To what extent did the FRG undergo a process of de-nazification in the 1950s?

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One of the key issues for the FRG politicians was how to deal with the events of the previous 12 years

Millions of Germans had associated with the Nazi Party, and this could not just be forgotten or ignored 

Potsdam Conference - Allied Powers agreed on complete destruction of the Nazi Party, trial of Nazi war criminals and all members of the Nazi Party being removed from public and private administration 

US zone - German citizens were judged through a questionnaire, to decide who could be classed as a Nazi

133 questions concerning:

  • whether they had belonged to the German army
  • whether they had relatives or friends in a high position in the Nazi Party
  • who they voted for in 1933
  • whether they were a Junker

All Germans were required to fill out the Fragebogen

Germans wanting to return to work had to be vetted through the Fragebogen, until then they could not qualify for rations

The Americans ignored that membership of the Nazi Party or affiliation with its organisation was almsot compulsory and that such association did not mean one was a diehard Nazi

The problem with this was that it depleted Germany of the key workers required to rebuild the state

end of 1946 - due to the lack of experienced managment in the economy, all four occupying powers began to relax they de-Nazification policies 

                    - also too many cases to get through; one Lander 2.5 million Germans were being investigated 

October 1946 - five catagories were decided upon; lesser offenders were placed on a probation period for 2-3 years; special tribunals run by Germans were established to deal with questionable cases

1947 - 90,000 Germans found to be serious offenders were being kept in prison camps

The process was also subject to corruption, with certificates of de-Nazification avaliable on the black market

As tensions between the USA and the USSR increased, de-Nazification also became less of a priority 

1951 - US programme of de-Nazification ended 

after 1951 - FRG under Adenauer…

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