Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Germany after World War II

As the defeat of Hitler approached in 1944 and 45, Allied diplomats, politicians and generals engaged in a long and fierce debate about what to do with Germany after the war. Many were captured by fantasies like the Morgenthau Plan, which proposed completely disarming and de-industrializing the whole nation. Others, remembering what had happened to a humiliated Germany after the First World War, argued that this would only lead to a resurgance of fascism in Germany, or else a turn toward the Soviet bock. The only possible approach, they argued was to support the rebuilding of the country and welcome Germany fully into a new Europe. As former president Herbert Hoover told Harry Truman,
You can have vengeance, or peace, but you can't have both.

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