Allied attitudes to the German people



  • The general view, amongst the Allies, was that the Germans 'deserved what they got'.
  • For America and Britain, the Morgenthau Plan was a guiding policy that the Germans should be shown no sympathy:
    • There should be no socialising or fraternising with the 'enemy'.
  • Whereas the Russians had no equivalent ruling on fraternisation:
    • Contact with German civilians was informally permitted, and they stressed that the Germans were not to be treated as the Germans had treared them.
  • The German Communists, returning from exile, needed to win hearts and minds if socialism was to triumph over capitalism:
    • Under the direction of the Soviet superiors, were quick to set up a new political structure in Berlin, and to encourage cultural activity.
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Fraternisation for the French

Fraternisation amongst the French:

  • The French showed the most hostility.
  • They were determined to punish the Germans:
    • Through retribution for 3 crushing invasions of their country.
    • Reprisal for war crimes such as that committed at Oradour.
  • The French believed that the German race were fundamentally militaristic, which was in no hope of being changed.
  • In a poll conducted in France, in August 1945, 78% voted in favour of dividing Germany into 3 separate states.
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Change in America and Britain

Attitudes towards the Germans, from America and Britain, changed relatively changed:

  • This was because of humanitarian concern, which arose over increased contact between the occupying forces and German civilians began to facilitate personal reconciliation.
  • Also because of the growing realisation that economic and political reconstruction was vital to counter the new threat:
    • Expanding Communist control throughout the whole of Germany.
  • By 1946, it was reached by the British and the Americans, that they needed West Germans as political partners.
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