PUNITIVE PEACE PLAN IMPOSED ON GERMANY

Washington, D.C. May 10, 1945

On this date in 1945 President Harry S. Truman signed the Joint Chiefs of Staff Directive 1067. The person behind the direc­tive was Henry Morgen­thau, Jr., Presi­dent Franklin D. Roose­velt’s former Trea­sury Secre­tary who had long advo­cated that post­war Ger­man occu­pa­tion include mea­sures to eli­mi­nate Ger­many’s abil­ity to wage war for a third time—the first two times being the First and Second World Wars. JCS 1067 applied only to the U.S. zone of occu­pa­tion, not the Brit­ish, Soviet, and later French zones. Truman did, however, suc­ceed in incor­po­rating much of JCS 1067 (and its inspi­ra­tion, the 1944 Morgen­thau Plan) into the Pots­dam Agree­ment, a “com­muni­qué” that the victo­ri­ous powers hashed out during their meeting in a Berlin suburb between July 17 and August 2, 1945.

Under the Potsdam provisions, U.S. occupa­tion efforts focused mainly on denazi­fi­ca­tion, German dis­arma­ment and demili­ta­ri­zation, the prose­cution of German war crimi­nals, and the reduc­tion or destruc­tion of all civil­ian heavy indus­try that might have a mili­tary poten­tial. Production of loco­motive, mer­chant ship, and air­craft, for instance, was prohib­ited and banks were restricted in their lending. What was left of the German eco­nomy was to be restructured toward light industry and agriculture in accordance with Germany’s “approved peace­time needs.” For example, steel produc­tion was to be capped at 25 per­cent of pre­war produc­tion, and car produc­tion to 10 per­cent of pre­war levels. Coal, coke, elec­trical equip­ment, leather goods, alcohol, toys, musical instru­ments, textiles, and clothing were to take the place of the heavy industrial products that had formed most of Germany’s prewar exports.

Following the Agreement’s implementation, German living stan­dards declined and mal­nu­tri­tion and death rates rose above pre­war levels. To prevent mass star­va­tion the Amer­icans and British were increas­ingly forced to import food­stuffs to the tune of $1.5 billion by 1948, which was paid for by Germany. (In 1946–1947 the average daily caloric intake was esti­mated to be 1,080, which was far below recommended minimum nutrition levels.) Beginning in mid-1946 many obser­vers came to see the Morgen­thau Plan and JCS 1067 as inflicting undue hard­ship on Germans and limiting the abil­ity of their coun­try to recover from the devas­ta­ting effects of the past dozen years now com­pounded by the resettle­ment in the Allied occu­pa­tion zones of enormous num­bers of ethnic Germans (12–14 mil­lion by 1950) expelled from Poland, Czecho­slo­vakia, Hun­gary, Roma­nia, and the Soviet Union. Truman’s Secre­tary of State, retired Gen. George C. Marshall, citing national (i.e., U.S.) secu­rity con­cerns, was able to con­vince the presi­dent to rescinded the puni­tive occu­pa­tion directive JCS 1067 in 1947, months after the Morgen­thau Plan had been abandoned as offi­cial U.S. policy by Marshall’s predecessor at the State Department.

In April 1948 a new Economic Recovery Program was in place, infor­mally named after Marshall. The $13 billion, four-year Marshall Plan helped Euro­pean eco­no­mies (apart from those of the Soviet satel­lites trapped behind the “Iron Curtain”) quickly recover and mod­ern­ize their indus­trial and busi­ness prac­tices along Amer­i­can lines. Besides instilling a sense of hope and self-reliance in war-weary Euro­peans, the aid plan also sti­mu­lated the poli­ti­cal recon­struc­tion and eco­nomic inte­gra­tion of West­ern Europe. (Today’s Euro­pean Union of 28 mem­ber states can be traced back to the Euro­pean Coal and Steel Com­munity (1951), the Treaty of Paris (1951), and later the Treaties of Rome (1958), which estab­lished the Euro­pean Eco­no­mic Com­munity.) In 1953 Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his postwar work.





Marshall Plan: Restoring the Infrastructure and Economies of Post-World War II Europe

Hungerwinter Demonstration, Germany, March 31, 1947 1997 West German Marshall stamp

Left: Between 1946 and 1948 food produc­tion in Ger­many was still two-thirds the pre­war level. Not until the end of 1949, after the Marshall Plan had kicked in, did indus­trial pro­duc­tion reach pre­war levels. During the winter of 1947, thou­sands of West Ger­mans took to the streets to pro­test the disas­trous housing, food, and dis­placed per­sons situ­a­tion in their country. In this street demon­stra­tion, the handheld placard reads: “We want COAL. We want BREAD.”

Right: 1997 West German stamp com­mem­o­rating the 50th anni­ver­sary of the Marshall Plan. Marshall dele­gated the design of the Marshal Plan to his subor­di­nates, using his pres­tige as the organ­izer of vic­tory in World War II to gar­ner the requisite support in the U.S. Congress for its passage.

1960 West German Marshall stamp Time Magazine’s 1947 Man of the Year

Left: 1960 West German stamp honoring George Marshall (1880–1959). As U.S. Secre­tary of State (1947–1949), Marshall laid the ground­work for the Euro­pean Recov­ery Pro­gram (1947–1951), the Marshall Plan’s for­mal name; the Berlin Airlift (June 1948–May 1949); the crea­tion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organi­za­tion (NATO) (1949); and the estab­lish­ment of the German Federal Republic (West Germany) (1949).

Right: Marshall was the first profes­sional sol­dier to win the Nobel Peace Prize (1953) and was twice named Man of the Year by Time magazine (1943 and 1947).

George C. Marshall, American Soldier and Statesman (Part 1 of 2)


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