That Was Then: Allen W. Dulles on the Occupation of Germany

Raising a flag over the Reichstag Yevgeny Khaldei

A Note from the Editors:

In thinking about the reconstruction of Iraq, many have looked for insight to the American experiences in rebuilding Germany and Japan after World War II. Optimists point to similarities across the cases and argue that they bode well for the Bush administration's efforts today. Pessimists point to differences and draw the opposite conclusion. In truth, some aspects of the occupations look familiar and some do not. As the saying goes, history does not repeat itself, but it rhymes. What is most striking about the comparison is that in all three cases, several months into the postwar era the future of the country was still hanging in the balance.

Picking their way through the rubble, officials early in the Truman administration had as little clue about the eventual outcome of their experiments as their counterparts in Washington and Baghdad do today. They saw little choice but

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