THE GERMANY RECONSTRUCTION AFTER WORLD WAR II
JOSÉ DE LA PISA
The reconstruction of Germany was one of the most challenging enterprises the United States had to face after the end of combat operations in World War II. Right after the unconditional surrender of Germany in May 1945, The United States and her allies had to deal with a country which had been devastated by massive bombardments,and had been a battlefield during the last six month. Germany had almost all her industrial facilities and civil infrastructures either seriously damaged or unusable; and without enough crops to provide food to the population. When Germany surrendered, the Allies had been working on the reconstruction plan for a long time. In the conferences of Casablanca, Yalta, and Potsdam, the Alliesestablished their desired End-State to Germany: her unconditional surrender followed on reconstruction the country under the control of all the Allies to assure that Germany was no longer a threat to the World 1. The United States was involved in the reconstruction process since the beginning. Today Germany is one of the most democratic countries of the World; she is the strongest economy of Europe, andone of the principal supporters of the European Union. She is very involved in human right issues; her people reject of Nazism, and are still ashamed of being responsible for the two world wars in the last century. It is clear that The United States and her allies were successful in the reconstruction of Germany, even though it was difficult to achieve these outcomes. After the surrender of Germany,the Allies took control throughout Germany and shared Germany´s soil in zones of occupation, each of them sponsored by one of the allies. The East was controlled by Soviet Union, the West shared by The United States and United Kingdom2. Later on, in accordance of Potsdam agreement, a French occupation zone was established comprised of portions of the British and American
zones3. Toprovide unity of effort, the Allies established the Control Council formed for the four Commander-in-Chief of each zone. The goal of the Council was assure “appropriate uniformity of action by the commander-in-Chief in their respective zones of occupation and [to] reach agreed decisions on the chief questions affecting Germany as a whole”4. The decisions should be unanimous. While the reconstructionobjectives were clear, they were no easy to achieve. The main reason was the lack of cooperation among allies. Because the decisions in the Control Council had to be unanimous, and the idea of Germany´s future was not the same between them; the reconstruction process become increasingly difficult. In 1946, strong disagreements about the levels of industrialization and the German reparation forcedThe United States and England to combine their zones into a Bizone, with joint economic and administrative structures5. In 1948 the blockade of Berlin by the Soviet Union and the currency reform in the western zones led to the collapse of the Control Council and the establishment of West German as a country with broad sovereignty6. As a response to this action, the Soviet Union established theGerman Democracy Republic in the East zone in 1949. Both German states would deny the legitimacy of the other. By 1950 the division of the World in two blocks was a sad reality, the Cold War had begun. This circumstance changed the perspective that the United States and her allies had over West Germany because she become border between both blocks. The goals of Yalta Conference were still valid, butnow was necessary a stronger Germany that could exercise as a wall against Communism. Until then; even though the fight among Allies to impose their different points of view in the Control Council; all of them had been working in their respective zones to 2
provide security, civil administration, humanitarian relief, economic and democratic growth (both issues were where differences between...
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