American Policy and the Reconstruction of West Germany, 1945-1955

In This Review

American Policy and the Reconstruction of West Germany, 1945-1955

Edited by Jeffry M. Diefendorf, Axel Frohn and Hermann-Josef
Cambridge University Press/Washington: German Historical Institute, 1993
537 pp. $69.95

A collection of essays of varying quality by German and American scholars on the most diverse aspects of American occupation policy. One of the most interesting articles is on American policy toward reunification in that first postwar decade in which the German author asserts that most West Germans accepted the integration with the West even at the expense of early unification. Other articles deal with American efforts to ferret out German industrial secrets, an effort that the well-known author John Gimbel estimates may have been worth close to the $10 billion that in 1947 Molotov charged German "reparations" to the U.S. totaled. Of interest also are articles on the founding of the Free University of Berlin in 1948, the role of Americans, including Walter Gropius, who tried to influence the rebuilding of German cities, and the views and influence of the Council on Foreign Relations in 1945 to 1950. All of these are scholarly studies, and many bear out the editors' contention that "in most areas, the results of this scholarly activity demonstrate that American policy was more often complex and serpentine than linear and straightforward."

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