Germans had had a rare opportunity to cry out loud and be
heard. But only Kost, the representative of the coal owners, did
more than give utterance to polite platitudes. When a few days
later in Düsseldorf, I asked for an explanation from an official of
the metal-trades union, he said:
“Boekler and the others have for so long had dealings only with
the Military Government authorities that they didn’t realize that
for once they had an opportunity to speak to the outside world.
We are rather like prisoners brought suddenly into the light of
day, blinking and unable to believe we are free.”
Nor are they free. Although the Germans are today allowed far
greater freedom of speech than in the first years of the occupation,
the press is still controlled, and any editor who publishes articles
or comments reflecting the real opinions of the Germans is liable
to be slapped down and told he is encouraging “nationalism.”
Even Americans are not exempt from this charge as was proved
when Kendall Foss, the former correspondent of the New York
Post who was made editor of the United States Military Govern-
ment’s newspaper, Die Neue Zeitung, in 1948, was reprimanded in
January 1949 and placed under the supervision of three representa-
tives of the Information Services Division. This action was taken
by Colonel Textor as a means of assuring that “a strong American
staff would control the editorial output of the paper.”
Mr. Foss, who is that rara avis, a real liberal, had made the mis-
take of assuming that freedom of the press meant that a newspaper
should be “a forum for the expression of German ideas.” He
learned, rather later than most Germans, that the “freedom” the
United States Military Government allows means only the expres-
sion of opinion favorable to itself. Since Die Neue Zeitung is
privileged with respect to paper allocation, communication, and
transport facilities, it has a much larger circulation than other Ger-
man-language newspapers. So the curbing of its freedom of expres-
sion was particularly harmful and its German editors resigned in
protest.
With respect to freedom of speech and opinion, it would be
more honest and less discreditable to democratic principle, to pro-
claim openly that such freedom is not permitted in Germany, than
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150
to pretend that it exists. As one German said to me, “We should
have more respect for America if she stopped preaching what she
does not practice, since we now no longer have much hope of her
practicing what she preaches.”
The Germans are today a little better off than in the first years
of the occupation, only because of the disagreements among their
conquerors. While the Russian-licensed press exposes us, we ex-
pose the Russians; and Anglo-French-American antagonism makes
it possible for British-licensed German newspapers to criticize the
American Military Government, American-licensed papers to criti-
cize the British, and the French to criticize both.
If the German people have been permitted to raise their heads
again on account of the quarrels among their rulers, this right is
not unquestioned. Every time the Germans dare to protest against
their intolerable situation and claim the rights of free men, a spate
of articles is let loose in the United States press concerning this
dangerous manifestation of “nationalism.”
An article published in the excellent and outspoken Wirtschafts-
zeitung of Stuttgart on January 29, 1949, concerning Allied com-
plaints of German “arrogance” is very much to the point:
As long as the Germans were pulling their hand wagons and had no
idea in their heads other than getting to the country to “organize ruck-
sacks of potatoes,” the Germans seemed more agreeable than today.
They were then too engulfed in misery, physically weak, and over-
whelmed by the catastrophe which had befallen them and the revela-
tion of the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime, to arise and plead
their case. They were too discouraged and apathetic then to have much
interest in the future. They grumbled, but they did what they were
told.
But since they are now a little better off, they are becoming more
active—perhaps sometimes even rebellious. Above all they are now
industrious and filled with a pathetic desire to reconstruct their country.
The Allied occupation authorities, having permitted the Germans
to be a little better off, are now surprised and indignant that there is
no gratitude for the improvement. The Germans complain that there
is insufficient improvement and demand more opportunity to develop
their strength and have become “too bold.”
One might say with some exaggeration that, as compared with the
former apathy which prevailed, the smallest expression of the will to
live on the part of the Germans is now regarded as “arrogance.”
Not only is the German press under military government still
kept in a strait-jacket; the Germans are not allowed any direct
GERMAN DEMOCRACY BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 151
communication with the outside world, or any press representation
abroad, so they are entirely dependent on American, British, and
French correspondents for the expression of their grievances, which
are therefore rarely brought to the attention of their conquerors.
Officially the Germans may have no communication with any
authority outside and above the Military Government.
As one German Social Democrat said to me: “The American
people are far away but General Clay is very near. We have little
faith in the effectiveness of the principles and good will of the
American people, as against the power of General Clay. Since Gen-
eral Clay is badly advised, especially on economic questions, we
have more reason to fear him than to trust to the good will of the
American people.”
When at a meeting of the Minister Presidents of all the German
states, one bold German proposed to address an appeal direct to
Congress on the dismantlement question, begging for help, the
majority voted against the proposal saying that the result was un-
certain and it would anger the American occupation forces.
“Hoffman does not exist for us,” said Carlo Schmidt. “The ECA
people will have to come to us, for we are not allowed to com-
municate with them.”
It caused much resentment that the Military Government should
use the situation of the Berliners as a means to blackmail the
Western German democrats. In effect, the Germans were told on
more than one occasion that protests against dismantlement might
result in the starvation of Berlin. The threat was, of course, made
in more veiled terms. The German authorities in the Western
zones were told that if American, British, or French people were
antagonized by active opposition to dismantlement, it might be
impossible for the Military Government to obtain the means to
supply and hold Berlin.
This seems to the Germans not only a denial of the unity of
interests between the Western powers and the German democrats
in face of Soviet aggression and Communist crimes against hu-
manity. It also recalled the early days of the occupation when the
Americans had not scrupled to coerce individual Germans by the
threat of handing them over to the tender mercies of the Russians.
To hint that Berlin might have to be surrendered to the Commu-
nist terror, if the Germans of the Western zone refused to submit
quietly to the loss of their livelihood through dismantlement, was
both dishonorable and politically stupid.
While in Germany I was often reminded of the story told by a
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152
South American ambassador to a New York audience. I cannot
vouch for its authenticity but it illustrates my point.
The Foreign Minister of San Marino, the story ran, came to
Washington to try to get a loan. At the State Department the first
question put to him was: How many Communists are there in
San Marino? The diplomat answered that San Marino was a very
small state and a happy one and had no Communists. “Very
sorry,” said the State Department; “in that case we can’t give you
a loan.”
So the Foreign Minister of San Marino went to Paris, and said
to Monsieur Bidault, the Foreign Minister: “France and San Ma-
rino have always been friends, would you do us a favor and lend us
a few Communists in order that we may get a loan from America?”
“I regret it exceedingly.” replied Monsieur Bidault. “I would be
delighted to help the good people of San Marino if I could. But
unfortunately we cannot spare you a single one of our Communists
since we need them all for the same purpose.”
The sequel to this story provides the moral. Today the Republic
of San Marino has a Communist-dominated government.
If there had been a strong Communist movement in Germany, as
in Italy, the Germans would be receiving far better treatment at
our hands. The great majority of Germans, having met commu-
nism in Russia face to face, or having suffered under it following
Germany’s defeat, or having relatives in the Soviet Union’s concen-
tration camps, or having seen the living skeletons of the former
soldiers who return from Russian imprisonment, or being immune
to Communist blandishments on account of their experiences
under Hitler’s similar regime, are anti-Communist. This has led
the British, French, and American authorities to believe that how-
ever badly we treat the Germans they must take our side. We seem
to act on the theory that we should bribe those whom we fear may
become our enemies, while we can safely maltreat those most cer-
tain to be on our side.
Thus the Germans who, for good or ill, are a consistent and
straightforward people, suffer today in consequence of the belief
that, however hardly we treat them, they will never join our Com-
munist enemies.
While seeking by endless subsidies to maintain the weak forces
of French democracy, we insult and browbeat the German demo-
crats, and cut the ground from under their feet by appeasing
France, as we formerly appeased Soviet Russia. It is therefore
GERMAN DEMOCRACY BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 153
hardly surprising that Communist influence in the Western zones
is far from being negligible. Although very few Germans have any
illusions about Communism, a considerable number are beginning
to think that “it couldn’t be worse” under the Russians, and that
perhaps in the long run it might be better. A more powerful in-
centive to coming to terms with the Soviet Government is the
refusal of the West either to guarantee Germany’s defense or allow
her to defend herself.
A former high German administrative official under the United
States Military Government said to me in Munich: “If the Ger-
mans continue to be told that the United States is only concerned
with the defense of France, England, and the Low Countries, and
doesn’t care a damn what happens to Germany, Western Germany
may be forced to join up with Soviet Russia.”
A young German employed by the Military Government in Mu-
nich said that more and more Bavarians were saying: “If after being
disarmed by the United States we are also going to be abandoned
in the event of war, we had better not offend Russia.”
This same young man told me that he was reproached by every-
one, including people who had always been anti-Nazi, for working
for the Military Government, so complete is the disillusionment
with America among liberal circles which had first welcomed us as
liberators.
Moreover, he said, it was considered very dangerous now to work
for the Military Government, since anyone who did so could expect
to be liquidated “when the Russians come.”
“Everyone is now looking for a Communist friend who will pro-
tect him, and wants to be able to say to the Russians. ‘I never col-
laborated with the Americans.’ Factory owners who refuse contri-
butions to the other parties give money to the Communist Party
as a form of insurance.”
Dr. Mauritz, a German working in the Public Opinion Section
of Military Government, said that the uncertainty of United States
policy and the fear that Germany would be left defenseless before
Russian attack played into the hands of the Communists. Ameri-
can Military Intelligence, however, seemed to ignore the danger
because it took the election returns as proof of the small number
of Communist sympathizers. It ignored the fear and the desperate
search for security which led men to try and establish “good rela-
tions” with the Communists.
“Men who have lived through both the Nazi terror and the
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154
Communist terror and have come here after losing everything they
possessed,” said Dr. Mauritz, “are now in deadly fear that the Rus-
sians will come, and are seeking for any kind of security.”
Some, he continued, think that they can win only with the Com-
munist Party, not against it. Others, whose houses and furniture
have been taken from them for the use of the occupiers, or who
have been rendered destitute by currency reform, say: “The Amer-
icans have stripped us of everything we possessed; what more can
Russia do to us?”
These sentiments were not confined to the former middle classes
who are now paupers. They were also expressed to me by a con-
siderable number of workers. At Lindau on Lake Constance, for
instance, where the train on which I was re-entering Germany from
Switzerland stopped for an hour, I spoke to some of the men work-
ing on the railway. When I asked how people felt here about Rus-
sia, one of them shrugged his shoulders and said, “What can they
do to me? I have nothing more to lose.”
The feeling that there is no hope on either side, is reviving the
belief that “only a strong man can save us.” Whereas the Nazis
were utterly discredited by the end of the war, many Germans now
think that, after all, Hitler was right. The success of Military Gov-
ernment in creating Nazis, is illustrated by the joke about the Ger-
man who came to the denazification office to register as a Nazi.
“Why the h—— didn’t you come three years ago?” he is asked.
“I wasn’t a Nazi then,” he replied.
After spending a few weeks in Bavaria, I could appreciate the
force of Carlo Schmidt’s speech at a Social-Democratic party meet-
ing in Berlin which I attended on November 27, 1948. He said that
thousands of marks had been collected in Bavaria for the Com-
munist Party by people who were “laying in stocks of Persil* for
the next cleaning.” People who were preparing for any eventuality
were trying secretly to insure themselves against a Communist vic-
tory while voting for “reaction,” meaning the Christian-Democratic
party (CDU)
“I wish,” Carlo Schmidt said, “that I could take some of the
strength of Berlin back with me to the West. In the Western zones
—where, as compared to the East, we enjoy some freedom and
peace—there is defeatism. The future seems to offer us nothing but
suffering, and hope is almost dead. But here in Berlin you are show-

* A well-known brand of soap flakes.
GERMAN DEMOCRACY BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 155
ing that we Germans can still make history as well as suffer—here
a glorious chapter is being written in the record of man’s struggle
for freedom. The Berliners are showing the world how a brave peo-
ple can behave in defeat under alien occupation.”
“The German name,” he continued, “has been rehabilitated in
Berlin. It is honored once more. We have only Berlin to thank for
the fact that there is today some sympathy for the German people.
“We in the Western zones are sending you a few calories, but
we are receiving from you something infinitely more precious: our
moral calories come to us from Berlin. We owe it to you that Ger-
many has regained its self-respect, and that we can hope that at
last Germans will again be at home in their own country.”
The hall was icy cold, unheated except for the body warmth of
the thousands assembled. Carlo Schmidt had fired them; Ernst
Reuter, who spoke next, evoked a warmth of affection which few
democratic leaders in the world today can inspire. Looking like a
sad sea lion, in his overcoat and with a muffler around his neck,
hoarse and tired and with a bad cold, Reuter spoke to the crowd
as their elected mayor rather than as a leader of the Social-Demo-
cratic party. Schmidt had spoken against the Christian-Democratic
party in the Western zones, although he had been careful to dis-
tinguish between the Berlin Christian Democrats fighting together
with the SPD for liberty, and the Bavarian CDU leaders whom he
called “hard-faced men” who “mean money when they speak of
God.” But the only part of Reuter’s speech which could be con-
strued as Socialist appeal was also a plea for unity. “Adenauer.”*
he said, “is a foreigner to Berlin which he does not visit. He lives
on the lovely Rhine, but he should remember that Berlin is also
German and that the Rhine belongs to us too.”
“The Communists,” continued Reuter, “will never win power if
the Germans remain united against them.”
Carlo Schmidt had appealed to the Berliners to “free us of the
West” from the domination of the reactionaries who “deny the
right of the masses to be a subject instead of an object in the eco-
nomic process.” The people, he had said, see no value in democracy
if it means that they have to “endure despotism in the factories six
days a week, and become free men only once in every four years
when sticking a paper in the ballot box.”
Reuter, however, addressed this Socialist meeting in much the

* The leader of the CDU who was also chairman of the Parliamentary Coun-
cil at Bonn engaged in drawing up a constitution for Western Germany.
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156
same terms as I had heard him speak to the hundreds of thousands
of Germans of all parties assembled outside the Reichstag in Sep-
tember.
“We are the only people in Europe still forced to live in war
conditions,” said Reuter. “We cannot rebuild our besieged city;
we still live in fear and deprived of the possibility to work and re-
construct our devastated homes.”
And again, as on every occasion on which I heard him speak,
Reuter insisted: “We are not enemies of the Russian people. We
are fighting against the policy of the Soviet occupation power.”
“We cannot help it that our women will never forget what hap-
pened to them at the hands of the Russian soldiers.” Reuter con-
tinued, “but we are haters of no people, race, or nation.”
Both speakers emphasized Berlin’s position as the capital of Ger-
many, and Schmidt assured the Berliners that the Germans of the
Western zones would insist on Berlin’s being represented in the
Parliament of Western Germany.
I did not meet Kurt Schumacher, the chairman of the SPD, who
was in the hospital recovering from the amputation of a leg while
I was in Germany. So Ernst Reuter and Carlo Schmidt are the two
outstanding Social-Democratic leaders I got to know. I cannot say
which is the greater man of the two, since their experience and the
problems they face today are so dissimilar. Reuter spent the war
years in exile in Turkey; Schmidt was an officer in the German
Army, although never a Nazi. Reuter is leading the German re-
sistance in Berlin against Communism with some Anglo-American
support. Schmidt is fighting a battle on two fronts: against Com-
munism and against the Western Military Governments which still
treat the Germans as unworthy of the rights of free men.
Both men are brave, sincere, and unflinching in their defense of
democracy. Both are physically strong and dynamic personalities.
Reuter, the Prussian who used to be a professor, and Schmidt the
poet who was a soldier, are at one in their repudiation of the nar-
row, doctrinaire socialism of the past. The basic aims and values
of both men are primarily liberal. They have both assimilated the
experience of the past decades and understand, far better than most
Western Labour and Socialist leaders, that the economic organiza-
tion of society is secondary to the preservation of basic liberties,
justice, respect for the dignity of man, honor and truthfulness and
fair-dealing between men and groups and nations. They are also
realists who refuse to accept words for deeds, and know that all the
GERMAN DEMOCRACY BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 157
fine proclamations of the United Nations mean nothing, if denied
by actions contrary to the principles professed by the democracies.
As I sat listening to Reuter in my seat next to his wife, I sensed
her fears as well as her love and pride. Few others have thus defied
Soviet terror at close quarters and escaped death. Frau Reuter lives
in perpetual fear that the Russians will murder, or kidnap and exe-
cute, her brave husband. She also had good reason to dread that
his health will break, since he never spares himself and works night
and day without sufficient good food, for the Western occupying
powers, unlike the Soviets, give no material aid to those who fight
our battles.
Three months earlier I had sat with the Reuters in the little
garden of their house in Zehlendorf, where in his “spare time”
Ernst cultivates his vegetables like any other Berliner lucky enough
to have a small plot of land to produce some food to supplement
their inadequate rations.
We had discussed the chances of continuing American support
of German democracy, and I had expressed my horror and disgust
of the conqueror versus conquered attitude of the British and
Americans in Berlin, which reminded me of the behavior of the
“whites” toward Asiatic and African peoples. Reuter had replied
that all that was “your business,” not his. He had made me under-
stand, without precisely saying so, that just as he, like all Germans
had to suffer the consequences of Nazi crimes, so we in the West
would similarly be held responsible before the bar of history for
our government’s “crimes against humanity” in defeated Germany.
It was our affair, not his. He was concerned with Germany’s pres-
ent fight for freedom against the Communist totalitarian tyranny
which threatened to supplant Hitler’s.
Reuter told me that it was he who had first formulated the slo-
gan “Berlin is not Prague.” He was expressing the feeling of the
Berliners that if they could stand firm, in spite of hunger and cold
and Communist terror, they would eventually be able to win free-
dom and “make it impossible for the West any longer to treat us
as natives.”
The world, having seen the fall of Czechoslovakia without a
struggle, had merely watched and said, “Who will be the next vic-
tim of Communist aggression?” But Berlin had shown that even an
unarmed people, given the will and courage to resist, could with-
stand the Communist assault.
Reuter was amused, instead of bitter, about the British. While
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158
not at all flattering in his remarks about the United States occupa-
tion authorities, he said that the Americans were less self-confident,
more curious and somewhat more human in their contacts with
the Germans than the British, who are “the real master race.” Con-
versations with the Americans in Berlin were “possible”; although
he and other Germans were still treated as underlings, they could
at least discuss with the Americans the situation caused by the
blockade. But the British continued to be “stiff.” The British knew
their business and made fewer mistakes than the Americans, but
the latter at least behaved as human beings. The behavior of Brit-
ish officers, on the contrary, seemed similar to that of the stiff-
necked German officials who respected nothing but force.
One day, Reuter said, he had got really angry with the British
and told them that he would no longer obey their orders unless
they changed their attitude. “Tell your general,” he had said, “that
he can expect complete disintegration of the administrative ma-
chinery.” The result of this defiance was a call to visit the British
general in command.
“Is it true,” Reuter was asked, “that you have said you will no
longer obey us.”
“If the situation continues as at present, I cannot obey,” Reuter
replied.
The British general thereupon smiled and terminated the inter-
view. He had wanted to make it clear that the Germans must obey
under any circumstances. Confronted with a blunt refusal, he had
climbed down.
The Communist menace had forced the Western Powers to start
treating the Germans with more politeness. After the Soviet block-
ade of Berlin began, both the American and British representatives
in the Allied Kommandatura had actually got up when the Ger-
man representatives arrived.
Reuter was convinced that the Social-Democratic party’s ma-
jority in Berlin had been won through the confidence engendered
by its behavior. Eventually this confidence would enable it to be-
come the leading party in Germany as a whole, and thus enable
it to carry out its economic and social program. But, he said, “we
shall never try to establish a socialist economy by force. We shall
endeavor to lead Germany to socialism, but not to force it upon
our people. We don’t think of economic problems in the old terms.
So many things formerly believed impossible have been proved
possible; and so many simple solutions have proved fallible. We
GERMAN DEMOCRACY BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 159
are no longer doctrinaire Socialists, for according to theoretical
writings we all ought to be dead. We know, from our terrible ex-
periences, that reliance on absolute theories can lead us to ruin; we
must experiment and judge by trial and error what are the best
forms of economic organization, but always conceiving of freedom
and respect for individual rights, justice, and human dignity as the
criteria of progress.”
It had been warm and peaceful in Reuter’s garden, and he had
stilled my fears that Western civilization was doomed, by his calm
and confident belief that in the end right and decency and reason
would triumph. Afterwards, in the Western zones, it had been far
harder to believe in the victory of democracy than in Berlin. In the
West instead of the sound of American planes flying in supplies to
defend democracy, there was the sight of factories being torn down
to discredit it.
How long would German fears of the Communist terror prevent
their coming to terms with the Russians if we continue to demon-
strate that there is no hope for Germany on our side?
In Berlin no one is ever likely to forget the murder and rape and
pillage of the Russian occupiers when they held the whole town,
and everyone knows what is going on now in the Eastern zone. But
in the Western zones they are mainly concerned with their own
grievances under Western occupation.
One of the German Defense Counsel at Nuremberg who has a
French wife and lives on Lake Constance under French occupa-
tion, said to me:
“Russia could create a powerful pro-Russian movement in Ger-
many in a few weeks, if she would give even the smallest practical
proof of good will in deeds, instead of words. She would only have
to offer to give back our lost territories and give us a national gov-
ernment. The Russians have this chance to play on German pa-
triotism while the Americans haven’t. Moreover, the Americans
want us to have no patriotic feelings at all.
“Although almost all Germans are anti-Communist and terrified
of what the Communists would do to them, if the Russians came
with patriotic slogans and ceased to use the German Communists,
they would be wonderfully successful.
“Most Germans would think twice before becoming soldiers of
America. Not only is there little faith left in your democratic pro-
fessions after the way you have treated us. The very fact that we
still recognize that you are more humane and civilized than the
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160
Russians plays into their hands. Having little confidence that Amer-
ica will defend Germany or win the war quickly, it seems safer to
go along with the Russians who will kill everyone who opposes
them if they occupy Germany. We know, on the other hand, that
those who fight for Russia won’t all be killed after America’s
victory.
“Since the West offers us nothing to fight for and we have no
illusions left about anybody or any political creed, don’t expect us
to think nowadays about anything but our personal security. Hav-
ing been both Nazified and denazified with equal disregard for
justice and honesty, and having also observed America’s benevolent
attitude toward the Communists so long as it suited her interests,
we Germans are today disinclined to believe anything or fight for
anybody.”
This young German lawyer, although anti-Communist, had con-
ceived a great affection and respect for the Russian people while
on the Russian front in the early stages of the war. He had marched
on foot from the Polish frontier to the Sea of Azov and been very
much moved and impressed by the kindness of the people and the
virtue of the women. When the German soldiers arrived footsore,
hungry, and weary at the end of a long day’s march the villagers
would come with milk and make them comfortable.
“Their instinct was to help the suffering because they them-
selves have suffered all their lives. Yet the women who tended to us
were extremely virtuous. They were friendly, but they would have
no sexual intercourse with us. They were human beings helping
other human beings and unconcerned with national hatreds and
passions.”
“Coming from Nazi Germany where everything was action, it
made a tremendous impression on me to come to Russia where
suffering is constant and borne with passive courage. Many of us
who were soldiers in Russia now feel that we have more to learn
from Russia than from the West.
“By being so active and working hard, we Germans have made
the whole world unhappy. Our greatest need is to develop our con-
templative faculties, and here we can learn much from the Russian
people.
“We Germans are always either too hostile or too friendly to
other people, whereas the Russians take people as individuals, and
know that principles are just principles, and that it is human be-
GERMAN DEMOCRACY BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 161
havior which counts. We ask, What has he done, but the Russian
people ask, What kind of a man is he?”
This is a romantic view. But there is no doubt that many Ger-
mans feel sympathy for the Russian people, who are as miserable,
oppressed, and poor as themselves.
A few of the returned prisoners of war I talked to in Germany,
without having any such philosophical concepts as those I have just
quoted, felt friendly toward the Russians who had suffered as much
or more as themselves. And down in Munich where I met a whole
group of Russians who had been prisoners of war or “slave laborers”
in Germany, I found a reciprocal friendliness toward the German
people. The maxim that suffering makes all men brothers may yet
bring the Germans and Russians together against the rich, com-
fortable, and complacent West. The Germans and Russians are
held apart only by the cruelty and stupidities of the Soviet Gov-
ernment. Should the latter be able or willing to reverse its policies,
I have no doubt that it is true that Russia could win immense in-
fluence in Germany. Fortunately for the Western world the crimes
and follies of the Soviet dictator are greater even than ours. Never-
theless our belief that however badly we treat the Germans they
must remain on our side, is a dangerous delusion.
The fact that the United States Military Government has its
headquarters in Berlin probably gives it an unduly optimistic view
of German sentiments. As a well-known German politician in Ba-
varia said to me: “The sentiments of the Berlin population are
quite different from those of the Germans in the Western zones.
Not only do the Berliners know better what to expect from Russia:
they are also terrified at the prospect of the revenge the Soviet Gov-
ernment will exact if Berlin is abandoned by the West. But in the
Western zones where the people have experienced only the injus-
tices perpetrated by America, Britain, and France, and where there
has been no such strong opposition to Communism as in Berlin,
the people are less afraid of Russia.”

162
6
The Nuremberg Judgments
Is Germany our Colony?
THE MATERIAL COST OF VENGEANCE IS HIGH ENOUGH, BUT THE MORAL
and political consequences are incalculable. It is as urgently neces-
sary to revive the German people’s faith in democratic justice as to
cease destroying their assets and capacity to work for the rehabili-
tation and defense of Europe.
Four years after their unconditional surrender the Germans are
still rechtlos: without civil or political rights and without the se-
curity offered by a government of laws not of men.
As one prominent German lawyer said to me at Nuremberg:
“We have merely exchanged one dictatorship for another; after
twelve years of Hitler’s lawless rule, we have had four years of mili-
tary government with its similar arbitrary decrees and denial of
justice.”
The basis of democracy is government of laws not of men, and
this means that the law is known and applied to all. But at Nurem-
berg we not only applied ex post facto law but also stated that it
applied only to Germans. According to the judgments of the
United States tribunals at Nuremberg the will of the conquerors
is absolute, and the vanquished have no right to appeal to inter-
national law, American law, or any other law against it.
Instead of teaching the Germans that “crime does not pay,” we
have enunciated the theory that the victors are entitled to do any-
thing they please to the vanquished once the war is over. Accord-
ing to the logic of our judgments at Nuremberg, the Germans are
punished, not for having committed war crimes, but for having
lost the war.
THE NUREMBERG JUDGMENTS 163
The belief that Might makes Right is clearly stated to be the
basis of the trials the United States has conducted at Nuremberg.
“We sit,” said the American judges, “as a Tribunal drawing its
sole power and jurisdiction from the will and command of the
four occupying powers. . . . In so far as Control Council Law No.
10 may be thought to go beyond established principles of interna-
tional law, its authority, of course, rests upon the exercise of the
‘sovereign legislative power’ of the countries to which the German
Reich unconditionally surrendered.”*
Few Americans at home may be aware of it, but their repre-
sentatives at Nuremberg have expressly stated that the victors are
not bound by the same laws as the vanquished. When the German
defense counsel argued that if it was a crime against international
law for the Germans in occupied Poland and Russia to confiscate
private property, use civilians and prisoners of war as forced
laborers, and starve the people in the occupied territories, then why
is it not also a crime for American, British, French or Russian Mil-
itary Government to do the same thing, they were told:
“The Allied Powers are not subject to the limitations of the
Hague Convention and rules of land warfare.”
Why?
“Because,” said the American judges and prosecutors at Nurem-
berg, “the rules of land warfare apply to the conduct of a bellig-
erent in occupied territory so long as there is an army in the field
attempting to restore the country to its true owner, but these rules
do not apply when belligerency is ended, there is no longer any
army in the field, and, as in the case of Germany, subjugation has
occurred by virtue of Military conquest.” † (Italics added.)
In other words, if Germany had won the war, she would have
ceased to be bound by international law, and none of her nationals
could be held guilty of having committed war crimes or “crimes
against humanity.” Since we won it we are not limited in any way
by the provisions of the Hague or Geneva conventions, or by any
international or recognized law.
The argument that what is a crime during war ceases to be one
as soon as the fighting stops, is surely the choicest bit of legal
sophistry thought up by Mr. Justice Jackson, or Brigadier General
Telford Taylor who succeeded him as chief United States Prose-

* P. 14 et seq. of the Judgment in case No. 3. See also the Krupp case (No.
10) and other trials where the same thesis is repeated.
† Ibid., p. 10.
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

164
cutor at Nuremberg. It is tantamount to saying that you must not
hit a man below the belt while you are fighting him, but you can
kick him in his most sensitive spot once he is down and out.
The argument that the Hague and Geneva conventions ceased
to be binding on us the moment the Germans surrendered uncon-
ditionally was continually repeated by the American judges and
prosecutors at Nuremberg: “A distinction is clearly warranted,” it
was stated in the Judges case, “between the measures taken by the
Allies prior to destruction of the German Government, and those
taken thereafter. Only the former need to be tested by the Hague
Regulations, which are inapplicable in the situation now prevailing
in Germany.”
This theory was given immediate application after Germany’s
surrender. Many German prisoners of war in American hands, who
had hitherto been decently treated, suddenly found themselves
transformed into rightless men liable to be forced to work long
hours for a pittance in consequence of a disposition made in Wash-
ington. Instead of being sent home at the war’s end, according to
the Geneva Convention, their American captors handed them over
to the French to be used as slave laborers in mines and factories.
The French thereupon deprived them even of their warm clothing
and the dollars they had earned as prisoners of war. The British
similarly kept German prisoners of war as forced laborers for years
after the end of the war.
President Truman’s agreement at Potsdam, that “reparations in
kind” should be exacted from Germany in the form of labor con-
scripted to work in the victor countries, gave Stalin the right to add
hundreds of thousands more German slave laborers to the gangs of
prisoners of war already working in Russia.
This imitation of Nazi practices was given a “legal” basis by
the convenient thesis that international law ceased to be binding
upon the victorious “democracies” on May 15, 1945, when Ger-
many surrendered unconditionally.
The fact that only the Germans are liable to punishment for
war crimes, because they were defeated and have no government to
protect them, was expressly stated at Nuremberg:
“It must be admitted that Germans were not the only ones who
were guilty of committing war crimes; other violators of interna-
tional law could, no doubt, be tried, and punished by the state of
which they were nationals, by the offended state if it can secure
THE NUREMBERG JUDGMENTS 165
jurisdiction of the person, or by an International Tribunal of com-
petent authorized jurisdiction.”
“The apparent immunity from prosecution of criminals in other
states,” the Germans were told, “is not based on the absence there
of the rules of international law we enforce here” [at Nuremberg],
but is due to our exercise of sovereignty in Germany as against the
impossibility of any international authority assuming power “with-
in a state having a national government exercising sovereign
power.”*
In other words, the conquest of Germany and elimination of her
government makes German nationals liable to prosecution while
the nationals of undefeated countries are not so liable. The fact
that only the defeated are liable to punishment for breaches of
international law was expressly stated in the Generals case (No.
7). When the German defense counsel argued that such acts as
“devastation unwarranted by military necessity”; the seizure of
private property; the infliction of general penalties, “pecuniary or
otherwise,” upon the population of occupied territories; “requisi-
tions in kind and services demanded from municipalities or in-
habitants except for the needs of the army of occupation,” and
“out of proportion to the resources of the country”; seizure of “cash
funds and realizable securities which are not strictly the property
of the state”; compulsory recruitment from the population of an
occupied country for labor in the occupying country; and other acts
expressly forbidden by the Hague and Geneva conventions had all
been committed by the victors as well as by the Germans, the
American Tribunal replied:
“It has been stated in this case that American occupational com-
manders issued similar orders. This Tribunal is not here to try
Allied occupational commanders, but it should be pointed out that
subsequent to the unconditional surrender of Germany, she has
had no lawful belligerents in the field. †
In their anxiety to prove that only Germans should be punished
for war crimes, the American judges and prosecutors at Nuremberg
with their theory concerning the difference between what is per-
mitted under a “nonbelligerent” occupation, but not permissible
while fighting is going on, have got the Americans and the British
into an ambiguous position. Mr. Richard Stokes, the English

* Ibid., p. 22.
† Statement by the Tribunal on “The Hague and Geneva Conventions.”
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

166
Labour Member of Parliament, argued in a speech made in the
House of Commons on June 30, 1948:
I doubt very much if we are legally entitled to take reparations until
there is a peace treaty. I should like to hear the opinions of an inter-
national lawyer about that. I believe that reparations form a part of
peace terms, and are not a consequence of the cessation of hostilities,
even if this involved unconditional surrender. I believe that reparations
taken before a peace treaty are loot, and nothing else. Honorable Mem-
bers may not like the term, but that is what I believe it is in interna-
tional law.
Such legal and moral scruples have not troubled the American
prosecutors at Nuremberg, who have felt secure in the knowledge
that the American public has been left completely ignorant by its
press and Congress of the moral and legal issues at stake. Some of
the United States Judges sent to Nuremberg, however, have felt
qualms in applying an unprecedented law based on nothing but
the power and will of the conquerors. In the “Judges Case” where
the basis for the judgments pronounced at Nuremberg was most
clearly expressed, the United States Tribunal endeavored to reas-
sure itself by saying: “Surely Control Council Law Number Ten,
which was enacted by the authorized representatives of the four
greatest powers on earth, is entitled to judicial respect.”
The will of the Big Four Powers was thus held to provide the
sanction reserved to the Deity or to a rational concept of the Rights
of Man in other legal systems.
While maintaining that international law does not apply to our
occupation of Germany because her unconditional surrender trans-
ferred sovereignty to the occupying powers, it was also stated at
Nuremberg that “the fact that the Four Powers are exercizing su-
preme legislative authority in governing Germany for the punish-
ment of German criminals, does not mean that the jurisdiction of
this Tribunal rests in the slightest degree upon any German law,
prerogative or sovereignty.”
This latter statement is obviously in direct contradiction to the
first, which claims that the transfer to us of sovereignty in Germany
justifies our repudiation of international law. We have the Ger-
mans both going and coming. We refuse to observe international
law because we are the “sovereign” power; and we refuse to apply
American or German law because our tribunals derive their power
from “international authority.” The Germans are left rechtlos—
THE NUREMBERG JUDGMENTS 167
without the protection of any law and subject to the arbitrary de-
crees issued by their conquerors. We have, in fact, outlawed the
whole German “race” as Hitler outlawed the Jews. In the name of
democracy we have subjected the German people to the rule, not
of laws but of men.
Since no peace treaty has been signed and yet our occupation of
Germany is held to be “nonbelligerent,” the question arises:
“What is its legal basis?” Is the United States ruling its zone in
Germany as a colony in theory as well as practice? In that case
should not either “native” law or American law be applied, since
international law has been ruled out? The answer given to the
German defense counsel was in the negative.
Neither international law, nor German law, nor American law,
nor the basic principles of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence were the basis
of the indictments, procedures, and judgments of the Nuremberg
Tribunals.
The British, French, and Russians withdrew from Nuremberg
after the first and only “International Military Tribunal” (I.M.T.)
had tried and condemned Goering and other top Nazi leaders. The
other twelve trials which subsequently took place at Nuremberg
and only came to an end in November 1948, were all-American
shows. The judges and prosecutors were all American citizens; the
trials were held under the American flag; the proceedings began
each morning by the Marshal of the Court asking God’s blessing
on the United States of America; and the indictments ran: “The
United States of America, plaintiff versus the defendants.” Never-
theless the tribunals were supposed to be “international” and to de-
rive their authority from the Allied Control Council even after the
latter ceased to exist.
Neither the principles nor the procedures of American jurispru-
dence were followed, and the defendants were debarred from ap-
pealing to the Supreme Court or any higher authority than the
United States Military Governor. The verdict of the American
judges who constituted the Tribunal was absolute, except for the
right of General Clay to mitigate the sentences.
The “legal” basis for these trials was Control Council Law No.
10, drawn up by the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, and
France for the “Punishment of Persons Guilty of War Crimes,
Crimes Against Peace and Against Humanity.”
Far from being the beautiful child of International Justice as
Mr. Justice Jackson still maintains, CC Law No. 10 is the mon-
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

168
strous offspring of Communist “Peoples democratic justice” and
the savage principle of “Woe to the Vanquished.”
It is based on the totalitarian concept of collective guilt and pun-
ishment. It decrees that anyone, who in any capacity, military or
civilian, aided or abetted the German war effort, is guilty of the
crime of waging aggressive war. Its scope is so wide that it defeated
its purpose. American judges sent to Nuremberg to judge war crim-
inals have not known where to draw the line without incriminating
the whole German population and creating a precedent for the in-
crimination of all Americans in any future war designated as “ag-
gressive” by the Communists. For CC Law No. 10 can be held to
mean that the peasant or farmer who produced and sold food, the
industrialist who continued to give employment and the workers
employed, the civil servant and the soldier who obeyed orders, are
all guilty.
CC Law No. 10 seems in fact to have been a “legal” attempt to
indict the whole German nation and thus justify the Morgenthau
Plan. But such was the reluctance of most American judges to ad-
minister totalitarian “justice,” that none but the top policy makers
condemned by the International Military Tribunal have been sen-
tenced on this count, in spite of the passionate efforts of the Amer-
ican prosecution to secure convictions.*
Unfortunately, however, the articles of Control Council Law No.
10 relating to “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” which
are equally wide in their scope have been the basis for the sentences
imposed at Nuremberg by American Tribunals.
According to CC Law No. 10 you are accounted guilty of a war
crime or atrocity if you “took a consenting part therein” (i.e.,
obeyed orders); were “connected with plans or orders involving its
commission”; were “a member of any organization or group con-
nected with the commission of any such crime”; “held a high po-
sition, civil or military” (including General Staff), or “held a high

* Since this was written von Weizsäcker has been convicted on the ag-
gressive-war charge as concerns Czechoslovakia. It is an ironic commentary on
the Nuremberg trials that the man whom Lord Halifax and British Foreign
Office officials testified had done his utmost to try to stop Hitler from going
to war, and who, as a leader of the German opposition, escaped death after
the July 20, 1944 plot only because he was Minister to the Vatican, should
have been convicted by the United States Tribunal on an aggressive-war charge.
Judge Powers, of Iowa, wrote a dissenting opinion, but the views of the prose-
cution were accepted by the other two judges.
THE NUREMBERG JUDGMENTS 169
position in the financial, industrial or economic life” of Germany
or its allies or its satellites.
This latter provision suggests the influence of the Communists
in drawing up the CC Law No. 10, since it indicts most of the
capitalist class.
The American judges at Nuremberg insisted on drawing a line
and would not apply the principle of collective guilt in the manner
demanded by the prosecution. They insisted, for the most part, on
proof of some direct responsibility or overt act, and thus modified
the law, instead of acting like Soviet judges. Nevertheless, in many
cases the judgments at Nuremberg have no basis in international
law and bear the imprint of a Communist conception of justice.
This was notably the case when Alfred Krupp was indicted and
condemned in place of his father, although the younger man had
never been in control of the Krupp enterprises.
It was strange and horrifying to sit listening to the proceedings
in the Ministers case (No. 11) in the same courtroom in which
the representatives of the Soviet dictatorship had formerly shared
the bench with American, British, and French judges, and to hear
American jurists in November 1948 refer to the judgments of the
International Military Tribunal as precedents. When one reflected
that General Rudenko, who was the chief Russian prosecutor at
the International Military Tribunal trial, is now commandant of
the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in the Russian zone, one
could appreciate what kind of “justice” was being administered by
American judges at Nuremberg.
The powers and procedure to be followed by the American
Nuremberg Tribunals were laid down in United States Military
Government Ordinance Number Seven. This ordinance specifically
states that American rules of evidence are not to be applied by the
judges. Hearsay and double hearsay evidence is permitted, and it
is left entirely to the discretion of the judges whether or not the
defense be permitted to question the authenticity or probative value
of evidence. It is worth reproducing Paragraph VII of Ordinance
No. 7, since it is one of the bitterest complaints of the German de-
fense lawyers that all known rules of evidence were jettisoned by
the Nuremberg Tribunals :
The Tribunals shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence.
They shall adopt and apply to the greatest possible extent expeditious
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

170
and non-technical procedure, and shall admit any evidence which they
deem to have probative value. Without limiting the foregoing general
rules, the following shall be deemed admissible if they appear to the
tribunal to contain information of probative value relating to the
charges: affidavits, depositions, interrogations, and other statements,
diaries, letters, records, findings, statements and judgments of the mili-
tary tribunals and the reviewing and confirming authorities of any of
the United Nations, and copies of any document or other secondary
evidence of the contents of any document, if the original is not readily
available or cannot be produced without delay. The tribunal shall afford
the opposing party such opportunity to question the authenticity or
probative value of such evidence as in the opinion of the tribunal the
ends of justice require.
The Judges were also given the right to be informed beforehand
of any evidence to be presented by the defense, and could refuse to
allow it if they did not consider it “relevant.” Considering the close
proximity in which the judges and prosecutors lived in the small
closed American community in Nuremberg, this proviso was taken
by the Germans to mean that the prosecution would always be in-
formed beforehand of the defense’s evidence. The assumption that
the judges and the prosecutors had an identity of interest was justi-
fied in at least one trial by the spectacle of the prosecutors shaking
hands with the judges and congratulating them on their verdict.
The defense counsel were in any case in a very weak position.
The accused had all spent a long period in prison before being
brought to trial and their papers had been seized and searched by
a large American staff. Whatever was useful came into the hands
of the prosecution, while the defense lawyers had the utmost diffi-
culty in securing any documents. Only in the last trial, that of
Baron von Weizsäcker and other Foreign Office officials, was the
defense allowed to peruse the files of captured documents in the
possession of Military Government, and even in this case only a few
weeks were allowed in comparison with the years during which the
prosecution had prepared its case.
In the Krupp case the German lawyers never had an opportunity
to search the files carefully and didn’t even know if all the files had
been made available.
The accused, weakened by long imprisonment and insufficient
food before being brought to trial, had to rely for the most part on
their memories, instead of upon documents, for their defense.
The gravest handicap of all under which the defense labored was
THE NUREMBERG JUDGMENTS 171
the difficulty of finding witnesses, obtaining access to them, and
inducing them to testify at Nuremberg. The prosecution had all
Military Government information and facilities at its disposal for
locating witnesses, and the right to imprison them, interrogate
them endlessly and exert fearful pressures to induce them to testify
as the prosecution desired.
The defense lawyers had neither access to Military Government
information, nor communication and transport facilities, nor funds
to spend on searching for witnesses, since the property of all the
accused was sequestered before they were proved guilty.
At the time of the International Military Tribunal trial of major
war criminals, nearly all the witnesses were in jail, and could not
be interviewed by the defense if the prosecution claimed them as
its witnesses. By 1947 the situation had improved so that most wit-
nesses were free, although some were still in prison and could be
interviewed by the defense counsel only in the presence of a repre-
sentative of the prosecution.
Naturally, witnesses whose release from imprisonment depended
on the favor of the United States Military Government were reluc-
tant to give any testimony contrary to the desires of the prosecu-
tion. Moreover, even those not in custody were frightened by the
close connection between the prosecution and the denazification
authorities.
There was a “Special Projects” branch of Military Government
in the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg, which analyzed all the docu-
ments presented at the trials with a view to uncovering such evi-
dence as might convict the witnesses in denazification courts. Thus
many witnesses found themselves hauled off to prison to be tried
by denazification courts supplied with evidence against them by
the “Special Projects” branch.
The fear of all witnesses that they would land up in prison them-
selves if they came into the United States zone to testify at Nurem-
berg was so great that in the fall of 1947 Military Government had
to give “safe conducts” guaranteeing their return home to witnesses
living in the British and French zones.
Witnesses at Nuremberg were never subject to the horrible tor-
tures used at the Dachau Military Tribunal trials, which I deal
with in the next chapter. At Nuremberg the pressures exerted on
witnesses by the prosecution were mental rather than physical. It
was often possible to get the testimony required from a witness by
keeping him in prison for two or three years in terrible anxiety for
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

172
the fate of his family, left unprovided for, or by threatening him
with being arraigned as a war criminal himself if he refused to tes-
tify against the accused.
In some cases the all-too-familiar weapon of Military Govern-
ment in Germany was employed: the threat of handing over an
un-co-operative witness to the Russians. This practice was dramati-
cally revealed in the trial of Baron von Weizsäcker and other Ger-
man Foreign Office officials, in the fall of 1948.
Van Weizsäcker had so many eminent liberal friends abroad
who testified to his innocence that it was possible to raise funds to
hire an American lawyer for his defense. Mr. Warren Magee of
Washington, D.C., came to Nuremberg and, being an American,
was able to obtain access to documents denied to the German de-
fense counsel. He managed to get hold of a transcript of the inter-
rogation of Friedrich Gaus, who although designated as the “Grey
Eminence” of the German Foreign Office, and as “Ribbentrop’s
evil spirit,” had become the prosecution’s chief witness. There was
a sensation in court when Mr. Magee read out the transcript of
Gaus’s first interrogation which showed that Mr. Kempner, the
American prosecutor, had threatened to hand Gaus over to the
Russians, if he did not help the prosecution.
The highhanded manner in which the American Tribunal treated
the defense counsel in several of the trials, and the denial to the
defense of the right to examine or cross-examine many witnesses,
led to one of the biggest scandals of the Nuremberg trials, and
finally discredited American justice in German eyes.
The American judges in the Krupp case were from all accounts
more prejudiced and un-American in their method of conducting a
court of law than any others who came to Nuremberg. They con-
tinually overruled the defense counsel, while allowing the prosecu-
tion to shout and rant at the witnesses and the German lawyers.
Finally, Judge Daly drove the defense counsel to leave the court in
a body in protest. He first overruled the German lawyers’ objections
to the examination of witnesses out of court by a commissioner,
and then arranged for the examination to take place while the
Tribunal was sitting, so that the defense lawyers would have no
opportunity of being present unless they could arrange among
themselves which of them would stay in court and which of them
be present at the commissioner’s examination.
When one of the defense counsel started to ask for an adjourn-
ment in order that this could be done, he had hardly opened his
THE NUREMBERG JUDGMENTS 173
mouth before Judge Daly, then presiding, said to him: “Take your
seat or I’ll order you out of the courtroom.” The German, Dr.
Schilf, having started to say, “Ich bitte darum” [“I beg you”],
Judge Daly told him to “remove himself.” Thereupon the other
defense counsel followed him out of the court in a spontaneous
protest.
Not having been permitted to speak, the German lawyers sat
down to draft a written statement asking to be allowed to exercise
their right to be present at the examination of witnesses. Before
they could present it to the Tribunal, they were all arrested and
taken into custody. They were kept in prison over the week end
and then asked to apologize for their “contempt of court,” although
the apologies would seem to have been clearly due to them, not
from them.
Dr. Kranzbuehler, who was Krupp’s counsel and a brilliant jurist,
had been absent on a case in the French zone when this incident
occurred. On his return, which coincided with the release of his
fellow defense lawyers from prison and the demand that they all
apologize to the court, he made a statement to the Tribunal, part
of which I reproduce below. Because of the contempt of American
justice shown by this Nuremberg Tribunal applying the bastard
law based on CC Law No. 10 and United States Military Govern-
ment ordinance No. 7, Kranzbuehler was able to shame the Ameri-
can judges.
Referring to the question of whether or not the German lawyers
had been guilty of “contempt of court” he said:
I am in the unfortunate position of not knowing according to which
law this decision is to be taken. Yesterday the Tribunal through Judge
Wilkins explicitly refused to apply American law. It has rather tried to
base its decision, or based its decision, on Ordinance Number Seven
which gives the authority to the Tribunal to have a summary proceed-
ing “with contumacy,” as it is said there.
I would like to comment on this as follows: The question of which
law is to be applied is of fundamental importance. The attorney has
grown up and is trained in the legal concepts of his country. When, in
a task that he has undertaken as a German lawyer, judgment is sud-
denly passed under the legal system of a country which is foreign to
him, or according to a legal system which does not belong to any coun-
try at all, but the significance and interpretation of which is entirely
up to the discretion of the Tribunal, then there is great danger that de-
cisions are passed which in his eyes are a grave injustice.
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174
The German defense counsel is already surprised to ascertain that his
conduct is considered according to the same procedural regulations as
apply to the trial of alleged war criminals, that is, rules which are drawn
up for a specific purpose, and that this is the opinion of the Tribunal
has definitely been confirmed to me when I moved that Judge Daly
should be excluded because of prejudice. Therefore, without regard to
which law the Tribunal will finally consider using, I state the principles
which would be guiding for such incidents as occurred here under Ger-
man law. Only then will the Tribunal understand the basis of the in-
stinctive reactions of the defense attorneys present here.
According to German procedural law, it is first of all a breach of duty
for a judge not to hear a motion by defense counsel. Such a breach of
duty entitles a German defense counsel, among other things, to com-
plain to the superiors of such a judge. Furthermore, a German defense
counsel has the possibility, when he deals with a tribunal which is made
up of several judges, to object against the ruling of one of the members
of the tribunal and to appeal beyond that to the decision of the whole
of the tribunal. Therefore, according to German procedure, it was right
for Dr. Schilf to do what he did. In addition, a German judge is not
permitted to dismiss a defense counsel from the courtroom so long as
he performs his duty.
Under German law there are very often long and heated discussions
between the tribunal and the defense counsel, and no judge would
think that he could hold a defense counsel guilty of contempt of court
because of objections on the part of the defense counsel to the state-
ments of the tribunal. For such a conception, Your Honor, is not in-
cluded in German law. The judge has no disciplinary authority against
a defense counsel. . . . If the tribunal believes that the defense counsel
has not fulfilled his duty properly, then it can appeal for a decision to
the bar association having jurisdiction. On the other hand, however,
the defense counsel has the right to complain about the tribunal if he
believes that their attitude caused him to be dismissed from the court-
room.
With biting sarcasm, Kranzbuehler observed:
These in large outlines are the fundamentals of German law. Your
Honors will probably agree with me that under such legal training the
events look entirely different than they look from your point of view
under the legal training of an American Judge.
While making his oblique denunciation of “American” justice
as applied at Nuremberg, Kranzbuehler made good use of his op-
portunity to protest against the unfairness of the whole proceed-
ings; and he was heard through to the end, perhaps because Judge
THE NUREMBERG JUDGMENTS 175
Schick, United States president of all the courts, had told Judge
Daly and Judge Wilkins that they had got themselves into a mess
and warned them to behave with more circumspection.
This is the third trial [Kranzbuehler said] which I am experiencing at
Nuremberg. I cannot say that I am spoiled in my expectations of Nur-
emberg trials which is partly caused by the nature of the whole proce-
dures. . . . Many and grave anxieties have overshadowed the defense
counsel in this trial to an enormous degree.
After protesting the kind of evidence decreed as inadmissible by
the Judges, he concluded by saying:
I would ask the Tribunal to consider that these defendants have been
in an almost hopeless position from the beginning, and are entirely de-
pendent upon our being able to assure a fair trial for them. I know the
Tribunal will probably say or perhaps think: “That is our business as
judges, to safeguard a fair trial.” But, Your Honors, you will probably
have to admit that—I still remember the words which were said at the
beginning of the session yesterday—that “ultimately this is a trial of
the victors against the vanquished.” In the judgment in the Flick case,
right at the beginning, this fact was mentioned specifically. The Tri-
bunal deduced from this its duty to safeguard all the rights and privi-
leges of the defendants in every detail; but in these trials, here in Nur-
emberg, such a guarantee is only valid if either the Tribunal itself
creates all the prerequisites for a fully fair trial, or if the defense coun-
sel is in a position, because of their motions and objections, to insist
that the trial be a fair one.
If you consider for a moment, Your Honors, that you have here the
unlimited authority of an American judge, which you know from your
own home country, but that we have not all the guarantees here which
you have in your country to prevent a wrong or, in the eyes of the de-
fense counsel, unjustified use of such authority. These defendants have
no constitutional rights. It has been confirmed again and again to them
that guarantees as given in American procedure are not applicable to
them. . . . Neither is there a powerful press, which in complete inde-
pendence, can see to it that no misuse of power can occur. . . .”
Dr. Kranzbuehler, also referred to the enormous responsibility
of the German defense counsel at the Nuremberg Trials owing to
the fact that there is no higher court of appeal. He had himself, on
February 27, 1948, sent a telegram to President Truman saying that
“all endeavors to secure a fair trial” had been frustrated “on ac-
count of rules originating from American military authorities,” and
appealing to the President of the United States for “help and re-
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176
lief.” His appeal was not answered. It was referred back to the
United States Military Government on the ground that the “inter-
national status of the Nuremberg tribunals based as they are on
quadripartite agreement precludes any responsibility or duty rest-
ing upon any executive agency of the United States Government
to entertain any such petition or plea.” Kranzbuehler was further
informed that no such German petitions would in future be trans-
mitted by Berlin.
Thus, by the hypocritical pretense that the American Nuremberg
Tribunals were “international,” the United States washed its hands
of responsibility for the conduct of its own judges. If this is the way
we expect to teach respect for justice and democracy to the Ger-
mans, we must be among those whom the gods mark out for de-
struction by first making them mad.
The subject of the Nuremberg trials requires a book, not a few
pages. I have endeavored here only to present the basic assump-
tions of the trials, so that the American public may know how jus-
tice is mocked in their name.
A Swiss journalist pointed out the disservice which these trials
have rendered to the interests and reputation of the American peo-
ple. Writing in Die Weltwoche of Zürich in October 1948, Robert
Ingrim, quoted what Alexander Hamilton had said in 1788:
To establish an act as a crime after it has been committed, or in other
words to punish people for things which did not violate any law when
committed, and the practice of arbitrary detention, were at all times
the most favorite and also most horrid tools of tyranny.
Many of the condemned at Nuremberg were, no doubt, guilty
of hideous crimes and deserved their sentences. But, as the Swiss
journalist pointed out, the effect of verdicts based on ex post facto
legislation violates the sense of justice so that even justified convic-
tions leave doubts among a large number of people. We have made
martyrs of criminals by the Nuremberg trials, and given a new lease
on life to Nazi doctrines by our own transgressions against funda-
mental democratic principles.
Lastly the Nuremberg trials have aroused a justified suspicion,
not only in Germany but also in other European countries, that
the real objective of the Americans responsible for them was to
“level the social structure of Germany.” The aim of the prosecution
at Nuremberg seemed to be to prove that “the capitalists and land-
owners” were the main support of Nazism, and to obscure the re-
THE NUREMBERG JUDGMENTS 177
semblance of the Third Reich to Stalin’s Russia. Hence the en-
deavor to indict Flick and Krupp and other German industrialists
as war criminals. Hence also the trials of German generals, some of
whom had in fact opposed, not encouraged, Hitler’s mad ambi-
tions. Hence also, and far more unjustly, the arraignment at Nur-
emberg of Baron von Weizsäcker, the aristocratic diplomat who
had continued in office under the Nazis, but whose endeavors to
prevent war and to save the victims of Nazi terror were attested at
his trial by such persons as Lord Halifax and other Englishmen in
other responsible positions; the former French Ambassador Fran-
çois-Poncet: Carl Burckhardt, former High Commissioner of the
League of Nations in Danzig; von Steiger, the President of Switzer-
land; Bishop Berggrav, the leader of the Norwegian resistance move-
ment under German occupation; the Pope; the American Catholic
Bishop Muench, of Fargo, North Dakota, now Apostolic Visitor in
Germany; the Protestant Bishop Wurm of Stuttgart, who was perse-
cuted by the Nazis: and many of the relatives of Hitler’s blood
purges, including Jews.
As the afore-mentioned editor of the Swiss Weltwoche suggested,
“by dragging the Junkers, militarists and industrial barons in the
dust, not on the basis of individual guilt but collectively,” the
prosecution at Nuremberg was endeavoring to pave the way for
Stalin by obscuring the fact that Nazism was akin to communism,
and by falsely representing it as a “concoction of the German upper
classes.” They were endeavoring to destroy, not the Nazis but the
pre-Nazi social structure of Germany, based on private property,
free enterprise, and the European tradition.
The Kempners of Nuremberg [wrote Robert Ingrim] cannot get over
the fact that the list of those executed after [the plot against Hitler of]
July 20, 1944, looked like an excerpt from the Almanach de Gotha.
Deep down in their hearts those who adored the masses were much
closer to the Führer than to Moltke, and Stauffenberg: for Hitler was
spirit of their spirit, the most common of all common men, the na-
tional socialist, the owner of the miraculous formula which offers self-
adoration in the nation as compensation for the inferiority complex of
common men.
There are grounds for suspecting that Brigadier General Telford
Taylor, who as Chief Counsel for War Crimes directed the Nurem-
berg Trials after Justice Jackson’s departure, was sympathetic to
the Soviet Union. For instance, he refused even to apply to the
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178
Soviet Government for the extradition of German witnesses in
Soviet territory, such as the notorious Nazi, Martin Bormann, sus-
pected to be still alive, because it might be “embarrassing to the
Russians.”
When asked by the correspondent of the London Evening Stand-
ard whether the Russian campaigns in Poland, Finland, Rou-
mania, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia could be considered as “ag-
gression” under the International Military Tribunal findings, Gen-
eral Taylor replied : “Whether a particular episode constitutes a
crime against the peace is not determined solely by legal defini-
tions, but by the evidence relating to ‘action’ and ‘state of mind.’ ”
And he went on to say that it was not his function as chief prose-
cutor to comment on “episodes outside his competence.”
Asked before leaving Germany on September 25, 1948, whether
the transfer of German workers to slave labor in Russia is in contra-
vention of the laws established at Nuremberg, General Taylor said
that the evidence concerning this was only “lay” evidence and
that Russia’s action ought, in any case, to be considered “in relation
to the existing situation.”
These remarks are not conclusive proof of where General Tay-
lor’s sympathies lie, and since he had left Nuremberg before I got
there, I had no opportunity to interview him myself. But the con-
sensus among the correspondents devoid of Communist sympathies
supported the German and Swiss conviction that he was a sympa-
thizer, or dupe, of the Communists who have derived such great
benefits from the travesty of American justice at Nuremberg.
In spite of the 115 convictions at Nuremberg, including 18 death
sentences, which he had secured out of a total of 144 completed
cases, General Taylor was not satisfied with the result of his ef-
forts. For he not only failed to secure the conviction of any Ger-
man capitalists on the aggressive war count, but he was also unsuc-
cessful in trying to persuade the British to stage any trials similar
to the political trials conducted by America. The British sense of
legality led them to try Germans only for abuse of recognized in-
ternational law, or for atrocities which would be punishable under
German or Anglo-Saxon law.
General Taylor’s only success was to induce the French to set up
a tribunal, complete with a Polish Communist, as well as a Dutch
and French judge, to indict and sentence a German industrialist,
Roechling, on the aggressive war charge. But even in this case, Gen-
eral Taylor, who attended the trial, was said to have been disap-
THE NUREMBERG JUDGMENTS 179
pointed that Roechling was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment,
not as a capitalist, but as the German official in charge of steel
production.
Whether or not German and neutral opinion was right in be-
lieving that the aim of the American prosecution was to “level the
social structure of Germany” by proving that “capitalists and land-
owners” were guilty as a class, and that a big German executive was
ipso facto a Nazi, the trials gave good grounds for the suspicion.
Not only did the prosecution direct its fiercest invective against
German industrialists and the Wehrmacht generals, and try hard-
est to convict the former of the aggressive war charge. The fact
that Alfred Krupp was indicted and sentenced for his father’s
“crimes” make these trials seem designed to punish a class, not in-
dividual guilt.
As regards “landowners,” it was noticeable that the prosecution
used the most notorious Nazi murderers as the main witnesses
against the titled Wehrmacht generals who had opposed, and in
some cases failed to carry out, Hitler’s orders for the liquidation of
Poles, Russians, and Jews.
In the Generals’ case the chief witnesses for the prosecution were
Oswald Pohl, the former administrative chief of the SS who testi-
fied in fetters; and Otto Ohlendorf, Gruppenführer (major gen-
eral) in the SS in charge of the Einsatzgruppen, formed in 1941 for
the purpose of following the German army into Russia to extermi-
nate Jews and Communist officials. Otto Ohlendorf, admitting at
his own trial that he had killed 90,000 people, had been con-
demned to death. But he was not executed because the prosecution
valued him for his bitter hatred of the Wehrmacht generals who
had despised and hated him and his kind. He was kept as the
prosecution’s star witness against the “officers and gentlemen” it
wished to convict.
This use of men condemned to death or long years of imprison-
ment as prosecution witnesses was a particularly unsavory feature
of the Nuremberg Trials. Naturally such men could easily be in-
duced to bear false witness in the hope of saving their lives or re-
gaining their freedom. The case of Ohlendorf was particularly
revolting since he was and remains a fanatic Nazi ready to say any-
thing to convict the Wehrmacht generals whom he loathes.
Reading the indictments and judgments in most of twelve cases
of “The United States versus the defendants,” one is struck by the
anomaly that we should have spent so much time, money, and
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180
energy, and so tarnished America’s reputation for impartial justice,
prosecuting Germans for having committed war crimes in Russia,
while the Soviet Government itself refused to have any part in the
trials. The Soviets for their part were busy inducing the German
“war criminals” to become their collaborators. So it frequently
happened that American judges at Nuremberg sentenced those
who had carried out the orders of their superiors, while the superior
officers themselves were occupying high positions in the Russian
zone. For instance, General Vincent Müller who drafted the order
for the liquidation of Russian civilians in the way of the German
army, is now Chief of Staff to von Seydlitz who commands the
Soviet-German “police force” in the Russian zone. But General
Hans von Salmuth who was the staff officer who distributed the
order was condemned to twenty years’ imprisonment by the Ameri-
can Tribunal at Nuremberg. And many an obscure sergeant or cor-
poral has already been hung for carrying out the orders of his su-
periors, while those responsible for the orders have not been pun-
ished.
It might satisfy the American prosecutors and judges at Nurem-
berg to say that a crime was only a crime when committed during
a war, and that in peacetime crimes against humanity could be
committed with impunity. But to me—and I felt sure to most
Americans also, as well as Englishmen—this doctrine is repugnant.
Unfortunately most Americans and most Englishmen have no
knowledge of the crimes against humanity which we have com-
mitted or agreed to let our allies commit.
The American press reported little beyond the indictments and
statements of the prosecution in the Nuremberg trials. At the
United States Public Information Office in the Nuremberg Palace
of Justice I found that, whereas copies of the indictments, judg-
ments, and statements made by the prosecution were available in
unlimited quantities, I could not secure copies of the statements
made by the defense counsel. I had to spend hours copying them
myself from the single copy available in the office.
The attitude of the American Public Information officials ap-
peared to be that it was impertinent of the Germans to put up any
defense. “When these lousy kraut lawyers get through with their
dirty tricks,” was the answer given to an inquiry when Case No. 11
was likely to end.
When I asked the Chief Public Information Officer, who was
supposed to arrange appointments for correspondents, to put me
THE NUREMBERG JUDGMENTS 181
in touch with one of the German defense counsel, he said he didn’t
know how to contact them and made me understand that I was
guilty of a breach of good manners, if I was not positively a sus-
picious character, because of my wish to talk to the German lawyers.
Betty Knox, an American newspaperwoman who hails from Kan-
sas, but is now a correspondent of the British Beaverbrook press
and has spent three years in Nuremberg, told me that at the Inter-
national Military Tribunal, although hundreds of copies of the
prosecution documents to be presented to the court were available
to the foreign press before the proceedings, only two copies in Ger-
man were provided for the thirty-five defense lawyers, and these
only after each day’s proceedings. When Betty Knox asked Justice
Jackson why more copies were not supplied to the German defense
counsel, he said that in the United States there was no exchange
of documents. When she insisted that in international law courts
it is done, Jackson got furious and exclaimed: “That would be too
good for these bastards!”
The Nuremberg Trials are now at an end. The only function
they have fulfilled is that of making a mockery of American justice
and filling the Germans with hatred and contempt for our hypocrisy.
It is to be hoped that Congress, which has begun to interest itself
in the miscarriage of justice in Germany under the American flag,
will order a review of the sentences passed at Nuremberg, so that
the innocent may be released from prison and only the guilty pun-
ished.

182
7
Our Crimes against Humanity
COMPARED WITH THE RAPE AND MURDER AND LOOTING ENGAGED IN
by the Russian armies at the war’s end, the terror and slavery and
hunger and robbery in the Eastern zone today, and the genocide
practiced by the Poles and Czechs, the war crimes and crimes
against humanity committed by the Germans condemned at Nu-
remberg to death or lifelong imprisonment appeared as minor in
extent if not in degree.
It was impossible to travel through the devastated towns of the
Western zones without it seeming strange and horrible that we
should sit in judgment on the Germans who had never succeeded
in killing nearly so many civilians as we did, or in perpetrating
worse atrocities than our obliteration bombing of whole cities.
Were the German gas chambers really a greater crime against hu-
manity than our attacks on such nonmilitary objectives as Dresden,
where we inflicted the most horrible death imaginable on a quarter
of a million people in one night, by dropping phosphorus bombs
on this undefended cultural center crowded with refugees fleeing
west before the Russian advance? This atrocity was among our
greatest war crimes, since we demonstrated that our objective was
the murder of civilians. We even machine-gunned from the air the
women and children fleeing into the countryside from the burning
city.
Nor was Dresden the only example of horrible death inflicted on
the people of towns which had neither war industries nor any “mil-
itary importance.”
The story of Hiroshima has been written up in American maga-
zines and books, but who has told the story of Dresden, or that of
OUR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY 183
Cologne, where the cathedral stands in the midst of acres of rubble,
demonstrating the fact that we knew how to avoid destruction of
nonmilitary objectives if we wanted to?
As the British Major General J. F. C. Fuller wrote in his book,
The Second World War: “For fifty or a hundred years, and pos-
sibly more, the ruined cities of Germany will stand as monuments
to the barbarism of their conquerors. The slaughtered will be for-
gotten, the horrors of the concentration camps and gas chambers
will dim with the passing of the years; but the ruins will remain to
beckon generation after generation of Germans to revenge.”*
A thoughtful American professor, whom I met in Heidelberg,
expressed the opinion that the United States military authorities
on entering Germany and seeing the ghastly destruction wrought
by our obliteration bombing were fearful that knowledge of it
would cause a revulsion of opinion in America, and might prevent
the carrying out of Washington’s policy for Germany by awaken-
ing sympathy for the defeated, and realization of our war crimes.
This, he believes, is the reason why a whole fleet of aircraft was
used by General Eisenhower to bring journalists, Congressmen,
and churchmen to see the concentration camps; the idea being that
the sight of Hitler’s starved victims would obliterate consciousness
of our own guilt. Certainly it worked out that way. No American
newspaper of large circulation in those days wrote up the horror
of our bombing, or described the ghastly conditions in which the
survivors were living in the corpse-filled ruins. American readers
sipped their fill only of German atrocities.
Whether most Americans in Germany have developed a mental
defense mechanism, or really believe that an atrocity ceases to be
one when committed in a “good cause,” that is, our own, I do not
know. But I found many Military Government officials who con-
sidered it bad taste, if not almost treasonable, so much as to refer
to our war crimes and those of our allies.
In Berlin, for instance, I found myself in disgrace after having
remarked, at a cocktail party in Harnack House, that I thought it
was high time we stopped talking about German guilt, since there
was no crime the Nazis had committed, which we or our allies had
not also committed. I had referred to our obliteration bombing, the
mass expropriation and expulsion from their homes of twelve mil-
lion Germans on account of their race; the starving of the Germans

* New York, Duell, Sloan & Pearce, Inc., 1949.
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184
during the first years of the occupation; the use of prisoners as
slave laborers; the Russian concentration camps, and the looting
perpetrated by Americans as well as Russians.
The effect of my remarks, which seemed to me only a plain state-
ment of fact, produced first a shocked silence, and then a stream
of rather silly remarks, such as that of a Captain Spear, of Military
Intelligence, who said: “Do you mean you wish we had not won
the war?” Next morning came the pay-off. A certain Mrs. Van
Delden, in charge of the libraries which the Information Division
of Military Government has established in America Houses in
various cities as part of the program of teaching the Germans de-
mocracy, had been particularly incensed at my remarks. So I was
hardly surprised to find that she had got in touch with Mr. Panuch,
one of General Clay’s special advisors and a very decent and intelli-
gent fellow, to urge the cancellation of the lecture I was scheduled
to give on Russia at Berlin’s Amerika Haus. The following day I
was informed that the automobile placed at my disposal by Mili-
tary Government on my arrival in Berlin, was now needed by some-
one else; and asked to please leave Harnack House where I had
originally been invited to stay “as the guest of General Clay.” To
make it quite clear that I not only was no longer a VIP, but that
there had been a mistake made about me from the beginning, I
was presented with a bill charging me $2.50 a day for my room
for the time of my stay in Harnack House as “the guest of General
Clay.”
I certainly had no claim to VIP status and it was in most ways
an advantage to move over to the Press Camp, where I was free
of social or other obligations; and my fear that Mrs. Van Delden,
Captain Spear, and others of their kind would prevent my getting
my military permit extended proved groundless. General Clay,
whom I met and had a long conversation with a few days later, wel-
comed me warmly and recommended the extension of my military
permit originally granted to me only for three weeks. Either Gen-
eral Clay did not know what “dangerous thoughts” I had expressed,
or did not share the narrow-minded sentiments of lower officials
in Military Government.
My experience in Berlin was only one among many in which I
learned that referring to our “crimes against humanity” is simply
“not done.” Yet it seems to me that if the Germans are ever to be
“taught democracy” we must start judging our own actions by the
same standards as we apply to them. Otherwise we must appear as
OUR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY 185
hypocrites and convince the German people that Hitler was justi-
fied in his belief that “might makes right,” and that democracy is
a delusion and a sham.
The terrible consequences of the different ethical standards pre-
scribed for victors and vanquished, and of the Nuremberg dictum
that we have the right to do anything we please in Germany be-
cause ours is a “nonbelligerent” occupation, were displayed at the
“Dachau trials.”
These were the trials conducted by the United States Army Tri-
bunals (as distinct from the civilian and ostensibly international
trials at Nuremberg) of the privates, corporals, sergeants, and junior
commissioned officers involved in the Malmédy case: of civilians
accused of having lynched Allied airmen shot down during the
bombing raids; and of the Germans held responsible for the atro-
cities committed in the Nazi concentration camps.
The methods employed by the investigators and prosecutors in
these cases were worthy of the GPU, the Gestapo, and the SS. The
accused were subjected to every kind of physical and mental torture
to force them to write dictated statements; witnesses were tortured
and bribed, and the procedures of these American courts bear un-
favorable comparison even with those of the Hungarian and Bul-
garian ones which are today sentencing the Catholic and Protestant
clergymen who have defied the Communist terror.
On the other hand, the fact that America is still a democracy
has resulted in the exposure of the horrible methods employed by
United States Army representatives to secure the “confessions” of
the hundreds of men already executed, or now being executed, at
Landsberg.
Lieutenant Colonel Willis N. Everett, Jr., an American lawyer
who had served as defense counsel for the seventy-four Germans
accused in the Malmédy case, petitioned the United States Su-
preme Court, after his return to America, charging that the Ger-
mans had not had a fair trial.
The Supreme Court refused his petition, saying it lacked juris-
diction over the acts committed by the United States Army in Ger-
many, a statement which means that the United States Military
Government is above the law, and the “sovereignty” we claim in
Germany is that of a lawless despot.
Colonel Everett’s action, nevertheless, forced the Army to take
notice, and Secretary Royall appointed a commission to investigate
his charges. This commission, sent to Germany in 1948, consisted
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186
of Judge Edward Leroy van Roden, of Delaware County, Pennsyl-
vania, and Justice Gordon Simpson, of the Texas Supreme Court.
The report made by these two American judges following their
investigation, like so many other reports pertaining to Germany,
has been kept secret from the American public. But Judge van
Roden, after his return to the United States, gave a series of lec-
tures and after-dinner speeches in which he stated that such third-
degree methods as the following were used to obtain the conviction
of the Germans condemned to death, many of whom have already
been hung:
Beatings and brutal kickings; knocking-out of teeth and breaking
of jaws; mock trials; solitary confinement; torture with burning
splinters; the use of investigators pretending to be priests; starva-
tion; and promises of acquittal. Speaking to the Chester Pike Ro-
tary Club on December 14, 1948, Judge van Roden said: “All but
two of the Germans in the 139 cases we investigated had been
kicked in the testicles beyond repair. This was standard operating
procedure with our American investigators.”
He told of one German who had had lighted matchsticks forced
under his fingernails by the American investigators to extort a con-
fession, and had appeared at his trial with his fingers still bandaged
from the atrocity.
Another case mentioned by this American judge in his speech
was that of an eighteen-year-old boy who, after a series of beatings,
agreed to write a statement dictated to him by the American in-
vestigators. After they finished sixteen pages, the boy was locked
up for the night. During the night the prisoners in the adjoining
cells heard him saying, “I will not utter another lie,” and when his
jailers came in the morning, he had hung himself from the cell bar.
Nevertheless, the statement he had begun to write, and had killed
himself rather than sign, was offered in evidence at the trial of
other accused.
“Sometimes,” continued van Roden, “a prisoner who refused to
sign was led into a dimly lit room, where a group of civilian in-
vestigators, wearing United States Army uniforms, were seated
around a black table with a crucifix in the center and two candles
burning, one on each side. ‘You will now have your American trial,’
the defendant was told.
“The sham court passed a sham sentence of death. Then the ac-
cused was told, ‘You will hang in a few days, as soon as the general
OUR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY 187
approves this sentence; but in the meantime sign this confession
and we can get you acquitted.’ Some still wouldn’t sign.
“We were shocked by the crucifix being used so mockingly.
“In another case, a bogus Catholic priest [actually an investi-
gator] entered the cell of one of the defendants, heard his confes-
sion, gave him absolution, and then gave him a little friendly tip:
‘Sign whatever the investigators ask you to sign. It will get you your
freedom. Even though it’s false. I can give you absolution now in
advance for the lie you’d tell.’”
In some cases solitary confinement or the threat of reprisals on
the prisoner or witness’s family were sufficient to persuade him to
sign a prepared statement involving others. In others, “the investi-
gators would put a black hood over the accused’s head and then
punch him in the face with brass knuckles, kick him and beat him
with a rubber hose.”
Judge van Roden also told his audience that Lieutenant Colonel
Ellis and Lieutenant Perl, of the American prosecution, pleaded,
in extenuation of the atrocities they were responsible for, that it
was difficult to obtain evidence by fair means. Perl said: “We had
a tough nut to crack and we had to use persuasive (sic) methods.”
Lieutenant Perl admitted that the “persuasive methods” included
“some violence and mock trials,” and that the Malmédy cases
rested on statements obtained by such methods.
“There was no jury,” concluded van Roden. “The court con-
sisted of ten officers sitting as judge and jury, and one law-member,
the only person with legal training, whose rulings as to the admis-
sibility of evidence were final.
“The statements which were admitted as evidence were obtained
from men who had first been kept in solitary confinement for three,
four, and five months. They were confined between four walls, with
no windows, and no opportunity of exercise. Two meals a day were
shoved in to them through a slot in the door. They were not al-
lowed to talk to anyone. They had no communication with their
families or any minister or priest during that time.”
“The tragedy,” said van Roden, “is that so many of us Ameri-
cans, having fought the war with so much sweat and blood, and
having defeated the enemy, now say ‘All Germans should be hung!’
We won the war, but some of us want to go on killing. That’s not
fighting. That’s wicked. . . . The fact that there were atrocities by
the Germans during the war against Americans, or by Americans
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188
against Germans, would not in the least lessen the disgrace to this
country of ours, if such peacetime atrocities were to go unchal-
lenged . . . they would be a blot on the American conscience for
eternity.”
Unfortunately the investigation made by Judges van Roden and
Simpson, and their exposure of the whole sorry business, did not
stop the hangings of the Germans condemned on “evidence” ob-
tained by torture. General Clay had previously commuted the sen-
tences of a few of the condemned, but it seemed as if the outcry
in the American press forced him to continue the executions in-
stead of having the cases of all the condemned men re-examined.
In November 1948 fifteen men were being hung every Friday,
instead of seven hung each previous week, presumably on the the-
ory that the more victims of the miscarriage of justice who could
be done away with, the less evidence of injustice would remain.
Among the first batch hanged following the van Roden-Simpson
investigation five were among those whom they had stated had
been convicted on questionable evidence.
Betty Knox, whom I have already mentioned, and “Jose” of the
United Press, had attended the previous week’s hangings just after
I first met them in Nuremberg. Neither of them were ever likely to
forget their terrible experience. The Protestant and Catholic chap-
lains at the Landsberg prison where the executions take place were
both convinced of the innocence of several of the men hung. They
were in despair at their inability to do anything to stop the crime
of killing men, several of whom had convinced the priests or pas-
tors that they were innocent, and all of whom had been condemned
by confessions extorted by torture or on the testimony of witnesses
proved to have perjured themselves.
One of the men Betty Knox saw had been told on the preceding
Wednesday that he was reprieved pending a reinvestigation of his
case, and then dragged out of his cell on the Friday to be hung.
Another had been promised he should see his wife before dying,
after not being allowed to see her for three years. But when she ar-
rived at the prison at the appointed time she was told, “Sorry, he’s
already dead; he was hung first instead of last by mistake.”
These are the last words of three of the men Betty Knox saw
executed :
Cornelius Schwanner:
“No, I have nothing to say. Only my relatives I should have liked
OUR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY 189
to see. I am sorry that I could not see my relatives one last time.”
Fritz Girke:
“I protest against this execution of my sentence. According to
official information given by American officials the time for filing
petitions expires tonight at 2400 hours. On account of postal serv-
ice delays, my petition, filed on September 20, cannot have been
taken into consideration when they approved my sentence and or-
dered my execution. As an officer I did my duty for my people and
my country when I obeyed my orders to execute those terror flyers
who had shot down women and children on open roads. Interna-
tional law was also violated by my sentence.* I call upon Germany
to witness. I call Lucia, Renate, you murderers!”
Willi Rieke:
“I do not want to accuse, nor do I want to pay back what I have
received. I want to say that I am innocent. The one really guilty
in my case hanged himself when he was taken prisoner. Because I
was involved I was condemned. I am dying as a free German man.
My last greetings go to my dear family, my dear wife, my dearly
loved boy, my daughter-in-law, my little grandchildren and once
more I greet all my dear relatives and friends. I forgive everybody
who was unjust to me and I also forgive those who have rendered
false oaths upon which such a sentence could only have been said.
May God be a merciful judge for them. My last greetings also go
to my beloved sport which is the basis for interior and exterior re-
covery of our youth. May in the next years the best men of the
world meet in a fight, not to win but to be together no matter what
nation and what race.”
How many of the men America has hung, and is hanging now
week by week, were innocent, will never be known. Only one thing
is certain: they never had a fair trial and their interrogation, con-
demnation, and execution are a disgrace to democratic justice.
Some readers will be inclined to turn away and say all this does
not concern them, not realizing that the honor and dignity of the
United States are involved. Others may say that, after all, it doesn’t
much matter because the men hung were all Nazis or only Ger-
mans. But how can the kind of world Americans have died to pre-
serve be saved, if we ourselves destroy belief in the justice which
is the foundation of democracy?
* This man had been subjected to a mock trial “under the black hood.”
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190
Judge van Roden’s testimony carries weight because he is an
American—nowadays we refuse to hear the voice of Germans, how-
ever unimpeachable their record. But the Dachau trials have
aroused such widespread horror and protest in Germany that Amer-
ica should not ignore the appeal of the twenty-five German Cath-
olic bishops who wrote: “Will not the tortures at the preliminary
inquests at Schwäbische Hall and Oberwesel, and the mass execu-
tions at Landsberg, later on do more harm to victorious America
than a lost battle?”
In their so far unheeded appeal to America, these representatives
of twenty million German Catholics say:
“When the survivors who were in the martyrlike heat cells of
Oberwesel are released, they will be able to tell the world in detail
what inhuman treatment they received. Until now only a few of
them have been able to reveal anything from their prison.”
The Catholic appeal then quotes the following from an affidavit
signed by Hans Schmidt on June 25, 1948, concerning his treat-
ment in the period September 17 to October 3, 1945:
Seven of us were transported from the camp at Bad Aibling to Ober-
wesel, where we were thrown into small cells stark naked. The cells in
which three or four persons were incarcerated were six and a half by ten
feet in size and had no windows or ventilation. The walls, ceiling, and
door were covered with tight asbestos plates. On one wall there was an
electric stove with a four-grade switch (type-plate 2,000 watts) which
was switched on from outside.
When we went to the lavatory we had to run through a lane of
Americans who struck us with straps, brooms, cudgels, buckets, belts,
and pistol holders to make us fall down. Our head, eyes, body, belly,
and genitals were violently injured. A man stood inside the lavatory to
beat us and spit on us. We returned to our cells through the same or-
deal. The temperature in the cells was 140° Fahrenheit or more. Dur-
ing the first three days we were given only one cup of water and a small
slice of bread. During the first days we perspired all the time, then per-
spiration stopped. We were kept standing chained back to back for
hours. We suffered terribly from thirst, blood stagnation and mortifica-
tion of the hands. From time to time water was poured on the almost-
red-hot radiators, filling the cells with steam, so that we could hardly
breathe.
During all this time the cells were in darkness, except when the
American soldiers entered and switched on electric bulbs of several hun-
dred candle power which forced us to close our eyes.
Our thirst became more and more cruel, so that our lips cracked, our
OUR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY 191
tongues were stiff, and we eventually became apathetic, or raved, or
collapsed.
After enduring this torture for several days, we were given a small
blanket to cover our nakedness, and driven to the courtyard outside.
The uneven soil was covered with pebbles and slag and we were again
beaten and finally driven back on our smashed and bleeding feet. While
out of breath, burning cigarettes were pushed into our mouths, and
each of us was forced to eat three or four of them. Meanwhile the
American soldiers continued to hit us on eyes, head, and ears. Back in
our cells we were pushed against the burning radiators, so that our skin
was blistered.
For thirteen days and nights we received the same treatment, tor-
tured by heat and thirst. When we begged for water, our guards mocked
us. When we fainted we were revived by being drenched with cold
water.
There was dirt everywhere and we were never allowed to wash, our
inflamed eyes gave us terrible pain, we fainted continuously.
Every twenty minutes or so our cell doors were opened and the sol-
diers insulted and hit us. Whenever the doors were opened we had to
stand still with our backs to the door. Two plates of food, spiced with
salt, pepper, and mustard to make us thirstier, were given us daily. We
ate in the dark on the floor. The thirst was the most terrible of all our
tortures and we could not sleep.
In this condition I was brought to trial. I fainted and was brought
back to my cell. A sergeant with dirty fingernails tore my skin around
the nipple, and I developed blood poisoning. The doctor treated me
brutally and did not even disinfect the wound.
This is only one of many accounts of the Gestapo-like tortures
inflicted on German prisoners by Americans, before their guilt had
been proved. I forbear to inflict on my readers the full tale of horror
I heard in Germany, knowing that “atrocity stories” constitute
popular reading only when the torturers, instead of the victims, are
Germans.
It is, nevertheless, essential that the American public should have
the opportunity to learn the facts so long withheld from them by
the Administration and the press. For if we hold the German peo-
ple accountable for Nazi crimes, then we are responsible for those
committed by the United States Government or its agencies. The
fact that Americans are free, and that no one here can be sent to
prison for protesting against injustice, increases our responsibility.
Baron von Schlabrendorff, the man “who almost killed Hitler”
by placing a bomb in his plane, supplied me in Wiesbaden with
copies of the affidavits made in the case of Willi Schäfer, a non-
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192
commissioned officer sentenced to death at Dachau for the shoot-
ing of American prisoners at Malmédy during the Battle of the
Bulge. Schäfer’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment but
Baron von Schlabrendorff, who is acting as his counsel, has ap-
pealed, so far in vain, for his case to be retried.
Schäfer was charged with having “watched and not to have taken
action against shootings of U.S. prisoners of war at crossroad
Engelsdorf, south of Malmédy, on the 17th December 1944,” and
to have “forwarded an order” to have five American prisoners shot.
According to the evidence in the possession of von Schlabrendorff
and Colonel Everett, Schäfer is innocent of both charges and was
not even present when the shooting of American prisoners took
place. The chief witnesses against him have all sworn that their
evidence was false and was given only under duress, and Schäfer
himself “confessed” to the crimes he could not have committed
only after prolonged torture.
Below I reproduce part of Sergeant Schäfer’s affidavit:
On April 7, 1946, Mr. Harry W. Thon asked me at Schwäbisch Hall
to write out an affidavit accusing myself, and showed me an affidavit
signed by Sepp Dietrich admitting that there had been an order to mur-
der the American prisoners. Mr. Thon said that what was wanted was
the heads of the generals and that we little men had nothing to fear.
I told him that I was prepared to write a report of my experiences in
the Eiffel offensive, but that I was not aware of any offenses committed
against the laws of war. Thereupon Mr. Thon gave me paper and pen-
cil, told me I had a respite of one night and that, should I fail to make
a statement admitting my guilt, my family would be deprived of their
ration cards. He then had me shut up in the death cell.
That night I wrote a report of my experiences but it did not include
any self-accusations.
Next morning Mr. Thon appeared in my cell, read my report, tore it
up, swore at me and hit me. After threatening to have me killed unless
I wrote what he wanted, he left. A few minutes later the door of my
cell opened, a black hood incrusted with blood was put over my head
and face and I was led to another room. In view of Mr. Thon’s threats
the black cap had a crushing effect on my spirits. . . . Four men of my
company: Sprenger, Jaenckel, Neve, and Hoffmann accused me, al-
though later they admitted to having borne false testimony. Neverthe-
less I still refused to incriminate myself. Thereupon Mr. Thon said that
if I continued to refuse this would be taken as proof of my Nazi opin-
ions, and he would have me charged together with the generals, in
which event my death was certain. He said I would have no chance
against four witnesses, and advised me for my own good to make a state-
OUR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY 193
ment after which I would be set free. . . . I still refused. I told Mr.
Thon that although my memory was good, I was unable to recall any
of the occurrences he wished me to write about and which to the best
of my knowledge had never occurred.
Mr. Thon left but returned in a little while with Lieutenant Perl
who abused me, and told Mr. Thon that, should I not write what was
required within half an hour, I should be left to my fate. Lieutenant
Perl made it clear to me that I had the alternative of writing and going
free or not writing and dying. I decided for life and said I would sign
anything they wanted. Mr. Thon then dictated a statement to tally
with Sprenger’s and ruled out all objections I raised.
On the 8th or 9th of April after I had apparently not replied in the
manner the investigators desired, I was kicked in the hollow of the
knee and on my backside and beaten with a stick across my shoulders
and the back of my head. A black hood was again placed over my head
and face so I cannot testify as to who inflicted this punishment.
I hereby testify that I never took part in any shootings of Prisoners
of War, nor issued any such orders, nor watched any shootings. I stated
this to the Military Court at Dachau.
The methods employed to obtain the false evidence used against
Schäfer are described in an affidavit, dated January 20, 1948, at
Landsberg prison, signed by Joachim Hoffmann, who states that:
For 3½ months I was kept in solitary confinement without either
writing or bathing allowed. Even when taken for a hearing a black hood
was placed over my head. The guards who took me to my hearing often
struck or kicked me. I was twice thrown down the stairs and was hurt
so much that blood ran out of my mouth and nose. At the hearing,
when I told the officers about the ill treatment I had suffered, they
only laughed. I was beaten and the black cap pulled over my face when-
ever I could not answer the questions put to me, or gave answers not
pleasing to the officers.
In March, 1946, I was taken before a Summary Court. Prior to this
I was beaten and several times kicked in the genitals. At my trial I was
sentenced to death and then locked up in a cell which contained noth-
ing but a wooden chest and one blanket. Here I remained three weeks,
after which the investigating officers came to my cell and promised me
I should be released within two months, if I would write what they
dictated. I was unable to resist the pressure. I often witnessed the ill
treatment suffered by my comrades. Finally I agreed to write the false
statement required. I believed that if I wrote it I would be set free,
but this was an illusion.
Another of the witnesses against Schäfer, Siegfried Jaenckel,
made a similar sworn statement concerning the methods used to
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194
force him to bear false testimony. He too had been placed in soli-
tary confinement while a prisoner of war and tortured until he
agreed to sign a dictated statement. He was also one of those given
a mock trial with a black hood over his face lifted to show him the
crucifix, black cloth, and candles. The prosecutor, as usual, was
Mr. Henry Thon and Jaenckel’s “trial” lasted some twelve hours,
after which he was told he would be “taken for a ride” in a jeep
and hung from a tree since he was “not worth a bullet.” Two days
later he was again taken before a court and told by Lieutenant
Perl that “in consideration of his youth” and the fact that he had
acted in obedience to an order, he would be pardoned if he would
“tell the truth.” At this second “trial,” according to Jaenckel’s affi-
davit, Lieutenant Perl told him, “So you still don’t want to con-
fess? You have no money to pay for your defense so you will hang.
Look at your comrades, they are to be released because they spoke
the truth.”
In his affidavit, signed two years later, Jaenckel says he can no
longer remember how often he was questioned but he thinks a
dozen times. And always he was told: “If you confess you will go
free; you need only to say you had an order from your superiors.
But if you won’t speak you will be hung.”
I was beaten and I heard the cries of the men being tortured in ad-
joining cells, [writes Jaenckel] and whenever I was taken for a hearing
I trembled with fear. I was then only nineteen years old and had never
had anything to do with courts or the law. Subjected to such duress I
eventually gave in, and signed the long statement dictated to me, and
copied the sketch maps as ordered. I could never have done it other-
wise, as I have insufficient education. Captain Schumacher said to me:
“The streets are to be the same as in the statement of the other wit-
nesses, but the other details should be different because otherwise it
will look too much like a copy.”
Jaenckel concludes his affidavit as follows: “My charges against
my comrades according to the statement dictated to me at Schwäbisch
Hall which I was forced to sign are not true.”
In the Malmédy trials the objective of the investigators seems
to have been to force the young German prisoners of war to in-
criminate their commanders, failing which they were themselves
to be hung. The concentration-camp trials were worse because in
these cases it seemed that the American Prosecution acted on the
Nazi-Communist principle that the aim was to bring a sufficiently
OUR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY 195
large number of people to the gallows, rather than to apprehend
the real criminals. For the chief witnesses for prosecution were the
former criminals and the Communists in the concentration camps
who had been used as Kapos (trusties) by the Gestapo after most
SS men had been withdrawn from supervision of the camps to
fight at the front. Thus the Dachau trials of those accused of being
responsible for the atrocities in Nazi concentration camps offered
the horrible spectacle of former political prisoners being accused
and condemned on the “evidence” of the criminals who had hated
them, or on that of Communists given the opportunity to con-
demn their political enemies to the gallows.
It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that some of the men
condemned to death or lifelong imprisonment at these trials were
innocent of any crime or atrocity and were sentenced because while
inmates of Hitler’s prisons they had incurred the enmity of the
criminal or Communist inmates.
The innocent could have little hope of acquittal since the Ameri-
can investigators promised immunity to the most guilty if they
would incriminate others, and threatened witnesses with reprisals
on their families if they refused to sign dictated statements. The
cycle of horror and injustice started by the Nazis was completed
when their victims were forced by Americans to perjure themselves
to escape death, or condemned on the evidence supplied by tor-
tured witnesses.
The names of the American investigators in these cases. Kirsch-
baum, Metzger, Enders (alias Andrews), Colombeck, and Egger,
like those of Lieutenant Perl and W. Harry Thon, will be remem-
bered in Germany as long, and with as much loathing, as the names
of Himmler, Bormann and other Nazi bullies and criminals are
remembered in America.
In one famous instance Kirschbaum brought forward a certain
Einstein to prove that the accused Menzel had murdered Ein-
stein’s brother, but the prisoner pointed to the said brother sitting
in the witness box. Kirschbaum, deeply embarrassed, turned to
Einstein and hissed, “How can we bring this pig to the gallows, if
you are so stupid as to bring your brother into the court.”
Sebastian Schmidt, a former farmer, states the following in an
affidavit:
I was questioned by Mr. Metzger if I knew the most ill famed and bru-
tal beater, the greatest sadist of Dachau, the former prisoner Karl Mayer.
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196
Thereupon Mr. Metzger submitted to me a ready-made statement of
several pages, to be signed by me at once, without reading it, since Mr.
Metzger was in a great hurry. Nevertheless I began to read and saw
that the statement said: “Mayer being Kapo for the building of a gar-
age at the camp of Dachau, daily killed with a cudgel about 100 pris-
oners, to be pressed by a steamroller into a new road that was under
construction.”
I did not continue to read further on and refused my signature, since
a thing like that never happened. I called Mr. Metzger’s attention to
the impossibility, whereupon Mr. Metzger said to me: “It is all the
same, since Mayer has already been hanged for a long time and is lying
5 feet under the earth.” But nevertheless I refused my signature.
Mr. Metzger grew furious, stripped up his sleeves and approached me
threateningly saying he would kill me unless I signed. Seeing that his
threats were lost on me, he added: “Well, surely I shall find an accusa-
tion against you. I shall succeed in bringing you before an American
military court; and if you are hanged you owe it to me as surely as I
am called Metzger.”
According to the well-known methods of Metzger and his compan-
ions this also happened.
I am thankful to God that I remained firm against Metzger’s threats,
for by such a perjury I might have plunged into distress an innocent
man and his family. I have known Karl Mayer only as a quiet, honest
man, whose behavior in the KZ must be called unobjectionable. Karl
Mayer was a political prisoner at Dachau.
Martin Humm, another prisoner at Landsberg, reveals in his
affidavit, signed on May 30, 1948, why Mr. Metzger was so deter-
mined to get evidence against the unfortunate Karl Mayer. Mr.
Metzger asked Humm in July 1947, whether he had ever heard
Mayer say that he, Metzger, had formerly been a leader of the Hit-
ler Youth who had been prosecuted for moral delinquency and had
afterwards escaped to America. Humm replied that he had heard
such talk about Metzger at Dachau. Metzger then started asking
Humm for evidence against Mayer, assuring him that he did not
want it for Mayer’s trial but because he, Metzger, “had a personal
quarrel with Mayer.” When Humm said he had already made a
statement at Dachau a year earlier saying he knew nothing against
Mayer, Metzger rose and said “Oh, Humm, how beautiful life is
and yet you will be hanged, although you are so young.”
Humm being an epileptic and a consumptive lacked the stamina
of Sebastian Schmidt. He finally broke down and promised to write
what was required of him. He was then taken back to the hospital
OUR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY 197
in an exhausted condition and a pneumatic compress put on his
lungs. Since Metzger insisted on getting the statement by the next
day Humm got a fellow prisoner to write it for him as he was too
ill to write it himself.
In his May 1948, affidavit Humm repudiates the false evidence
extorted from him by Metzger, saying that he had never seen
Mayer hang a prisoner, or steal food from Red Cross parcels, or do
anything “unnatural or unchaste” in the camp.
The use of duress in obtaining “evidence” has been explicitly
admitted by American Army authorities. Colonel A. H. Rosenfeld,
on quitting his post as chief of the Dachau War Crimes Adminis-
tration Branch in 1948, was asked at a press interview whether
there was any truth in the story about the mock trials at Dachau.
He replied: “Yes, of course. We couldn’t have made those birds
talk otherwise.”
Colonel Rosenfeld did not consider such measures as duress since
the victims were Germans. He was quite proud of his cleverness
and said: “It was a trick, and it worked like a charm.”
Such methods as torture, mock trials, blackmail, false evidence,
and the rest may indeed have “worked like a charm,” but the odor
with which they have surrounded American “justice” in Germany
is anything but charming. The net result is to have convinced most
Germans that there is little to choose between “democratic” and
Nazi or Communist “justice.”
The majority of the accused in the Dachau trials were not only
tortured; when finally brought to trial in the weakened state in-
duced by beatings and starvation, they were usually denied any
possibility of defending themselves. They were not informed of the
charges against them until a few hours, or at best a few days, before
their trials and had no possibility of calling witnesses in their de-
fense. With rare exceptions they had no German lawyer to defend
them, either because they could not pay for one, or because the
American authorities would not permit it. When a German lawyer
was admitted, he had to act under the orders of the American
officer detailed for the defense, and was not even allowed to confer
with his client except during the short recesses during the trial.
In the concentration-camp cases, the indictments failed even to
indicate the specific crime of which the prisoner was accused, or
the time and place where it had been committed.
According to the appeal sent to General Clay on July 30, 1948,
by the German lawyer, Dr. Georg Fröschmann, in these cases:
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198
In the predominant number of concentration camp trials, the prose-
cution contented themselves with enumerating in a single sentence of
twenty-four typewritten lines, the war crimes and crimes against hu-
manity, that is, “killings, beatings, torturings, starvings, violent infringe-
ments and humiliations,” in general, which the defendants were sup-
posed to have been guilty of as perpetrators, accomplices, abettors, ac-
cessories or otherwise “participants,” on nationals of fifteen different
countries.
The date of the crimes was left similarly vague, being given as
any time between January 1942 and May 5, 1945.
The American officers who acted as defense counsel usually had
no legal training, could not speak German, and did not trouble to
discuss the case with the defendants. The accused were unable to
question the witnesses against them because the proceedings of the
court were conducted in a language they did not understand and
no competent interpreters were provided.
The whole proceedings resembled those of a staged Moscow trial.
According to Dr. Fröschmann:
Many defendants could not avoid the impression that the advice
given them by the defense counsel was the result of his wish to comply
with the desires of the Tribunal to hurry up the proceedings.
Some of the American defense counsel maintained a close contact with
the prosecution. They consented to peculiar compromises with the prose-
cution. They failed to make necessary applications for an adjournment of
the trial for the preparation of the defense . . . their pleas seemed to
be drawn up in accordance with the prosecution, and in some cases
they appeared to be prosecutors themselves.
Whereas the prosecution had ample time and opportunity to
call for witnesses from the whole of Europe, and to torture Ger-
man witnesses into giving the evidence required, the accused, in-
carcerated in their dark cells and denied any contact with the out-
side world, were, of course, unable to summon anyone to their
defense. Moreover, the “Association of Persons Persecuted by the
Nazis” through the press and radio forbade any former concentra-
tion camp inmate to appear for the defense.
In spite of the free travel, good food, handsome daily allowance,
and ample supplies of cigarettes to sell on the black market prom-
ised by the prosecution to former political prisoners, few of them
came to testify against the accused at Dachau. The fact that the
prosecution relied in the main on those who had been sent to the
OUR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY 199
concentration camps for criminal acts in itself suggests that some
at least of the men condemned to death at Dachau were innocent.
The use of “professional witnesses” who appeared in dozens of
trials and whose affidavits unsupported by other evidence were suffi-
cient to secure a sentence of death, have invested these American
trials with an odor repugnant to the most elementary sense of
justice.
It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the prosecution was not
in the least interested in convicting those actually guilty of atro-
cities, but wanted only to secure a maximum number of convic-
tions in order to demonstrate the mass guilt of the German people.
The natural result is that many Germans, knowing how the trials
were conducted and on what kind of “evidence” guilt was proved,
now say that there never were any atrocities, and that the whole
story of the concentration camps is an American invention. Thus
the use of Nazi methods to establish Nazi guilt has resulted in ob-
scuring the reality of Nazi crimes.
This was notably the effect of the Ilse Koch case. The Germans
know that no evidence was produced by the American prosecution
to prove the existence of “human lampshades” popularly believed
in America to have been found in Ilse Koch’s home. Ilse Koch
was exactly what General Clay described her as, when he com-
muted her sentence, a prostitute and a pervert of a low type, but
not a war criminal.
The atrocities committed by the Nazis were horrible enough
without the need to invent stories about human lampshades. By
attempting to prove lies, we have obscured the reality of the gas
chambers, and it is probable that within a few years the truth will
be dismissed as an atrocity story spread by the victors to justify the
inhuman treatment of the conquered.
The damage done is irreparable, but the reputation of the United
States could still be cleared if the executions were stopped, a full
and independent investigation ordered, and the Americans re-
sponsible for the torture of prisoners and miscarriage of justice
brought to trial themselves in Germany on the charge of having
committed “crimes against humanity.”
Although the Supreme Court of the United States professes it-
self disinterested in the crimes committed by American citizens in
Germany, the Senate in March 1949 showed its concern by voting
for an investigation. It is to be hoped that the Administration and
the Department of the Army will not stop the Congressional action
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200
which alone can reestablish the reputation of the United States
for justice. Since the investigators who adopted Nazi-Communist
methods at Dachau were not Regular Army officers, but civilians
with temporary military rank, it would seem that the American
Army itself has an interest in punishing those who have disgraced
it. This must also have been the view of Lieutenant Colonel
Everett, the brave man who first drew America’s attention to the
shameful acts committed in her name.
It may be easier to expunge the horrible record of the Dachau
trials than to make the German people forget the brutal and un-
just treatment they received in the first years of our occupation.
Young men and women who had obeyed Hitler from a mistaken
but sincere conviction that no patriotic German could fail to fol-
low his lead; workers who had joined the Nazi party believing it
would give them “bread and work”; the defeated men of the Ger-
man army who bore no responsibility for the atrocities committed
by the SS and the Gestapo, but who had fought bravely to the last
to save their country from Communist terror; even the victims of
the Nazis emerging from hiding or released from concentration
camps, were all punished by the victorious democracies. Some were
held in prison for years without trial; others had all their own and
their family’s property confiscated; others were denied their rights
as prisoners of war and used as slave labor. Even today, four years
after the war’s end, there is a Control Council ordinance (No. 3)
in force under which any German can be recruited for forced labor
—a plain infringement of the United States Constitution which
forbids slave labor in all territories under United States jurisdiction.
Nor were the prisoners of war and civilians tried at Dachau the
only Germans subjected to physical torture. At the war’s end we
arrested generals, SS men, government officials, and Nazi leaders
en masse and subjected them to varying degrees of ill treatment
without waiting to find out who was guilty and who innocent.
One German of my acquaintance connected with the Reich For-
eign Office told me how he had been pushed into a freight car so
crammed that no one could sit down, and transported without food
and water for thirty-six hours. One man in the car, he said, was a
general eighty-two years old who had retired long before the war
but had been arrested because of his rank. The mixed company of
officers and civilians subjected by the Americans to the same treat-
ment as Soviet Russia metes out to its enemies, had managed to
squeeze themselves even tighter to enable this old man to sit down.
OUR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY 201
Many of the prisoners were ill and some were wounded and they
were not allowed out of the car during the whole journey. Subse-
quently, in prison, the German generals were forced to polish the
boots of their guards, set to cleaning latrines with their bare hands,
and in general treated like the inmates of Nazi or Communist con-
centration camps.
Everywhere you go in Germany you hear such stories. No doubt
some are exaggerated, but there is little doubt that a perverse
pleasure was taken in subjecting the officers of the defeated enemy
army to every conceivable indignity.
In every army there are bound to be some sadists and cads. The
horrible thing was that the orders given to the American Army in
the early period of the occupation encouraged the brutal and un-
chivalrous minority, and prescribed imitation of Nazi methods in
the treatment of the vanquished.
The shock to the Germans was all the greater because, although
they had expected Russian lawlessness and brutality, they had be-
lieved that America would treat them fairly. Many had welcomed
the end of the war which, whatever punishment it might bring,
they expected to establish a rule of law in place of Nazi lawlessness
and tyranny. But today belief in democratic justice is almost dead.
The atrocities we have ourselves committed in Germany are not
the only ones for which posterity will hold us guilty.
President Roosevelt at Yalta and President Truman at Potsdam
agreed in the name of the American people to one of the most
barbaric acts recorded in the long history of man’s inhumanity to
man. According to these agreements, some twelve million people
were expropriated and driven from their homes for no other crime
than that of being Germans.
In past ages when territory was annexed by a victor nation, the
inhabitants were not all robbed and they were allowed to continue
living in their ancestral homes. America and England, however,
agreed that Germany was not only to be deprived of territory in-
habited by Germans for hundreds of years; the Russians, Poles,
Czechs, Yugoslavs and other nations were given the right to ex-
propriate and drive out all people of German ancestry.
The proviso that the expulsions should be conducted in a hu-
mane manner merely added a revolting aura of hypocrisy to this
crime against humanity.
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202
The Poles, who were given possession of the territory “east of
the Oder-Neisse line,” drove out the inhabitants with the utmost
brutality, throwing women and children, the aged and the sick,
out of their homes with only a few hours’ notice, and not sparing
even those in hospitals and orphanages.
The Czechs, no less brutal, drove the Germans over the moun-
tains on foot, and at the frontier stole such belongings as they had
been able to carry. Having an eye for profit as well as revenge, the
Czechs held thousands of German men as slave laborers while
driving out their wives and children.
Many of the old, the young, and the sick died of hunger or cold
or exposure on the long march into what remained of Germany, or
perished of hunger and thirst and disease in the crowded cattle
cars in which some of the refugees were transported. Those who
survived the journey were thrust upon the slender resources of
starving occupied Germany. No one of German race was allowed
any help by the United Nations. The displaced-persons camps were
closed to them and first the United Nations Relief and Rehabili-
tation Administration (UNRRA) and then the International Ref-
ugee Organization (IRO) was forbidden to succor them. The new
untouchables were thrown into Germany to die, or survive as
paupers in the miserable accommodations which the bombed-out
cities of Germany could provide for those even more wretched than
their original inhabitants.
How many people were killed or died will never be known. Out
of a total of twelve to thirteen million people who had committed
the crime of belonging to the German race, four or five million are
unaccounted for. But no one knows how many are dead and how
many are slave laborers. Only one thing is certain: Hitler’s bar-
baric liquidation of the Jews has been outmatched by the liquida-
tion of Germans by the “democratic, peace-loving” powers of the
United Nations.
As the Welsh minister, Dr. Elfan Rees, head of the refugee divi-
sion of the World Council of Churches, said in a sermon delivered
at Geneva University on March 13, 1949: “More people have
been rendered homeless by an Allied peace than by a Nazi war.”
The estimate of the number of German expellees, or flüchtlinge
as the Germans call them, in Rump Germany is now eight or nine
million. The International Refugee Organization (IRO) takes no
account of them, and was expressly forbidden by act of Congress
to give them any aid. It is obviously impossible for densely over-
OUR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY 203
crowded Western Germany to provide for them. A few have been
absorbed into industry or are working on German farms, but for
the most part they are living in subhuman conditions without hope
of acquiring homes or jobs.
In Bavaria, while we, the occupiers, have requisitioned thousands
of hotels, chateaux, barracks and private houses for our exclusive
use, and while the IRO’s dwindling DP population occupies com-
fortable quarters also provided by the Germans, the German DP’s
are crammed into draughty huts and receive no gifts of food and
clothing from international organizations. Having agreed that they
should be expropriated and driven from their homes, the United
States professes itself uninterested in their fate. Military Govern-
ment tells the German Länder administrations that German refu-
gees are entirely a “German concern.”
In effect, we say in Germany that anyone who was a victim of
Nazi crimes is to be succored, but that those whose sufferings are
our own responsibility can rot and die. We also make a careful
racial distinction between the various categories of Communist
persecutees. Thus a Czech who escapes from the Communist ter-
ror is entitled to enter the DP camps and be fed on American food.
But a Russian, Rumanian, Hungarian, or Yugoslav who manages
to slip across the border into Bavaria, has to live on the German
economy. Members of these nations may not enter the DP camps,
unless they were in Germany before the end of the war. In effect
we say that with the sole exception of the Czechs, only Nazi vic-
tims are entitled to help, not Communist victims. Thus Germany
not only has to provide accommodation for Hitler’s former vic-
tims, the German economy is also now forced to support hundreds
of thousands of Stalin’s victims. Nor is this all. Germany acts as
a receiving center and transit camp for many thousands of Jews
who have left Poland, Rumania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia
since the Communists took over. In one Jewish DP camp near Mu-
nich every single person I spoke to had come to Germany after
1945 in hopes of getting to Palestine.
Although the number of displaced persons in Germany is con-
tinually diminishing and many of the camps are half empty, the
Germans are not allowed either to regain possession of the many
houses, barracks, and other buildings occupied by the DP’s, or to
place their own refugees in them. Exact information is not avail-
able since the German authorities are not allowed to enter the DP
camps but, according to the estimate of the Bavarian Minister for
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204
Refugees, between twenty-four and twenty-eight thousand beds are
now unoccupied. While this accommodation is wasted the German
refugees are crowded into unsanitary huts and other accommoda-
tion unprovided with the most elementary comforts and decencies,
and frequently have to sleep on the floor.
Before coming to Nuremberg I visited several of the flüchtlinge
camps in Bavaria. The contrast between their living conditions and
those of the majority of non-German DP’s demonstrated how for-
tunate are the former victims of the Nazis as compared to those
who suffer the consequences of the crimes against humanity com-
mitted by the “victorious democracies.”
In the Dachau camp near Munich I found fifty or more people
—men, women and children—to each wooden hut 26 x 65 feet in
size. There were no partitions, but the inmates were using some of
their precious blankets to screen off their cubicles. The huts were
cold and damp. It was raining and one woman with a little girl
suffering from a bad cold showed me the wall behind their bed
where the rain seeped through.
Four hundred people at Dachau shared one washroom and one
outdoor latrine and there was no hot water. No one had any linen
or sheets, and some had neither shoes nor overcoats.
Those of the flüchtlinge who have found employment have to
continue living at places like Dachau since there is no other ac-
commodation to be found. In Bavaria as a whole, there are already
two people on an average in every room or cellar, and the situation
is little better in the rest of the United States and British zones.
So the flüchtlinge who get jobs often have to travel four or five
hours a day, partly on foot, to reach them. One woman I talked to
at Dachau told me her daughters left home at 5:30 a.m. and re-
turned from work at 9:00 p.m. after walking two and a half hours
each day.
For the most part, however, the flüchtlinge have no hope of
work, especially since the currency reform which wiped out many
small enterprises which had formerly given some of them employ-
ment. Moreover, a large proportion of the German refugees are
women with young children.
I visited the two schools at the camp, one for Protestants and
the other for Catholics. The schoolroom was an unheated wooden
barrack without desks. The children sat on benches and had no
books and hardly any paper or pencils. The two schoolmasters gave
instruction by writing on the blackboard. One of them was a So-
OUR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY 205
cial Democrat from the Sudetenland who had spent the war years
in a Nazi concentration camp, and had been liberated only to be
thrown out of his home by the Czechs. The children looked thin
and pale, but somehow clean and neat, as almost all Germans
somehow manage to be even when living in the most miserable con-
ditions.
In both schoolrooms the children stood stiffly at attention and
shouted “Grüss Gott” in unison when I came in. Formerly they
would have said “Heil Hitler” in the same manner, and I could
hardly imagine that at Dachau they thought “democracy” was an
improvement on the Third Reich.
I spent the greater part of a day at Dachau, and spent several
hours in Barracks No. 14 getting the history of each family there.
The oldest inhabitants of the barrack were a Dr. Werner, aged 64,
and his wife. He had been a judge in old Austria and then a state’s
attorney in the Sudetenland for twenty years. The Werners’ only
son had been killed on the Russian front. In May 1945 Dr. Werner
had been arrested by the Czech Government and kept in prison
for two years where he was himself starved and beaten, and wit-
nessed the torturing of many fellow prisoners. When finally re-
leased he was a wreck and of course all his property had been con-
fiscated. Meanwhile his wife had been driven out of Czechoslovakia
and been robbed of everything she possessed, even her wedding
ring. She had first been transported with thousands of others in
open freight cars as far as Teplitz, and then literally driven by the
Czechs on foot over the Erz Mountains. After five weeks of wan-
dering hungry over the roads she had found a place as a farm
worker in Saxony. Dr. Werner finally found her there after his own
expulsion and was also hired by a farmer. But in August 1947 he
was deported back to Bohemia as a slave laborer. Finally he was
allowed to go to Bavaria to rejoin his wife who had managed to
escape from the Russian zone.
These two old people had no hope at all. They were by now too
worn out to do physical labor, and there was no other. They had
been robbed of their home and their clothes, their furniture and
their linen, and could expect gradually to rot away in Dachau. But
they were brave old people and not merely concerned with their
own troubles. Frau Werner was helping the women with young
children and Dr. Werner clearly enjoyed the confidence and re-
spect of all the other fifty-three people in the barracks. Thanks to
him I got each of their case histories, and later when I managed
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

206
to send him some food and clothing, and got friends in America
to send a few CARE packages, Dr. Werner distributed them all
around, as I know from letters I received.
Each family or individual in the barracks had had the same kind
of experience as the Werners, and some had suffered far worse
treatment. The case of Fritz Bernglau and his wife Melitta was
typical. After fighting on the Russian front and being taken pri-
soner, he had escaped and got home to Czechoslovakia. There he
had “eagerly awaited the arrival of the American troops, who un-
fortunately remained outside Karlsbad.” The Russians came and
under their protection the Czech Communists looted the town of
Bodenbach where the Bernglaus lived. Later the whole population
was expelled in a veritable March of Death. In one day the twenty-
four thousand inhabitants of the town were thrown out and then
driven like cattle into Saxony. The women and children and old
people who could not keep up the pace were beaten with clubs and
many dropped by the way. All baggage had to be abandoned. After
being unable to obtain shelter in Russian-occupied Lower Saxony,
and wandering the roads there for three weeks, the Bernglaus
turned back to Bodenbach hoping to be able to retrieve some
clothes and linen they had hidden in their house before being ex-
pelled. Both were discovered and arrested and Melitta was brutally
beaten. They spent ten weeks in prison where thirty-two people
were penned into cells for two, and the women had to listen to the
screams of men being tortured, for the prison was full of “political”
prisoners, meaning “capitalists and landowners.” The wife of the
banker Adler committed suicide because she thought the screams
she heard were those of her husband in the next cell. Some
prisoners were literally beaten to death.
“Having learned the horror of Bolshevism on our own bodies,”
as Fritz Bernglau expressed it, he and his wife, after their release
from the Czech prison, now had only one idea: to get out of the
Russian zone. So today they are in Dachau, which, bad as it is, is
preferable to being under Communist rule.
I will mention only one more case, that of Erika Bruno whose
pretty little daughter Renate caught my attention when I entered
the barracks. She was a farmer’s wife in Silesia but had been caught
by the surrender visiting her brother in Czechoslovakia. Although
pregnant she was banished to her home and had to walk two hun-
dred miles on foot, over the Riésen Mountains, living on roots and
what she could get by begging. But as soon as she got home, the
OUR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY 207
Poles threw her out and robbed her of all she possessed, even her
coat and shoes. In an advanced state of pregnancy she walked bare-
foot until Christmas 1945 from town to town as far as the March
of Brandenburg, where she was admitted to a hospital and her
child was born.
It was somewhat more cheerful to visit the Wagoner “factory”
which a group of Sudeten expellees had managed to set up near
Munich. They had been driven out with two thousand others on
foot, and had the fifty-five pounds of baggage each had been al-
lowed to carry stolen from them by the Czechs at the frontier. One
of them had even been deprived of the little pushcart on which he
was transporting his two-year-old son and had to carry him on his
back. But the workers from the Wagoner Factory had kept to-
gether and had managed to get hold of a few machines from the
American authorities who let them use dismantled reparation ma-
chinery for a time. Then the Norwegians had given them a couple
of reparation machines in return for their services in repairing
others. In this and other ways, being highly skilled workers, they
had pieced together sufficient means of production to be able to
earn their living once again, and were producing boring machines
in a little factory. Visiting this enterprise one realized the stupidity
of the Czech Government in throwing out skilled workers to satisfy
their lust for revenge, or their greed.
But a sword of Damocles hung over the flüchtlinge who had
ceased to be paupers. At any moment the United States reparations
authorities might order the dismantlement of the transformers
which supplied power to the Wagoner workshops and other small
enterprises in the vicinity.
If this should happen, the Wagoner workers would be flung back
into the misery of life at Dachau or other camps, as had already
happened in the case of others who had established small produc-
tive enterprises only to be mined by the currency reform which
wiped out their small capital resources.
It was not surprising to find that the Communists have consid-
erable influence in the huge Dachau camp where people are living
in such terrible conditions. The unofficial leader of the Dachau
flüchtlinge was a Communist who by organizing a hunger strike
and mass-protest meetings had forced the Bavarian administration
to improve conditions in the camp, by “winterizing” the wooden
buildings and providing somewhat more food.
The Bavarian authorities held responsible for the inadequate ac-
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

208
commodations and food in the camps are not, however, the real
culprits. Bavaria has been forced to take far more German expellees
than any other part of Western Germany, and since so much hous-
ing has been requisitioned for DP’s and the occupation forces, the
problem is insoluble.
According to Military Government estimates, in 1948 a quarter
of the more than nine million inhabitants of Bavaria were not
Bavarians. There are over a million expellees from Czechoslovakia;
606,000 from east of the Oder and Neisse rivers; 51,500 from Hun-
gary; and another 170,000 from various other places. In addition,
there are nearly 300,000 Germans from the other zones or other
Western states; and 164,000 foreigners living on the German econ-
omy. To these figures there has to be added uncounted thousands
of unregistered persons who have entered Bavaria illegally. In this
respect Bavaria has the worst problem of all the Western Länder
because of her long frontier, which vast numbers of people cross
under the cover of night, coming from Czechoslovakia, Rumania,
Hungary, and Yugoslavia, as well as the Russian zone of Germany.
Whatever efforts are made to find work and adequate shelter for
the refugees, so many more keep on coming that Bavaria is like a
Sisyphus pushing uphill a stone which continually rolls down again.
Only half of the total population increase in Bavaria is ac-
counted for by expellees “legally” brought in under the Potsdam
agreement. By the first of January 1948, the Bavarian population
which in 1939 was seven million had increased to nine and a quar-
ter million; 1.8 million were refugees and 292,000 were evacuees
from other parts of Germany.
Seventy thousand foreigners, not cared for by UNRRA, entered
Bavaria in 1945-46. In 1947 another seventy-five thousand “border
trespassers” were registered in the German camps in Bavaria. The
currency reform in 1948 which entitled everyone to receive forty
of the new D marks revealed the existence of a hundred thousand
additional illegal immigrants in Bavaria who had never registered
and had not received ration cards but had presumably existed on
the black market.
An increase of two and a quarter million in Bavaria’s population
makes it physically impossible for the German administration to
provide adequate housing, for in addition there are 330,000 people
who were rendered homeless either by the bombing of their houses
or their requisitioning by Military Government. A million rooms
were destroyed and another million seven hundred thousand dam-
OUR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY 209
aged by bombing during the war. The United States Military Gov-
ernment has requisitioned another 115,000 rooms. Excluding the
comparatively ample space reserved for the IRO’s DP’s and the
far more than adequate accommodation taken over by the Mili-
tary Government for the housing and recreation of Americans and
their guests, Bavaria is today so overcrowded that the average “liv-
ing space” is one room to each two persons. In Nuremberg, Regens-
burg, and other badly damaged cities there are nearly two and one-
half persons per room or cellar.
This average housing space includes barracks, wooden summer
camps unfit for living in winter, the dungeonlike bunkers (air-raid
shelters) with damp cement walls in which thousands live, stables,
and other structures unfit for human habitation.
Some refugees are housed in dance halls and gymnasiums and
other quarters without sanitation or heating. The transit camps
are so packed with humanity that newcomers often have to be kept
in the freight cars in which they arrive, or left to sleep in the fields
without cover.
The majority of the German refugees are women and children,
but it is not even possible to find employment for the men and
others fit to work. Of the 1.9 million German refugees in Bavaria,
1.2 million are sheltered in agricultural communities with fewer
than four thousand inhabitants, and they cannot make use of
refugee labor to any considerable extent.
The cost to the Bavarian state of feeding the refugees and pro-
viding them with beds, blankets, clothing, and household utensils
is out of proportion to its resources. In 1948, it was providing three
and a half million D marks a month for the maintenance of the
camps, not counting the clothing and beds initially supplied.
In 1948 Herr Jaenicke, the Bavarian Minister, who is himself a
refugee from Silesia, appealed to the United Nations for help, say-
ing that it is impossible for Germany to house and feed the Ger-
man and non-German refugees denied help by the International
Refugee Organization. He appealed in particular for a) the release
of unoccupied housing accommodations by the IRO; b) speeding
up the repatriation or emigration of DP’s; c) extension of IRO care
to the large number of foreign refugees who now escape from So-
viet territory to Germany and have to be provided for by the Ger-
man economy; d) consideration of the need to provide employ-
ment for German and other European refugees in the allocation of
Marshall Plan funds.
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210
Bavaria is the land of refuge for all who succeed in escaping
from the countries ruled by the Communists. But when the Ger-
mans appeal for help in coping with this great influx of fugitives
from Communist terror, they are told that it is not the concern of
the Military Government, but entirely a German responsibility. It
is not funny, however ridiculous, that, while insisting that expellees
and refugees are a German responsibility, the Military Government
should smugly announce that it has “directed that adequate recep-
tion and distribution facilities be provided.” For it knows as well
as the Germans that this is impossible.

211
8
Our Un-American Activities in Germany
IF THE UNITED STATES ADMINISTRATION HAD BEEN DOMINATED BY
Communists it could hardly have done a better job in preparing
the way for Communist rule in Germany, than the Military Gov-
ernment during the first two years of the occupation. The denazifi-
cation law was used to expropriate the capitalists, pauperize the
middle classes, and bring democratic justice into contempt; Com-
munists were appointed to leading administrative positions and put
in control of newspapers and radio stations; and Germany was con-
fined in an economic strait-jacket which precluded the revival
of free enterprise and created the chaos, misery, and despair, cal-
culated to drive the Germans into the Communist camp.
The Nuremberg and Dachau trials directly affected only a small
number of people, but the principles enunciated there, combined
with the directives given to the Military Government by Wash-
ington in JCS 1067/6, deprived the majority of Germans in the
United States zone of liberty, property, and other civil rights.
JCS 1067/6 suspends habeas corpus indefinitely, and told the
Military Government it had authority to arrest and hold in prison
without trial anyone who might endanger Allied objectives, includ-
ing, of course, those of Soviet Russia.
It also instructed the United States Army authorities to dismiss
both from public office and from positions of importance in pri-
vate enterprise, not only Nazis but “all other persons hostile to
Allied purposes.” If this instruction had been applied in its full
rigor, it would have allowed practically no Germans, except the
Communists, to hold administrative or executive positions, since
few other Germans could have been expected at that time not to
be hostile to Allied policy.
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212
The “Law of Liberation from National Socialism,” as the de-
nazification decree was humorously, or cynically, named, affected
some twelve million people out of the total seventeen million in
the United States zone. For it penalized not only all members of
the Nazi party, but also their families, and members of affiliated
organizations. It was based on JCS 1067/6 which instructed the
United States Army authorities to arrest, among others, all persons
holding “important” positions in the national and local civil and
economic administration down to and including village mayors,
and in “industry, commerce, agriculture and finance.”
“It may generally be assumed,” said the Washington directive,
“that in the absence of evidence to the contrary, any persons hold-
ing such positions are Nazis or Nazi sympathizers.”
Thus in effect the United States adopted the Communist theory
that capitalists were ipso facto National Socialists, and as late as
the fall of 1947 the United States Military Government was still
holding in prison without trial men whose only crime was that
of having been the owners of industrial enterprises or executives of
large corporations.
So great was the influence of the Communists in Washington
at this time, and so closely did the United States follow Moscow’s
class-war directives, that the United States Commander in Ger-
many was also ordered to “take under his control all property, real
and personal, owned or controlled . . . by all persons subject to
arrest.”
Since several years were required to process the tremendous num-
ber of people affected by the denazification law, this meant that
the property of the accused and their families was confiscated for
an indefinite period whether they were guilty or not.
In Bavaria the United States Military Government went so far
as to appoint a known Communist as Minister of Denazification.
Many Spruchkammer (denazification boards) were dominated by
the Communists who utilized their position to get rid of their
political opponents. For the terrible thing about denazification in
the United States zone was that if anyone denounced you as a Nazi
you had your job and your money taken from you until you could
prove your innocence. Many people were kept waiting in prison, or
“free” but deprived of the right to earn a living, for years before
they so much as had an opportunity to prove their innocence.
Since anti-Communist and Nazi were synonymous terms in the
Communist vocabulary, many non-Nazis and even anti-Nazis were
OUR UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES IN GERMANY 213
deprived of their jobs, or penalized in other ways by the Commu-
nist-dominated denazification boards. For instance, I was told by
the students at the University of Munich that Professor Adolf
Weber, who is one of Germany’s best economists and never a Nazi,
was persecuted and prevented from teaching for a long time by the
denazification authorities because he is anti-Communist.
Of course it was not only the Communists who took advantage
of the unlimited right given by the United States to anyone to ruin
innocent men by denouncing them without evidence. Anyone who
had a grudge against someone else for personal as well as political
reasons could cause his enemy injury by informing against him
without proving the charge. Even if the victim of the denunciation
was eventually able to prove his innocence, he would have suffered
loss of his job, sequestration of his property, and a long period of
mental anguish. This was the inevitable consequence of America’s
destruction of the foundation of democratic justice by decreeing
that in Germany innocence, not guilt, had to be proved.
Another case worth citing which was brought to my attention by
the students at Munich was that of Professor Voerlzer, a well
known architect who had been driven into exile in Turkey by the
Nazis in 1933. In 1946 while holding the position of Rector of the
Munich Technical College and Chairman of the Commission for
Reconstruction, he was accused by an obscure architect of having
spied for Turkey during the war. He was thrown out of his job and
subjected to all sorts of restrictions and indignities for a whole year.
During this period reconstruction in Munich was at a standstill.
The Nazis as well as the Communists were able to use the de-
nazification law to get rid of their enemies. In fact, the Commu-
nists and the Nazis had a joint interest in utilizing the denazifica-
tion law to penalize everyone of liberal or conservative tendencies.
After denazification was abandoned in the Russian zone in favor
of the present Soviet policy of courting the Nazis and encouraging
them to join the Communist Party, the Communists in the West-
ern zones withdrew from the Spruchkammer, and held large meet-
ings for the “little Nazis” to tell them how badly treated they were
by the United States authorities.
The turnabout of the Communists left few Germans interested
in implementing the denazification law which had not only iden-
tified Nazism with opposition to Communism, but had placed a
premium on dishonesty and was regarded by most Germans as
merely a method of exterminating the German professional classes,
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214
“capitalists,” and qualified administrative and technical personnel.
Meanwhile the United States Military Government had been
forced to admit that it had bitten off more than it could chew by
attempting to process some twelve million people. It had also be-
gun to realize not only that a democratic Germany could never be
established under its original directives, but also that no kind of
a viable economy could be re-established in Germany if no one who
had ever been a Nazi was allowed to work except as a laborer. The
fact that the Nazi regime had insisted that administrators, tech-
nicians in important positions, and executives of industrial and
business enterprises must join the Nazi party in order to retain their
jobs, made it impossible for the German economy to function so
long as all former Nazis were debarred from working except as
“hewers of wood and drawers of water.”
Unable or unwilling to admit the absurdity and futility of the
original denazification law, the United States Military Government
tried to escape from its predicament by proclaiming a series of
amnesties. First there was a “youth and poverty” amnesty; next a
disability amnesty which wrote off veterans and others fifty per
cent disabled. A distinction was further drawn between those who
had joined the Nazi party in 1933 or before when its character was
unclear, all of whom were held guilty, and those who had joined it
later who were held to be less culpable.
Finding that in spite of all its efforts to escape from the predica-
ment into which its original directives had landed it, it was still
stuck with three million seven hundred thousand unprocessed
“Nazi criminals,” the Military Government wrote off a million and
a half of them as only “nominal” Nazis. It also released most of the
men and women who had been kept for years in prison without
trial, and allowed many others who had been tried but had ap-
pealed their sentences to go home.* Wishing to wash its hands of
the whole silly business, the Military Government finally declared
that denazification was a German concern. Its pressures were sub-
sequently exerted under cover, being used to ensure the institution
of denazification proceedings against those who were acquitted at
Nuremberg in spite of the efforts of the prosecution, and against

* In February 1947 Military Government ordered that all those who had ap-
pealed against their sentences should be held in prison; but in March 1948 it
rescinded the order and left it up to the Germans to decide who should be set
free. So in 1948 most of the former Nazis who had appealed their sentences
were allowed to go home.
OUR UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES IN GERMANY 215
those witnesses who had refused to testify as the prosecution re-
quired.
Since the Military Government had started out with the idea
that the “little guys” should be tried first, the net result of Ameri-
ca’s attempt to process nearly half the population and then giving
up the whole project is that the minor offenders who were tried
in the first years of the occupation received very stiff sentences,
while many major offenders have escaped with light sentences or
have been acquitted because their cases were tried recently by local
German courts. Thus those least responsible for Hitler’s crimes
have lost everything, while the major offenders and offenders
(Groups 1 and 2) who were not tried until later, have recently
been “denazified” after the payment of a small fine. It became a
matter of luck how a former Nazi was classified and what penalties
were inflicted. Where those who believe the German name can be
cleansed by inflicting stiff sentences are in charge of denazification,
former Nazis receive maximum sentences. Elsewhere they have es-
caped with nothing more than a small fine, or are put in Group
5 and let off. Moreover, a man’s fate has largely depended on his
influence as well as the locale in which he is tried.
Whereas many Gauleiters, Gestapo chiefs and other leading
Nazis have either been exonerated or classified as minor offenders,
and are now at liberty, I found a miserable collection of former
industrial workers, craftsmen, peasants and minor party func-
tionaries in the Langwasser prison near Nuremberg, which I vis-
ited in November 1948. Here were the last remaining Nazis in
Bavaria still held in prison while awaiting trial, and those already
condemned but not permitted like others to go home while await-
ing the result of their appeals.
Out of a total of 240 men interned at Langwasser 70 were man-
ual workers, fifteen farmers or peasants. 40 minor civil servants,
and 35 intellectuals. The prisoners included 41 people who were
not even party members and three former inmates of Nazi concen-
tration camps. The majority of them had been in prison without
trial for years; many were old and sick. They were for the most part
a pitiful collection of forgotten men who had no money and no
influence and had lost all hope. The exceptions were such former
important figures as von Papen, shoved into prison by the Bavarian
denazification authorities after his acquittal by the International
Military Tribunal, although he is not a Bavarian; and Fritzsche, the
Nazi Propaganda Minister, who had been condemned to nine years
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

216
imprisonment by a denazification court also after having been ac-
quitted by the I.M.T.
I was taken to Langwasser prison at my request by Camile Sachs,
who is chief of denazification in Bavaria, presumably because he
is half Jewish, since he seemed to have no qualifications for the
job. He had not himself suffered imprisonment under the Nazis
and he insisted passionately that it was a German concern to pun-
ish all Nazis. Sachs was certainly an improvement over his prede-
cessor Lorenz, who as Minister of Denazification had condemned
hundreds of thousands of people to prison but had now been ar-
rested himself as a common criminal. Lorenz, I was told by Amer-
ican correspondents, was a sinister type and a potential new Hitler,
but no one knew whether he had been subsidized by the French or
the Russians.
The trouble with Sachs seemed to be his subservience to the
Military Government. His son was employed in the “Special Proj-
ects Division” attached to the Prosecutor’s Office, and there was
thus perfect coordination between the Nuremberg prosecution and
the Bavarian denazification authorities. The latter have pounced
upon witnesses and such of the accused as the prosecutor failed to
convict and sent them to German prisons in place of Military Gov-
ernment ones. In Germany under United States rule the legal prin-
ciple that you cannot be tried twice for the same crime has been
jettisoned like so many others.
Camile Sachs’ thick Bavarian accent and voluble inconsequential
meanderings made it very difficult for me to understand him, so
the prisoner, Fritzsche, former Propaganda Minister of the Third
Reich, translated what he said into good German, or what Sachs
called Prussian German, so that I could understand.
Fritzsche had come to Sachs’ office to plead for a re-examination
of the cases of the minor offenders in the camp, because as he
stated to me frankly, if the little people were not released, he had
no hope of ever getting out of prison himself. It struck me, how-
ever, that the indifference of German and other democrats to the
fate of the workers who had got themselves in prison merely be-
cause they had believed Nazi propaganda or despaired of democ-
racy, was enabling former Nazis to retain or regain the confidence
of the German “common man.”
Fritzsche, very tall and straight, polite but not subservient in his
manner in talking to Sachs, inspired the respect which courage
evokes whatever a man’s antecedents and views may be. He was
OUR UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES IN GERMANY 217
thin to the point of emaciation but he had not been broken by
his ordeal at the hands of the Russians, who had put him in the
Lubianka prison in Moscow after he surrendered Berlin to them
and interrogated him day and night; nor by his long incarceration
at Nuremberg where the prisoners had been kept under brilliant
lights day and night, watched every moment, forced to sleep with
their arms outside the covers, and never given enough to eat.
He also had a sufficiently good sense of humor to laugh when I
said I thought the propaganda ministers of all nations ought to be
incarcerated.
Sachs said he was no Gestapo man and told Fritzsche to show
me around the prison, which consisted of wooden huts in a large
compound. The greater part of this huge camp was empty. It
seemed to me a great pity that the German expellees from the
Eastern territories could not occupy it, since the huts afforded bet-
ter accommodations than that afforded to the victims of Yalta and
Potsdam. It was a commentary on the postwar world that the im-
prisoned Nazis held guilty of Hitler’s war crimes were living in
considerably better conditions than the victims of our war crimes,
whom I had visited at Dachau and other places. Not that the
Langwasser prison could compare to the prisons of the United
States in which common criminals are confined. The huts are
draughty and cold and the food as inadequate but not more so
than that of the German workers. But the prisoners at Langwasser
at least had elbow room, unlike the German expellees from the
Eastern territories who are crowded fifty to a room.
I talked to von Papen in the hospital wing of the prison for an
hour, during which he told me how close Germany and France had
been in 1932 to an accord which would have prevented the Nazis
from coming to power. Afterwards I talked to other prisoners. Of
these conversations I remembered best the one I had with a for-
mer factory worker who had been a social democrat before 1933.
When I asked him why he had become a Nazi, he said: “It was
the first time in my life I ever had security. No one could fire me.”
Almost bald, short, emaciated and grey faced, a bewildered
“common man” who had never understood what it was all about,
this man now sits in jail for an indefinite period.
On our way through the camp we met a group of prisoners wait-
ing at the locked gate to attend the funeral of a man who had hung
himself the night before. The poor devil had been rearrested after
having been released from several years in prison, because the
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

218
Yugoslavs claimed him. He had been torn away from his wife and
three young children whom he had had to leave without anyone
to provide for them, just when he had begun to hope he could
earn a living again. Expecting death at the hands of the Commu-
nists, or life-long slave labor, he had committed suicide.
Denazification is today nearing its end, but it has left enduring
bitterness and distrust of democratic justice. To punish men for
their opinions or political affiliations, not for actual crimes, is bad
enough. It is even worse to have let the “big shots” who were the
pillars of the Third Reich go unpunished because they have in-
fluence, are useful to the Military Government, or pretend they
never were Nazis, and to punish thousands of small fry because
they were tried too soon, or were too honest to deny their beliefs,
refused to be subservient to their conquerors, or had no power to
move their judges.
Fritz Hentzler, the Socialist Bürgermeister of Dortmund, who
has been a lifelong anti-Nazi, said that denazification was a funda-
mentally unjust proceeding, and one of the “most appalling things
ever done.” As he pointed out, one of the essentials of a democratic
state is the independence, impartiality, and legal experience of
those who administer justice. The man in the street lacks the qual-
ifications to be a judge, and to use him as such on a denazification
panel was to imitate the “peoples democratic justice” of the Com-
munists.
According to Fritz Hentzler, the British denazification proceed-
ings were worse than the American. Anyone useful to the British,
he said, was tolerated, and a premium put on treachery, as for in-
stance when Diehl (who was the first chief of Goering’s Prussian
Gestapo and was succeeded by Himmler who formed the Reich
Gestapo) was put in Category 5 (exonerated) because at the end
he had betrayed the Nazis, as he had formerly betrayed the last
Weimar Republic Minister of the Interior for Prussia under whom
he had served before Hitler came to power.
In the British zone, Hentzler said, the hearings of denazification
boards were not open to the public and the defendants were not
even heard. Former Nazis who had “good connections” or were in
a position to supply black-market goods, could obtain “certificates
of exoneration” to send into the courts. There was at first no Pub-
lic Prosecutor to call witnesses and ensure the condemnation of
the guilty, nor any court to which those sentenced on account of
their lack of influence could appeal.
OUR UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES IN GERMANY 219
According to other accounts the British denazification proceed-
ings were far more equitable than the American. They picked only
such Nazis as would have been tried in a criminal court under
pre-Hitler German or Anglo-Saxon law. That is to say, they tried
people only for the crimes they had committed, not for their opin-
ions or for membership in the party. So they prosecuted only
twenty-five thousand people and released many of them. But Fritz
Hentzler was probably right in thinking that some prominent
Nazis were released because they would be useful to the British.
The French, like the Russians, regarded ex-Nazis as their most
reliable aides since such Germans were completely dependent on
their mercy, and to a much smaller degree this may have been true
of the British. The point is, of course, that the whole denazification
process put a premium on dishonesty, subservience, and treachery
and condemned honest men while releasing timeservers, cowards,
and clever men who could camouflage their real sentiments and
prepare for the day when they could take vengeance on their con-
querors by serving them now.
There was no doubt a good deal of truth in the description of
denazification given me by Löwenthal, the German-born Frank-
furt correspondent of Reuters News Agency.
“In the British zone,” he said. “denazification was carried out
by the Nazis, and in the United States zone by the Communists.”
The Communist Schmidt already referred to was removed from
his post “for incompetence” nine months after he took office. But
this did not change the fact that the totalitarian concepts of the
Communists were the basis of the United States zone denazifica-
tion law. This law, as German jurists have pointed out, was based
on the same principles as Nazi and Communist law. It punished
men for their opinions without need to prove any guilty action; it
penalized their families; it violated the principle of judicial inde-
pendence by giving the Denazification Minister the right to re-ex-
amine and quash every judgment: it kept men in prison for years
without trial and it continued to penalize them after they had been
tried and “denazified.”
A German attorney, Dr. Otto Gritschneder, in a pamphlet called
Dead End Denazification demonstrates in detail the Nazi charac-
teristics of the denazification law. He writes:
The law of Liberation by Article 61, combined with Military Gov-
ernment Law No. 52, produces effects which are in full harmony with
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

220
the Himmler principle, so rightly opposed, of ‘liability of kinship.’ Not
only the respondents’ property is blocked, but also that of his wife. It is
of no use for the wife to have been officially notified, long ago, that
she is “not affected” by the law; nor is it of any avail to her if she was
one of the political persecutees of the Third Reich. Together with her
children she shares the fate of her husband, in spite of her own clean
political record. In addition to undeniable psychic injury, she takes upon
herself all the material injuries as well. Not even in the Third Reich was
it customary to ban the wife of a political prisoner from her lodgings.
Nor was it usual to seize the property of a non-Jewish wife married to
a Jew.
The various amnesties proclaimed by the United States Military
Government, far from rectifying the abuses of the denazification
law, showed up its arbitrary character, and its unjust foundations.
It showed no equity to amnesty people on account either of their
age or their incomes. In the case of the youth amnesty it was ab-
surd to say that a man who joined the Nazi party at the age of
eighteen in 1933 when its aims were unclear, is guilty; whereas a
younger man who joined the party in 1942 is innocent.
The poverty amnesty was similarly inequitable, unless one ac-
cepts the Communist view that a capitalist, or man of property,
and a Nazi are the same thing.
To make an amnesty dependent on either age or fortune is to
deny the principle of equality before the law which is the very basis
of democratic justice. Thus, both in its application and exemptions
the so-called Law of Liberation from National Socialism denied the
very basis of liberty, and brought all democratic law into contempt.
Politically, as well as morally, the law has been disastrous, since
who will disclose his real convictions if tomorrow he may be per-
secuted once again for his opinions—either by the Communists or
the Western democracies?
To quote a German liberal woman writer, Dr. Maria Fritzle of
Stuttgart:
A man is never more sensitive than in his feelings for law. . . . if he
has to suffer discrimination under the law, which he does not deserve,
then abhorrence and internal resistance will arise which gnaw at his
mind and make him unfit for reconstruction. We should always bear
in mind that Hitler in the years after 1930, could boast so great an
afflux, and of decent Germans too, because he fought against the arti-
cles of the Versailles Treaty which burdened Germany with the guilt
of having started the war. This article violated the German feeling for
OUR UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES IN GERMANY 221
law because it established a collective guilt of all the Germans and
based the demand for reparations upon that guilt. We do not serve
peace but work against it if we violate the sound feelings for law of our
countrymen by imposing upon them reparations for things which are
not a crime in themselves. . . . Numerous young people deny the state
and politics their service, although they could give valuable help to
democracy. The fear of the questionnaire of the future kills the honest
battle of opinions at the present time.
Dr. Ludwig Hagenauer, the Socialist Minister for Denazification
in Bavaria who succeeded the Communist Schmidt, pointed out the
harmful political consequences of the Denazification Law in 1947,
when he said that the incrimination of hundreds of thousands of
persons for formal reasons had pressed many who were formerly
averse to National Socialism “into a sympathetic community with
the confirmed National Socialists, due to the common and equal
treatment of both.” As Dr. Gritschneder wrote: “Instead of purg-
ing the German people by punishing the Nazi criminals, National
Socialism is being immortalized by the Denazification laws.”
Finally, it is worth quoting the statement made by Eugene
Kogon who himself spent years in Hitler’s concentration camps:
It is not a crime to have erred politically. . . . A political error . . .
is not a matter which should be brought before a court. To err is human
. . . we have a right to err, if we do not want to be either slaves, mari-
onettes or gods. . . .
The manner in which attempts have been made for two years now
to make the German people free of National Socialism and militarism
has contributed a great deal to the chaotic state in which we find our-
selves today. Everybody with inside information knows that the result
is less denazification than renazification. The following bad saying is
repeated from mouth to mouth:—
“Since the democratic sun shines above us, we are getting browner
every day.”*
Before one gets brown one gets red. There is little doubt that it
was the influence of the Communists, and of those Americans
who have knowingly or in ignorance adopted their theories, which
led to the denial of fundamental American political and legal prin-
ciples in occupied Germany. Not only did Americans sit with the
representatives of Soviet tyranny on the International Military Tri-

* In an article in the Frankfurter Hefte in July 1947. Quoted in Dead End
Denazification, privately printed as a manuscript by Dr. Otto Gritschneder,
Munich.
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

222
bunal at Nuremberg, thereby bringing the whole proceedings into
disrepute, the United States Military Government put Commu-
nists and “totalitarian liberals” in a position to discredit democ-
racy and pave the way for a Communist conquest of Germany
from within.
The appointment of a German Communist as Minister of De-
nazification in Bavaria in 1945 was only one among many examples
of the Military Government’s partiality for the Communists, and
acceptance of their definition of democracy during the first years
of the occupation. The general use made of Communists to “teach
democracy” to the Germans was in fact the outstanding un-Ameri-
can activity which helped discredit democracy in German eyes and
made it indistinguishable from Nazi totalitarian rule.
The former political intelligence officer (PIO) in Bavaria for
the United States Military Government in its relations with the
Germans was a certain Martin, a former DP of Austrian origin and
a full-fledged member of the Communist Party, who was refused
a visa to the United States. Nevertheless, he continued to repre-
sent the United States Military Government as a PIO charged
with supplying information to DENA and other German news
media. Mr. Martin was also sent by the Military Government on
a tour to exhibit the documentary film “People’s Court,” which
recorded the trial of the German resistance leaders who had tried
to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944.
General Telford Taylor, who sent Mr. Martin on this tour, ap-
parently imagined that the film would demonstrate to the Germans
how fair the Nuremberg trials were, in contrast to the horrible
treatment meted out to the anti-Hitler conspirators. Taylor was,
it seemed, too obtuse to realize the effect of sending a Communist
to show the film in Germany and comment on it. Of course, the
reaction of the Germans to the movie was to say, “What fine brave
fellows those German aristocrats were, and how terrible it is to be
ruled now by Communist sympathizers under the American flag.”
This same Mr. Martin was held responsible for the continued
operation, after the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia, of the
Czech short-wave radio station in the former press camp at Stein
Castle near Nuremberg. So while thousands of Czechs were seek-
ing to flee the Communist terror, a radio station in American oc-
cupied territory was still permitted to broadcast Czech-Communist
propaganda!
Thus the communist Martin, in American uniform with Ameri-
OUR UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES IN GERMANY 223
can transport and communications at his disposal, was enabled to
perform yeoman service for Stalin under the protection of General
Telford Taylor, who used him to instruct the German press con-
cerning what they should and should not say.
As Peter Blake, a former United States political intelligence of-
ficer in Frankfurt demonstrated in an article published in Politics
in the summer of 1948, it was not the failure of the “army mind,”
but that of the “liberal mind” which made the American zone of
Germany “ripe for Stalinism.”
Mr. Blake’s article shows in detail what a “strange collection of
American ‘liberals,’ Stalinoids, and Russia Firsters” were as-
sembled in the Information Control and Political Affairs Divisions
of Military Government “to lend the United States Army a help-
ing hand in re-educating the Germans.”
Information Control Division (ICD), he wrote, contained such
well-known Communist sympathizers or Soviet apologists as Saul
K. Padover of PM, Cedric Belfrage of Hollywood who subsequently
became editor of a pro-Wallace magazine (the National Guard-
ian), and a choice selection of other former OWI employees of
the same political coloring.
Mr. Cedric Belfrage, according to Peter Blake’s account, ap-
pointed German Communists as the licensees of the most impor-
tant newspaper in the American zone: The Frankfurter Rundschau
with a circulation of 150,000. One of his appointees, Emil Carle-
bach, who had been in Buchenwald, was subsequently exposed as
having collaborated with Hitler’s SS in murdering other inmates
of the concentration camp.*
Another of the men Mr. Belfrage picked to teach the Germans
democracy as an editor of the Frankfurter Rundschau was Wil-
helm Gerst, who later became an active organizer for the Russian
Socialist Unity Party (SED).
The Information Control Division rejected the services of such
proved anti-totalitarian German liberals as the former editorial
staff of the pre-Hitler Frankfurter Zeitung and “kicked them
around” for so long that some took off for the French zone, and
started a fortnightly called Die Gegenwart which has established
itself as one of the best magazines in Europe.
* See the August 1948 issue of Harper’s Magazine for the account given by
the Socialist Ernst Federn of how Carlebach murdered, or attempted to mur-
der, fellow inmates of Buchenwald whom he thought might become postwar
opponents of Communism.
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

224
Dr. Joseph Dunner, who, although former Chief of Intelligence
for the OWI in Europe, was neither a Communist sympathizer nor
naive, wrote in the June 8, 1946 issue of the New Leader how, as
an ICD official in Germany, he was approached by the German
Communists who evidently expected him to do his duty by Stalin
like his colleague Mr. Belfrage. Bruno Goldhammer, chief of the
Bavarian Communist Party, came to Dr. Dunner and said:
I understand that you are about to organize a German newspaper in
Munich. You know that in Frankfurt, where such a paper already ex-
ists, several Communists have been admitted as licensees of the paper.
I have come to ask you, in the name of the Communist Party to follow
the example of your colleagues in Frankfurt and to include among the
licensees in Munich Communists whom my party will nominate. (Ital-
ics added.)
In another issue of the New Leader (May 25, 1946) Dr. Dunner
told how the German-American News Agency, DENA, was placed
under Communist control.
The Communists and their fellow travelers having established a cen-
ter . . . in the Information Control Unit for Greater Hesse in June
1945, Brigadier General Robert McClure, chief of the I.C.D. assigned
seven civilians of the O.W.I., two lieutenants and four enlisted men,
to Bad Nauheim to lay the foundation of DENA. . . . the team was
headed by Lt. Edel, a former correspondent for PM.
According to Peter Blake’s account in Politics, the Information
Control Division of the United States Military Government, also
enlisted the help of a certain Dr. Hans Meyer, a German from
Switzerland who was a leader of the Stalinist “Protective League
of German Writers,” who told Blake that he “thanked God for the
Soviet Union.”
The top licensee of DENA, as might have been expected, turned
out to be Dr. Rudolf Agricola, a Communist Party member since
1933.
The Stalinist Dr. Hans Meyer was subsequently appointed Po-
litical Chief of Radio Frankfurt but eventually, according to Peter
Blake :
Even I.C.D. found his (Meyer’s) denunciation of Churchill and others
as “war mongers” a little hard to swallow, and it even penetrated Mili-
tary Government’s consciousness that a Communist political commen-
OUR UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES IN GERMANY 225
tator, broadcasting three times a week over one of Western Germany’s
principal stations, was not the best advertisement the U.S. could pro-
duce of the democratic way of life.
So at least, early in 1948, Dr. Meyer was “permitted to resign.”
The Munich radio station was also placed under the direction of
a Communist: Herr Bentschen.
Heute, an official American German-language magazine, was
entrusted to a certain Captain Heinz Norden, who besides being
fanatically anti-German was a member of several Communist-front
organizations such as the American League against War and Fas-
cism, whose vice-chairman was Earl Browder, and the American
Youth Congress. Captain Norden naturally devoted a large amount
of space in Heute to articles by Ilya Ehrenburg and to picturesque
accounts of the happy life of the Poles and of the Germans in the
Russian zone.
There have been many and important changes in the past year
or two, and the “Stalinists” no longer have the power they once
held in the Information and other divisions of Military Govern-
ment. But the evil they did lives after them. Many Germans no
longer believe in American democracy, after having for so long
been forced by the United States Military Government to swallow
Communist propaganda.
Germans cannot forget how during the first years of the occupa-
tion the Information Control Division forbade any criticism of
Soviet Russia or its satellites in American-licensed newspapers, pe-
riodicals, and radio stations. The American ban on the publication
of news unfavorable to the Soviet Union and its satellites was ex-
tended to cover such subjects as the cruel expulsions of women and
children from Silesia, Russian arms manufacture in the Eastern
zone of Germany, and the collaboration of former Nazis and Ger-
man General Staff officers with the Red Army. Military Govern-
ment directives not only protected the Soviet Union from adverse
criticism but forbade knowledge of its anti-western activities to
be published in German newspapers. By its positive and negative
actions the representatives of the American people in Germany
both discredited Western democracy and destroyed belief in our
integrity.
Military Government did not confine its un-American activities
to giving unlimited facilities for propaganda to the Communists.
It also insisted upon the inclusion of German Communists in state
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226
and city administrations. In its zeal to establish a “people’s democ-
racy” it insisted on “coalition governments”: forcing the Germans
to include Communists in the Länder administration of Bavaria
and Hesse. In Munich, for instance, as late as April 1948, the head
of the Economics Office was a German woman Communist who
naturally sabotaged production instead of endeavoring to increase
it and improve conditions.
It was not until 1947 that the Germans were permitted to get
rid of the Communists in state and local government, and as late
as the summer of 1948 when I was in Berlin, Communists were still
employed in the labor offices, food offices, and health administra-
tion of the boroughs of Zehlendorf, Steglitz, Schöneberg, Tempel-
hof and Neukölln in the Western sectors.
In Munich I asked Hermann Jordan, a particularly intelligent
and politically well-informed young instructor in mathematics at
the University, about Communist influence in Bavaria. His reply
was a revealing commentary on the past un-American activities of
the United States Military Government. He said:
“In the early days of the occupation the Communists were very
influential because of the key positions they held in the Western
zones, their excellent organization, and their long period of train-
ing in the Soviet Union before being appointed to their jobs by
the United States Military Government. But not now. Since Amer-
ica withdrew its support from the Communist Party, it is no longer
a political factor in the Western zones.”
Jordan is half Jewish and so escaped military service but he had
been elected head of the organization for securing jobs for the
students of the University who nearly all have to earn their living
while studying, and most of whom are veterans. Thanks to Jordan,
I was invited to a big student meeting addressed by Dr. Hans
Ehard, the President of Bavaria. Ehard was endeavoring to con-
vince the students that they should not despair of democracy, now
that there was hope of the formation of a Western German state,
but the loudest applause his speech evoked occurred when he said:
“The mention of the word democracy, or democratic, especially
before a young audience, arouses a wave of distrust in Germany
today.”
Ehard went on to say that this does not mean that the idea of
democracy is considered fundamentally bad, or that the years of
dictatorship have rendered the German people so unaccustomed to
freedom that they have become “obtuse to the principles of demo-
OUR UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES IN GERMANY 227
cratic life.” “The explanation is somewhat different.” said Ehard.
“Our doubts arise from the contradiction between democratic illu-
sions and the reality of power relationships in the world of today.”
Listening to the questions put to Dr. Ehard by the students and
talking to some of them afterwards, I got a glimmer of understand-
ing of the attitude of German youth today. Most of them stand
aside from politics, having no respect for, or confidence in, any of
the parties. Veterans of all the battlefields of Europe, brought up
in the Nazi ideology which led Germany to disastrous defeat and
now equally disillusioned with democracy, they also have no faith
in communism. Several of them, however, told me that in 1945
they had inclined toward the Communists, or had believed that
collaboration with them was possible and desirable. It had taken
them a year or two to understand the difference between Commu-
nist theory and practice, just as they had not at the beginning
understood the gulf which divides the professions of the Western
Powers and their actions. Moreover, at the beginning of the occu-
pation it was impossible to distinguish between democracy and
communism, since the Americans had identified the two and put
many Communists in power over the Germans in the United
States zone.
When I asked if they thought that many young Germans were
still Nazis at heart, Jordan replied: “The drift back to Nazi ideas
is mainly the consequence of denazification.”
How could it be otherwise since the only difference between
“democratic” justice and totalitarian justice appeared to be the
categories of people singled out for collective punishment?
The American view that the “followers” of the Nazi party are
not dangerous while the former convinced believers should be pun-
ished for the rest of their lives, was both unrealistic and harmful
to the democratic cause in Germany. For whereas men of integrity
and intelligence could have been convinced of the error of their
beliefs and converted to our way of thinking, the mob which fol-
lows success is as likely to follow Stalin today as it was ready to
follow Hitler yesterday.
Many of the “little Nazis” have in fact joined the Communist
Party since Germany’s defeat. All that was needed, as one former
Nazi said to me in Berlin, was “to take the swastika out of the Red
flag.” On the other hand, those Nazis who were critical of Hitler’s
policies, and opposed them at the risk of their lives, are precisely
the type which refuses to abase itself before the power of Military
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

228
Government and plead that they never were “real Nazis.” Their
former doubts of Hitler’s policies, instead of bringing them over
to the democratic camp, give way to a conviction that after all Hit-
ler was right since the democracies also believe that justice means
only the will of the strong, and there is no hope for the weak.
Many Nazis who never committed any crimes, but are too proud
to deny former convictions, and who believe that they only did
their duty as German patriots, are outcasts in Germany today; while
the timeservers, the liars, the self-seeking and unprincipled men
who joined the Nazi party for material advantages or the advance-
ment of their careers, are exonerated and allowed to hold office or
practice their former professions under Military Government.
Our treatment of the German officer class has been no more in-
telligent. No former Wehrmacht officer above the rank of captain
is allowed to hold a job in the state or local administrations, or in
the universities and professions. No officer is allowed to receive his
pension, even if he is so old that he did not fight in either of the
World Wars. The widows and children of officers who died fight-
ing for their country are deprived of their pensions by order of the
United States Military Government. No victor ever treated a van-
quished foe with less chivalry and humanity than the United States
treats the officers of the defeated German army.
When Marshal von Leeb wrote to General Clay begging that
the German States be permitted to pay small pensions to the
widows and orphans of the German officers who fell fighting, Gen-
eral Clay did not even deign to reply himself to the old Marshal
who was appealing not for himself but for the dependents of the
slain. Instead, on March 18, 1947, a curt epistle signed by an Amer-
ican lieutenant colonel, was sent to Marshal von Leeb, which said:
“In August, 1946, the Allied Control Authority adopted Law
Number 34, repealing all legislation granting privilege, or particular
status to ex-military personnel or their survivors. The objectives of
the above measures were to combat militarism and the prestige
and position of the military classes in Germany.”
Just as Stalin had condemned the children of kulaks and other
capitalists to starvation, so the United States Military Government
condemned the children of its slain enemies to a pauper status.
The curious thing is that the Military Government should have
imagined that it would extirpate militarism in Germany by making
martyrs of the families of those who had died fighting for their
country.
OUR UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES IN GERMANY 229
Some of the wives and children of the fallen were able to exist
on their savings until currency reform. But this measure deprived
them of their last resources and reduced them to destitution to-
gether with the officers who survived the war but have been de-
barred from earning a living.
A letter written by the wife of an old friend to an American gen-
eral who once studied in Germany and now holds a high position
in the War Department, shows the plight of the German army
wives whose husbands are either dead or prisoners of war in Russia.
HAMBURG, JANUARY 1, 1949
“Unfortunately there is nothing good to report. My husband is
still a Russian prisoner. As a result of the currency reform I lost
the last of my money. At the Welfare office they told me that of-
ficers’ families are not allowed to receive anything; that they should
be exterminated. They nevertheless allowed me a little relief, al-
though not enough to keep alive my four children, who are all still
going to school. From June till October our situation was quite
bad. Now I have a job as secretary to an exporting firm, so our situ-
ation is better, although it is difficult for me also to look after the
children.
“We have had a lot of misfortune with sicknesses which are
doubtless due to long years of poor diet. My oldest child has been
at the hospital for two months, but he is to be sent to Switzerland.
I am very glad on that score. When are the Russians going to re-
lease the prisoners? The war has been over four years now and still
there are hundreds of thousands who have not returned home. This
is very inhuman indeed.
“Please don’t be angry at me for having told you my sorrows. I
would like to have told you good things. Perhaps it will be pos-
sible for my husband to write to you himself next January 1 and
perhaps things will be better then.
“And now I wish you and your wife much happiness for the year
1949.
With hearty greetings,”
I. RANCK
The American officer who translated this letter wrote on the mar-
gin: “It is hard to read such a letter without being touched by the
thought: the common tragedy, the common courage of all human-
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

230
ity, which transcends man-made national boundaries. Christian
kindness, sympathy and understanding also, fortunately can trans-
cend them:”
When in the fall of 1948 the former Wehrmacht officers of
Hesse wanted to form an “Economic Association of former mem-
bers of the Wehrmacht” to secure their pensions and civil rights,
the United States Military Government forbade it.
Meanwhile the Russians offer good pay and special privileges to
any former Wehrmacht officers who will join them against us.
As Count von Schlabrendorff (the man who almost killed Hit-
ler) said to me in Wiesbaden, many Wehrmacht officers will have
no choice but to join up with Russia, since America condemns
them and their families to starvation.
Von Schlabrendorff told me what tempting offers he himself had
received from the Russians when visiting Berlin—offers which he
himself had rejected but which he realized were hard to resist by
others who unlike himself were precluded from earning a living by
the United States. Moreover, the Russian appeal is not only to
self-interest, but also to German patriotism. The German officers
are tempted by the prospect of “freeing Germany from the Anglo-
Saxon yoke.”
“It is only one step from National Socialism to Bolshevism,” said
von Schlabrendorff. Many German officers were anti-Nazi, al-
though America has identified their patriotism with Nazi sympa-
thies. Today many formerly anti-Nazi officers are moved by the
Russian appeal to the old tradition of Russo-German friendship.
Stalin continually reminds the Germans that in the past they were
strong only when Germany and Russia were friends.
However great their dislike of Communism and their former an-
tagonism to Nazism, German officers today remember that after
Prussia had been defeated and humiliated by Napoleon, it was re-
stored in alliance with Russia which broke the power of France.
Germany’s situation today is sufficiently similar for Russian propa-
ganda to evoke a response, in spite of German fears of Commu-
nism, and the terrible situation of the Germans under Russia’s heel
in the Eastern zone. The fact that German officers, like former
high Nazis, are much better treated by the Soviet Government
than German “common men” cannot but lessen the antagonism of
the former officer class to Russia.
The denial by the Western Powers to Germany of the right to
defend herself, coupled with our refusal to guarantee her defense
OUR UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES IN GERMANY 231
ourselves, and the fact that only Russia can restore her lost eastern
territories to Germany, all play into Russia’s hands.
General Speidel, who was Rommel’s chief of staff, said to me in
Freudenstadt in the French zone: “If we cannot expect either jus-
tice or security under America, we shall be forced to turn toward
Russia. It is not yet too late to orientate Germany toward the
West, because that is where most of us want to turn; but the last
hour is striking. Soon you will have made it impossible for the
Germans to find their way back to the West.”

232
9
How Not to Teach Democracy
THE BEHAVIOR PATTERN SET FOR AMERICAN SOLDIERS AND CIVILIAN
in Germany is perhaps no less important than our economic pol-
icies 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 Nu-
remberg, 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 Ger-
mans, 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 per-
mitted to enter the hotel by special dispensation is continually re-
minded of his inferior status. On the wine list in the bar, for in-
stance, there is a printed list of instructions concerning the correct
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 233
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 Ameri-
can 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 bur-
den” 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 medi-
eval city which our bombs have utterly destroyed. Many centuries
have passed since Hans Sachs sang, and the memory of the Meister-
singer 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 Ger-
many has become. While retaining the privileges of a master race
they have lowered the barriers to social intercourse with “the
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

234
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, al-
though 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 head-
quarters 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 un-
fair to the British here, since all lavatories in England are labeled
“Ladies” or “Gentlemen,” not “Men” and “Women.” But in Ger-
many the prefix “English” makes the British Military Govern-
ment’s notices look excessively insular and absurd.
The more liberal members of the United States and British oc-
cupation forces explain these particular Jim Crow regulations as
due to the fact that toilet paper and soap are so scarce that if Ger-
mans 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-
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 235
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” work-
ing 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 ar-
rived 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 him-
self 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 rec-
reation 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
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

236
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 requisi-
tioned the last of them.
Later I give some details of occupation costs, and the manner
in which the Western Powers have unnecessarily deprived the Ger-
mans of housing space. For the moment I am concerned, in par-
ticular, 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 Gov-
ernment and Nazi government. In fact, the Wehrmacht in France,
Holland and Belgium seems to have behaved better in many re-
spects 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 un-
necessary 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
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 237
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 satis-
fied 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 hap-
pier if billeted on German families, and provided with a little of
the comforts of home and an opportunity to enjoy social inter-
course with decent Germans, instead of being restricted to clandes-
tine “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 Thanksgiv-
ing 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 Ameri-
can 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 ex-
clusive American billet.
It is indeed a curious fact that United States policy fosters prosti-
tution 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 con-
taminated by contact with an accursed people, we threw the Ger-
mans 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
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

238
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, in-
stalled 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 other-
wise 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 substi-
tute 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 Amer-
ican 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 posi-
tion 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
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 239
in the shops since currency reform. Without joining the big rack-
eteers engaged in shipping abroad via the French zone large quan-
tities of German goods needed on the home market, many Ameri-
cans still did their bit to undermine the value of the new currency,
stimulate inflation, and deprive the German workers of the neces-
sities of life.
Although German women can no longer be hired for a carton of
cigarettes or some food now that famine conditions no longer pre-
vail, 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 bar-
gain hunting is the favorite pastime. The remark I heard one eve-
ning 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 discom-
forts 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, be-
cause 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 cur-
rency. 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
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

240
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 restau-
rant.” 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 ac-
commodation for the night. After standing in the road a long time
she managed to thumb a ride. Although she had been told in Ber-
lin 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 Ber-
lin at her own expense and said she was coming home. Thereupon
action was finally taken and after a few days she was sent to Brem-
erhaven 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 ac-
commodations. 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
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 241
of the American passengers after the latter had finished eating.
They had their food dumped down on dirty tables and were al-
lowed 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 Nel-
son of the Army transport Henry Gibbins was thought to be
mainly accountable for their treatment. No doubt he was a spir-
itual 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 de-
served 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 indig-
nities 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 pub-
lished 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 under-
stood 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 en-
courage the German democrats.
The friendly behavior of the Negro crew of the Army transport
Henry Gibbins toward the ill treated German “guests of Military
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

242
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 Ger-
man 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 coun-
try 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 Ger-
man 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 criti-
cized the women of his own race in the States for the same short-
comings as white women in America: that they wanted you to en-
tertain 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.
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 243
These sentiments, of course, reflected the natural liking of the
male for women who were ready to serve and wait instead of de-
manding 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 Ger-
mans had far less of the inbred “white man’s” superiority toward
the colored races than the British and Americans and had conse-
quently 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 con-
quest 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 scape-
goats for German economic distress.
Unfortunately for the future, the revengeful attitude of some
Military Government officials who were Jews, the fact that Mor-
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

244
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 for-
merly 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 democ-
racies.
Personally, it has always seemed to me that the Communists and
their sympathizers were the main influence which inspired our in-
human treatment of the Germans during the first years of the occu-
pation. 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 Da-
chau 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 Amer-
ican 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 bet-
ter 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 mur-
dered, and who themselves endured the horrors of the concentra-
tion 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
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 245
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 Ger-
mans suffered the same hunger and torture as the Jews because they
opposed the tyranny of the Nazis and spoke out against the perse-
cution 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 in-
capable of distinguishing the trees from the wood.
As Hans Rothfels points out in his book, The German Opposi-
tion 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 ma-
jority 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 re-
sistance 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 Ad-
ministration 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

* Henry Regnery Company, 1948, p. 14.
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

246
“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 for-
bidden 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 in-
side 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 Dis-
tribution 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 il-
legally 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

* Ibid., p. 20
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 247
rights or the protection of law) is amply borne out by the regula-
tions 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” regula-
tions are carried so far that a German policeman is not permitted
to protect German nationals from violence on the part of the con-
querors 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 imprison-
ment 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 box-
ing 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-op-
erated with the German police to maintain law and order, but in
Munich, for instance, Germans told me they could expect no pro-
tection or redress against unlawful acts committed by the occupa-
tion forces. I shall long remember my old taxi driver in Munich
who told me how often he had been cheated of his fare by Ameri-
can 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 com-
mand 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 sol-
diers under his command are overbearing and brutal toward the
Germans who are completely defenseless. But the higher Army
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

248
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 in-
doctrination 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 serv-
ices to their own country.
These new style indoctrination courses no doubt help to change
the behavior of the United States occupation forces, but the pat-
tern of behavior originally laid down for them lingers on.
It is moreover inevitable that many Americans should be de-
moralized 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 fol-
lowed the totalitarian liberals among the civilian officials of Mili-
tary 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 ex-
punge 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 as-
sured 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 indi-
vidual German homes by American officers who carted off pictures,
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 249
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 mem-
bers of the occupation forces often destroy any sense of gratitude.
Nor can everything be measured in economic terms. The “mas-
ter race” attitude which the Military Government formerly pre-
scribed 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 rec-
ognize 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 op-
portunities 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 choco-
late, 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
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

250
being a brute. I was often ashamed in Germany at the warm grati-
tude 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 depriva-
tion 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 Euro-
pean history have swallowed all the propaganda about the wicked-
ness of the German people. Their reporting is at best superficial
and at worst extremely prejudiced. Moreover, some are still suffer-
ing 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 al-
though 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 Ger-
many who had lived there before the war, and most of them had
so little knowledge of the historical background that they really be-
lieved that the Germans knew nothing about democratic institu-
tions 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 corre-
spondents 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
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 251
correspondents are for the most part psychologically as well as tech-
nically unqualified to report the news from Germany. The few cor-
respondents 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 back-
stream 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 correspond-
ents are friendly with some Chinese. But their lives are lived for
the most part in the privileged, protected, and insulated surround-
ings of the conquerors. So with rare exceptions they naturally re-
flect the views of the Military Government, and have little sym-
pathy for the German people and no disposition to report their
grievances. Few of them seem to realize any better than the Mili-
tary Government that you can’t teach democracy unless you prac-
tice 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-
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

252
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 Ger-
man collaborators.
The author of the article admits that the German democrats are
inseparably associated in German minds with “the present condi-
tions 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 re-
vealed 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 deci-
sion 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 it-
self. 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 Mili-
tary Government have to a large extent been replaced by Ameri-
cans 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-
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 253
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 consti-
tutions. 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 Consti-
tution 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 quad-
ripartite 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 them-
selves.
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 dic-
tatorship 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 with-
out power. They are put up to bear the brunt of German dissatis-
faction, and to act as buffers or scapegoats. As Dr. Alexander
Boeker remarked in an article in the New Leader:*
* March 26, 1949
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

254
“To give German democratic leaders the shadow of power with-
out its substance merely serves to discredit democracy. There can
be puppet dictators, but there is no such thing as a puppet democ-
racy.”
Not only are the German democrats placed in the unenviable
position of scapegoats for Allied policies. They are continually sub-
jected to indignities, reprimands and scoldings which undermine
their authority, and emphasize their puppet status. Their recom-
mendations 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 pro-
posals 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 Gov-
ernors.
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 ques-
tions 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 “ob-
server.” Meanwhile a Military Government spokesman had an-
nounced on the radio that Semmler was “a damned liar.” At the
end of the Frankfurt conference Clay and Robertson called Semm-

*The Joint Export and Import Agency of Military Government.
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 255
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. Subse-
quently 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 quis-
lings are able to hold office under the United States Military Gov-
ernment.”
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 orien-
tate Germany toward the democracies. I could not but agree with
him that unless criticism was permitted by the Military Govern-
ment, Germany’s democratic politicians would lose the confidence
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

256
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 treat-
ment 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 de-
mocracy when we order their elected representatives to produce a
law within a couple of weeks which would require months of de-
bate 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 Mili-
tary Government, there is long-distance criticism, denunciation,
charges and counter charges. Far from endeavoring to inspire re-
spect among the Germans for their elected representatives, the
Military Government tends to ignore or humiliate them by treat-
ing them as puppets dependent on its favor, not on popular sup-
port, for the retention of office.
It is not only in the political sphere that the United States Mili-
tary Government has discredited democracy. Its policies have been
no less destructive of free enterprise, and no less fatal to the estab-
lishment of conditions in which honesty and endeavor are re-
warded, 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 Mili-
tary 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 con-
trolled prices which produced less than the costs of production or
of purchase. But the black-marketeers, who consisted of a strange
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 257
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 de-
feat 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 oc-
cupying forces, or to a much larger extent by Germans in the serv-
ices 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 hun-
ger 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

* German Realities (Reynal & Hitchcock, New York, 1948, p. 76)
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

258
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 pur-
chased at no more than a quarter above the former price being in-
adequate 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 pro-
cure 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 occupa-
tion, when it handed over to the Russians the plates to print un-
limited 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 ex-
pellees 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 un-
employable were deprived of the means of existence. But the in-
centive to work was revived for a time, and manufacturers and
merchants who had withheld their goods from the market so long
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 259
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 suffi-
cient 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 abey-
ance before currency reform, assumed disastrous proportions after-
wards, 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 be-
ginning 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, ciga-
rettes, 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 pro-
ceeds of German exports for the importation of food and raw mate-
rials for the rehabilitation of Western Germany. But since Mr.
Logan shares power with the British he is not in a position to pre-
vent 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
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

260
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-Ameri-
can monopoly of German trade.
The Germans naturally consider that Anglo-American control
of their foreign trade must preclude any possibility of their becom-
ing 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 ar-
ticles adapted to specific requirements, and requiring detailed
knowledge of markets. Naturally, therefore, a gigantic Anglo-Amer-
ican bureaucratic organization such as JEIA is not in a position to
discover export possibilities even if it were not controlled by Ger-
many’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 com-
pete 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 Ger-
many . . . 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 sus-
picious 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-
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 261
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 ex-
change at the unreal rate of 30 cents to the dollar, and by the nu-
merous 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 Govern-
ment to halt the drain on the German economy constituted by
France’s exports of currency and manufactures, and by the advan-
tage 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 ex-
ports, 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 pol-
icies, 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 West-
ern 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 Ger-
many’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.
* These figures and those in the nest paragraphs are taken from an article
written by Dr. Fritz Baade, head of the Institute of World Economy at Kiel.
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

262
Thus Britain is today slightly more self-sufficient in food produc-
tion than Western Germany, deprived by the Yalta and Potsdam
agreements of its Eastern bread basket. Both countries must “ex-
port or die” but Western Germany’s need to export is even greater
than Britain’s, not only because of her smaller production of bread-
stuffs 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, Ger-
many’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 calo-
ries 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 neces-
sities, 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 contin-
ually rising, and the workers, finding themselves as badly or worse
off than before currency reform and the removal of economic con-
trols, were demanding that the advocates of free enterprise be re-
moved from control of the German Economic Council.
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 263
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 free-
doms. The Germans, still deprived of both liberty and responsibil-
ity, cannot make a free economy work, for it is impossible to in-
stitute 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 aban-
doned, 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 Ger-
many 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 Ger-
many the costs of occupation constitute a crushing burden, pre-
cluding 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 inter-
national law as embodied in the Hague Convention. Individual
Americans and British in the first months of the occupation looted
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

264
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 avail-
able 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 Brit-
ish 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 occupy-
ing 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 im-
posed on the German economy, but also the fact that far from de-
creasing 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 rev-
enue:
Occupation Costs Tax Revenue
1946 374 million marks 3,027 million marks
1947 1,141 “ “ 3,539 “ “
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 manda-
tory services rendered to the occupying Power were made at the
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 265
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 Mar-
shall 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 satel-
lites) 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 gov-
ernment. 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 Ger-
many is the requisitioning of houses and apartments, and the re-
fusal 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 con-
tinued 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-
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

266
ber of houses, hotels, and apartments in various towns now prac-
tically 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 re-
quired would be 665,000 square feet. But the actual space requi-
sitioned 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 cap-
tain 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 transi-
ent 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 prem-
ises by the British and the Belgians who share with them the
“duty” of occupation.
Even vegetable gardens and farms have been taken and the Ger-
man owners deprived of the produce. In a number of cases pro-
ductive 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
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 267
responsible for damage caused by action of the members of their
armed forces.” But neither the British nor the Americans have ob-
served 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 prem-
ises are returned to their German owners who find that their furni-
ture, 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 des-
perately 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 compari-
son 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 requisi-
tioned 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.
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268
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 manu-
factures.
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 manufac-
tured 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 lay-
ettes.
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 mar-
ket, 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 tour-
ists. 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 accommoda-
tions, services, and food supplied to Allied business men and tour-
ists. “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
HOW NOT TO TEACH DEMOCRACY 269
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 requisi-
tioning of goods and services for persons having no connection
with the occupying power. But the North-Rhine Westphalia re-
port 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 informa-
tion 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 occupa-
tion forces are nothing of the kind, and constitute in fact repara-
tions 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 eco-
nomic stability.
In the British zone individuals appear to reap much of the bene-
fit from the forced free delivery of goods and services to the occupa-
tion 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 correspond-
ents for their accommodation and for services without compen-
sating 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
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270
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 in-
clined 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 occupy-
ing 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 Ameri-
cans have adopted in Germany the same principles as the defeated
Nazis.

271
10
The French Ride High
“IF IT WERE NOT FOR THE AID AND COMFORT FRANCE HAS GIVEN
to the Soviet Union, we should have settled the Berlin crisis long
ago.”
The American officer who said this to me was referring to the
French refusal to agree to a stronger stand being taken against
Soviet Russia at the beginning of the blockade, and to France’s
desire to abandon Berlin whatever the cost to Western Europe and
America. But his remark, which expressed the exasperation of the
American Army at being hobbled by French timidity and Commu-
nist influence in France, could be applied to the whole interna-
tional situation.
France today is like a dead weight hanging around the neck of
the free world. Partly because of their concern with the extinct
menace of German aggression, partly because of their hope of
avoiding war with Soviet Russia by appeasement, and partly be-
cause of Communist influence, France prevents the implementa-
tion of an American policy designed both to rehabilitate Western
Europe and to ensure its defense. At every turn and on every issue,
French stalling succeeds in nullifying the American effort to make
Europe self-supporting and secure. On the question of reparations,
on the Occupation Statute, and on the Ruhr, as in the case of the
defense of Berlin, France’s short-sighted policy weakens the
Western world. If ruled by the Communists, France could not have
done a better job in keeping Europe divided, weak, and powerless,
and bringing near the day when America will either go bankrupt
or revert to an isolationist policy.
The politicians who rule France today, like the Bourbons, seem
to have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Just as in the
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272
twenties they insisted on implementation of a policy of revenge and
retribution which destroyed Germany and gave power to Hitler,
so now, once again, they are dragging Europe toward the abyss.
It is one of the curious phenomena of the modern world that
the French nation, which prides itself on being the most rational
of peoples, acts like an hysterical woman in international affairs.
Perhaps the explanation is that given me by an American officer
who had participated in the negotiations with the French in Berlin.
“The French,” he said, “have lost their pride. If they had put up
a brave fight against the Germans and kept their self-respect, they
would not now be so revengeful and stupid. The British who suf-
fered much more than the French came out of the war with their
heads up because of their courage, but the French came out of it
with nothing but shame and fear.”
The very fact that so many French collaborated with the Ger-
mans during the occupation now makes them the foremost expo-
nents of a ruthless policy toward Germany. They seek to expunge
the record of their past acceptance of German domination by
wanting to kick the conquered Germans harder than those who
brought about their defeat.
Talking to this American officer in Berlin, I was reminded of
what General Robert E. Wood had said to me years ago. He told
me how his grandfather, who was a general in the Civil War, had
said to him: “Brave men don’t hate their enemies; they respect
them. They leave the hating to the women and the preachers.”
Unfortunately for the future of the free world, the United States
treats France like a beloved mistress, or a weak and foolish wife
who must be indulged. Whether it is because of the reverence for
French culture, inspired in Americans at school, where French is
often the only language taught, or the belief that France still stands
for liberty, equality, and fraternity, or simply the attraction of the
Paris flesh pots, the State Department, the ECA, and most Ameri-
can newspapermen and authors just love France. Paris is chosen
as the headquarters for ECA; Paris is where American trade-union
leaders meet their European comrades; Paris is where the United
Nations meets when it leaves Lake Success; Paris is the place where
all good journalists hope to go.
France, which lacks the will to work or to fight, and has neither
the intelligence nor the vision nor the strength to be the leader
of Europe, is still regarded in America as the capital of Europe.
So the poisonous French atmosphere of corruption, prejudice, weak-
THE FRENCH RIDE HIGH 273
ness, and hate is chosen for the settlement of European problems.
As the New York Times correspondent in Berlin, Sydney
Gruson, reported on April 18, 1949:
Military Government officials who share in General Clay’s annoy-
ance with ECA’s stand on Germany claim that the Marshall Plan
administration operates under a definitely French orientation. Among
Americans in Germany that is a serious charge, since the French are
always considered at fault for delays and troubles in evolving a three-
power policy for Germany due to their intense fears of German re-
surgence.
The occasion for this despatch was ECA’s stalling on General
Clay’s request for the release of 200,000,000 D marks from the
counterpart funds for the purchase of rolling stock and equipment
for the German railways. General Clay had also apparently been
incensed by the refusal of the ECA authorities to permit part of
the 5 per cent counterpart fund earmarked for the use of the
American and British military governments, to be used to finance
RIAS—the excellent radio station in Berlin which beams anti-Com-
munist propaganda to the Russian zone—and for the Voice of
America in its Berlin operations.
The impression that ECA is unduly influenced by the French
Government is heightened by the fact that Paul Hoffman and his
deputies spend much of their time in Paris and only pay flying
visits to other European countries. But it is the special favor shown
to France in the allocation of ECA funds and the failure of Paul
Hoffman to stop dismantlement by exerting pressure on France
and Britain which prove his insufficient regard for the United States
taxpayer and the long-term objectives of the Marshall Plan.
As I have already noted in Chapter 3, the ECA did not even
try to save most of the factories scheduled for dismantlement, and
the State Department went even further than Paul Hoffman’s
organization in appeasing France and Britain.
The outstanding example of the cost to the American taxpayer
of Dean Acheson’s readiness to allow France to continue destroy-
ing Germany’s assets, is the April 1949 agreement to let France
tear down part of the great works at Oppau producing nitrogen
fertilizers.
The Oppau plant, which is the largest synthetic nitrogen plant
in Europe, has the capacity to produce 730 tons of pure nitrogen
a day. Its capacity is to be reduced to 410 tons, which means an
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

274
annual loss of 100,000 tons of nitrogen fertilizer without any cor-
responding gain in French production. Most of the dismantled
equipment will be nothing but scrap, the residual value being cal-
culated as worth only a million dollars, as against the four and a
half million dollars originally invested in the plant.
According to the calculations made by Dr. Fritz Baade of the
Kiel Institute of World Economy, the nitrogen fertilizer which will
have to be imported into Germany to compensate for this loss
will cost $300 a ton, or a total of $36,000,000 to pay for the 100,000
tons of production lost through dismantlement.
Thus every dollar which France may eventually gain will cost
the American taxpayer thirty-six dollars. Should the loss to the
world of the Oppau plant’s production result in such a shortage that
nitrogen fertilizers cannot be supplied to German agriculture by
America, the cost will be even higher. If extra grain has to be im-
ported into Germany as a result of the French dismantlement of
Oppau, then each dollar gained by France will cost America
two hundred dollars.
If Western Germany is ever to become self-supporting, it re-
quires not less, but more nitrogen fertilizers than before the war.
It should be permitted to produce enough to bring its nitrogen
fertilizer consumption up to the Dutch-Belgian level of fifty pounds
an acre. This would require more than the total original capacity
of the Oppau plant. Instead, we are allowing the French to destroy
any possibility of German agriculture being supplied with its mini-
mum prewar needs.
Up to now, the French have allowed Oppau to produce only
80,000 tons as against its 200,000 ton capacity, and after delivering
two-thirds of this production to the farmers in the French zone,
they have exported the rest for France’s profit.
Everyone by now knows that the Russians, by refusing to treat
Germany as an economic unit, have imposed a crushing burden on
the American taxpayer. But few Americans are aware that France is
also responsible for the high taxes they have to pay. According to
Dr. Baade the refusal of the French to allow Oppau to provide
fertilizers for Bizonia has entailed a loss of two million tons grain
value a year, which is comparable to the amount lost by Russian
intransigeance and the Polish sequestration of former German ter-
ritory east of the Oder-Neisse line.
Oppau is only one example of the manner in which French
policy is weakening Europe and burdening the American economy.
THE FRENCH RIDE HIGH 275
The French in their zone of Germany have acted in a manner com-
parable only with that of the Russians. They have stripped it of
machinery and food to such an extent that only American sub-
sidies are now keeping the German population there alive.
The French have refused to take any of the German expellees
from the East, so that their zone, which includes fertile lands,
should be self-sustaining. But French looting produced actual
starvation until ECA began to give aid in 1948. Today the United
States, besides directly subsidizing the French economy to the tune
of $875,000,000 a year, is also providing the French zone with
$155,000,000 to compensate for what France takes out of it in
the way of food, timber, manufactures, and machinery.
The French did not wait upon any Allied agreement to exact
reparations. At the beginning of their occupation they started to
seize factory equipment and other German assets, so that by the
time the Allied dismantlement list was announced, France had
already reduced her zone to a productive capacity well below the
1936 level.
The French, who claim that the Germans removed some 60,000
machines from France during the occupation (and take no account
of the 40,000 machines which the Germans claim to have delivered
to France in the same period) had already taken 45,000 machines
from their zone alone when the dismantlement list for all three
Western zones was published in 1947. These machines, taken to
France as prélèvements, a polite name for looting, do not even
figure on the reparations account. And although the Germans in
the French zone were told that the official dismantlement program
to come afterwards would be modified accordingly, this promise
was not kept. Two hundred and thirty-four enterprises were sched-
uled for dismantlement in October 1947, only thirty-four of which
could be regarded as war industries, and most of which belonged
to the light-industry categories supposed to be expanded according
to the Revised Level of Industry Plan. In Württemberg, for in-
stance, the textile industry has been deprived of all its modern
interlock, round knitting, and weaving machinery, and thus pre-
cluded from any possibility of exporting. South Baden similarly
lost some two thousand textile machines. The factories producing
agricultural machinery were similarly dismantled. The machine-tool
industry in the Württemberg area was left with only 55 per cent
of its capacity after the first French removals, although according
to the Level of Industry Plan, it was supposed to be left with 83
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

276
per cent. Yet further removals of machinery are now taking place
according to the official Allied dismantlement program.
The leather, wood processing, and building industries have been
similarly shorn of equipment. The fine mechanics and optics in-
dustry, is supposed under the Level of Industry Plan to be allowed
a capacity 38 per cent higher than in 1936, but in South Baden
the French, by February 1947, had already reduced production to
half of the 1936 figure by the removal of 2,155 expensive machines,
and have since still further reduced its productive capacity.
Worst of all is the case of the watch and clock industry already
referred to in Chapter 3. By their preliminary and subsequent re-
movals of machinery the French have crippled this old industry,
which once supplied the livelihood of thousands of people in the
Black Forest area.
In the statement it released on April 13, 1949, the ECA office
of information in Washington gives a list of “French Voluntary
Retentions” in their zone of the whole or part of forty plants, in-
cluded on the list of 381 examined by the Humphrey Committee.
But neither in this report, nor in the Humphrey Committee Re-
port* is any account taken of the huge quantity of factory equip-
ment France has taken out of her zone without reference to the
Inter-Allied Reparations Authority, and without making any report
to ECA. One of the many injustices to which the German people
are now becoming accustomed is that the ECA has recommended
the release as reparations of the equipment of many factories pro-
ducing peacetime goods, because they had already been allocated to
recipient nations, but took no account of France’s and Britain’s
removals of machinery not on the dismantlement list, and not
figuring as reparations.
The reasons given by the ECA for its decision not to retain in
Germany the plants already allocated, rouses a suspicion that even
today Washington has not completely abandoned its former policy
of appeasing Russia, or was impelled by France and Britain not to
annoy Stalin; for in the preamble to the Humphrey Committee
report it is stated:
The problem of the political implications involved in a further
change of the reparations program, which had already been scaled down

* Report on plants scheduled for removal as reparations from the three
Western zones of Germany, January 1949. Industrial Advisory Committee,
Economic Cooperation Administration.
THE FRENCH RIDE HIGH 277
previously, was strongly urged upon us by both the British and the
French, as well as by the President of IARA. The fact that, of the
nineteen nations entitled to reparations, only nine of them are bene-
ficiaries of the European Recovery Program further complicated that
issue. This was particularly important in affecting our decisions with
respect to plants that had already been allocated to IARA for repara-
tions and also those which had been additionally sub-allocated by
IARA to recipient countries. The complications ensuing with respect
to both the allocated and the sub-allocated plants were found to be so
involved that, after careful consideration, we recommended to you the
immediate release of all such plants.
In other words, Paul Hoffman’s organization decided not to stop
the dismantlement and shipment of the factory equipment allo-
cated to Soviet Russia and her satellites. This is being done in spite
of the “regret” with which the ECA decided “to acquiesce in the
removal of some equipment from a number of small factories . . .
making articles useful for a peacetime economy.”
The machinery released by ECA for shipment to the Commu-
nists is by no means only that taken from peacetime industries. It
also includes precisely the types of heavy machinery regarded as
“strategic goods,” which the countries in receipt of Marshall Plan
aid are forbidden to export to Russia. So we have the strange spec-
tacle of ECA agreeing to deliver to the Communists from Germany
precisely those items which are recognized as helping to increase
the Soviet war potential.
All in all, dismantlement, even as modified by the recent agree-
ment with the ECA authorities, will leave the French zone with
no more than half the industrial capacity of 1936.
The ECA authorities did not, apparently, even try to save such
specialized peacetime factories as the Wafios works near Tubingen
which I visited. Wafios was one of the most modern factories in
Germany and produced wire-working machinery for the production
of paper clips, safety pins, bobby pins, wire netting, and upholstery
springs. At the beginning of the occupation the French came and
took away 200 machine tools from Wafios without so much as
giving an official receipt. A few months later three French officers
came and took another 34 machines for use in France. Next came
“Section T” of the French Military Government which took
another 70, saying, “This is final; we will not take anything more
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278
from you.” When the owner of Wafios said he was left without
enough machinery to carry on, he was told: “You can now learn
to work in the primitive way without modern machinery.” Finally
in the summer of 1948 yet another French commission arrived and
ordered 72 more machines to be dismantled, this time as regular
reparations to be allocated by IAIA. This last lot of machinery
was standing out in the open when I visited the Wafios plant and
would presumably soon become scrap.
Wafios at the time of my visit had about a quarter of its original
equipment, consisting of its oldest machinery. A family-owned en-
terprise, where the relations between workers and employer were
similar to those which prevailed in Siegen, with the owner manag-
ing somehow or other to obtain cider and fat for his men to keep
them from starving, Wafios was still working, although many oper-
ations had to be carried on by hand. The owner said to me: “I have
traveled all over the world; now I sit here in this crazy madhouse,
while the French, British, and American military missions come
one after another. The world is now full of loafers in uniform and
dollars will not save it until there are no more ignoramuses with
military authority.”
The French spoliation of German forests, which arouses more
resentment and hatred than their looting of replaceable property,
is also likely to have harmful and enduring consequences for
Europe as a whole. Everywhere you go in the French zone you see
huge stacks of logs by the roadside, or being carted along the roads.
The Black Forest is still beautiful, but in many places the trees
have been cut down and ugly stumps witness to the despoliation of
one of the loveliest places in Europe.
The French, according to German reports, have already cut down
three times as much timber as Germany took from the whole of
France during the occupation.
The British have also severely depleted German timber resources.
Timber fellings in the British zone were four times larger than the
increment by growth in 1946, three and a half times larger in 1947,
and more than twice as large in 1948. The British have decreased
their demands year by year, but the French have increased them,
so that in 1948 the percentage of trees they cut down as compared
with increments was 379.
C. A. Schenck, the founder of the Biltmore Forest School, in a
pamphlet published in New York in 1948, shows that the woodland
area per capita of the population is only 0.33 acres in Germany in
THE FRENCH RIDE HIGH 279
comparison with almost 4 acres in the United States, where there
is, nevertheless, no longer any superabundance of timber.
Only 0.5 per cent of the timber area of the world is in Germany,
and there is an annual shortage of timber of 290 million cubic feet
which used to be imported. Yet 7 per cent of Germany’s forest
reserves have been listed for cutting since the occupation, and are
being sent abroad.
As Mr. Schenck’s pamphlet points out, the worst feature of the
British and French cuttings is in their failure to observe the rules of
silviculture in their cutting, and to replant the denuded areas. He
writes :
In the French zone of the Black Forest 3,000 Italians are now em-
ployed by the French Military Government at clear cutting on a
gigantic scale. The British are employing (notably in the Harz Moun-
tains) 700 English colonial soldiers as lumberjacks. Naturally in these
operations all time-honored rules of silviculture are omitted, since they
are an impediment to logging.
The author also states that there were already 33,600 acres in
the French zone crying for reforestation; 75,000 in North Rhine-
land in the British zone, and 41,000 in the United States zone.
The Germans have not only suffered a severe diminution of their
forests through British and French cuttings and exports. The forced
export of coal has also led to increased use by the Germans of wood
as fuel for house heating.
The soil erosion which is resulting from the uneconomic ex-
ploitation of Germany’s forests by her conquerors will seriously
reduce the quantity of arable land. It is also likely to have a perma-
nently harmful effect on the climate of Europe.
The Swiss are already concerned at the climatic effects of the
French and British deforestation of Germany.
The German climate [a Swiss forestry expert wrote] is assuming
steppe features. This danger ought to be taken seriously, not only in
Germany itself but in all Europe. It is certain that as a consequence
climatic changes will take place in Switzerland. . . . Reforestation is
not taken care of after the cuttings have been made, because of the
lack of personnel, seeds and plants.*
* Cited by Hans Huth in Report on the Present Situation of Nature Pro-
tection in the American, British and French Occupied Zones of Germany
(Chicago, June 1948).
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280
An article in the forestry journal of the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (Unasylva, July-August 1947)
stated: “Many countries view an excessive depletion of Germany’s
wood resources with grave anxiety as upsetting the whole economic
structure and balance of Europe and as mortgaging the future with
a problem it will take at least a hundred years to adjust.”
As Edmund Burke said at the time of the French Revolution, you
cannot indict a whole nation. It would be as unfair to account the
whole French people responsible for the vindictive stupidity of
present-day French policy as it is to regard all Germans as having
been supporters of the Nazi regime. It is the French politicians of
all parties who play upon national passions and hatreds for their
own advantage who are responsible for the vendetta against the
Germans which is weakening all Europe, and may succeed in de-
livering it to Stalin. For the strange thing today is that the French
people, as distinct from their government, seem more friendly to
the Germans than in the past. This is the impression gained by
such Germans as Dr. Ernst Reuter and Annadore Leber who have
visited France recently; it was also my own.
During the two weeks I spent in Paris in the summer of 1948
I made a point of asking every Frenchman I met how it had been
under the German occupation. And the answer I received was al-
most always the same, whether I spoke to the waiters in restaurants,
to workers or small shop keepers, to servants or porters: A shrug of
the shoulders and the remark, “Well, we ate a little better then
than now.” And the last man I spoke to, who was the porter who
carried my bag to the train on which I was returning to Germany,
said, “If only we French could get together with the German peo-
ple, everything would be better; that would be something. We
might then enjoy peace and a decent living.”
It seemed in France that it was the rich, not the poor, who hated
the Germans, for the latter during the occupation had at least en-
sured an equitable distribution of the food and goods available,
whereas in Liberated France the rich got richer and the poor poorer
every day.
On my way from England to Germany via Ostende at the be-
ginning of August 1948 I had a conversation which throws some
light on the discrepancy between the attitude of the French and
Belgian governments and press and the sentiments of many French
THE FRENCH RIDE HIGH 281
and Belgian citizens of the middle and lower classes. I was traveling
second-class as I usually do, not only for reasons of economy, but
because people are more inclined to speak freely to strangers on
long train journeys than in any other circumstances. If you travel
in comfort in an international sleeping car the chances are that you
will speak little or not at all to your fellow passengers, and that
most of them will be foreigners like yourself. But in the second-
and third-class carriages where you sit up all night the hours pass
more quickly if you talk. So I have often had intimate conversations
with strangers whom I would never meet again and who for that
reason feel secure in revealing their true sentiments.
On this occasion four people including myself occupied the car-
riage. Opposite me there was an Englishman with whom I soon
got involved in a friendly argument about Germany. At one point
in our discussion he turned to the lady sitting at his side and, after
giving her a summary of our discussion in French, said: “Madame
will certainly agree with me since her people suffered under the
German occupation.” The lady, who was remarkably pretty, re-
plied: “No, Monsieur, I agree entirely with Madame. I am very
sorry for the German people today, and besides I see no sense in
the present policy of keeping them in such miserable conditions
that they may be driven to side with Russia against us.”
The man next to me, who turned out to be a Belgian business-
man on his way to Prague, broke in and said: “We simply cannot
understand the American policy of destroying Germany so that
there is no barrier between us and Soviet Russia. It is we who will
suffer the results of Anglo-American stupidity when the Russians
sweep across Europe.”
The Englishman said he was very astonished that my views in-
stead of his should be finding support, since this could hardly be
the general sentiment of the Belgian population. Thereupon the
young Belgian lady said to him: “Monsieur, you should not believe
everything which is said to you in public. Many people will not
tell you their real opinion. Today there is a black market in ideas.”
This seemed to me a penetrating observation. In such countries
as France and Belgium where lynch law was applied to collaborators
after the liberation, fear of showing friendliness to the German
people has not yet died down. And even in the freest countries
people often say what is expected of them, expressing the senti-
ments considered as orthodox and respectable, although they may
have quite different views “under the counter.” Just as free trade
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282
in many European countries is now called black-marketeering, so
in the realm of politics and international affairs, common sense,
logic, humanity, and reasonableness are too often considered as
evidence of depravity or reaction.
The influence of what is regarded as public opinion, because it
is the view expressed in the newspapers and in the statements of
politicians, is almost as potent as a Gestapo or a GPU in silencing
“dangerous thoughts.”
The Belgian lady made it clear to me, however, that it was not
only the fear of not being considered respectable which led many
people to demand revenge, although they actually had no hatred
for the German people and knew that Allied policy toward Ger-
many hurt them as much as the Germans. After I had given her a
copy of an article of mine pleading for a rational and humane atti-
tude toward the Germans, she expressed great astonishment. “Is
it really possible to say such things in the United States?” she said.
“Why, here in Belgium, you would be sent to prison if you pub-
lished such an article as the one you have shown me.”
The article in question was one I had written for the Washing-
ton newsletter, Human Events, in which I had contrasted the bar-
barism of our present-day policy toward the defeated with the
greater humanity and intelligence of conquerors in past ages, when
chivalry or rational self-interest had restrained the victors from
wreaking all-out vengeance on the vanquished. The Belgian lady
told me how a friend of hers had been arrested in the winter of
1947-48 and kept in prison without food for three days, for having
dared to protest against the Allied policy of starving the Germans.
Three months later, when I traveled through the French zone,
I was struck by the contrast between the attitude of the French
soldiers I talked to and that of their government and the occupa-
tion authorities.
I visited the French zone three times, but the longest time I
spent there was when I drove from Siegen to the Black Forest in
October with Helmuth Weber, his sister Margarita, and her French
husband René. The two men had business to do in the French
zone and I took the opportunity to go with them in the old Mer-
cedes. I had already learned how difficult it is to find out anything
if one comes to the French zone as an American journalist, because
the German factory owners are forbidden on pain of imprisonment
to tell Americans about the French seizures of machinery or to ad-
mit them to their factories.
THE FRENCH RIDE HIGH 283
Traveling with both Helmuth and René I had the advantage
of getting both the Germans and the French to talk to me with
little constraint. When we visited German factories René remained
in the background, and when I went into cafés and barracks to
talk to the French, Helmuth usually stayed behind in the automo-
bile. However, there were also many occasions when we all got
together with both Germans and French and I found that neither
had any personal hostility toward the other. Indeed I was struck
by the friendliness displayed by the French poilus (GI’s) toward
the German people. Moreover, unlike the Paris politicians, they
were hoping that the Germans would fight with them if Russia at-
tacked, instead of fearing, or pretending to fear, German aggression.
Poor René, who was anxious to convince me that the French
were not so bad as I imagined, was delighted when the French sol-
diers, junior officers, and workers we talked to echoed his own
chivalrous and intelligent views. But the trouble with the French,
as Carlo Schmidt had said to me, is that individually they are rea-
sonable, but once they become part of the bureaucratic apparatus,
they are impossible.
There were a considerable number of French workers in the zone,
mechanics and lumberjacks, some of whom I spoke to at Alpirs-
bach, a tiny village in the Black Forest where we spent two nights.
Although they were working for the French capitalists, denuding
Germany of her timber, they were themselves paid so little that
they were little better off than the Germans their employers were
robbing.
Most of the French soldiers and workers look as poor as, and are
usually dirtier and more unkempt than, the Germans, so that it is
difficult to regard them as a master race, or as exploiters and op-
pressors of the subject German people. There is, moreover, no such
social and economic barrier between the French “common man”
and his German counterpart, such as that which divides the Ameri-
cans from the conquered.
The French, let it be said to their credit, have not inculcated
their soldiers and civilians with any doctrine of national superiority,
and they have observed the old and honorable rules of warfare at
least with regard to the billeting of their occupation forces. French
officers and soldiers live in German homes without throwing the
owners into the street as the British and Americans have done.
The owners in some cases are relegated to the cellar or the attic,
and many Germans complain of the destruction and neglect of
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284
their houses by the French, but at least they are still permitted to
find shelter in their own homes.
Thus, in the French zone there is a curious contrast between the
great hatred of the French occupation authorities who have fleeced
the people, confiscated their cattle and grain and machines, starved
them, and sent them to prison for protesting against French oppres-
sion and looting, and the day-to-day, if not friendly, at least
equalitarian, relations between many individual French and Ger-
man people.
The impression I received in Germany was that whereas on the
governmental level the Americans are regarded as the most humane
and rational of the occupying powers, in personal contact the
French are somewhat less disliked than the Americans and the
British.
The same contrast is to some extent true of the Russians. In
Berlin I was often told that General Sokolovsky and his staff treated
the Germans with whom they came in contact with far greater
friendliness, politeness, and consideration than the Americans or
the British. If French policy and actions matched the personal be-
havior of the French occupation forces, there is no doubt that they
would be better liked than the Americans.
The French, again like the Russians, have made a point of con-
ciliating the former ruling classes in Germany while oppressing
the German workers, capitalists, and peasants. In the French zone,
as in the Soviet zone, former Nazis are regarded as valuable allies
if they will carry out French wishes; and neither the Russians nor
the French have condemned the German officer class to the pauper
status to which they are relegated in the United States zone.
Whereas we accept or reject the co-operation of Germans according
to their social or economic origins or class status, the French like
the Russians are uninterested in a man’s antecedents providing he
is ready to collaborate.
The French, like the Russians, seek to win over the intelligentsia,
whereas in the American zone professors, students, and writers
are placed in the lowest category when it comes to food rations,
and find it almost impossible to exist. For instance, the French
have restored the University of Freiburg and refounded the ancient
University of Mayence closed for over a century, whereas the Amer-
icans occupy most of the university buildings at Heidelberg for
their own use and have kept students in the lowest category for
food rations. While the American Military Government has cold-
THE FRENCH RIDE HIGH 285
shouldered any German intellectuals of independent views, the
French have welcomed them and tried to conciliate them.
In Germany I was often reminded of the observations made by
my brother who sailed the Pacific for several years before he died
in the Fiji Islands where he had settled down to practice as a
doctor in 1934. In his letters he had contrasted the wonderful hos-
pital at Fiji, and the sanitation and medical services provided by
the British, with the severe exploitation of the native peoples by
the French, but the latter’s better individual behavior toward the
natives.
The British, he had said, did the right thing but looked down
on the natives and refused to mix with them socially. The French
on the other hand, squeezed all they could out of the native popu-
lation of their islands and provided few of the amenities of civiliza-
tion in return, but they put up no color bar in their social inter-
course with the natives. It seemed as if the same was true in
Germany. The German “upper classes,” excluding the industrial-
ists ruined by the French, were on better terms with their con-
querors than the same elements in the United States and British
zone. But the German workers, factory owners, and peasants hated
France who robbed them and deprived them of their livelihood.
The French were also playing a clever game in representing
themselves as having a common interest with the Germans in oppo-
sition to the United States. I cannot vouch for the truth of all the
stories I heard, but it seemed that the French were trying to per-
suade the Germans to make common cause with them against
America. For instance, I was told that the French authorities in
1948 had proposed a secret deal which would have allowed the Ger-
mans to keep all their machinery over fifteen years old, irrespective
of the dismantlement list, if they would turn over to the French
all the new machinery they obtained from the Americans or the
United States zone of Germany. I was also told that French officers
were saying to the Germans they were not really so hostile and
revengeful as they seemed, but it was necessary for France to take
this line in order to get maximum aid from America; that only in-
sistence on French fears of Germany could enable them to obtain
large subsidies from America.
As I have already said, I have no proof of the truth of such asser-
tions, but there seemed little doubt that the French were playing
a very devious game. Like the Russians they offer jobs to Germans
penalized by the United States Military Government or offended
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286
by the cavalier treatment they have received at American hands.
And like the Russians they offer privileges to anyone ready to sup-
port their policy.
In the economic sphere the corruption which is the characteristic
of French internal politics has free play in Germany. Factory
owners were told they could save their machinery if they would
give bribes to French officials, and German industrial corporations
were offered the choice of having their enterprises taken as repara-
tions, or allowing the French a controlling interest as majority
stockholders.
Generally speaking, it seemed that the French, in their own
small way, limited as they were by their lack of military power,
were playing much the same game as the Russians. They offered
material benefits, privileges, and forgiveness for former Nazi affilia-
tions, to all who would serve their interests today. They expropri-
ated, penalized, or sent to prison the honest liberals and conserva-
tives who opposed them, while asking no questions concerning the
past of those ready to collaborate with them. It was therefore not
surprising to find great hatred of the French among both the liberal
socialists and conservative capitalists, but considerable amity for
the French among reactionary Bavarian monarchists and separa-
tists, and among the German officer class which was treated with
greater respect and justice by the French than by the Americans.
General Koenig, the French military governor, in contrast to Gen-
erals Clay and Robertson, allowed German officers and their
widows to receive their pensions. For, as General Speidel’s wife
said to me in Freudenstadt, “the French have at least a sense of
honor.” Perhaps honor does not entirely explain it; it would seem
that the French, like the Communists, try to take advantage of
the resentment caused by American policy in Germany, while using
all their influence to impel the United States to get itself hated by
the Germans. In this, as in so many other respects, the French play
the Communist game, although they imagine they are playing
their own hand.
The seeming contradictions in France’s policy are explained by
her old aim of dividing Germany by fostering separatist tendencies,
and her hope of incorporating the Rhineland territories into a
Greater France. Having succeeded this time in detaching the Saar
from Germany by threatening to dismantle its industries and ruin
its people unless they voted to join France, the French no doubt
THE FRENCH RIDE HIGH 287
still hope to be equally successful in the rest of their zone by means
of intimidation and bribery.
“A good German,” in French eyes, is a German prepared to sac-
rifice his country’s interests in order to save his own. Any German
prepared to do so can enjoy a “happy life” whether or not he was
formerly a Nazi and whatever his present political sympathies.
The French care not at all whether a man is a democrat; he only
needs to be pro-French or to be ready to serve French interests.
Thus French policy is the very antithesis of American: we refuse
to be friends even with those most anxious to collaborate with us
unless we are sure their past is irreproachable.
One German I talked to in the French zone had been offered a
huge income by the French Military Governor if he would accept
the position of head of an “independent” palatinate.
The atmosphere in the French zone is in many respects like
that under the Soviet terror. There are no concentration camps,
but the Sûreté is regarded by the Germans as another Gestapo, and
people are imprisoned for no other offense than that of complain-
ing against the occupation authorities, or protesting the seizure of
their property.
A current joke I heard expresses the feelings of the German peo-
ple. French trucks and automobiles are all labeled TOA, the letters
standing for Transport Occupation Allemagne. But the Germans
say TOA stands for “Terror Ohne (Without) Adolf!”
The sullen faces of the people, their extreme poverty, and the
difficulty we experienced in buying any food except potatoes, wit-
nessed to the omnipresent fear of the French and the manner in
which they have stripped their zone of food and goods. The French
live off the land like the Russians, and again like the Russians they
employ huge numbers of people to force the peasants to give up
their milk, eggs and live stock, vegetables, and even grain.
In Baden Baden where General Koenig lives in state like a
Viceroy of India, there are more French people than Germans—
40,000 against 30,000, according to the calculations of the Ministry
of Economics for Württemberg-Hohenzollern. France uses her
zone as a training ground for her conscript army and the French
occupation forces not only bring in their wives and children, but
also their grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and cousins. Besides all
these people living off the German economy, there are the children
and invalids brought from France for holidays or cures, who have
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288
to be supplied with huge quantities of milk, butter, and eggs. Until
1948 many Germans in the French zone were literally starving, but
since last summer, American ECA appropriations to the French
zone have somewhat ameliorated their condition.
A German doctor and his wife whom I visited at Wissen, in the
French zone adjoining Siegen, told me that after being without any
fat ration for months, they had received a pound of butter in
August, thanks to America. They now had some hopes of being
able to save their little boy, who, like so many other German chil-
dren in the French zone, had developed tuberculosis because
French requisitions left no milk or fats for German consumption.
They and everyone else I talked to were wondering whether Amer-
ica would really force the French to stop their locustlike activities,
or whether United States aid to the French zone would be drained
off by France for her own use.
Of course, some of the peasants manage to hide their food from
the French as I discovered at a little inn in a village in the lovely
countryside above the Rhine Valley. On this occasion I was re-
turning from a drive to Altenkirchen. We stopped to drink a glass
of wine at the inn and, thanks to Otto who is the type of person
who jokes and gets friendly with everyone, we soon had the land-
lady sitting with us and talking freely. I drew her out about the
French, and she told us how they had come into the farmhouses
and taken away the linen and even the furniture, as well as all
the food they could find. They took all the milk, confiscated the
live stock and slaughtered it for their own use, and in general left
the Germans almost nothing to eat. However, she ended up by
asking us if we would like to taste some Westphalian ham. Of
course we said we would be delighted and, laughing, she took me
with her to her bedroom and showed me the ham hidden in a box
under her bed.
The ham was delicious and while we were eating it two men
came in who might have posed for pictures symbolizing country
and town, peasant and worker, in occupied Germany. The first
one was a giant of a young man, red-haired, blue-eyed and ruddy
faced, handsome and strong, and fit from his appearance to star
as a Wagnerian hero. The other was small and emaciated, grey-
faced and sad, and dressed in patched cotton overalls. The first
was a peasant and the other a metal worker earning only 75 pfen-
nigs an hour, since the factories in the French zone pay the lowest
wages. Incidentally, this worker was one of the very few people
THE FRENCH RIDE HIGH 289
I met in Germany who not only admitted he had been a Nazi, but
said he still was one in sentiment. In his view the workers had
“never had it so good” as under Hitler, and he was very bitter at
the Allied confiscation of the Labor Front’s security funds, hos-
pitals, and sanitariums. He had consumption and said that he
would formerly have been aided, but now he could get no medical
aid.
I hoped that it was only in the French zone that workers were
being driven back to Nazism by their miserable conditions of life;
but I fear it is also true in Bizonia.
The young peasant, for his part, had no interest in politics. When
I asked him how he lived, he laughed and said, “We peasants
always manage; the French aren’t smart enough to find everything.”
Of course, it is the townspeople who suffer most when, as in the
French zone, the peasants can only sell at a profit on the black
market, and deliver food at the prices the French pay only under
compulsion.
The number of people required to force peasants to give up
food in exchange for low fixed prices makes the whole proceeding
uneconomic. For instance, at a small farm I visited in a clearing
in the depths of the Black Forest far away from any town or village,
I was told that the French periodically sent three men to collect
what was demanded. The farm was worked by a woman and her
three sons, two other sons having fallen in the war, and the young-
est being a prisoner of war in Russia. They had four cows, and
three bullocks, some pigs and chickens, sufficient arable land to
produce enough grain for their own bread and animal fodder and
a large vegetable garden. They had to deliver 700 liters of milk per
cow per year, although only the best cows, they said, gave as much
as 2,000 liters a year. The French also took so many pigs out of
each litter, so many eggs per hen, 43 hundredweight of potatoes,
a certain quantity of grain, and so on. The largest of the three bul-
locks was to be taken the following week.
Whether or not the French were justified in taking as much as
they did, the point which struck me was the waste of labor in-
volved in this forcible collection from thousands of little farms, of
what, in sum, amounted to a small quantity of food. The suste-
nance of the inspectors employed must have eaten up most of the
supplies thus obtained. The Soviets discovered long ago that the
only way to force the agrarian population to give up the fruits of
its labor for nothing, or for a price far below its value, is to herd
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290
the peasants into collective farms and treat them like factory
workers. It simply can’t be done except at a prohibitive cost so
long as individual farmers cultivate the land.
The family I visited in the Black Forest were not actually badly
off in spite of their resentment against the French. But this was
because their most profitable activity was the manufacture of
Kirsch, the spirit made out of cherries which is the specialty of the
region. They kept their stills in the forest where the French were
unable to find them and did a thriving black-market trade in Ger-
many and across the French border near Strasbourg. All they
needed to do was to give some of their liquor to the French sentries.
It is, of course, the French themselves who profit most from
the denial to the Germans of customs control at the borders of
the French zone. Professor Karl Brandt of Stanford University,
who was spending his sabbatical year teaching at Heidelberg Uni-
versity, took me over into Switzerland in his automobile so that I
could see for myself what goes on at the frontier. When our auto-
mobile arrived at the customs barrier at Basel, two French sergeants
examined our passports but did not even inquire whether we had
any German currency or goods to declare. The two German cus-
toms officials at the barrier were not allowed to come near our
automobile, much less inspect our luggage.
It was thus very easy for any Allied nationals to export anything
they pleased from Germany via the French zone, and the French
were largely responsible for the fall in value of the new D mark
caused by the illegal export by black-marketeers of goods needed
in Germany. Dr. Brandt and I calculated how quickly a fortune
could be made by, for instance, bringing cognac into Germany
from France, selling it on the black market at a profit of several
hundred per cent, using the marks thus obtained to buy German
manufactured goods, and then running them into Switzerland for
re-export. Alternatively, any Allied national could take his marks
into Switzerland and sell them there to a Swiss bank, which could
dispose of them at a tenth of their official value to those who
wished to buy goods in Germany. All this illegal trade naturally
stimulated the production of luxury goods in Germany for illegal
export, in place of necessities. So whereas, for instance, shoes are
very high priced and scarce on the German market, great quantities
of leather are used to make ladies’ purses and other fancy goods.
The Russians in Berlin were similarly doing “good business” in
undermining the German currency. Following currency reform the
French had already reaped a huge exchange profit without any
THE FRENCH RIDE HIGH 291
effort on their part. Out of a total of 5,000,000,000 marks, which
was the original new currency issue in June 1948, the British took
266,000,000, the Americans 255,000,000, and the French 250,000,-
000, for their own use. The total drain on the German economy
thus came to over three-quarters of a billion, or 15 per cent of the
money in circulation. The French share being disproportionately
large, in view of the small size of their zone, they allowed their
nationals to exchange practically unlimited amounts at par, where-
as the Germans were allowed a maximum of forty marks a head at
the exchange rate of ten old marks for one D mark. Consequently,
the French before currency reform busied themselves acquiring all
the old marks they could lay their hands upon, by fair means or
foul. In some cases they went to German friends and made a deal,
in other cases they sought the good will of their German servants
by offering to exchange the latter’s savings for them at par, and in
some known instances the French surrounded whole villages and
confiscated all the money of the inhabitants. One way or another,
the French acquired huge quantities of the new currency and pro-
ceeded to export it to Switzerland where there is a free exchange.
When this racket subsided they renewed their profits by the export
of marks obtained by black-market dealings, or by fresh confisca-
tions of German property.
As I have already related, General Clay tried to induce the
French to stop the leak of marks and goods across the frontiers of
their zone, but the State Department gave way to the French, and
the Occupation Statute denies effective customs control to the pro-
posed Western German government. As usual, the French are be-
ing allowed to undermine the German economy while the United
States taxpayers supply funds for its support.
American GI’s and the pilots of the air lift evidently do not share
the State Department’s predilection for the French, but their views
do not, of course, affect United States policy.
On my first flight out of Berlin on the air lift the United States
pilot said to me: “The British are doing a swell job, but do you
know, the French aren’t helping at all to supply Berlin? They only
fly in cognac for sale on the black-market or to Americans.” And
the sergeant mechanic said:
“Do you know that those b—— in Paris won’t let you into the
best hotels unless you are an officer?”
Another pilot, who flies a United States staff plane, said to me:
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292
“I always know when I have left Germany. When I look down and
see uncultivated fields with no one working in sight I know I am
over France. Those guys needn’t work since they have us Ameri-
cans to work for them.”
These sentiments are, of course, also prejudiced. But it is a fact
that the French, if they worked as they once did, and did not so
mismanage their economy and finance, should have had no need
of American food subsidies except during the 1946-47 drought.
The land of France is fertile and she is not overpopulated.
In Paris one is shocked by the abundant luxury displayed in food
and clothing in contrast to the poverty of the French workers and
British austerity. The number of waiters, hotel servants, and others
catering to the luxury trades would surely allow France to dispense
with a large part of her ECA appropriation if they were set to
work producing necessities and exports. In a word, the French up-
per classes are still enjoying a far easier and pleasanter life than
most of the American taxpayers supporting the French economy.
But France, apparently, has only to ask to receive. No one de-
mands anything of her but a smile and her good will. So France
goes on talking about her war losses, although her looting in Ger-
many, combined with reparations and American gifts, have more
than compensated for the material damage she suffered during the
war and the occupation.
Whereas the manner in which the British dispose of American
aid is examined and subject to criticism, like those of a wife, France
is treated by the United States like a mistress whose favors are un-
certain and whose extravagances are not questioned.
It would not matter much if all that was involved was the
pensioning of “La Belle France” by generous Uncle Sam, or the
maintenance of Paris as a city of pleasure for the delectation of
State Department and ECA officials, and American newspapermen.
The danger lies in the influence which France exerts on American
policy—an influence which is likely to increase rather than di-
minish once the State Department takes over the administration
of Germany. The Army has to be realistic, since it has to fight the
wars which poor diplomacy brings about. And the Army’s view of
the value of the French is summarized in the remark made to me
by a member of General Clay’s staff: “The French won’t fight.
Period.”
“Why then,” I asked, “does so much consideration have to be
given to the French point of view? Why, if the French are of no
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value as allies, must we continually give way to France, on dis-
mantlement, on the Ruhr and just about everything else?”
The answer I received was to the effect that America could not
go ahead with the rehabilitation of Western Europe and with plans
for its defense with active opposition in the rear, in France; that
the French tell the Americans that if they get involved in war with
Russia, as for instance over Berlin, they, the French, will stay out
of it and refuse bases to the United States. The French, in effect,
blackmail the United States, saying they will be neutral in any war
with Russia, unless America concedes everything they want re-
garding Germany.
The French tell the Americans that in their concern over the
danger of a third world war, they must prepare to win it in such
a way as to prepare the way for a fourth one; that America must
not make use of Germany to help defeat Soviet Russia, because
the end result would be German supremacy in Europe. In answer
to this the American Army authorities say: “Well, if you won’t
permit the Germans to defend themselves against Russia, are you
yourselves prepared to defend her?” And, of course, the French
then throw up their hands in horror and cry, “What! We defend
Germany? Are you crazy?”
The net result of French intransigeance is that the United States
is expected to defend Europe, and to pursue a policy toward Ger-
many which not only renders her defenseless, but would endanger
the American Army’s security in war by creating hatred of the
United States among the German population.
In these difficult circumstances General Clay and the Depart-
ment of the Army appear to have endeavored to steer a middle
course. They have made every possible concession to the French
point of view, but have refused to agree to the complete ruin of
Germany demanded by France. They have gone on hoping that
if the American taxpayer continued to make up the losses resulting
from the concessions made to the French on dismantlement and
the Ruhr, Western Europe including Germany will eventually be
federated and all its resources and manpower mobilized for de-
fense against the Soviet menace. This hope is based on the belief
that in time French fears can be allayed and France will then al-
low Germany and Europe to recover economic prosperity and be
made strong enough to resist Communist pressure. But this hope
must disappear if the French continue to miss their opportunity
to become as strong as a free Germany.
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294
Many as are the criticisms which can be leveled at the United
States Military Government, the American Army must be given
the credit for seeing things straight and seeing them whole. Since
they bear the responsibility for the defense of Western Europe as
well as of the United States, the Military cannot afford to live in
the cloud cuckoo land inhabited by many of the civilians who de-
termine Administration policy. The Army was, therefore, naturally
incensed at what it regarded as France’s “sabotage”* of the June
1948 London agreement to set up a West German state and of
other measures designed to stem the Communist tide.
When the discussions on the Occupation Statute (which ac-
cording to the London agreement was to be negotiated by the
military governors) were referred back to the British, French, and
American governments, the New York Herald Tribune reported:
It is an open secret that the French, who consider General Clay a
hardboiled American, prefer to shift everything possible to the govern-
mental level, where they have frequently been able to obtain conces-
sions they were unable to get from the American Military Government.
Many officials here [in Germany] believe that in negotiations at the
governmental level the French and British deal with Americans who
know the German problem far less intimately than does General Clay’s
staff. The results were described this way by an American official in
Berlin: “Sometimes it seems to us that the American negotiators at the
higher level—not really acquainted with the full details and history of
each issue—do not know the importance of what they are giving away.”
Unfortunately for the security of Europe and the peace of the
world, the State Department is now assuming control of America’s
German policy. This means, now that Dean Acheson is Secretary
of State, that America is giving way to France on the most vital
issues, annulling the effects of Marshall Plan assistance to Europe,
and jeopardizing the peace of the world. For nothing can be more
certain than that, if France’s hysterical, or simulated, fear of Ger-
many, combined with her desire to appease Russia, continue to
determine United States policy, Europe will be so weakened and
the Communists so strengthened, that Stalin will be emboldened
to attack the Western world.
The influence of France was most clearly displayed when the Oc-
cupation Statute was presented to the Germans on April 10, 1949.
Instead of allowing the Germans the self-government promised a
year ago, all real power is reserved to the occupation authorities.
* See the New York Times dispatch from Paris on March 18, 1949.
THE FRENCH RIDE HIGH 295
This statute can most fitly be compared to the old Japanese con-
stitution and the present Soviet constitution, which similarly take
away in one paragraph the liberties and rights granted in another.
While pretending to give the Western Germans the right to rule
themselves, the Occupation Statute gives them responsibility with-
out power: an overriding veto is imposed on the legislative, judicial,
administrative, and economic powers of the proposed West Ger-
man government.
It is necessary to examine this spurious document in some detail
to appreciate the conditions of servitude we have offered to the
German people under the veneer of liberty.
The Occupation Statute “specifically reserves” to the occupying
powers not only powers over disarmament, reparations, and resti-
tutions, but also over all the following fields: scientific research,
restrictions on industry, prohibition of civil aviation, decarteliza-
tion and deconcentration of industry, nondiscrimination in trade,
foreign interests in Germany, foreign affairs and foreign trade, dis-
placed persons and admission of refugees. Nor is this by any means
all. The occupation powers not only continue to control Germany’s
foreign trade for their own benefit. They are to continue to control
internal German economic policy and the use Germany makes of
her imports. Paragraph 2(e) is the real joker, since it can be in-
terpreted to mean just anything and everything. For it says that
the occupation authorities reserve to themselves all the powers
necessary for the “protection, prestige and security of Allied forces,
dependents, employees and their representatives, their immunities
and satisfaction of occupation costs and their other requirements.”
Nor are the Germans to be permitted to enjoy the protection of
law, habeas corpus, or other civil liberties. “The civil rights of every
person,” according to paragraph 6, “to be protected against arbi-
trary arrest, search or seizure, to be represented by counsel, to be
admitted to bail as circumstances warrant, to communicate with
relatives, and to have a fair and prompt trial,” are all “subject to
the requirements of the security of the occupation authorities.”
The “German Federal Government” is not even to be permitted
to pass any laws without first notifying the occupation authorities,
who can veto any legislation “inconsistent with decisions or actions
taken by the occupation authorities themselves.”
Finally the conquerors reserve the right to annul, at any mo-
ment, even the extremely limited powers granted to the puppet
government they want to establish. Paragraph 3 of the Occupation
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

296
Statute says: “The occupation authorities reserve the right . . . to
resume, in whole or in part, the exercise of full authority if they
consider that to do so is essential to security or to preserve demo-
cratic (sic) government in Germany, or in pursuance of the interna-
tional obligations of their governments.”
India, before she gained her independence, was a freer country
than Germany under the colonial status laid down for her in the
Occupation Statute. In this connection it is worth mentioning a
conversation I had in Düsseldorf with the correspondent of several
Indian newspapers. I had said to him that Germany now seemed
to have been relegated to the same status as nineteenth-century
India, and he replied: “Yes, I always say to my German friends,
‘We had it, and now you have it; we are now free, but you have
become the subjects of America, Britain, and France, and you have
fewer rights than we had before we gained our independence, for
at least the British instituted a rule of law in India, whereas in
Germany there is no such thing.’”
Not only does the Occupation Statute deny to the Germans
those elementary human rights which Mrs. Roosevelt and other
American delegates to UNESCO are so fond of talking about. It
also is obviously designed to prevent Germany from competing on
the world market. Both her foreign trade and her scientific re-
search are to be controlled by her conquerors and competitors.
Thus Germany is to be handicapped in the development of new
techniques, or forced to let her competitors derive the benefit of
the future inventions of her scientists and technicians.
This proviso in the Occupation Statute is the most disastrous of
all its clauses from the point of view of European recovery. For
Europe cannot hope to live without American subsidies unless it
can develop new technical processes and overcome its lack of nat-
ural resources through scientific discoveries and the development
of its chemical industries. The Germans, as everyone knows, have
led the world in the invention of substitutes through chemical
processes. They are now to be kept from utilizing their brains, in-
ventiveness, and capacity for painstaking research for their own
and Europe’s benefit. It is as if the brightest and most industrious
boy in the class were forbidden to study and work.
Dean Acheson’s bland statement that there is “no foundation”
for the contention of the German newspapers that these clauses in
the Occupation Statute are motivated by fear of German competi-
tion, is hardly likely to inspire confidence in the honesty and truth-
fulness of the United States Secretary of State.
THE FRENCH RIDE HIGH 297
The Occupation Statute is bad enough in itself, but there might
be some hope that it will be interpreted in a liberal spirit were it
not for the veto power given to each of the three Western occupa-
tion powers by the intergovernmental agreement signed in Wash-
ington on April 8, 1949, and made public on April 26. “Unanimous
agreement” is required on all important questions embracing:
disarmament and demilitarization including related fields of scien-
tific research, prohibitions and restrictions on industry and civil
aviation; and controls in regard to the Ruhr, restitutions, repara-
tions, decartelizations, deconcentration, nondiscrimination in trade
matters, foreign interests in Germany and claims against Germany.
No one can doubt that the vast field over which the veto power
reigns will enable Britain and France to refuse any modification in
the Level of Industry Plan, or any other relaxation of the controls
which now prevent Germany’s paying her own way and contribut-
ing her full quota to the needs of European reconstruction. The
United States Secretary of State has in fact given Britain and
France the right to perpetuate Germany’s economic servitude,
whatever the present cost to the American taxpayer, and the future
cost in lives if and when war comes. The time is apparently long
since past when the Senate of the United States claimed its right
to sanction what are in fact treaties with foreign powers, so this
“agreement” with Britain and France is likely to go unchallenged.
The Occupation Statute constitutes a grave retrogression in
United States policy. For although great concessions have been
made to the French point of view in drawing up the Ruhr Statute,
which regularizes the colonial status of Germany’s main industrial
area, the United States Military Government had at least provided
therein that the limitation on German steel production was to be
temporary. But now the State Department has put France in a
position to exercise a veto power over German and European re-
covery similar to that which Russia exercises in the United Nations
to the detriment of the world, and likely to be used as unscrupu-
lously.
The French have even succeeded in preventing the new German
state from acquiring the right to maintain a federal police force
for the detection and suppression of subversive activities. The Com-
munists are to be allowed even greater freedom than they enjoy
in France to destroy democracy from within.
As was to be expected, in view of the colonial status prescribed
for them under the Occupation Statute, the German democratic
parties have not been permitted to decide upon the Constitution
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298
of the new Western German state. After the parliamentary council
at Bonn had spent months drawing up a constitution, and the
Christian Democrats (CDU) and Social Democrats (SDP) had
at last reached a compromise agreement on such disputed questions
as the division of fiscal and economic powers between the central
government and the Länder, and the balance of legislative powers
between the upper and lower houses of the federal legislature. The
military governors intervened to amend the constitution in favor
of the CDU which favors a weak central government.
The French objections to the establishment of a viable West-
German state, and their desire to permit only a loose federation of
states was allowed to prevail. The United States supported France
by similarly favoring the reactionary separatist forces in Bavaria
and the Rhineland, as against the SDR supported by the British.
In respect to the foundation of the West-German state, the
British have in fact shown far greater political intelligence than the
United States and France. Under their Labour Government, their
political genius and the enlightened attitude they formerly adopted
towards their vanquished foes have been obscured by the frantic
desire of the Labour party to become independent of America
through the acquisition of dollars by any means, fair or foul. But
with regard to the political future of Germany the British showed
themselves to be incomparably more enlightened than the French.
They went so far as to reveal to the Social Democrats that the
Western powers had secretly agreed to allow somewhat greater
legislative and fiscal powers to the proposed central government,
should the Germans balk at the harsh terms originally presented.
The British thus enabled the Social Democrats to obtain a little
more power for the future government of Western Germany than
would otherwise have been the case. At the time of writing it is
not yet decided whether the German Social Democrats will have
the courage and political wisdom to follow the lead of Kurt Schu-
macher and Carlo Schmidt, who have advised against collaboration
with the Western conquerors in setting up a German state denied
any real authority.
The weak brothers among the German democrats may give way
to superior force and accept the quisling status offered them. But
one thing is certain. The German politicians who accept the Oc-
cupation Statute as the basis for a “democratic” government will
be regarded as puppets and traitors by the majority of their coun-
trymen. It is therefore to be hoped that the liberal elements in
THE FRENCH RIDE HIGH 299
Germany will keep their reputations clean by refusing to form a
West-German government under the terms of servitude offered to
them by the Western occupation powers acting under French in-
fluence. If they accept, there will be little hope for democracy in
Germany now or in the future.
Unfortunately for the future of democracy in Germany and
Europe as a whole, the blackmailing tactics adopted by the United
States may force the SDP and other German democrats to accept
the terms offered them by the Western powers. For the military
governors are insisting that the German leaders who refuse to set
up the impotent Western state they are being urged to establish
are playing into Russia’s hands.
It is both tragic and short-sighted for the United States to con-
front the German democrats with such an inescapable dilemma: if
they collaborate in setting up a West-German state without power,
they are likely to lose the support of the German people who will
regard them as quislings; if they refuse, they will be accused of
helping the Communists.
In fact, the German democratic leaders were in a position for
once to do a little blackmailing themselves. For the Western
powers, having committed themselves to a four-power conference
on Germany if Soviet Russia would lift the Berlin blockade, were
desperately anxious to reach an agreement with the German demo-
cratic parties in time to set up a West-German state before Stalin
offered to lift the blockade.
But, to judge from their past history, the German democratic
politicians are unlikely to take advantage of their opportunity to
force real concessions from the Western powers. They are more
likely to pursue their straightforward course and let their con-
querors turn the tables on them. On the other hand, it is possible
that the pressure brought to bear on the Germans by the United
States Military Government was inspired by General Clay’s fears
that the State Department might make a deal with Russia as well
as with France to prevent the formation of the Western state, un-
less the new German state were set up before the secret Washing-
ton-Moscow negotiations resulted in agreement. It is more than a
little suspicious that knowledge of the negotiations with Russia,
initiated by Dean Acheson in February 1949, was withheld from
both the Germans and the American public until April 25 when
Tass reported it.
Now that negotiations with Soviet Russia are once again in
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300
prospect, the veto power which the Western powers have reserved
to themselves under the Occupation Statute, must preclude any
agreement which does not permit Russia, as well as France, to
sabotage all American plans for the recovery of Germany or Europe.
We shall in all probability be faced with the choice of withdrawing
all troops from Germany and granting the Germans full liberty at
the risk of leaving them defenseless before the armed might of
Soviet Russia and her German hirelings, or dishonoring our own
promise to give the Western Germans a limited right to self-gov-
ernment.
For obviously no Four Power agreement is possible unless Rus-
sia obtains the same veto powers as America, France, and Britain;
and no one can doubt that a German administration subject in all
its acts to a Russian veto would be unable to govern unless it fol-
lowed the Communist Party line.
It is impossible to say whether Dean Acheson, in jeopardizing
all Europe and weakening America by the concessions he has made
to France, was activated by the belief that the military support of
France is worth the price, or by his former affiliation with the
group once known as “Frankfurter’s Hot Dogs,” which included
Algernon Hiss. Acheson’s friendship with Felix Frankfurter is no
secret, nor is there any doubt that Judge Frankfurter was one of
the most influential sponsors of the fateful “unconditional sur-
render” formula and the Morgenthau Plan. Thus it seems probable
that the 1949 retrogression in American policy is at least to some
extent inspired by those who have no such aversion for Stalin’s
dictatorship as they had for Hitler’s, and are still more concerned
with punishing the Germans than stopping the Communists.
Dean Acheson is also supposed to have a British orientation, but
the British, although as short-sighted as the French with regard to
dismantlement, have thrown their weight on the side of the Ger-
man Social Democrats who insist that if a Western German gov-
ernment is to be formed it must be allowed sufficient power to
govern. So once again it would appear to be French influence,
which is impelling the United States to give right of way to the
Communists.
As after the first World War, so again today, France is stifling
German democracy. Once again she is preventing the implementa-
tion of a policy which could win the mass of the German people
to our side. Once again she is strengthening the totalitarian forces
THE FRENCH RIDE HIGH 301
which nearly destroyed her in the last war and are certain to defeat
her next time.
As Carlo Schmidt is reported to have said in April 1949:
Whether any of us likes it or not one thing is true in Europe today
—its future depends on the workers of Germany. Russia cannot win
them yet—but the West can lose them. . . . If they should ever desert
the West and slide into Bolshevism, then you need no longer worry
about what France’s workers will do. Then you can have all the
Atlantic Pacts you can write. Stalin will need no Molotov or Vishinsky,
no Cominform, not a single tank. Bolshevism will be everywhere.*
At the war’s end France had an opportunity that is never likely
to recur, to assume the lead in Europe, not by conquest, but by
acting according to the great principles of the French Revolution.
But instead of uniting Europe on the basis of liberty, equality, and
fraternity, France has displayed only a mean desire to appease the
strong, bully the vanquished, and beg from the rich. Were she the
great and intelligent nation which many Americans believe her to
be, she would have been magnanimous in the hour of Germany’s
total defeat, and thus have ended the long and tragic epic of ag-
gression and counteraggression by bringing victor and vanquished
alike into a free federated Europe. Instead, she has taken the lead
in perpetuating old feuds, dividing Europe, and preparing the way
for Communist conquest. So long as France influences American
policy, there can be little hope for peace, security, or prosperity in
Europe, or an end to the subsidies which Americans are supplying
to the Old World.
* Time, April 4, 1949

302
11
Conclusion
THE REPORTING OF NEWS FROM GERMANY HAS BEEN INADEQUATE
ever since her surrender. It is so colored by anti-German prejudice
and ignorance that the American public, even today, is uninformed
about the facts and unaware of the consequences of our German
policy. So in appealing for justice and compassion for the van-
quished and endeavoring to show the American people the moral
and material price they are paying for revenge, I know that I am
not only laying myself open to the charge of being pro-German. I
am also likely to be told that the picture is no longer so dark as
the one I have painted. For the American press as a whole has
concentrated during the past year on reporting only the high lights
of economic recovery and has ignored the basic problems which
palliatives such as currency reform and Marshall aid cannot solve.
To those who accuse me of being pro-German I cannot do better
than cite the words of Tom Paine, who said: “Where liberty is not,
there is my country.” Since the Germans have been deprived by
their conquerors of freedom and elementary human rights and re-
duced to the status of colonials ruled by four sets of masters, it
seems to me to be the function of men and women of good will
and liberal sentiment to espouse their cause.
Some of my readers may think that I have given undue weight
to the German point of view. If this is true, my contribution con-
stitutes only a drop in the ocean compared to the continuous, and
somewhat monotonous, spate of books, articles, newspaper reports,
and radio comment which have by now established an accepted
legend.
Germans are not permitted to speak for themselves except in
accents of humility pleasing to their conquerors, so no one knows
today what they are thinking and feeling. I do not pretend to have
done more than penetrate a little below the surface of the uni-
CONCLUSION 303
formity and submissiveness imposed on Germany, but I have en-
deavored to “speak for the silent.”
I shall also, no doubt, be accused in some quarters, of partiality
because I have not given space to the record of Nazi crimes. This
omission is not due to my failure to recognize Hitler’s responsibility
for the material and moral wreckage in Europe, and the decline of
Western civilization. The reason why I have not repeated the oft-
told tale of Nazi crimes against humanity is that it is already
familiar to every American. It is our own record which is not
known, and it seems high time that the victors began to search
their own consciences.
The roles of oppressors and oppressed change with the times.
Yesterday’s arrogant victor is today’s vanquished, and those who
fought for liberty now deprive others of freedom. It seems as true
today as when Thucydides wrote his history of the Peloponnesian
War that “right as the world goes is only a question between
equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak
suffer what they must.”
Evil begets evil and injustice breeds more injustice. Revenge cre-
ates an overwhelming desire for counterrevenge; nations deprived
of liberty become pathologically nationalist. If “Europe’s intermin-
able wars,” which now threaten to destroy Western civilization are
ever to end, and Communism with its creed of hatred is not to
overwhelm us, the cycle must be broken. We must finally abjure
the belief that two wrongs make a right.
I should not wish, however, to do the least injustice to the
good intentions and considerable achievements of the United
States Military Government. The United States Army is, I think,
least to blame for the shortcomings, errors, injustices, and failures
dealt with in this book. In spite of the orders they originally re-
ceived from Washington to do nothing to rehabilitate Germany,
the Army authorities averted a complete collapse at the beginning
of the occupation. Public utilities were put back into operation, the
streets were cleared of rubble, some industries were helped to start
working again, and mass starvation and epidemics were averted by
the use of Army funds to import food and alleviate acute distress.
In general, it can be said that the Military Government, soon after
it took over the administration of the ruined, hungry, and morally
shattered land it occupied, pursued as enlightened a policy as was
possible within the limits set by the executive authorities in Wash-
ington.
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304
The United States Military Government under General Clay has
had a clearer perception of the Communist danger than the Ad-
ministration. Every Army officer concerned with the security of the
United States and aware of the extent of the obligations we have
undertaken in Europe, is aware of the fact that unless the German
people are included in the North Atlantic Pact and armed for their
own defense and that of Europe, Soviet Russia will be able to
sweep us and our Western allies at least as far as the Pyrenees. But
no one dares to say in public that unless Germany becomes our
full-fledged ally, America must either abandon Europe to Com-
munism as soon as Stalin has prepared his subjects for war, or be
prepared to sacrifice so many American lives to defend it that the
losses of World War II will appear insignificant.
Although born English, I have chosen to be an American be-
cause in America I have found more equality and social justice, less
nationalist prejudice, and more regard for the rights and claims of
other peoples than anywhere else in the world. The tragedy is that
all the good will of the American people, their generosity and sin-
cere desire to extend the benefits of their civilization to less fortu-
nate nations, are to a large extent nullified by their lack of knowl-
edge of past history and present realities in Europe.
America’s ignorance of Germany is a dangerous thing. One can
recall the fact that when the Allied armies entered Germany, the
OWI and other war agencies claiming to have expert knowledge
of German sentiment predicted that a Nazi sniper would be found
behind every bush, and in every attic and cellar, and that there
were bands of “werewolves” ready to murder our occupation forces.
Events proved instead that millions of Germans were prepared to
greet us as liberators, but were rebuffed, and that there were too
few convinced Nazis left in Germany to cause any serious difficul-
ties to our occupation forces.
The tragedy was that we refused to collaborate with the Germans
who had braved the Nazi horror and would have been capable of
reorientating Germany. Instead, we revived the Nazi ideology by
refusing to separate the sheep from the goats when we took over
the administration of our part of the shattered Third Reich. The
same ignorance today of the real sentiments of the German people
is leading us to ignore the danger of Germany’s throwing in her lot
with Soviet Russia, not because the German people have an inborn
aversion to democracy, but because many of them no longer have
any hope that the West will accord them either freedom, or the
CONCLUSION 305
right to work, or the possibility of defending themselves against
Soviet Russia.
Having been convinced by war propaganda that the Germans
are innately more aggressive and cruel than other peoples, most
Americans are unable to realize that the punishment of the Ger-
man people only serves to strengthen the Soviet aggressors.
The most important influence in America furthering Commu-
nist aims would seem to be the refusal of the New Dealers to admit
that President Roosevelt’s policies were fundamentally mistaken.
They must continue to believe that the German people are the
fount of all iniquity, and a continuing menace to the peace of the
world, if they are to preserve their veneration for the late President.
Most of them lack the courage to admit that their revered leader
was mistaken in believing that all that was necessary for the estab-
lishment of lasting peace was the crushing out of existence of the
German nation, and that this aim justified close collaboration with
Stalin. Some New Dealers, or so-called progressives, like Wallace
even today turn the same blind eye on Soviet “crimes against hu-
manity,” as Roosevelt and his wife during the war. Others, who
are too intelligent or decent to ignore the evidence, nevertheless
persist in demanding that the full pound of flesh be exacted from
defeated Germany. They all lack the moral courage to admit that
President Roosevelt’s policies were fundamentally wrong and have
proved a colossal failure. To sustain their faith in their dead leader
they continue to demand the implementation of his German pol-
icy, long after the assumptions on which it was based have been
proven false. They want Germany to be kept impotent even at
the cost of rendering Europe incapable of self-defense. They are
prepared to run the risk of driving the Germans to side with Rus-
sia by denying them freedom and equality and the possibility of
earning their living so long as they remain on our side of the Iron
Curtain.
The Republicans, having subscribed to a bipartisan foreign pol-
icy, are similarly held the prisoners of past errors. They too cannot
face the political consequences of admitting they were mistaken.
With rare exceptions the Republicans have followed the Demo-
cratic lead in throwing good money after bad rather than cut losses
and start on a fresh and enlightened foreign policy. They too must
be held guilty for the failure of the United States to make a clean
break with the past.
Nor is it easy for the American people as a whole to accept the
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

306
sad truth that for the second time in a quarter of a century they
have sacrificed their sons and husbands in foreign wars to no good
purpose. Far from “making the world safe for democracy,” both
wars have diminished the area of freedom, and the last one has
merely substituted one totalitarian dictatorship for another. But it
is difficult for those who have lost their loved ones to admit that
they died in vain.
The reluctance of the human mind to face unpalatable truths,
the inability of politicians to admit their mistakes, the aftermath of
war propaganda, and the sinful pride which inspires us all, play into
the hands of the Communists.
It is conducive to spiritual satisfaction and self-respect to view
past or present enemies as the only transgressors against the laws of
God and man. To admit that the capacity for evil is inherent in all
mankind would destroy our sense of superiority. So we have gone
far toward the adoption of the Nazi theory of “racial” differences,
and have ourselves assumed the position of a superior or master race.
Worst of all we have been seduced by the Nazi-Communist
theory that justice means the collective punishment of the many
for the sins of a few.
In the second century A.D. Emperor Trajan enunciated the prin-
ciple that it is better for many guilty persons to escape punishment
than for one innocent person to be wrongly condemned. The Com-
munists have reversed this principle. They say that it is better for
a thousand innocent people to be condemned than for one guilty
person to escape.
In our treatment of the Germans we have adopted the Commu-
nists’ principle instead of that of the civilized Western world.
Those who indict the whole German nation for the crimes of the
Nazis put themselves in the same category as the Bolsheviks, who
murdered millions of people for the “crime” of belonging to “the
capitalist class” (in which the Communists included the more pros-
perous peasants called “kulaks”); and of the Nazis who extermi-
nated millions of Jews and other “inferior” races such as the Poles
and Russians.
By treating all Germans as criminals or pariahs, and punishing
them all by our policies, we deny the very essence both of Chris-
tian civilization and of rational liberalism: belief in individual re-
sponsibility; the rule of law, not of men; and the equality of all
peoples irrespective of class, race, nation, or creed.
CONCLUSION 307
As I complete the writing of this book, the battle for Berlin is
ending and the struggle for Germany is beginning. If, as seems
probable, the Communists have learned that they cannot win Ger-
many by force and terror and are preparing to reverse their tactics,
we shall no longer be able to count upon Stalin’s cruelties and blun-
ders to keep the Germans on our side. There is a limit to endurance
and sanity when there is no hope. If democracy continues to offer
not bread but a stone, the German people will be driven once again
to repudiate Western civilization. If Soviet Russia offers the free-
dom and unity which the West cannot, or will not, give them, the
Germans may combine with Russia to destroy us together with
themselves.
The West could easily have won the hearts and minds of the
German people at the beginning of the occupation by offering
them liberty, a rule of law, hope, and protection from the renewal
of totalitarian tyranny imposed by Russia. We chose instead to
make a mockery of democracy, not only by punishing all Germans
for the sins of the Nazis, but also by our equation of communism
with democracy until Soviet Russia started to menace us. We con-
doned every atrocity formerly committed by Hitler when it was
committed by Stalin, and demonstrated our readiness to get along
with the Soviet dictator even after it became evident that he had
taken Hitler’s place as the scourge of Europe.
The Germans have observed that every concession we have
made to their demand to be allowed to work and eat and govern
themselves has been made only as the result of our growing aware-
ness of the menace which Communism constitutes to our own free-
dom. They consider our rule as a lesser evil than that of Communist
Russia, but few of them any longer believe that we will ever allow
them the same liberties and rights as we claim for ourselves.
Most Germans have no illusions about Communism. But many
of them will never forget the brutal and unjust treatment they re-
ceived at our hands before we realized that Soviet Russia is our
enemy as well as theirs. Whether they were democrats emerging
from long years of hiding or released from concentration camps; or
young men and women who had obeyed Hitler from a mistaken,
but sincere, conviction that no patriot could fail to follow his
leader; or workers driven desperate by long years of unemployment
which had rendered them incapable of resisting the demagogic
propaganda of the Nazis; or the defeated men of the German army
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

308
who bore little or no responsibility for Nazi atrocities, but had
fought bravely to save their country from the Communist terror
only to find themselves branded as criminals by their Western con-
querors and kept as slave laborers in France and England as well as
in Russia, none of them have cause to “love democracy.”
The legacy of the past now constitutes an acute danger. If Stalin
should propose that all the victors withdraw their forces from Ger-
many and allow her to become united and free of control by Mili-
tary Government, he may yet win the battle for Germany. The fact
that the Red Army is close enough to impose Russia’s will at any
moment, and the existence of a well-armed “police force” in the
Eastern zone under Communist control, would make such freedom
fictitious. But the temptation will be great so long as we continue
to forbid the Germans to produce to the limit of their capacity,
and deny them the right to export their manufactures on equal
terms with the British and French, while also insisting on Western
Germany’s unilateral disarmament. Moreover, thanks to our foolish
agreements at Yalta and Potsdam, and our short-sighted strategy,
only Soviet Russia can restore her lost territories to Germany, give
her unity, and open up the markets of Eastern Europe which are
essential to the German economy. If we continue to control Ger-
many’s foreign trade in the interests of her British and French com-
petitors, sooner or later the Germans will be driven by economic
compulsions to make a deal with the Soviet Union.
Stalin can also rest assured that France will continue to play into
his hands. He can now safely make his gesture to obtain German
good will, secure in the knowledge that the West will reject his
proposal to set Germany free and that we will take upon ourselves
the onus of continuing to occupy her.
The only peace which can endure and is worth the sacrifices of
war is one founded on justice. Unless we recognize our own trans-
gressions against law and humanity, and seek to implement the
principles for which Americans have gone to war twice in a gen-
eration, there can be no hope for the salvation of Western civiliza-
tion. All the atom bombs we can manufacture will not save us
if we lose our self-respect and the trust and esteem of the peo-
ples of the world, including the conquered and powerless.
Most Americans, being still isolationist at heart, have felt that
one of the rewards of victory was freedom to dismiss the whole
CONCLUSION 309
subject of Germany from their minds. Thus they gave right of way
to the minority of fanatics, professional anti-Germans, and Com-
munist sympathizers, who led the chorus of hatred in the years of
tension and passion engendered by war, and have been successful
in perpetuating their influence by smearing all dissidents. This
harmful minority has succeeded in widening the abyss which sep-
arates us from the nation for whose fate we made ourselves re-
sponsible by the demand for unconditional surrender.
Only very recently has the American public become aware of the
fact that total victory burdens the United States for good or ill
with total responsibility, not only for the fate of the German peo-
ple but for the destiny of Europe. The terrible responsibility they
had unknowingly assumed was realized only after Soviet aggression
and intransigeance and Stalin’s openly declared hostility toward
the United States had awakened the Americans from the pipe
dream induced by Administration propaganda and the ignorant
or servile journalists who spread the same lies. The mirage of a
United Nations organization in which the lion and the lamb were
to lie down together and the victor nations were to remain friends
forever is now dispelled. But the poison instilled into the veins of
the American people by the apostles of hatred and vengeance still
distorts their vision and prevents them from adopting the totally
new policy which alone can ensure that the world shall not suc-
cumb to Stalin in spite of President Roosevelt’s errors of judgment
and sacrifices of principle.
The task which the United States undertook in Germany, that
of persuading a brave people with old traditions and a high level
of culture, to adopt the democratic faith and institutions of their
Western conquerors, was perhaps in any case an impossible one.
It required tact, understanding, and sympathy, and was certainly
incompatible with the behavior prescribed for the occupying forces.
Obviously we could not both “teach democracy” to the Germans
and ourselves behave as conquerors or as a “master race.” We
could only succeed by following the high principles of the Ameri-
can tradition, but these, together with the Atlantic Charter, were
in fact repudiated in our dealings with the German people. And
even though we have since turned over a new leaf, begun to restore
the German economy, and given the German people some hope
of eventually being admitted as equals into a European federation,
our policy still lacks the warmth and humanity which are necessary
to overcome the memory of past injury and bitterness on both
THE HIGH COST OF VENGEANCE

310
sides. Fruitful cooperation between peoples is impossible without
trust, fair dealing, and equality, and these require a complete
change in our approach to Germany.
The political and military consequences of vengeance may prove
disastrous to the Western world. Europe cannot be defended mili-
tarily, or “made safe for democracy” politically, unless Germany is
brought into the community of free nations as an equal partner.
I am convinced that not only the dictates of reason, common
sense, and self-interest, but also the call of conscience and belief in
a justice which transcends national boundaries, will impel a radical
change in United States policy once the American people are made
aware of the facts which have for so long been withheld from them.

Following typos in the original were corrected for this electronic
edition:

p. 37, 39 : unkept — unkempt
p. 91, 5 : Mulhausen — Mülhausen (i.e. Mulhouse)
p. 169, 14-15 : had had never — had never
p. 176, 33 : trangressions — transgressions
p. 199, 27 : obscurred — obscured
p. 209, 7-8 : Regensberg — Regensburg
p. 246, 1 : ambititous — ambitious
p. 280, 36 : Ostend — Ostende
p. 301, 17-18 : her to to be — her to be

Published on February 12, 2009 at 7:47 am  Leave a Comment  

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