Experiment in Occupation: Witness to the Turnabout, Anti-Nazi War to Cold War 1944-1946

In This Review

Experiment in Occupation: Witness to the Turnabout, Anti-Nazi War to Cold War 1944-1946

By Arthur D. Kahn
Penn State University Press, 2004
312 pp. $45.00
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As an idealistic Jewish anti-Nazi, Kahn found himself in an interesting position to observe the transition from war to peace in Europe after World War II, first as an interrogator of prisoners of war and later as an intelligence officer in occupied Germany. His story is one of frustration. He fails to convince the generals that the morale of the Germans is so low that they can be persuaded to rise up against their Nazi masters; he sees functionaries of the old regime return to positions of responsibility, as the priority of the U.S. military government becomes keeping out communists. The real value of the book lies in the quotations from Kahn's interviews with and reports on those caught up in these events: Russians worrying about repatriation, upper-crust British officers, and Germans with terrible stories and elaborate rationales for past behavior. As this period is now looked back on with a rather rosy glow, this is a reminder of just how stormy those transitional days were and how confusing and complex were the attitudes and behavior of those involved-including the occupying U.S. forces.