Briefing Book Prepared in the Treasury
[Washington, September 9, 1944.]
Program To Prevent Germany From
Starting a World War III2
1. Demilitarization of
[This paragraph is identical with paragraph 1 of Morgenthau’s
memorandum of September 5, 1944, ante, p. 101.]
2. New Boundaries of
- Poland should get that part of East Prussia which doesn’t go
to the U.S.S.R. and the southern portion of Silesia. (See map in
- France should get the Saar and the adjacent territories
bounded by the Rhine and the Moselle Rivers.
- As indicated in 4 below an International Zone should be
created containing the Ruhr and the surrounding industrial
3. Partitioning of New
[This paragraph is identical with subparagraph 2 (d) of Morgenthau’s memorandum of September 5, 1944, ante, p.
4. The Ruhr Area
(The Ruhr, surrounding industrial areas, as shown on the map,
including the Rhineland, the Kiel Canal, and all German territory
north of the Kiel Canal.)
Here lies the heart of German industrial power. This area should not
only be stripped of all presently existing industries but so
weakened and controlled that it can not in the foreseeable future
become an industrial area. The following steps will accomplish this:
- Within a short period, if possible not longer than 6
months after the cessation of hostilities, all industrial
plants and equipment not destroyed by military action shall
be completely dismantled and transported to Allied Nations
as restitution. All equipment shall be removed from the
mines and the mines closed.
- The area should be made an international zone to be
governed by an international security organization to be
established by the United Nations. In governing the area the
international organization should be guided by policies
designed to further the above stated objective.
5. Restitution and
Reparations, in the form of future payments and deliveries, should
not be demanded. Restitution and reparation shall be effected by the
transfer of existing German resources and territories, e.g.,
- by restitution of property looted by the Germans in
territories occupied by them;
- by transfer of German territory and German private rights
in industrial property situated in such territory to invaded
countries and the international organization under the
program of partition;
- by the removal and distribution among devastated countries
of industrial plants and equipment situated within the
International Zone and the North and South German states
delimited in the section on partition;
- by forced German labor outside Germany; and
- by confiscation of all German assets of any character
whatsoever outside of Germany.
6. Education and
[This paragraph is identical with paragraph 5 of Morgenthau’s
memorandum of September 5, 1944, ante, p. 103.]
The military administration in Germany in the initial period should
be carried out with a view toward the eventual partitioning of
Germany. [Page 130] To facilitate
partitioning and to assure its permanence the military authorities
should be guided by the following principles:
- Dismiss all policy-making officials of the Reich
government and deal primarily with local governments.
- Encourage the reestablishment of state governments in each
of the states (Länder) corresponding
to 18 states into which Germany is presently divided and in
addition make the Prussian provinces separate states.
- Upon the partition of Germany, the various state
governments should be encouraged to organize a federal
government for each of the newly partitioned areas. Such new
governments should be in the form of a confederation of
states, with emphasis on states’ rights and a large degree
of local autonomy.
8. Responsibility of Military for
Local German Economy
The sole purpose of the military in control of the German economy
shall be to facilitate military operations and military occupation.
The Allied Military Government shall not assume responsibility for
such economic problems as price controls, rationing, unemployment,
production, reconstruction, distribution, consumption, housing, or
transportation, or take any measures designed to maintain or
strengthen the German economy, except those which are essential to
military operations. The responsibility for sustaining the German
economy and people rests with the German people with such facilities
as may be available under the circumstances.
9. Controls Over Development of
[This paragraph is identical with paragraph 8 of Morgenthau’s
memorandum of September 5, 1944, ante, p. 104.]
10. Agrarian Program
All large estates should be broken up and divided among the peas ants
and the system of primogeniture and entail should be abolished.
11. Punishment of War Crimes and
Treatment of Special Groups
A program for the punishment of certain war crimes and for the
treatment of Nazi organizations and other special groups is
contained in section 11.4
12. Uniforms and Parades
- No German shall be permitted to wear, after an appropriate
period of time following the cessation of hostilities, any
military uniform or any uniform of any quasi military
- No military parades shall be permitted anywhere in Germany and
all military bands shall be disbanded.
[This paragraph is identical with paragraph 12 of Morgenthau’s
memorandum of September 5, 1944, ante, p. 104.]
14. United States
Although the United States would have full military and civilian
representation on whatever international commission or commissions
may be established for the execution of the whole German program,
the primary responsibility for the policing of Germany and for civil
administration in Germany should be assumed by the military forces
of Germany’s continental neighbors. Specifically, these should
include Russian, French, Polish, Czech, Greek, Yugoslav, Norwegian,
Dutch and Belgian soldiers.
Under this program United States troops could be withdrawn within a
relatively short time.
Reparations Mean a Powerful
If we were to expect Germany to pay recurring reparations,
whether in the form of money or goods, we would be forced at the
very beginning to start a rehabilitation and reconstruction
program for the German economy. For instance, we would have to
supply her with transportation equipment, public utility
repairs, food for her working population, machinery for heavy
industry damaged by bombing, re construction of housing and
industrial raw materials. No matter how the program would be
dressed up, we would, in effect be doing for Germany what we
expect to do for the liberated areas of Europe but perhaps on an
even greater scale, because of Germany’s more advanced
When reparation deliveries cease Germany will be left with a more
powerful economy and a larger share of foreign markets than she
had in the Thirties.
Therefore, a program of large-scale reparations must be rejected
for the following reasons:
- Politically it would be very difficult to persuade
people of liberated Europe and of the other United
Nations, including the U.S., to accept a program of
immediate reconstruction of the German economy.
- If liberated Europe becomes economically dependent on
Germany for reparations, her economic dependence cannot
be broken off when reparations cease. The rest of Europe
would continue to be dependent on Germany as a source of
supply and as a market. These economic ties would also
mean political ties. Germany would be right back where
she was in the Thirties when she was able to dominate
the rest of Europe economically through her industrial
power and to exert her economic power to achieve
- An economically powerful Germany ipso facto constitutes a military threat to
- The payment of reparations is directly competitive
with the export industries of the U.S., the U.K. and
France and would create political dissensions among the
- Whatever the recipient countries get in
reparations they will not buy from the Allied
industrial powers in the post-war period.
- If Germany is placed on a reparations basis
she will have to export industrial goods to
non-European markets in order to get the necessary
foreign exchange to import the raw materials for
her industry. Therefore, she will again compete
with England and the United States in the Latin
American, African and Asiatic markets.
- An economically powerful Germany would be able to
compete more effectively with other countries as and
when the payment of reparations ceases.
A reparations program for Germany after this war holds no greater
promise of success than the Dawes and Young plans5 tried after the end of the
first World War.
Economic Restitution by Germany to United
In lieu of recurring reparations payments the nation entitled to
such payments will receive from Germany a lump sum payment in
the form of German material resources, German human resources
and German territory.
This lump sum payment, which may be described as restitution
rather than reparations will be effected in the following
- The transfer of German territory to liberated
countries including the industrial installations located
there. It is proposed that the great industrial areas of
Silesia be transferred to Poland and the industry of the
Saar and the adjacent territories be transferred to
France. These territories will represent enormous wealth
to the recipient countries.
- By removal and distribution among devastated
countries, of industrial plants and equipment and
transportation facilities including railroads, situated
within the remaining German territory and the Ruhr. It
is expected that complete factory units, machinery,
equipment, stocks of raw materials, railroad and
shipping will be transferred to the devastated countries
and will constitute a real basis for the reconstruction
and industrialization of liberated Europe. To the extent
possible the whole industry of the Ruhr will be so
- By the creation of German labor battalions to be used
for reconstruction work outside Germany.
- By confiscation of all German foreign exchange assets
of any character whatsoever.
The type of restitution described above will be more beneficial
both politically and economically to recipient countries than
would be any form of recurring reparations payments.
Benefits will be realized almost immediately by the receipt of
machinery, equipment and manpower, and the economies of the
recipient countries will be strengthened absolutely as well as
relatively to that of Germany.
To the extent that the need of these countries for industrial
products is supplied by U.S. and U.K. instead of by Germany, the
receiving nations benefit by obtaining delivery more rapidly in
the immediate post-war period. Also by supplying such goods U.S.
and U.K. enjoy expanded foreign post-war markets.
It Is a Fallacy That Europe Needs a
Strong Industrial Germany
1. The assumption sometimes made that Germany is an indispensable
source of industrial supplies for the rest of Europe is not
U.S., U.K. and the French-Luxembourg-Belgian industrial group
could easily have supplied out of unused industrial capacity
practically all that Germany supplied to Europe during the
pre-war period. In the post-war period the expanded industrial
capacity of the United Nations, particularly the U.S., can
easily provide the reconstruction and industrial needs of Europe
without German assistance.
Total German exports to the entire world in 1938 were only about
$2 billion, of which machinery steel and steel products amounted
to about $750 million, coal $165 million and chemicals $230
These amounts are trivial in comparison with the increased
industrial potential of the U.S. alone, or of the U.K. One-fifth
of our lend-lease exports of 1943 would be sufficient to replace
the full exports of Germany to the whole world.
2. A claim has been made that Europe is dependent upon Ruhr coal.
The French-Belgian steel industry and some of the new industrial
units which will arise in Europe after the war will need
imported coal [Page 134]
supplies. However, the British coal industry which suffered from
German competition before the war will be able to supply a major
part if not all of these needs. The coal industries of France,
Poland, Silesia and the Saar are also capable of further
expansion if the competition of the Ruhr is eliminated. Further
supplies if necessary could be obtained from the United States
though at a much higher price. The different quality of the
substitute coals may require some technological changes but the
adjustment can be made.
Germany had a net export of coal of 32 million tons in 1937. The
difference between the British coal production in a good year
and a depressed year was more than the total German exports of
coal. Moreover, at no time in the last 25 years has the British
coal industry worked at full capacity.
3. Germany has been important to the rest of Europe as a market
principally for surplus agricultural products. In 1937 Germany’s
food imports from the world were $800 million, of which Europe
supplied $450 million. Total German purchases of raw materials
from Europe in 1937 were about $350 million. The loss of the
German market will be largely compensated for by the following
- If German industry is eliminated, no doubt the bulk of
the industrial raw materials which Germany used to
purchase will now be bought by other European nations
which will henceforth produce the industrial commodities
which Germany exported before to Europe.
- The industrialization and the heightened standard of
living of the rest of Europe will absorb a part of the
food surpluses which formerly went to Germany.
- Those part[s] of Germany which will be added to other
countries (the Rhineland, Silesia, East Prussia) may
have as high a volume of food imports as before, perhaps
- The remaining part of Germany will continue to import
some food, perhaps 25%–50% of former food
4. Germany was important to the rest of Europe as a market to the
Percentage of each country’s
exports to Germany
The U.K. exported principally coal and textile materials to
Germany and the principal French exports were iron ore and wool.
The elimination of German industrial exports will provide
adequate markets for these exports and more.
The loss of the German market may be important to the Balkan
countries. Agricultural exports of these countries to Germany
were abnormally large in 1938 because of Germany’s unscrupulous
exploitation through clearing agreements and other devices.
These countries will find markets for part of their food surplus
through industrialization and a higher standard of living within
their own country. German areas will continue to import some
food from them. However, there may be a net loss of markets to
Denmark, Holland, and Yugoslavia, and these countries will need
to make an adjustment in their economies which should not be
difficult in the period of greater adjustments which will come
5. In short, the statement that a healthy European economy is de
pendent upon German industry was never true, nor will it be true
in the future. Therefore the treatment to be accorded to Germany
should be decided upon without reference to the economic
consequences upon the rest of Europe. At the worst, these
economic consequences will involve relatively minor economic
disadvantages in certain sections of Europe. At best, they will
speed up the industrial development of Europe outside of
Germany. But any disadvantages will be more than offset by real
gains to the political objectives and the economic interests of
the United Nations as a whole.
Why the Resources of the Ruhr Should Be
Locked Up and the Equipment Removed
During the last hundred years the basis of modern German
militarism has been the industrial capacity of the Ruhr. Very
large resources of high quality coal that lends itself
particularly well to the production of coke and a fortunate
geographic location which facilitated the importation of iron
ore, were the foundation of an industrial apparatus that is
unique throughout the world and the development of which has
been deliberately guided by military objectives.
The elimination of this industrial apparatus is indispensable to
rendering renewed German aggression impossible for many years to
come. No other device could serve this main objective of the
United Nations with the same effectiveness. Dismemberment of
Germany alone would not suffice since political developments
several decades hence may make a reunion of the several German
states possible. In that case the reunited German State would
immediately possess a huge industrial potential unless the Ruhr
industry were destroyed.
If the Ruhr industry were eliminated, new iron and steel
industries would unquestionably be built up in the rest of
Europe to provide for those needs in iron and steel which the
Ruhr used to satisfy, and to make use of the French iron ore
production. Coal would become available from the Saar, from
increased production in France, Great Britain, Silesia and
Poland. The elimination of the Ruhr would hence be a welcome
contribution to the prosperty of the coal industry of several
United Nations. Great Britain has very large reserves of coal;
her proved reserves are held to represent, at the present rate
of extraction, about 500 years’ supply.
Britain’s coal production has severely declined in the inter-war
period and never again reached its maximum of 1913 (293 million
metric tons). The level of production in the years preceding
this was that of the turn of the century, the increase between
1900 and 1913 having been lost. The production in 1938 was 60
million tons lower than in 1913.
The new iron and steel industries which will arise in Europe to
take the place of the Ruhr will have such a powerful vested
interest that they will constitute a permanent and effective
barrier to the reindustrialization of the Ruhr.
How British Industry Would Benefit by
- The British coal industry would recover
from its thirty year depression by gaining new
markets. Britain would meet the major portion of the
European coal needs formerly met by the annual Ruhr
production of 125 million tons. The consequent expansion of
British coal output would allow for the development of a
coherent program for the expansion and reorganization of
what has been Britain’s leading depressed industry since
1918 and facilitate the elimination of the depressed
- The reduction in German industrial
capacity would eliminate German competition with British
exports in the world market. Not only will England
be in a position to recapture many of the foreign markets
she lost to Germany after 1918, but she will participate in
supplying the devastated countries of Europe with all types
of consumer and industrial goods for their reconstruction
needs in the immediate post-war years.
- Transference of a large section of
German shipping, both commercial and naval, and
shipbuilding equipment to England will be an important item
in England’s program of post-war economic expansion of
- Britain’s foreign exchange position will
be strengthened and the pressure on sterling
reduced by the expansion of her exports and shipping
- The assurance of peace and security
would constitute England’s greatest single economic benefit
from the proposed program designed to put Germany in a
position never again to wage effective war on the continent.
England would be able to undertake the program for economic
and social reconstruction advanced in the Beveridge
plan6 and the
Government program for full employment without having to
worry about the future financial burdens of maintaining [a]
large army and huge armament industries indefinitely.
- Britain’s political stability would be
reinforced by her increased ability to meet the
insistent domestic demands for economic reform resulting
from the assurances of security and of an expansion of her
The Well-Being of the German Economy Is
the Responsibility of the Germans and Not of the Allied
The economic rehabilitation of Germany is the problem of the
German people and not of the Allied Military authorities. The
German people must bear the consequences of their own acts.
The sole purpose of the military in control of the German economy
should be to facilitate military operations and military
occupation. The Allied Military Government should not assume
responsibility for such economic problems as price controls,
rationing, unemployment, production, reconstruction,
distribution, consumption, housing, or transportation, or take
any measures designed to maintain or strengthen the German
economy. The responsibility for sustaining the German economy
and people rests with the German people with such facilities as
may be available under the circumstances.
No relief supplies should be imported, or distributed from German
stocks, beyond the minimum necessary to prevent disease and such
disorder as might endanger or impede military operations or
occupation. The Allied Military authorities should have no
responsibility for the provision and distribution or [of] relief, including food and medical
supplies. German import requirements should be strictly limited
to minimum quotas of critical items and should not in any
instance take precedence over the supply requirements of
Agricultural supplies in Germany should be utilized for the
German population, provided, however, that German consumption
shall be [Page 138] held to a
minimum so as to maximize the surplus of agricultural products
available for liberated countries.
Allied Military authorities should not be concerned with
restoring any physical destruction caused during hostilities,
except as absolutely essential to the health of the population.
The Germans will have that responsibility, to do the job as best
Controls Over Development of German
A long range program should be put into effect for the purpose of
controlling the strategic elements in the German economy for a
prolonged period, at least 20 years. The elements which should
be controlled are:
- German foreign assets, including patents and
- German foreign trade.
- Clearing and trade agreements with foreign
- Capital imports and capital exports.
- Industries producing strategic materials other than
those for which special provision has been made.
- The German commercial and fishing fleet.
- Inland navigation, e.g., canals and rivers.
It is essential that the foregoing strategic elements in the
German economy be controlled lest through their use, the Germans
once again proceed to build up various aspects of their
industrial and economic structure for future militaristic and
aggressive purposes. Germany has been the leader in the world in
using customs tariffs, trade preferences, foreign exchange
control, control over transit trade, import quotas,
international cartels, patents and copyrights for discriminatory
and unfair trade advantages against her neighbors. It has been
the focal point for many of the festering sores and competitive
trade wars throughout the 1920’s and 30’s.
What To Do About German
The militaristic spirit which pervades the German people has been
deliberately fostered by all educational institutions in Germany
for many decades. Schools, Colleges and Universities were used
with great effectiveness to instill into the children and the
youth of the nation the seeds of aggressive nationalism and the
desire for world domination. Re-education of the German people
must hence be part of the program to render Germany ineffective
as an aggressive power.
Re-education cannot be effectively undertaken from outside the
country and by teachers from abroad. It must be done by the
Germans [Page 139] themselves.
The hard facts of defeat and of the need for political, economic
and social reorientation must be the teachers of the German
people. The existing educational system which is utterly
nazified must be completely reorganized and reformed. The chief
task will be to locate politically reliable teachers and to
educate, as soon as possible, new teachers who are animated by a
A United Nations Commission of Education should be created which
will have supreme authority in all matters of education and
organs of public opinion. All educational institutions of any
type and character will be closed. Their reopening will depend
(1) upon the possibility of assembling faculties in whom
political confidence can be placed; (2) upon reorganization of
curricula; (3) upon the completion of new text books to replace
the utterly unusable books of the past. During a preliminary
period only[,] appointments to faculties of educational
institution[s] should be subject to the approval of the United
Nations Commission of Education. While it may be possible to
reassemble faculties for primary schools after a relatively
short time, all institutions of higher learning, the chief
centers of militaristic, pan-German propaganda in the past, may
have to remain closed for a number of years.
German Militarism Cannot Be Destroyed by
Destroying Nazism Alone
- The Nazi regime is essentially the
culmination of the unchanging German drive toward
- German society has been dominated for at least
three generations by powerful forces fashioning the
German state and nation into a machine for military
conquest and self-aggrandizement. Since 1864 Germany
has launched five wars of aggression against other
powers, each war involving more destruction over
larger areas than the previous one.
- As in the case of Japan, the rapid evolution of a
modern industrial system in Germany immeasurably
strengthened the economic base of German militarism
without weakening the Prussian feudal ideology or
its hold on German society.
- The Nazi regime is not an
excrescence on an otherwise healthy society but an
organic growth out of the German body politic. Even
before the Nazi regime seized power, the German
nation had demonstrated an unequalled capacity to be
seduced by a militarist clique offering the promise
of economic security and political domination in
exchange for disciplined acceptance of its
leadership. What the Nazi regime has done has been
to systematically debauch the passive German [Page 140] nation on an
unprecedented scale and shape it into an organized
and dehumanized military machine integrated by all
the forces of modern technique and science.
- The dissolution of the Nazi Party will
not, therefore, by itself ensure the destruction of the
militaristic spirit instilled into the German
people over generations and given an overwhelming impetus in
the last decade. This will of necessity be an arduous
process, and for a long time to come it would be gambling
with the very destiny of civilization to rely on an unproven
German capacity for self-regeneration in the face of its
proven capacity for creating new weapons of destruction to
be used in wars of aggression. Therefore, in addition to
disarming and weakening Germany as a military power, the
interests of world security will best be promoted by:
- Forcibly reducing Germany’s industrial capacity so
that she will cease to be a major economic, military
and political power.
- Strengthening all Germany’s neighbors politically
and economically relatively to Germany. The more
powerful her neighbors, the more likely she is to
realize the futility of the militarist philosophy
from which aggression ensues.
Punishment of Certain War Crimes and
Treatment of Special Groups
[Paragraphs A and B of this section are identical with paragraphs
A and B of appendix B to Morgenthau’s memorandum of September 5,
1944, ante, p.
An appropriate registration program will be formulated designed
to identify all members of the Nazi Party and affiliated
organizations, the Gestapo,
S.S. and S.A.
[Paragraphs D–F are identical with paragraphs D–F of appendix B
to Morgenthau’s memorandum of September 5, 1944, ante, p.
G. Prohibition on
[This paragraph is identical with paragraph H of appendix B to
Morgenthau’s memorandum of September 5, 1944, ante, p. 107.]
[An appendix to the briefing book includes (1) a map (not printed
herein, but reproduced in Morgenthau
Diary (Germany), vol. I, facing
p. 554) on which the information shown is identical with that on
the map printed ante, facing p. 86; (2) a map (not printed herein)
entitled “Map of Lorraine Iron Districts and Tributary Coal
Fields”; and (3) the three charts which follow.]
EUROPEAN COAL PRODUCTION IN 1929 AND 1937
By Geographical Areas
PRODUCTION OF COAL, IRON AND STEEL IN VARIOUS
COUNTRIES IN 1937
COAL PRODUCTION IN UNITED KINGDOM AND RUHR