Destroying Weapons of Coal, Air and Water: A Critical Evaluation of the American Policy of German Industrial Demilitarization 1945-1952
This dissertation analyses the American development and execution of the industrial demilitarization program in occupied Germany after World War II. Both Roosevelt and Truman administrations tackled the task of more or less permanently removing the basic German potential to produce armaments. A ne...
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|This dissertation analyses the American development and execution of the industrial demilitarization program in occupied Germany after World War II. Both Roosevelt and Truman administrations tackled the task of more or less permanently removing the basic German potential to produce armaments. A new understanding of industrial processes led policymakers to advocate the elimination of general or civilian manufacturing capacities for reasons of national security. This radical departure from the norms of previous peace settlements took the modern dual-use nature of industrial power into account. But the few contemporary analyses of demilitarization surprisingly disregard the importance of dual-use conceptions. Employing a strict division of civilian from military production that flies in the face of early 20th Century military theorists such as the advocates of strategic bombing, scholars have typically downplayed the problems experienced by the Foreign Economic Administration and Allied Control Council in even pinpointing the sources of military industrial power. It is therefore surprising that the historiography generally takes the success of the demilitarization operation for granted even though other historians have emphasized the relative growth of western German heavy industry after 1945.
This examination questions the utility of military industrial control schemes owing to both the complexity and intertwined basis of the entire industrial structure. The paper employs a wide range of diplomatic and military records to critically examine the twisted course of conceptual development and the actual work of Lucius D. Clay’s military government. These records expose the significant constraints that hampered the project. Plans to remove an explosives manufacturing capacity for example failed because fertilizer output depended on many of the same facilities. Tampering with this sector threatened Washington with an humanitarian disaster owing to postwar conditions. Other constraints, such as the questionable benefits of transferring military industrial strength to potential adversaries or the belief generated by the Strategic Bombing Survey that the bombers had already done the job or most importantly the post-1945 American argument for swift German civilian economic rehabilitation to drive European reconstruction, manifested themselves. These constraints ameliorated the original policy direction represented by the Morgenthau Plan and J.C.S. 1067. Successive definitional alterations quickly led Washington to reject any serious attempts at destroying industrial capacities -- as witnessed in the examination of the fate of the Alkett-Berlin tank plant. Assessments of German military power after the Cold War breach in 1947 by the Joint Chiefs of Staff exposed real dual-use potential. Rather than building an epoch of peace, the industrial demilitarization conundrum helped drive the United States and Soviet Union further apart as both jostled for an improved power position in Germany. Seen in this way, the survival of German military industrial capacities contributed to the process split the world in two and ended with the emergence of the Bundeswehr by 1955.