Department of the Army Files: Telegram

No. 345
The Deputy Military Governor, United States Zone in Germany ( Clay ) to the War Department 1

Ref number CC 13081 to WarCAD from US Group CC signed Clay.

1. Following preliminary political report on conditions in Germany has been prepared in consultation with Ambassador Murphy. Similar reports are expected to be made periodically in future covering developments of a political nature. This report is based on intelligence received to the end of June. It is not an exhaustive review but covers some of principal topics which have political implications at present moment.

2. Denazification. Denazification program as it relates to removal of Nazis from public office is proceeding with varying degrees of rapidity. In some areas such as Aachen and Cologne screening process is virtually complete[;] less progress has been made in Wuerttemberg and Bavaria, while program is slowest in SHAEF occupied areas of Soviet Zone. No reliable information received as to Soviet denazification program. Scattered reports indicate French are implementing removal directives reasonably well in their area.

It is reported that about 75,000 persons have been detained to date on basis of black list and arrest directives. Size and administrative complexity of task may be illustrated by facts that administrative and executive personnel of police have generally been found 100% Nazi, while 60% of rank and file of criminal police and 40% of all other police were Nazi. In Frankfurt 50% of 326 bank personnel [Page 489] examined were dismissed as Nazis. Program of arrest and removal has suffered from past lack of trained personnel but is being speeded by shift from combat to occupational phase, by steps under way to train reliable German personnel to assist in screening program and by issuance of clarified removal directive in US Zone after SHAEF dissolution. New directive on political activity also being drafted to permit use of anti Nazi prodemocratic groups which are eager to assist in denazification.

Report forms now being distributed to field will assist in supplying statistical information in future.

3. Political activity. No general pattern of political feeling or activity has emerged. SHAEF area continues dormant partly under influence of ban on political activity and partly because German masses seem totally unpolitical, apathetic and primarily concerned with everyday problems of food, clothing and shelter. Local groups of varying types have been formed in some places, chiefly larger communities. In some places they are joint groups of all former Center and Leftist parties. In other places they represent new groups such as Bavarian Freedom action in Munich or Anti-Fascist League in Bremen. In some places chief stirrings are by some one of former parties such as Social Democrats in Kassel or Communists in Leipzig. All organizations carrying on political activity have been dissolved. This does not prevent subsequent underground activity especially by better organized Communists. Field reports stress foregoing point. This situation is being carefully watched. All nascent groups seem small in numbers and no groups appear to have more than local ramifications or leaders as yet except Communists. While there is no evidence of mass Communist movement, Communist groups are widely scattered, active, and well organized. There are some indications of outside guidance.

There is no evidence of an attempt to organize a Nazi underground.

We are carefully studying the potential political danger which exists. Fact [exists in the fact?] that people in urban areas are largely idle. The entire absence or low level of industrial activity is unavoidable result of war and directives of course prohibit us from maintaining or strengthening German economy. Reactivation of industries necessary to occupying forces will somewhat ameliorate situation. Children are idle because of school closing but program of reopening schools has already begun in Aachen and certain other places.

Separatist sentiment is not apparent anywhere though some desire is expressed to regain lost local rights and recreate former Federalism. This desire finds most expression in Bavaria and to lesser extent in Wuerttemberg. The continued split of latter state between US and French Zones may damage chances of stimulating this local feeling.

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No general feeling of war guilt or repugnance for Nazi doctrine and regime has yet manifested itself. Germans blame Nazis for losing war, protest ignorance of regime[’]s crimes and shrug off their own support or silence as incidental and unavoidable. They are however generally cooperative with military government, whose courts in US Zone have handled 12,000 cases, mostly of minor violations, with only 18 serious cases in entire Zone to date.

Except for disciplined Communists most Germans in SHAEF area still appear under influence of Nazi anti-Bolshevik propaganda and fear Soviet occupation. More recently there is some evidence of paradoxical feeling of envy of conditions in Soviet Zone under influence of optimistic friendly broadcasts from Berlin radio.

New directive on political activity referred to above will generally continue ban on political party activity for time being but will permit and encourage use of organizations eager to help solve food and housing problems as well as to assist denazification program. This step is intended to encourage most clearly Democratic elements to assert themselves for constructive purposes.

4. Political aspects of coal problem. In connection with paramount problem of coal production it may be noted that German management has remained in control in Saar Basin but not in Ruhr where Rhine coal control organization of US and British engineers has taken over top management. Saar miners have agitated against managers on ground they are Nazis but this maneuver may be inspired as prelude to return of former French managerial staff after French take over Saar. Mine owners in Ruhr charge miners with Communism and assert Communists use reemerging trade unions as vehicle for political activity. Clear evidence lacking except that handbills are circulating among Ruhr miners comparing ample rations of 4,000 calories assertedly received by miners in Soviet Zone with 1,100 calories allegedly received in Ruhr. Fact is Ruhr miners now beginning to receive 2,800 calories and even 3,500 calories in some cases.

It appears that desired production of coal for overall European purposes can be achieved only if general economy of Ruhr and Saar areas is revived to minimum extent necessary to provide miners with sufficient food, clothing and services to maintain their strength and willingness to cooperate. Under such circumstances adverse political propaganda will not be effective. Intermingled political and economic importance of these special areas cannot be overestimated.

5. Information control. In realm of information control, there has been conscious policy of “austerity” in fields of press, radio, films, and music while encouraging Germans to assume self-administration as rapidly as they showed the desire, ability and proper mentality. Thus one newspaper has been licensed at Aachen for production by [Page 491] a German under SHAEF supervision, and others will soon be licensed at Frankfurt and Munich, and I am activating entire program of reestablishment of German directed publications.

Germans in Frankfurt area are being allowed to reestablish symphony orchestra as rapidly as they can assemble musicians and instruments and tendency is to encourage same thing elsewhere.

Policy is to make fully and frankly known to press correspondents the facts of organization, activities, problems, and results of work of US Group CC in Germany.

  1. Cf. telegram No. 137 from the Political Adviser in Germany (Murphy) to the Acting Secretary of State (file No. 740.00119 Control (Germany)/7–1045): “The Department will wish to see US group CC signal No. CC–13081 … to War Dept. Signal in question is summary of more important factors in present political situation in Germany and was prepared by my office. …”