Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Morgenthau and Potsdam

As a footnote to the post below, the extent to which the Morgenthau Plan governed the post-war administration of Germany until the US changed tack at the end of 1946 is evident in the Protocol of the 1945 Potsdam Conference. France was not, of course, present at Potsdam, but as a member of the 4-Power Control Council was bound by the Protocol. France presented her own 'French Thesis' to the three powers - France's own conditions for a post-war Europe. The French demanded
  • No central government organisation should be permitted in Germany
  • France to receive reparations calculated to assist in dominating German capability
  • Germany to lose access to and control of the whole Rhine / Ruhr / Westphalia and its industrial and mineral products and potential
The Monnet Plan (French control of Rhine / Ruhr and transfer of the Saar) grew out of the French Thesis and was wholly compatible with Morgenthau. The Potsdam Protocol put meat on the bones;
  • In order to eliminate Germany's war potential, the production of arms, ammunition and implements of war as well as all types of aircraft and sea-going ships shall be prohibited and prevented. Production of metals, chemicals, machinery and other items that are directly necessary to a war economy shall be rigidly controlled and restricted to Germany's approved post-war peacetime needs to meet the objectives stated in Paragraph 15. Productive capacity not needed for permitted production shall be removed in accordance with the reparations plan recommended by the Allied Commission on Reparations and approved by the Governments concerned or if not removed shall be destroyed.
  • At the earliest practicable date, the German economy shall be decentralized for the purpose of eliminating the present excessive concentration of economic power as exemplified in particular by cartels, syndicates, trusts and other monopolistic arrangements.
  • In organizing the German Economy, primary emphasis shall be given to the development of agriculture and peaceful domestic industries.
  • Allied controls shall be imposed to ensure;
- the production and maintenance of goods and services required to meet the needs of the occupying forces and displaced persons in Germany and essential to maintain in Germany average living standards not exceeding the average of the standards of living of European countries. (European countries means all European countries excluding the United Kingdom and the U.S.S.R.).
- to control German industry and all economic and financial international transactions including exports and imports, with the aim of preventing Germany from developing a war potential and of achieving the other objectives named herein.
French post-war (until 1948) policy was centred on re-establishing France as a 'Great Power', at the expense of Germany. From 1946, the US essentially frustrated this policy aim, and Churchill in particular was as conscious of the threat to peace in Europe from a resurgent France as the threat from Germany - hence, I think, his support for a federal merger between the two troublesome States. A federal Europe would pose less of the threat to British interests than either a strong France or a strong Germany.  

It was pragmatism that changed the French direction from 1948; under Schuman's Plan, recognising that France couldn't hold onto the Saar or deprive Germany of the assets of the Rhine and Ruhr for much longer, a different approach was required. As a fallback, France proposed in effect that German coal and steel assets, along with the French and other (much less significant) ones, be placed under a joint High Authority. And so was born the ECSC, and the EU. 

So please forget all the false and altruistic guff about the reasons for the formation of the EU. It grew from two coincident factors - the French long-term policy objective of containing and controlling Germany, and a British / US willingness to play France and Germany off against eachother in a weak alliance. 


G. Tingey said...

Seen this

Should counteract some of the "All-the-Germans-are-still-Nazi-dominators" total guff that some correpondents are raving on about

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

In keeping with the occasional nautical flavour hereabouts .... The inertia of a large ship makes course changing not a particularly rapid thing. It took a while for Truman to get his head around what his predecessors had actually been up to....

FDR & Co's very deliberate policy was apparently the beggaring of the German people alluded to in these two posts coupled to the castration of the British economy - leaving American hegemony of world financial affairs utterly unchallenged.

It's curious to note that the French AFAIK had far more money (well, gold actually) in the bank post war than any other European nation.

One has to wonder what might have happened had FDR and his rather toxic sidekick Harry Hopkins lived a few more years.