DECISION IN GERMANY by Gen. Lucius D. Clay


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This is an important book for the record; often a dull book for the average reader. One has to go through a tremendous amount of competent recording of conferences- the give and take, the progress, the blocking, and so on, for the sections between dealing with the first hand recounting of what happened- and how. From the reading however certain important and positive evidence emerges, realizes that our years of military government in Germany- under Clay's four years' administration- were not years of improvisation and expediency, but that the flexibility of the American system, inherently, is applied to this area of administration, as decisions, based on international conference, adjusted to meet circumstances unforeseen, but were not abandoned. The problems were terrific:- problems of organization, of relation between military government and occupation forces, of redeployment, of fraternization and morale, of black market operation and manipulation of currency. Clay defends the general standards, claiming that minority behavior discredited majority behavior. He discusses at various points the problems too of deNazification, de-industrialization, reparations, the formation of a new German political structure, of new political parties. And over and above and through it all, was the all-penetrating problem of Russian intransigeance- outward friendliness, inward tensions. After the Moscow Conference, pretense was at an end; the principle of bizonal administration was accepted, and steps taken to a new Constitution for Western Germany. Clay traces the steps from chaos to a measure of order, with 1948 a turning point to constructive growth, German responsibility beginning to put down roots of democratic development. E.R.P. and the Marshall Plan saved Western Europe, but Clay honestly expresses his misgivings on some aspects of operation, on the danger that planning will stifle enterprise. One of the most illuminating sections of the book deals with the administrative problems in the U.S. zone- the care of 150,000 Americans living in a disrupted economy, the D.P. problem, the restoration of law and order, the trials. He specifically details his reasons for his decision in the disputed Ilse Koch case. He tells of the progress of deNazification, of food and health programs (and pays tribute to the proportion carried by the German state governments and private welfare organizations). He analyzes some of the program of psychological warfare -- of restoration -- of security. The blockade is given less emphasis than our press gave it- but it has its place in the achievements over odds of the Clay regime. He ends by expressing confidence in the steps taken to restore a functioning Germany as part of the European family of nations.

Pub Date: Feb. 9th, 1949
Publisher: Doubleday