Germany in Defeat

The Carpet

By V-E Day the military government carpet was laid in dimensions larger than any plan had contemplated. It stretched across the Rhineland and the Ruhr into central Germany to the Elbe and the Mulde Rivers, into western Czechoslovakia to Pilzen, and south into Austria past Linz, Salzburg, and Innsbruck. The carpet was a thin one, 250 ECAD military government detachments and about 200 provisional detachments drawn from the combat troops.1 Although the movement and the fighting had ended, military government command was still entirely in tactical channels-from division to corps to army to army group. Fifteenth Army controlled the Rhineland. On 11 May, when First Army became non-operational, Ninth Army assumed military government responsibility for the area east of the Rhine and north of the Main River and for the Bremen enclave. Third Army held northern and eastern Bavaria, the western Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, and a dozen Landkreise in Austria. Seventh ,Army straddled half of Bavaria (including Munich, the capital), Wuerttemberg, and Baden. Headquarters, 12th Army Group, took command of Seventh Army on 16 May and therewith became responsible for military government in all U.S.-occupied Germany.

The U.S. Group Control Council, resigned to a delayed entry into Berlin, enjoyed an advancement from the rearward ranks of SHAEF Main, at Versailles, to a spearhead position with SHAEF Forward, in Frankfurt. When SHAEF Forward opened in the I.G. Farben building in Frankfurt after V-E Day, the US Group Control Council set itself up in a Farben plant in nearby Hoechst. Hoechst, a Farben company town, was ideally suited to a military occupation. The houses had been designed for assignment to Farben employees according to rank. Headquarters, EC AD, moved from Troyes to Bad Homburg, ten miles northwest of Frankfurt, and settled into a collection of resort hotels spared from the bombing because they had been used as hospitals during the war.

The E detachments, after their long winter's wait, were in Germany and working, though not yet exercising the regional supervision for which they had been designed. Some detachments, like E1C3 (Land Wuerttemberg) and E2C2 (Land Bremen and the enclave), had entered their areas in April not far behind the combat troops. Others, like E1F3 (Land Bavaria), took up their stations after V-E Day. All had problems, among which inadequate personnel-in numbers and in specialized skills-was the most common. The Land detachment commanders learned, as Col. Charles E. Keegan did when he took E1F3 into Munich on 14 May, that the govern-


ments they had come to supervise were practically nonexistent. In Munich, the government buildings were badly damaged; the ministries had either been bombed out or evacuated; the Reichsstatthalter (head of government under the Nazis) had reportedly been kidnapped by the SS; and, for the near future at least, the Seventh Army-Third Army boundary cutting through Bavaria was more important than the Land political boundaries.2 Col. Bion C. Welker, commanding E2C2, had a tight, if entirely artificial, area in the Bremen enclave, but he shared it with two major generals, one commanding the 29th Infantry Division, the other the Bremen Port Command.3

Military government operations, with few exceptions, were being conducted as they had been during the combat phase, by the local detachments under the supervision of the tactical commands and sometimes in competition with the security troops. Among the exceptions, E1F3, as one of its first acts, appointed a German food and agriculture administrator for Bavaria, thereby recognizing a regional problem though by no means solving it. In two directives affecting the entire US occupied area, 12th Army Group authorized the reuniforming of the German police and the reopening of lower courts. The police, in old Wehrmacht uniforms dyed some color other than field gray, could not be armed but could carry nightsticks. The courts were to make a beginning at clearing up the backlog of ordinary civil and criminal cases accumulated before the surrender, provided judges and lawyers could be found. At least 80 percent of the members of the legal profession had been Nazis. Twenty-five German courts were operating by the end of May. The opening of the German courts did not affect the jurisdiction of military government courts, which had tried 16,000 cases by V-E Day, 70 percent on curfew and circulation charges.4

MFA&A was one of the first military government functions to be centrally coordinated. Because of the shortage of personnel, its functions had not been delegated to lower staffs to the extent others had; moreover, it had become the trustee for a greater quantity of art treasures than had ever been captured by any other army in history. At the time of the surrender, although they did not know it yet, the US armies held the contents of all the major German art repositories except the Hamburg museums and, apparently, nearly all the art work the Nazis had looted in the countries occupied by Germany. The march into the south had uncovered dozens of caches, among them Einsatzstab Rosenberg loot at Neuschwanstein, the Rothschild collections at Herrenchiemsee, Nazi Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop's collection at Gaibach, and, in Austria, mines at Laufen and Alt Aussee-the first mine containing the collections of the Vienna Kunsthistorischesmuseum, and the other holding the best of the Einsatzstab Rosenberg loot, probably intended originally for the great museum Hitler had planned to build in his hometown, Linz.

In neighboring salt mines at Heilbronn and Kochendorf, Seventh Army made finds that rivaled those of Third Army at Merk-


GERMANS QUEUE UP for information and advice at a military government detachment headquarters.

GERMANS QUEUE UP for information and advice at a military government detachment headquarters.

ers. When the MFA&A officer, Lt. James J. Rorimer, went into the mines in late April, he saw, in cavernous galleries 700 feet below the surface where the temperature never varied from 67 Fahrenheit in winter or in summer, thousands of paintings and works of sculpture, millions of books, all the stained glass from the Strassburg Cathedral, the crown jewels and throne of the Grand Duchy of Baden, and, in addition, an I. G. Farben poison gas factory, a Heinkel jet plane factory, locomotives, fireworks, and stores of oil and aluminum.

On into June, depositories came to light almost daily. By the end of the month, the number reported to Headquarters, 12th Army Group, came to 849. The MFA&A job was to locate the caches, identify their contents, check on their condition, and see to their preservation and safekeeping. The 12th Army Group established collecting points at Marburg, Wiesbaden, and Munich; but getting the objects to these points was a massive undertaking. Maj. Louis B. LaFarge estimated that just moving the contents of the Alt Aussee mine to


Munich would take the sixteen trucks at his disposal six weeks. 5

Organizationally, military government was most advanced in the area longest occupied, the Rhineland. After the Ruhr pocket collapsed in mid-April, Fifteenth Army converted itself into a predominantly military government headquarters by assigning military government functions to all its staff sections-religion and welfare to G-1, public safety and censorship to G-2, finance to the inspector general, and so on. The army's two corps, XXII and XXIII Corps, took over subareas-XXII Corps in the Duesseldorf-Aachen-Cologne districts, and XXIII Corps from Trier and Koblenz south. Early in May, the army brought in Detachments E1A2 and E1G2 to organize German provincial and district governments and at the middle of the month installed Dr. Hans Fuchs as head of the German administration for the entire Fifteenth Army area, then designated as the Rhine Province Military District. For a brief time Fuchs became the highest ranking German official in the western zones (his province was soon to be divided between the British and French zones).

Finding men for the higher posts who had no Nazi involvement was an arduous business. Fuchs had held a similar position under the US Army of occupation after World War I and had been president of the Prussian Rheinprovinz under the Weimar Republic; he had been in forced retirement during the twelve years of the Nazi regime and was seventy years old.6

The other appointees were, like Fuchs, men who had not worked under the Nazis at all or, if they had, had held much lower ranks. Some were women, for whom the Nazi discrimination against their sex was proving an advantage under the occupation. The search for candidates had required the combined efforts of military government and the Counterintelligence Corps (CIC), and at the end of May some positions were still unfilled. At Coblenz, the hunt had not yet turned up enough qualified persons to begin establishing a district administration.7 The recruiters had not only to weed out Nazis but also to steer clear of overinvolvement with other political factions. They found it especially hard to determine when Catholic priests were making recommendations "as public-spirited gentlemen of the clergy" and when as "leaders of the Center [Catholic] Party seeking posts for their candidates." 8

Four days after the surrender, Eisenhower reminded the army group commanders that the purpose of military government was to control German governmental authorities, not to govern-if for no other reason, because the military forces themselves could not provide the manpower to run the government under any circumstances. He instructed the commanders to relax the circulation and travel restrictions enough to allow German officials to function beyond the local level (Fifteenth Army had reopened the intercity telephone system in the Rhineland for its German officials), and to put in the E detachments at once with the mission to reestablish German administrative machinery


at the regional level. 9 By the end of the month the E detachments arrived east of the Rhine and began to organize German administrations up to the Land level.

But Eisenhower's instructions did not affect the so-called tactical theory of military government that SHEAF G-5 had criticized in the field survey in March. From top to bottom in the SHEAF-occupied area, military government remained tightly locked into the tactical command channels. This arrangement meant that, except in the Rhineland where Fifteenth Army had assumed the characteristics of a military government staff, military government and the German administrations had to function within unit boundaries, not German political boundaries, and that down at least to the regiment and battalion level, tactical commanders had more military government authority than any military government detachment. The E detachments could organize German administrations, but the chances of their authority, to say nothing of the German officials' authority, reaching across the nearest corps boundary were not good. Although, with the war over, units no longer were constantly on the move, they still moved frequently and cultivated their own, sometimes idiosyncratic, concepts of military government.

For their own reasons, the tactical commands, from the army groups on down, were also finding fault with the "tactical theory." The 12th Army Group complained in April and again in May that its responsibilities exceeded its resources, particularly in matters that reached beyond even its farflung boundaries, such as production control, operation of the railroads, and maintenance of the electric power system.10 XV Corps protested that the plans had never called for corps to conduct regional military government. Its three-officer G-5 section was responsible for supervising twenty Landkreise and two Stadtkreise in southern Bavaria and in Austria, and all the regional administrative centers for these Kreise were outside the corps boundaries.11 On the other hand, at the top, the reasons for having put military government in the tactical channels in the first place seemed not to have lost their force. Late in May, Hilldring told Clay to watch military government: "The G-5 boys have a tendency to fall under British influence in setting up . . . on what they call a territorial basis, but which really means outside normal military channels. Whatever the theoretical justification, if in practice the military government officer (a Lt. Col.) sitting in the same town as a division commander (Maj. Gen.) is independent, God help the Lt. Col. and your military government." 12

The Country

Whatever else the defeat may have meant to the Germans, it meant that they were going to go hungry, probably for a long time; and they were hungry already. The SHAEF maximum daily ration for normal consumers was 1,550 calories, but the amounts actually being issued ranged from 804 calories in Hesse and Hesse-Nassau to 1,150 calories in parts of the Rhineland. The normal consumers were the new


proletariat of the occupation. The gentry were the "heavy" and "very heavy" workers, railroad workers and miners for instance, who could get up to 2,800 calories. The out-and-out aristocrats were the self-suppliers, that is, the farmers, who did not have to trouble themselves with ration cards. The normal consumer was not starving, but if he subsisted entirely on his ration, which no one really expected him to do, he was very close to it. A typical week's ration issued during May of 1945 consisted of the following: bread, 3 pounds; meat, 4 ounces; butter and fat, 2 ounces; sugar, 7 ounces; macaroni and spaghetti, 5 ounces; potatoes, 6 pounds; some cereal (added to the children's ration), 6 ounces; milk (only for children up to six), 1 quart. The total was less than 1,000 calories per day, and the difference was made up by adding a few ounces of green vegetables "provided trucks can be found to haul them and provided the people can eat rhubarb without sugar." 13

The 6th and 12th Army Group surveys indicated that there might be enough food in Germany to feed the Germans until the next harvest at the existing ration scales, if the necessity for feeding large numbers of displaced persons and disarmed German troops did not last too long into the summer. The spring planting for 1945 was about 90 percent of normal, but it had been done late and the results were doubtful. Military government had helped. XXIII Corps distributed 10,000 tons of seed potatoes in its area. Fifteenth Army secured 10,000 tons of German and 2,000 tons of imported farm and garden seeds, most of them transported in Army trucks. Military government set up farm machinery and automotive repair shops in the Landkreise. The shops could make one usable truck out of two or three wrecks. In the towns and cities, military government worked to protect the food resources of the people and to get the processing plants running again. In Erlangen, the detachment allowed Germans whose houses had been requisitioned as troop billets to have access to their gardens. In Ansbach, the detachment distributed garden seed. By the end of May, mills in Freising were producing 20 tons of flour a day for Munich, and a creamery was processing 50,000 quarts of milk. In June XXIII Corps listed salt, flour, meats, cereals, potatoes, and bread as not to be requisitioned from the Germans for feeding displaced persons. Third Army, by using central repair and strict surveillance, raised the number of vehicles available for civilian transport in its area from 7,500 in May to 25,000 in June.14

SHAEF G-5's estimate of the German food situation was, if anything, more pessimistic than that of the army groups. It predicted sporadic starvation in urban areas before the harvest unless food was imported. The most obvious reason for this prediction was that normally the SHAEF area was only 60 to 70 percent self-sufficient. The difference had come from im-


ports and from eastern Germany, now in Soviet hands. The western sections that had produced some surpluses, Bavaria and Schleswig-Holstein for instance, were having to feed populations swollen by refugees. The big city populations were often half of normal, but the rural towns and villages had as much as two and a half times the usual number of people. Furthermore, the freeing of the displaced persons had cut the farm labor force in half; the bombing had destroyed processing machinery and impaired the distribution system; and because of the bombing, which had prevented the east-west movement of grain during the past winter, western Germany had begun the year with a food shortage. SHAEF's program was to encourage agriculture to the utmost-one of the few areas in which the Germans would be given Allied encouragement. SHAEF had granted permission to restart the agricultural machinery, fertilizer, and insecticide industries; and 12th Army Group had released 237,000 prisoners of war as farm labor by 1 June and would release over 200,000 more later in the month. Whether the effort would succeed was doubtful.15 However, the Germans would have to be fed. As General Stearns, ETOUSA G-5, said, "While we can say they brought it on themselves and to hell with them, the fact remains that the Supreme Commander, who will be Military Governor of Germany, will be forced by public opinion at home to take at least minimum steps to prevent starvation." 16 Although the decision was not an easy one-all of Europe was short on food-SHAEF began importing 650,000 tons of wheat for Germany in June.17

Competing with the food shortage for the status of number-one crisis was the state of German coal production. In May, a group of U.S. and British experts, the Potter-Hyndley Mission, surveyed the European coal requirements and concluded, "Unless drastic steps are taken, there will occur in Northwest Europe and the Mediterranean next winter a coal famine of such severity as to destroy all semblance of law and order, and thus delay any chance of reasonable stability." 18 This chilling prediction extinguished whatever life was left in the Morgenthau Plan's proposal for closing the German mines; but the outlook for Germany was dark nevertheless. The anticipated coal deficit for northwest Europe excluding Germany in the year from June 1945 to June 1946 was 25 million tons, unless coal could be gotten from Poland, which was highly unlikely, from the United States, which would require four hundred 16,000-ton ships full time and so was impossible, or from Germany. The Potter-Hyndley Mission recommended taking coal from Germany "without any regard for the consequences to Germany." The question was, the mission report conceded, whether German production could be raised to anywhere near 25 million tons. Either way, the Germans would suffer. At the time, production was 30,000 tons a day, 3 percent of normal, and 24,000 of these tons were being used to run the mines. The mines had over 5 million tons on hand but only enough


transport to move 19,000 tons a day.19 A SHAEF solid fuels conference in April had estimated 12th Army Group's coal requirements alone at 200,000 tons a month.20 Not much was going to be left for the Germans, who were dependent on coal for heating, electricity, railroads, food processing, and even running water. In Wiesbaden, military government took coal from the gas works and scraped the coal dealers' bins to generate enough electricity to keep the city water system working. By the end of April, practically the whole power grid south of the Main River could have been operating had there been coal, but the railroad freight service had to be restored in order to bring in the coal, and it would need coal itself. The miners had to be fed much more than the average 1,000 calories a day if they were to do their work; and even if they dug the coal, Germany would have last claim on it. If the coal famine was going to result in acute unrest somewhere, the Potter-Hyndley Mission preferred to see it in Germany and said so in its report: "Should it become necessary to preserve order by shooting, it would surely be better for this to occur in Germany than elsewhere." 21

In the midst of shortages the Germans were rolling in money. In May, 3,000 banks were open in the 12th Army Group area, and they had a total 3 billion Reichsmarks on deposit. Deposits exceeded withdrawals by so much that the banks were in trouble; they had no place to invest. In military government courts, the defendant who could not pay a thousand-mark fine out of his pocket was rare. Everybody had money from high wartime wages and from compensation for bomb damage. The Nazi government, to sustain morale, had paid bomb damage claims promptly and without many questions asked. As the owners of the German 450-billion-mark war debt, however, the banks and the people were bankrupt. In April, the mark had sold (in Spain) for 41 z cents. SHAEF maintained an exchange rate of ten to the dollar for the Allied military marks when they were exchanged by US personnel, and none for Reichsmarks. What value the Reichsmark had was derived from its being accepted in payment of fines and taxes and for rationed goods. For the purchase of such goods its value was about 30 cents, maintained by government subsidies to the producers, whose reluctance to accept the money even with the subsidies was increasing and, no doubt, contributed to shortages.22

One direction, other than agriculture, in which military government was willing to give the Germans encouragement and assistance was education. Some military government officers believed the schools ought to be left closed and the Germans kept in ignorance; but the predominant opinion was that properly regulated instruction of children would be the best foundation for the future. Schools were also a means for preventing juvenile delinquency which, as the threat of active German resistance faded, became one of the chief public safety concerns of military government. In May 1945, all the schools were closed; some had


already been closed for several months and some, like those at Aachen, since September 1944. In the defeated country, about all the children had in abundance were temptations. Before the surrender, military government had picked up reports of nationally organized adolescent gangs going by such names as Snake Club, Red X, and Edelzveisspiraten. Their activities had ranged from listening to swing music and wearing zoot suits, to laughing and applauding in the wrong places at Hitler Youth meetings, to draft dodging and petty gangsterism. They were likely to find new things to do and many recruits if the occupation left the children unsupervised.

Like everything else in postsurrender Germany, reopening the schools was not easy. SHAEF required that before they could be opened, suitable buildings had to be readied, non-Nazi teachers certified, and new textbooks printed. Many school buildings had been destroyed, and those that had not were nearly all being used as DP camps, troop billets, or hospitals. Many teachers could not survive the first hurdle, the denazification Fragebogen. None of the old textbooks were considered suitable, and just to reopen the first four grades in the 12th Army Group area would require printing six-and-a-quarter-million new textbooks. Since it was not difficult to imagine the publicity effects of slips in the textbooks or the appointment of a few stray teachers with questionable political antecedents, military government would have to provide intensive supervision, which it was not ready to do. The E detachments had spaces for three education officers in their tables of organization and the F detachments spaces for two; in May, however, only one E detachment and no F detachment had an officer who carried education as his first assignment. During the war, the education officer's sole function had been to close the schools, and this task did not require a full-time educational specialist.

In Aachen, F1G2 had been working since early in the year getting ready to reopen the schools. The detachment had plates for new textbooks made in England. The first set of plates disappeared on the way from London to Paris, and a second set had to be made. In April, 40,000 textbooks were printed. By May, FIG2 had found a superintendent of schools who had not been a member of the Nazi party, because he was half Jewish, and twenty-six teachers, twenty-four of whom were women in their forties and fifties who had been housewives during the Nazi period and so escaped party involvement. Finally, on 4 June, grades one to four in Aachen, with a thousand students, became the first to reopen in postwar Germany.23

"The Nazi Party," 12th Army Group G-5 reported in the third week of June, "seems almost to have vanished from the earth." 24 This was almost literally true. The Army security services were arresting the most prominent and dangerous Nazis by the thousands. At the end of June, 50,000 were in jails and camps. The arrests of the Doenitz government and of Goering and other prominent Nazis in southern Bavaria filled up the detention center known as ASHCAN, which had moved from Spa to Mondorf Les Bains in Luxembourg. Military government, working to bring new people to the fore, installed its appointees




with much ceremony and all the trappings of office. Its star was Dr. Konrad Adenauer who, after he openly assumed office as Oberbuergermeister of Cologne, quickly became the most prominent and most popular political figure in the Rhineland. On 31 May, military government permitted Corpus Christi Day celebrations and parades in Catholic communities; and the local officials attended, something the people had not seen in the twelve years of Nazi rule. Although the Nazis were no longer a danger, they could still be an embarrassment. ASHCAN was in a ninety-room resort hotel outside Mondorf. The furniture had been taken out. Each room had one canvas cot with two blankets and no pillow, one straight-back chair, and wire netting across all the windows-more to keep the prisoners from jumping than to prevent their escape. They ate prisoner of war rations, usually C and K rations. Although ASHCAN was secret, a SHAEF inspector who visited it in the second week of May, while the Goering fraternization incident was prominent in the US press, recommended moving it. The outside appearance was too sumptuous, and he shuddered at the thought of what some newspaper reporter might make of the


name "Palace" chiseled in stone in eighteen-inch-high letters over the entrance.25

Housing themselves looked like a hopeless job for the Germans. The troops and the displaced persons always had first choice, and the population was totally out of joint. Southern Bavaria, which had been a favorite refuge from the bombing, had an estimated two and a half million people more than its normal population. About half of an estimated seven million refugees who had escaped from eastern Germany ahead of the Soviet winter offensive were in SHAEF territory. Undamaged towns and cities had a third to a half again as many people as normal. In the heavily bombed big cities the populations were increasing-in Cologne, for instance, at a rate of 2,000 people a day during May but the cities could not accommodate all their former residents and were beginning to discourage the return of those who did not have needed skills or assured places to live. Military government did not regard where or how the Germans lived as its concern, although it provided some indirect relief by moving the newly arriving Sudeten refugees out of overcrowded Bavaria and by preventing residents of the area that would be handed over to the Russians from moving west. The worst consequence of unsettlement and overcrowding, a typhus epidemic, did not materialize. Serious outbreaks in the concentration camps-over four thousand cases in Dachau alone-led 12th Army Group to send out typhus-finding teams and dusting teams. By the end of May they had deloused a million persons and had used fifteen tons of DDT, and reports of new cases had decreased. Tuberculosis and venereal diseases, however, were on the rise.26

The worst off of the Germans were the refugees who had no hones to return to and the most pitiable were the children who had been evacuated from the bombed cities. The refugees were consigned indefinitely to living on the charity of communities in which they were, to say the least, unwelcome. The children, who had been kept in camps in isolated spots, were sometimes found abandoned and hungry. Although military government did not provide relief for German refugees, at this stage not even for starving children, it did compel the frequently reluctant local German governments to assume responsibility for them. The military government detachment in Landkreis Ebersberg southeast of Munich acquired an unusual brood, 200 babies, all less than three months old, in the Heim Hochland, an SS Lebensborn establishment barracks. In the barracks were a hundred women, "all attractive, perfect physical specimens," blood-typed in the SS fashion, and some pregnant. The babies, offspring of women like these and SS fathers, had been destined to become children of the state.27

Understanding the Germans was not easy. Military government seemed to have the strongest popular support in the places




where denazification was the most thorough. The commonest complaint against denazification was that it did not reach all of those who had profited from the Nazi system and the war. Instead of underground political activity against the occupation, a kind of belated anti-Nazi uprising seemed to be developing. 28 The number of persons "willing, even eager," to act as informers was not entirely a pleasant surprise. Military government had expected that the displaced persons and those who had suffered under the Nazis would want to get even, but many Germans with no such motives came forward to denounce their neighbors as Nazis and "to tell where the loot was hidden." 29 Rumor-mongering was a national mania. Most of the stories concerned wildly oppressive regulations supposedly about to be imposed by the Allies, an alleged impending Soviet takeover of western Germany, and an imminent war


between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union. Least understandable was the people's apparent indifference to the suffering of their fellow countrymen, especially the stranded refugees and the jail and concentration camp inmates. In Bavaria in May, a few Catholic priests were the only ones doing welfare work among the refugees. Up to the end of the first week in May, SHAEF PWD observed, "no German individual or civil organization has expressed the slightest concern" for the concentration camp victims, and no voluntary offers of food, clothing, or medical aid had been made.30

Aside from the military government detachments, SHAEF had two lines of communication to the Germans, Radio Luxembourg and PWD-produced newspapers. Both forms provided an austere fare of news, military government instructions, and atrocity stories, although the strictures originally imposed on Die Mitteilungen had been relaxed enough in the spring to allow PWD to print papers with a slight local cast. By V-E Day, Die Mitteilungen, with a press run of 300,000, was overshadowed by a dozen Army-published "name" papers, largest of which were the Frankfurter Presse (900,000), Hessische Post (980,000) , and Koelnischer Kurier (850,000) . At the end of May, the papers had a combined circulation of over 5 million. All were weeklies and, except for their names and some local news, were standardized in makeup and content. The one semi-licensed paper, the Aachener Nachrichten, printed 37,000 copies. Distribution was no problem: the news-hungry Germans constituted an insatiable market. The limitations were paper, ink, presses, and transportation.31

After the surrender, PWD became suddenly and uncomfortably aware that it had a rival in the east, the Soviet-operated Radio Berlin. The Germans were listening to it more than would have been expected even considering that Radio Berlin was on the air in German nineteen hours a day while Radio Luxembourg's German-language broadcasts were limited to about four hours a day; and PWD listened, too, to find out why. What it heard were variety programs, music, friendly chats with listeners, and announcements of movies and theaters reopening and of alleged special coffee and tea rations. One morning music program was entitled "Let's Start the Day With a Gay Heart," and the announcer advised his listeners, "For greater pleasure, you should listen on your balcony amid flowers." On 22 May, the day the Russians put Berlin on Moscow time, the announcer who read the notice concluded with "Therefore, my dear listeners, you must not forget to set your clock forward an hour before going to sleep." The PWD monitors noted a sharp contrast with US policy announcements and an even sharper contrast in tone.32  When PWD asked 12th Army Group how extensive the popularity of Radio Berlin was and what could be done about it, the army group replied that the Soviet programs were the main topics of conversation of Germans in all walks of life.




They liked the entertainment and were impressed by the stories of rapid reconstruction in the Soviet-occupied territories. The programming for Radio Luxembourg, the army group's reply concluded, needed to take into account the enormous hunger for escapist entertainment in Germany and needed to put a better face on SHAEF occupation policy.33  Subsequent army group and army assessments agreed that Radio Berlin increased discontent in western Germany. The Germans praised the Soviets' apparent willingness to distinguish between Nazis and non-Nazis and complained about the "dour and grim" quality of Radio Luxembourg and the "dishwater taste" of SHAEF's press and radio output; however, few said they would prefer to live under the Soviet occupation.34


The Question of Policy

During the week the war ended, Col. Joe Starnes, on a mission for SHAEF, finished a two weeks' tour of Germany. He had traveled two thousand miles and talked to military government officers from the army group G-5's on down to the spearhead detachments. He had seen more of Germany than any other Western observer so far, and he reported to General Smith:

Germany's military power is destroyed. The Nazi Party is dead. More than 20 million Germans are homeless or without adequate shelter. The average basic ration is less than 1,000 calories.
The ability to wage war in this generation has been destroyed. 35

Military government, Starnes said, was applying the presurrender directives with common sense, but it would he severely handicapped by the lack of a constructive postwar policy. He recommended setting five objectives for immediate postwar policy at the highest level: (1) revival of agriculture; (2) restoration of transportation and communication; (3) resumption of coal and iron production; (4) revival and conversion of industry for civilian production; and (5) adequate housing.36

In one of his first letters to the CAD from Europe, Clay told Hilldring on 7 May, "The progress of the war in Germany has been much more destructive than most people at home realize." Therefore, he said, he hoped that his directives from Washington would be kept "flexible and general" until enough information was gathered to "enable you people at home to develop sound policy." He added that being "hard on Germany" did not call for unnecessary destruction of the economy. What was needed could only be accomplished in the long run if the Germans were allowed a "decent standard of living" under controls that would prevent the expansion of industries adaptable to war production.37 Although he did not say so directly, Clay had the limiting economic provisions of JCS 1067 in mind when he asked for a flexible directive. He had not read JCS 1067 before he arrived in Europe, and he either did not know about or was not impressed with SHAEF's earlier desire to be relieved of responsibility for the German economy. He agreed with his financial adviser, Lewis W. Douglas, that the Germans, "the most skilled workers in Europe," ought to be used to produce all they could "for a continent which is short of everything." After writing to Hilldring, he sent Douglas to Washington to argue their viewpoint with the CAD.38

Hilldring answered two weeks later, after he had talked to Douglas. He said he felt, as Douglas did, that at the moment it would lie easier not to have an economic directive such as the one in JCS 1067, but "in the long pull," it would be best to administer Germany along lines laid down by the government. While he was convinced that long-range policy "must bubble up from the facts you discover" and that he and McCloy had "planted the seed of this idea" in JCS 1067, Hilldring also felt that it would not be in the Army's or Clay's interest for Clay to be personally responsible for formulating economic policy. JCS


1067, Hilldring wrote, put the US government behind the occupation. Without it, Clay's greatest problem might be "the flanking fire that will fall on you from US sources." Hilldring predicted that soon a "bright light" of public scrutiny was going to shine on Germany, and when it did, Clay was going to need two assets "tucked away in your knapsack: . . . the support of the Government" and "the best public relations counselor in Christendom." 39  

Since JCS 1067 was a US directive, and hence technically not in force during the period of the combined command, SHAEF was in fact exercising some of the flexibility Clay wanted. In the last week of April, SHAEF had established the Production Control Agency. Under G-4 at all levels, the agency had a strength of 1,400 officers and 5,800 enlisted men-not a great deal less than the entire strength of military government-and a two-fold mission: to secure industrial production both for Allied military needs and for German civilian needs. Nearly everyone tacitly agreed that a third stated mission, to hold German civilian production to the minimum, was meaningless; with the economy at a standstill, the whole idea was to get it going again. In May, production control groups and sections at army and lower levels worked to restart industries, giving priority to agricultural machinery and supplies, food processing machinery, medical supplies, textiles, and construction materials, and, of course, coal, liquid fuels, and lubricants.40  In May, on Clay's advice, SHAEF established the Economic Control Agency. Under G-5, the Economic Control Agency was to deal with prices, rationing and distribution, imports and exports, agriculture, fisheries, and "determination of essential civilian requirements for all commodities." 41 The agency's instructions did not specify assistance for the German economy, but setting it up for any other purpose would have been pointless.

The DPs Homeward Bound

After V-E Day, SHAEF G-5 reckoned the total number of displaced persons uncovered in SHAEF-held territory, including those already repatriated as well as liberated prisoners of war, to be 5.2 million. All but about a million were in the areas of the two US army groups. They were being cared for by 102 UNRRA teams, about an equal number of French MMLA teams, and, wherever necessary, by the local military government detachments. The western Europeans were leaving as fast as transportation could be provided. In April the repatriation rate had been 35,000 persons a week; in May it jumped to over 200,000 a week.42

Willing though SHAEF was to have the displaced persons off its hands, some would have to stay a while, particularly the two million Soviet citizens, because their government had not indicated when or where it would receive them. For those who staved, SHAEF ordered "the conditions of


WESTBOUND DPs BOARD A TRAIN in the yards at Weimar.

WESTBOUND DPs BOARD A TRAIN in the yards at Weimar.

living . . . improved to a standard as high as resources permit and without consideration of any adverse effect on the living conditions of the Germans." 43 While the German ration fell below 1,000 calories a day, military government held the DP ration everywhere at 2,000 calories or more, even when this requirement meant, as it did in the Fifteenth Army area, drawing food from US Army stocks.44  In the cities, the detachments moved thousands of Germans (10,000 in Munich for instance) out of their homes to make room for the displaced persons, and sick and wounded German soldiers were transferred out of hospitals to provide beds for them. However, the armies found SHAEF's repeated advice not to confine the DPs too closely easier to accept in principle than to carry out in practice. The best camps continued to be those in which the residents were kept under fairly strict control.45


For the western displaced persons, the DPX did its best to speed them on their way home. Third and Seventh Armies sent their DPs by train to Metz and to Luxembourg City where the trains were separated, some going north to Belgium and Holland, the others continuing on into France. Ninth Army routed its trains to Liege, where Civil Affairs Detachment A1F1 operated around-the-clock sorting centers in which the repatriates were separated by nationality and rerouted to their destinations. Although all DPs were dusted with DDT powder at the 12th Army Group's cordon sanitaire on the Rhine and at least once more when they crossed the German border, a few persons infected with typhus made their way into Belgium and France. SHAEF's "case-finding teams" traced them and dusted their contacts to prevent the spread of the disease.46 At Lauterecken on the most heavily traveled line, the one to Metz, XXIII Corps maintained a rest and feeding point for the DPs. The corps engineers built box latrines along the tracks and laid a quarter mile of water pipe with outlets every twenty feet. Medical personnel ran a delousing station and provided first aid and ambulance service. Every passenger received two-thirds of a day's ration, consisting of canned fish or meat, canned biscuit, and chocolate; and expectant mothers, babies, and obviously undernourished persons were also each given a can of US evaporated milk.47 The record days at Lauterecken were 27-31 May, when almost 55,000 displaced persons passed through.

In the camps, the eastern Europeans predominated. Baumholder, the former German Army training center east of Trier, had 17,000 Russians. The Army provided general supervision-interior and exterior guards to control the DPs and regulate traffic-and supplied the food-staples and processed foods from the Army Quartermaster Depot in Trier and vegetables, butter, and milk requisitioned from the Germans. Soviet liaison officers ran the camp on a military basis. Each barracks had a leader who took roll once a day. The DPs operated a shoe shop, tailor shop, and bakery and cooked their food in big German Army kettles. An UNRRA DP team handled the paper work, ran a kindergarten and a school for older children and staged concerts and shows in which the DPs performed. Nevertheless, Maj. Marvin A. Jones, 161st Field Artillery Battalion, the US officer in charge, was appalled by the Russians' cavalier attitude toward life and believed the relatively low mortality rate only proved that the Russians had "constitutions of iron." Seventeen DPs, however, had died from drinking wood alcohol. Patients in the hospital, he said, "started running around" as soon as they felt a little better. The Russian nurses did not know how to plot a fever chart, and the Russian doctors mixed typhus and tuberculosis patients in the same wards.

The 110th Infantry took over a camp with 7,400 Russians at Bad Homburg on 1 May. The regimental executive officer, 1st Lt. Donald V. Taverner, reported, "People . . . were running wild, going into town and killing Germans, then coming back again." After the regiment turned the internal administration over to a Soviet liaison officer, Captain Patrizuk, it reported that from then on there was "never any friction between the Russians and the Americans." Patrizuk organized the DPs into three regiments of three companies




each; gave them physical training and military drill; and set up guard and police forces and a jail. At the end of May, when repatriation to the Soviet Union began, the Homburg camp became a transit stop. The eastbound trains were loaded at the Homburg railhead, and each day trucks from other camps brought in DPs scheduled for shipment out the following day. During their overnight stay they were given a medical check and some entertainment. The next morning, they boarded trains to the accompaniment of Russian hand music. The Army provided four days' US rations, water, and medical supplies, and the men of the 110th Infantry collected toothpaste, chewing gum, candy, and cigarettes to give to the DPs.

As they had during combat, Army enlisted men frequently played an important part in managing the DPs. Sgt. Edward Beatle of the 5th Ranger Battalion organized a mixed camp of Czechs, Poles, and Russians-a formidable job-in a former concentration and work camp at Poeckeing, and even succeeded in getting the Poles and Russians to work together on the camp police force. Third Army awarded Pfc. Frank Rykowski the Bronze Star for helping the DPs in a camp at Fuerth to run


their own mess, clinic, and entertainment program.48

For three weeks after the surrender the only Soviet nationals being repatriated were the 28,000 captured in German uniform during 1944. The shipment, which had started in late March, went by boat from England and from Marseille to Odessa. The ships returned with troops of the Western Allies whom the Soviet armies had liberated, including 2,858 Americans.49 On Soviet insistence, SHAEF exchanged the Russians' German uniforms for US clothing before embarkation.50 To carry out its obligations under the Geneva Convention, and also because of qualms over the reception the men would get in the Soviet Union, SHAEF had ordered that the Russians would be returned only on a voluntary basis. Until the surrender, SHAEF also had to be concerned about giving the Germans a possible excuse for reprisals against the US prisoners they held. On 10 May, through the Military Mission Moscow, Lt. Gen. K. D. Golubev, Soviet Deputy Plenipotentiary for Affairs of Repatriation, complained about the "abnormal attitude toward Soviet citizens." The Russians, he said, were being asked such questions as " 'Who wants to go home?' . . . I especially insist," he concluded, "on the return of all Soviet citizens without depending on their agreeing to return home." 51 SHAEF then revised its procedure and permitted the men only to be asked whether they claimed Soviet citizenship and were willing to relinquish their prisoner of war status.52

In the first week of June, Eisenhower reported to the JCS that the number of Soviet citizens captured while serving in the German forces and still under SHAEF control was under a thousand. He proposed, since the "danger of German reprisals on our own prisoners" no longer existed, to turn them over to the Soviet Union; and in the following week he ordered "German prisoners of war . . . who are claimed to be Soviet citizens and whose citizenship as such has been established will be transferred to Soviet authorities for repatriation." 53 He did not, however, broach the obvious next question, whether force was to be used against those who could not be repatriated any other way; it was a question that would also have to be answered sooner or later for some of the DPs and for the additional thousands of Russians in German service who had come into SHAEF's hands after the surrender. The 12th Army Group, for example, was holding a contingent of 45,000 Cossacks and 11,000 of their camp followers who had surrendered with the German armies in Austria. In Czechoslovakia, Third Army had 7,000 Russians who had fought on the German side and could claim prisoner of war status because they had surrendered before V-E Day.54

From beginning to end, probably the


least edifying aspect for SHAEF of having Soviet citizens of any variety in its custody was the endless shower of carping complaints from the Soviet authorities. Already before V-E Day, SHAEF had investigated so many baseless charges from the chief Soviet liaison officer, Maj. Gen. V. M. Dragun-among them one that 850 Russians bound for Odessa had been diverted to North Africa and forcibly enlisted in the Foreign Legion-that it refused to accept any more without some evidence to substantiate them. In May, Moscow took over. On the 2d, Pravda printed an interview with Col. Gen. P. I. Golikov, the Plenipotentiary for Affairs of Repatriation, in which Golikov asserted that all Soviet-liberated US and British troops, "except for small groups," had been repatriated but that the Americans and British were holding Russians in camps and mistreating them. Subsequently, his deputy, Golubev, alleging "rude" violations of the Yalta agreement, leveled a series of charges at SHAEF : Soviet citizens were being kept in prisons, given "miserable" rations, denied medical treatment, poisoned with methyl alcohol, and fed poisoned food.55

On 16 May, Maj. Gen. Ray W. Barker, SHAEF G-1, went to Halle, twenty miles northwest of Leipzig, to meet General Golubev, coming from Moscow via Berlin, and to arrange with him a system for exchanging DPs and liberated prisoners of war across the demarcation line. Barker had with him Brig. Gen. Stanley R. Mickelsen, Brig. R. H. S. Venables, and a small party of technical services officers. Golubev came with forty officers, including six major generals, and fifty enlisted men in a convoy that included a U.S.-built armored car and a fully equipped radio truck. The Russians were armed with pistols, submachine guns, and rifles. The next morning, at their first meeting, Barker proposed sending airplanes at once to bring out the US and British prisoners of war. After making some excuses about there not being serviceable airfields-which Barker knew was not true and said so-Golubev made it "very clear that neither now, nor any time in the future, would they permit Allied Airplanes to be used for movement into or out of their territory of prisoners of war or DPs . . . ." The Russians then brought out their plan for the exchange. Obviously written in Moscow, it was cast as a legal document, and its tenor was "to extract compliance to the last degree" with its provisions and with the agreements made at Yalta. Among its specific provisions were some that would have allowed Soviet repatriates to take with them unlimited amounts of "personal effects" and up to 600 pounds of food per person, that would have required SHAEF to provide each repatriate with three days' rations at the exchange point, and that would have prohibited any movement of the repatriates on foot as long as they were on SHAEF territory.

When Barker insisted that he had not come to renegotiate the Yalta agreements but to work out the technicalities of the exchange, Golubev agreed to have a drafting committee set up to work out a plan. The committee met all day and all night on the 17th and into the morning of the 18th and accomplished nothing. The Soviet members were obviously not allowed to depart even in details from the text they had brought with them. Thereafter, Barker ne-


gotiated directly with Golubev. The going was slow, since Golubev himself apparently could not make substantive decisions without approval from Moscow. On the 19th and 20th, the talks stalled for twenty-four hours on the question of how far the Soviet repatriates could be required to walk. Finally, in the early morning hours on 22 May, Barker and Golubev completed and signed a plan. Under it, SHAEF would set up reception-delivery points on its side of the demarcation line at Wismar, Wustmark, Ludwigslust, Stendal, Magdeburg, Leipzig, and Plauen; and the Russians would set up points at corresponding locations on their side. As the plan worked out, the Soviet repatriates did not have to walk very much. SHAEF agreed to transport them to its delivery points by rail, truck, and air and to carry them across the line to the Soviet reception points by truck.56

During the talks at Halle, Barker proposed converting his and Golubev's groups into a permanent committee to deal with repatriation questions. Golubev refused but announced that he wanted to send Maj. Gen. S. Y. Vershinin and 162 Soviet contact personnel into western Germany to minister to the "hundreds of thousands of Soviet citizens [there] under difficult conditions and more than ever in need of the support of our officers." When Barker asked him whether he would let the French, for example, do the same on Soviet territory, Golubev was noncommittal. Barker later told General Deane at Military Mission Moscow, "A scheme such as this amounts to creation of a Soviet empire in the SHAEF area, which would give them boundless opportunity for criticism-also intelligence." When Golubev, several days later, cabled from Moscow to "demand insistingly an immediate decision," Barker told him that General Dragun, the chief Soviet liaison officer, already had 153 Soviet liaison officers under him and no new organization was needed.

After the Halle conference, Golubev toured five DP camps in SHAEF territory. He had agreed to let one of Barker's officers tour five Soviet camps on the same day, but when the US officer visited the first camp, the Soviet major accompanying him produced an order with Golubev's signature limiting the tour to that one camp only. Later Golubev cabled from Moscow that he had not found the treatment of Soviet citizens satisfactory in a single one of the five camps he had visited. 57

The exchange had begun before the Halle agreement was signed. On 20 May, the Soviet forces turned over 2,000 liberated US and British prisoners of war. By the 26th, 60,000 eastbound DPs had passed through the SHAEF delivery points, and by the 28th, all of the 28,662 liberated US troops reported in Soviet hands had been returned.58  In June the rate of repatriation of Soviet DPs reached 250,000 a week, and on 9 June, SHAEF G-5 reported that the repatriation of all DPs had passed the halfway mark. As of 1 July, 1,390,000 Soviet citizens had gone east, and the Soviet forces had delivered 300,000 western European DPs and prisoners of war. The western


Europeans still in camps under 12th Army Group control were then down to 6,583. The number of Soviet citizens left in western Germany was below 700,000 and being reduced fast, leaving 871,000 Poles, the largest national DP group. The Soviet authorities had not included them in the east-west exchange, and the Warsaw government had so far not made any arrangements to have them returned.59

The Wehrmacht

In the last week of the war, on orders from' Admiral Doenitz, the main objective of the German troops still fighting had been to surrender to the Western Allies, which they had done by the hundreds of thousands. What was left of the German Army Group Vistula after its retreat from the Oder River and Berlin took refuge behind the 21 Army Group and Ninth Army lines. Third Army, in Czechoslovakia, let in 125,000 German troops before the surrender. Austria was jammed with the remnants of the armies that had been on the southern flank of the Eastern Front. Meanwhile, the US troops were rounding up and herding into makeshift cages what was left of the Wehrmacht in southwestern Germany, and Montgomery's armies were acquiring the entire garrisons of Holland, north Germany, and Denmark. When SHAEF G-1 added up the totals, the figures came close to 5 million prisoners of war and disarmed enemy troops in SHAEF custody, well over 3 million of them being held by US forces.60

The discrepancy between the numbers of prisoners in US custody and in British custody was a lingering point of contention between the US side of SHAEF and the British War Office. Under the Fifty-fifty Agreement, made in 1944, the British and Americans had each undertaken to assume responsibility for half the prisoners no matter who captured them. After February 1945, the US forces had made the most captures, but the British had refused to take their half, arguing that they did not have places to keep them or men to guard them on the Continent and that moving them to England would arouse public resentment and adversely affect British troop morale. After V-E Day, Eisenhower repeatedly tried to get the British to take at least several hundred thousand prisoners, with remarkable lack of success. When Seventh Army negotiated with the British command in Austria for 9,000 Wehrmacht horses, the British said they would have to send along enough prisoners to care for the horses; they sent 82,000. On 1 June, Eisenhower informed the War Office that the shortage in the British "account" up to then amounted to 25 million prisoner-days' rations and was growing at the rate of 900,000 rations every day.61


PRISONER OF WAR COLUMN marches through Munich.

PRISONER OF WAR COLUMN marches through Munich.

Food was the problem. Registered prisoners of war were entitled to 2,000 calories a day, and working prisoners, 2,900 calories. The disarmed enemy troops could be given the normal German consumer's ration; therefore, SHAEF had intended to transfer all German troops inside Germany to disarmed enemy status after the surrender, but the legality of this move was in doubt at least until after the Berlin Declaration was signed.62 According to the ECLIPSE plan, the disarmed enemy troops were to be fed, like the DPs, from German sources; but while the DPs were scattered in groups of thousands and could theoretically live off the local economies, the troops were concentrated, sometimes in the hundreds of thousands. On 16 May, Bradley cabled Eisenhower that the Wehrmacht stocks the Seventh Army had been using to feed its disarmed enemy troops would run out that day. In another four days


Seventh Army would have used up all it could get from civilian sources in its area. The other armies could not help because they were in much the same position. "These disarmed forces," he maintained, "will either have to be fed or released." He asked for immediate authority to discharge the disarmed enemy forces and for US Army or military government rations to feed them until the discharge could be completed.63 SHAEF could not authorize a "blanket release" of German forces, Eisenhower replied, because their discharge had to be "strictly controlled in order to prevent widespread disorder, or other conditions which military government agencies will be unable to cope with"; the release of the categories already approved (see below) would "tax the administrative machinery for a considerable time . . . . Until such time as indigenous resources can meet the needs," he concluded, 12th Army Group could use imported military government food for the disarmed forces. Preferably it should use the imported food for feeding the DPs, and the indigenous food could thus be saved for feeding the German troops.64 Imported food, however, was not a real solution either. Brig. Gen. Robert M. Littlejohn, Chief Quartermaster, Communications Zone, pointed out that there was a food shortage in the United States and in the theater. Including the prisoners of war, his ration strength was over 7 million, and he was having to reduce the rations of US officers and enlisted men by ten percent to meet it. Moreover, the War Department had made no provision for clothing and camp equipment for the prisoners. Littlejohn recommended "settling down to 500,000 in three months." 65

SHAEF issued three disbandment directives in May. Disbandment Directive No. 1 authorized the release of agricultural workers, coal miners, transportation workers, and others in key occupations. No. 2 authorized the discharge of women, and No. 3 of men over fifty years of age. Directive No. 4, put out in early June, released the Belgians, French, and Dutch who had served in the Wehrmacht to their governments.66

A G-1 inspection in early June revealed, however, that the attitude of the armies was "to discharge as many as possible as fast as possible without a great deal of attention to categories." The average rate for 12th Army Group was 30,000 a day; Third Army alone had released over a half million disarmed enemy troops by 8 June. The armies were working against time. Unless the British accepted the prisoners and troops due on their account or unless a large number were released, the rations, according to G-5 estimates, would run out within the month.67

The discharge procedure was simple and generally similar to that devised by CCA of 12th Armored Division under Brig. Gen. Riley F. Ennis, which got the job of disbanding the 82,000 troops sent by the British with the horses from Austria. The


separation center was an old cavalry school. The men lined up in the stable compound. On entering the building, they removed their shirts and raised their arms to be inspected for the SS blood-type tattoo. (SS men were held either as prisoners of war or, if they had enough rank, under automatic arrest.) After they were inspected, German doctors gave them superficial physical examinations and separated any who were obviously sick. Next, the men filled out counterintelligence questionnaires and were interviewed briefly to determine whether they were subject to automatic arrest or had technical skills of intelligence interest. Those who fell into neither category were given slips stamped with a "B" and could be discharged. Those with an "A" slip were put under automatic arrest when they reached the end of the line. With a "C" they were held as prisoners of war. The next step was to fill out the so-called P-4 form, on which the soldier was required to give his name, the names of his close relatives, and his place of residence. After completing the form, he turned his Soldbuch (pay book) over to a German clerk and received a discharge form and instructions on how to act. If he was going to a place in the Seventh Army area, he was also given half a loaf of black bread and about a pound of lard, his rations for the trip, and could leave the stable to wait for a truck to take him home. CCA had five truck companies working day and night hauling those discharged. If his destination was outside the army area, the soldier went to one of several small temporary camps to await transportation. Outside the center, CCA set up sixty guard posts to block all roads and paths leading in, less to keep those inside in than to keep others out. Upon learning of the center's existence, German soldiers who had deserted late in the war or had been captured and turned loose by US troops tried to infiltrate the center to get themselves officially discharged.68

On 29 June, SHAEF G-1 sanctioned what the armies were already doing and in Disbandment Directive No.5 authorized a general discharge of German nationals held as prisoners of war and disarmed enemy troops, excepting those in automatic arrest categories, SS men, war criminals, or residents of the Russian zone. The last group would have to be held until the Soviet authorities agreed to receive them.69  From then on, the separation centers ran at full tilt until the middle of August when the glut of prisoners seemed about to become a shortage. SHAEF had contracted in July to provide 1.3 million prisoners for labor in France and smaller numbers for Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg; and the US forces were using over half a million in Military Labor Service Units. For the next several months, the numbers on hand plus the contingents to be returned from the United States (370,000) and from Norway and Italy were just about enough to meet the commitments.70  After the summer's rush was over, the presence of prisoners of war threatened to become a permanent feature of the occupation. For the US forces, they were a useful source of labor as well as a willing one, since they were better fed than they would be on the


outside; furthermore, no matter how many disbandment directives were published (the last, No. 26, was issued on 29 November 1945) , there seemed always to be thousands of ineligibles: the sick and disabled, war crimes suspects, SS men, who might be charged as members of a criminal organization, and members of the General Staff. 71

The General Staff officers, including also all generals, appeared for a time to be the likeliest candidates for permanent detention. Because their appointments had been for life, SHAEF had ordered all active and retired General Staff officers arrested, "not so much to punish them for their misdeeds as to ensure that their opportunities for planning and making preparations for future war . . . are reduced to a minimum." 72 One recurring proposal, last submitted by SHAEF G-2 on 27 April 1945, was to "exile all General Staff officers and all generals forever in a group and imprison them for life in an area under the control of one or all of the United Nations." 73

The future of the General Staff officers and generals was going to be substantially different from the one G-2 proposed for them, which in fact never went beyond the talking stage. In Washington, the War Department G-2 Historical Branch, later the Historical Division, War Department, and eventually the Office of the Chief of Military History, needed information on German operations for the war histories it was going to write. Col. S. L. A. Marshall, chief of the Historical Division, ETOUSA, needed the same kind of information for his division's history of the European theater. In the spring and summer of 1945, however, German military records were only just being uncovered and war crimes and intelligence investigators would have first call on them for a long time. Interviews seemed to offer a useful substitute, and in July 1945, the Historical Branch, G-2, sent Dr. George W. Shuster, President of Hunter College, to Europe at the head of a mission charged with interviewing high-ranking Germans. The transcripts of eighty interviews that Maj. Kenneth Hechler, a member of the mission, conducted with German officers held at ASHCAN SO impressed Colonel Marshall that he authorized Major Hechler to transfer some key German officers to a prisoner of war enclosure at Versailles, where the theater historians would have a better opportunity to interrogate them. After the theater historical activities were moved to Frankfurt in early 1946, the Historical Division, USFET, took over Disarmed Enemy Forces Enclosure 20 at Allendorf, Hesse. The division assembled there all of the German generals and General Staff officers in US custody whose personnel records indicated that they would be able to provide information pertinent to the history of US campaigns in western Europe. Later, prisoners with knowledge of the Mediterranean theater and the German campaigns against the Soviet Union were also included. Under the former chief of the General Staff, Generaloberst a. D. Franz Halder, the officers were put to work writing studies for use in the Army historical program and in the training courses at service schools. After nearly all were released from prisoner of war status in July 1947,


many continued to work full or part time under General Halder and a control group of senior German officers, turning out hundreds of historical manuscripts and providing information for Army historians. By the time the program terminated in 1959, most of the younger officers had found managerial positions in industry or had resumed their military careers in the Bundeswehr of the German Federal Republic. 74




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