Germany after WWII

  • On Mai 7 (General Major Jodl/the Western Allies) and 8 (General Field Marshall Keitel/the Soviets), 1945, the German army accepts unconditional surrender. Until today, a peace treaty between Germany and her enemies in the Second World War has not been signed. Thus, the legal status of the Federal Republic of Germany is dubious. Especially because of privileges which the three western main enemies of Germany still enjoy and because occupation forces actually still remain on German soil, some people hold the opinion that Germany still is an occupied/non autonomous country. The legal details are not known to the wast majority of Germans; they are not taught in school and never discussed publicly.
  • After surrender of the army, the German government under Karl von Dönitz was imprisoned (violating international law) and the country was occupied in the following way: Eastern Germany was assigned to Polish, Lithuanian, Czech and Soviet administration. Central Germany (Thuringia, Saxony, parts of Silesia, Western Brandenburg, Western Pomerania and Mecklenburg)  was occupied by the Soviet Union. The USA, England and France divided Western Germany in three zones of occupation. Austria was separated from Germany. Berlin was divided into four zones (Soviet, US, English, French).

  • From 1945 to 1949, the ‘Nuremberg Trials’ were held. These show trials were not respecting the generally accepted legal principles. Evidence, for example, was not required for the prosecution and could be rejected if presented by the accused. In some cases (e.g. the massacre of Katyn), it is proven today that Germans where hanged for crimes they never committed (in this case, the assassination of 20 000 Poles by the Soviet army was admitted officially in 1990 by Russian President Boris Jelzin). However, by FRG law, the Nuremberg Trials are not allowed to be questioned/revised, how obviously wrong some of the allegations may be.
  • According to the ‘Morgenthau-Plan‘, the USA’s official strategy was to convert Germany into an agricultural country that never again would constitute a technological, economic, and military threat. Part of this plan was to reduce the German population. Due to the lack of sources, it is difficult to establish the exact number of Germans who died in the years after the war. Hundreds of thousands of people were kept like animals in the Rhine Meadow Camps. These were not concentration camps with buildings, beds, and kitchens as used by the Germans themselves; for weeks and months, the prisoners where forced to stay without shelter and sanitary installations in the open air – as intended, the death rate was high.

A Rhine Meadows Camp

  • In 1947, the USA changed their plans for Germany due to the growing conflicts with the Soviet Union which had turned from ally to enemy. The foundation of a West-German client state was decided. Another consequence was the ‘European Recovery Program,’ also known as ‘Marshall Plan,’ which consisted of loans that where given to several European countries in a way that guaranteed the stimulation of the US-economy. Germany received $ US 1.4 Billion (6.4 billion Deutsche Mark, ca. 1/10 of the integral sum) from 1949 to 1952 and had to pay back 13 billion Deutsche Mark from 1953 to 1962. Today, the ‘Marshall Plan’ is part of the founding myths of the FRG. Since a strategic plan for the European economy was part of it, it constitutes the nucleus of the European Union.
  • On May 23, 1949, the Federal German Republic was founded. The socialist Carlo Schmidt, one of the founding fathers who had helped with the elaboration of the ‘Grundgesetz’ (‘Basic Law’ – this is not a constitution) for the new state commented:

Diese Organisation als staatsähnliches Wesen kann freilich sehr weit gehen. Was aber das Gebilde von echter demokratisch legitimierter Staatlichkeit unterscheidet, ist, daß es im Grunde nichts anderes ist als die Organisationsform einer Modalität der Fremdherrschaft; denn die trotz mangelnder Freiheit erfolgende Selbstorganisation setzt die Anerkennung der fremden Gewalt als übergeordneter und legitimierter Gewalt voraus.

This organisation as a state-like entity, of course, can go very far. However, it will always be different from a democratically legitimated state because the self-organisation in the face of not existing liberty is conditioned by the acceptance of a legitimate superior foreign power; it thus is noting more than the organized form of a modality of  foreign domination.

  • On October 7th, 1949, the Soviet client state of the German Democratic Republic was founded.
  • Although Germany eventually became a member of the United Nations, it still is considered as an ‘enemy state’ by the charter of this organization:

Article 53

The Security Council shall, where appropriate, utilize such regional arrangements or agencies for enforcement action under its authority. But no enforcement action shall be taken under regional arrangements or by regional agencies without the authorization of the Security Council, with the exception of measures against any enemy state, as defined in paragraph 2 of this Article, provided for pursuant to Article 107 or in regional arrangements directed against renewal of aggressive policy on the part of any such state, until such time as the Organization may, on request of the Governments concerned, be charged with the responsibility for preventing further aggression by such a state.
The term enemy state as used in paragraph 1 of this Article applies to any state which during the Second World War has been an enemy of any signatory of the present Charter.

Article 107

Nothing in the present Charter shall invalidate or preclude action, in relation to any state which during the Second World War has been an enemy of any signatory to the present Charter, taken or authorized as a result of that war by the Governments having responsibility for such action.