1939 -- Part 3: The Balance Sheet: Paradoxes and Imponderables
He claimed to have had a number of Jewish friends.
There was no way that Goering would be acquitted or given a light sentence because of the overwhelming evidence against him.
He was sentenced to death.
Streicher was also condemned to death, even if little proof was offered about his criminal actions.
He was found to be criminally responsible for his antisemitic ideas.
If the punishment was death, it was contrary to American notions of freedom of speech.
The majority of those charged with being major Nazi war criminals at the first trial were not seen as fanatics.
Most of the images did not look like hardened criminals.
They could not possibly be described as agents of capitalism in crisis or resentful "little men," members of a bigoted bourgeoisie.
Many of them had promising careers before the Nazi period, and most were better educated and more intelligent than anyone at the time.
At the first Nuremberg trial, it is difficult to identify a distinct Nazi type among the accused.
Twelve were sentenced to death and seven were sentenced to prison.
Three were acquitted, which made it appear that the accused had been given a fair chance to defend themselves.
In the trials of major war criminals, twenty-four prominent Nazis would receive the death sentence, and over a hundred would be sentenced to prison for life.
Many prominent Nazis received light sentences or escaped punishment altogether, despite the fact that the number of death sentences was less than they had proposed.
The Nuremberg verdicts were dismissed as "victors' justice" by a fair number of non-Germans, including legal experts in many liberal-democratic countries.
There was no way to arrive at judgments sufficient to deal with the tragedies and injustice of these years.
There was a similar dilemma in regards to how the Nazi past could ever be "mastered" by future generations of Germans.
"Coming to grips" is a familiar metaphor, but in the case of the Nazi past it seemed that a quantum leap would be necessary, related to the assertion that the Holocaust was unprecedented and incomparable.
The kind of guilt associated with a crime defined in such a way went far beyond the guilt for starting World War I; it had something more in common with the concept of the Crucifixion, that is, standing mystically outside history.
The claim that Hitler had exercised some sort of demonic power caused decent people to lose their moral bearings and follow his orders, even for acts they somehow knew to be immoral.
The excuse that Hitler's will had become the law in the Third Reich was not without plausibility, and some Nazi leaders claimed that they were only working toward the Fuhrer.
It was convenient that many of the people who were close to Hitler were dead.
Hitler and his long-term mistress, Eva Braun, committed suicide at the end of April.
Joseph Goebbels had taken his own life.
His wife killed their six children and then committed suicide.
After he was captured, Himmler used a hidden glass capsule of cyanide to kill himself.
The logic of the position that Hitler's will was the law pointed to the conclusion that no one was responsible or guilty.
The nation was under some sort of spell.
Using a different metaphor, Nazi leaders had been mere pawns in a giant totalitarian machine that had crushed all notions of personal responsibility and operated according to its own inhuman logic.
Baldur von Schirach, leader of the Hitler Youth, did not deny his antisemitic beliefs, but he did deny his activities in expelling Jews from Germany.
He was sentenced to twenty years in prison.
In other societies, the moral defects of other leaders - credulity, greed, duplicity, ambition, miscalculation, lack of civil courage - were common.
This was a question that would haunt subsequent generations and was related to the long-debated issue of the nature and goals of modern antisemitism.
On the one hand, the mass murder of Jews seems to be a product of antisemitism, but on the other hand, what came to be called the Holocaust was more than a product of antisemitism.
It was initiated by Germany, a country that was widely considered to be Europe's least antisemitic before 1914.
The move to mass murder was not in response to popular pressure from the German people, but in order to enhance his popularity, Hitler tried to give the impression that he was a moderate.
Germany's advanced state of industrialization and the related efficiency and discipline of its people, especially their respect for state authority, may also be considered an obvious factor in making the Holocaust possible, but as such seems an overly general culprit.
Many other factors might be mentioned in trying to explain how the Holocaust occurred, but relying on any single one as an independent force is clearly inadequate.
Under Mussolini, fascistism began as explicitly opposed to antisemitism and racism, and in fact attracted a number of Jewish admirers, inside Italy and on the right of the Zionism movement.
The mass murder of Jews during the war in which tens of millions of non-Jews perished made the Holocaust possible.
The mass murder of Jews came at the end of a period in which mass death and appalling crimes against humanity, on the battlefront and inside the Soviet Union, occurred on an unprecedented scale and intensity.
The end of the war and the immediate postwar period are covered in many studies of Nazism and the Holocaust.
Europe was reduced to bombed-out landscapes and smoking ruins at the end of the war.
In comparison to World War I, civilian deaths and urban destruction far exceeded that of homeless refugees, gangs of lawless, brutalized youth, and crowded into various camps begging for food and shelter.
In the areas overrun by the Red Army, an estimated 2 million women were raped, often repeatedly and in front of their husbands or families, with little or no effort by the Army's officers to exercise control.
The war-time meetings of the Big Three tended to paper over fundamental differences or delay addressing them, but with the defeat of Nazi Germany those differences reasserted themselves inexorably.
The question became more complex after Stalin's death, but the lessons learned in the 1930s colored international relations for the next half-century.
The military deaths in World War II were a bit less than in World War I, in part because the stalemate of the trenches between 1914 and 1918 was replaced by motorized and armored units and more rapidly moving battlefronts between 1939 and 1945.
The totals in both wars were huge.
Deaths varied greatly from country to country.
It was published by John Wiley & Sons.
After Soviet archives were opened to Western scholars in the 1990s, the widely accepted estimate was that around 26 million Soviet citizens perished during World War II, well over half of them civilians.
The total number of war-time deaths in Europe was around 45 million, and the Soviet Union suffered more deaths than all the other countries combined.
Estimates of German losses are difficult because the German Reich's borders changed so much.
The Poles had the greatest war-time losses.
For Italy, the number of dead, military and civilians was less than 1 percent of its total population, compared to 16 percent for Poland, 14 percent for the Soviet Union, and 9 percent for Germany.
France suffered fewer military deaths in World War II than it did in World War I, mostly because it dropped out of the war for about four years, but French civilians suffered both at the hands of their Nazi occupiers.
The Battle of Britain was mostly an air war with bombing of civilian centers, but the final proportion of Britain's war-time dead to its total population was close to 1 percent.
Military deaths for the United States were around 420,000 since there were no battles on the American mainland.
The lowest rate of all the major combatants was 0.22 percent of the total population.
The Soviet rate was five times greater.
The millions of dead and crippled and extensive material destruction of the war meant that postwar production plummeted in many areas.
Thousands of people died of exposure to the elements during the winter when Europe's population lived in hunger.
In the major areas of combat, political chaos was a threat.
Germany and Austria remained under Allied military occupation longer than other countries, to some degree reducing the potential for chaos, but the destruction of Germany's urban areas by May 1945 seemed overwhelming, due to Allied strategic bombing.
European civilization, especially its German element, had reached its nadir according to some.
The mood at the end of the war was bleak, but that was an overreaction.
Forced transfers of population replaced the effort in 1919 to draw national borders to fit existing populations according to language and ethnicity, as the nature of the European states that would be reestablished in the two to three years after the war remained uncertain.
This could be called a final solution to the problem of non-Jewish minorities in Europe's nation-states, one that was started by the Nazis and was sanctioned by the Allies at the end of the war.
Most of Europe's states were more diverse before 1939.
Stalin's dictum that each nation should impose its system "as far as its army could reach" meant that nearly all of eastern Europe came under Communist rule by 1948.
Tensions between the Western Allies and the Soviets increased after the war ended, but both sides agreed that Germany should not be allowed to reemerging.
The Reich could be divided into a predominantly Catholic state and a predominantly Protestant one.
Prussiaceded much of its territory to Poland at the end of World War I, which resulted in a reduction of the Reich before Hitler took power.
Even if Germany were allowed to reunify, there was a question as to which borders it would return to.
The expansion of the Nazi Reich in 1938 to include Austria and Czechoslovakia had no legitimacy in the eyes of the Allies, and those two countries were reestablished after the war.
Austria was reestablished but not responsible for the crimes of the Nazis.
It became the first victim of Nazi Germany's territorial expansion due to the Austrians' embrace of unity with Nazi Germany in 1938.
Henry Morgenthau, Roosevelt's Secretary of the Treasury, put forth one of the most drastic plans to solve the German Question.
He was one of the people who wanted Nazi leaders to be put to death.
He wanted Germany to be broken up into smaller units so they wouldn't be able to wage modern warfare.
The practical implications of his plan were duly considered and it was abandoned because preindustrial states would not be able to feed and provide Germany's large population.
The proposal that millions of Germans be shipped to a non- European area was rejected as even more ill conceived.
Making decisions about Germany's political future merged with the question of how ordinary citizens are treated.
The major war criminals were to be dealt with by the Nuremberg tribunals, but the design of punishment for the many millions of Germans who had been active party members seemed uncomfortably close to collective punishment.
It was difficult to get enough information about the major war criminals to convict them in courts of law, and the prospect of imprisoning millions of Germans was impractical and distasteful.
The issue of appropriate treatment was further complicated by Jackson's opening remarks at the first Nuremberg trial, in which he made a distinction between the guilty German leaders and the German people, who he described as victims of Nazi tyranny.
Many non-Jewish Germans, Austrians included, were victims of Nazism, especially those on the liberal, socialist, and Communist left.
3 to 4 million non-Jewish Germans had suffered Nazi persecution, which included being put under police watch, losing their jobs, and facing imprisonment or terms in concentration camps, where many perished or emerged broken in body and spirit.
Finding qualified Germans who might take up postwar positions of authority but who were untainted by Nazi associations was often frustrating.
In other countries, the leaders of the new governments were usually from the anti-Nazi or anti-Fascist resistance movements, but by 1945 the organized opposition inside Germany had been reduced to insignificance.
The failed attempt to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944, led by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, resulted in the arrest and execution of prominent military figures and members of other non-Nazi traditional elites.
Even if no proof was found that they were part of the plot to assassinate Hitler, the Gestapo used the occasion to arrest and execute those suspected of anti-Nazi sympathies.
The White Rose Movement, composed of intellectuals and university students, did not find a significant response to their pamphlet campaign against Nazism.
After lengthy interrogation, the main leaders of the White Rose were guillotined.
With the assumption that a large part of the German population had been nazified, the Americans started programs in each zone.
On the one hand, denazification was mocked as naive and unjust by the German population, but on the other, it was considered a failure.
Millions of Germans were told to fill out questionnaires about their pasts in order to get rid of unmanageable paperwork.
Some of the more practical measures, such as outlawing the Nazi Party, removing former Nazi Party members from positions of authority, and destroying statues of Hitler, were accepted as appropriate.
The idea that the German population could be reeducated in a few years to embrace different values was not realistic.
Postwar polls showed how attitudes towards Nazism were retained by a significant portion of the German population.
Von Stauffenberg and the leaders of the White Rose became positive symbols for a new Germany after decades.
The trials of the Nazi leaders who weren't tried at Nuremberg were put in the hands of German authorities.
Even with the best of wills, the task was bound to offend one or more people.
It was easier to bring the less serious cases to trial first, which meant that relatively minor offenders were quickly and at times harshly punished, whereas many of the more serious and more complicated cases were repeatedly postponed.
The pileup of cases led to a series of amnesties.
By 1949 all but a few hundred of the millions of Germans who had been identified as probably culpable had been released.
The punishments for those who collaborated with Nazi rulers in France, Holland, and Norway were more severe than the punishments meted out to the Nazi rulers themselves inside West Germany.
The trials of the most notorious Nazis, who had initially evaded capture, continued into the 1980s.
It would take decades before it was concluded that most Germans didn't like Nazism very much.
The shift was gradual and probably had less to do with the formal efforts to reeducate Germans than with the fact that older Nazis were dying off.
The attitudes of Europe's younger generations changed a lot by the late 1960s, but the distance between generations in Germany was particularly stark.
The plans of Soviet officials for dealing with the Nazis remaining in the Soviet zone had parallels with the Morgenthau Plan in terms of their initial severity and their determination to reorganize the German economy in fundamental ways.
Rather than deindustrialization, the Soviets wanted to replace Nazi economic structures with those modeled on Soviet Communism.
The Marxist doctrine made a distinction between agents of capitalism and victims.
The Communist Party would give proper leadership to the people.
When one regime was replaced by another, the task of reeducating the people appeared easier, but communist leaders in the Soviet zone were prone to compromises, hoping to gain popularity.
The memories of World War II were being pushed aside by the Cold War.
The concern of leaders in the United States to have a German ally against the perceived threat of Soviet expansion weakened the determination to deal with the Nazis.
The critics who criticized the Nuremberg trials as representing "victors' justice" did not offer superior alternatives to those who denounced the whole denazification experience as a whitewash.
The rising passions of the Cold War made up for the fact that the Nazis had gotten away with murder.
The administration of the four zones of military occupation, American, British, French, and Soviet, became mired in mutual recrimination over their respective roles and rights after the Potsdam conference.
Sudeten d U.S.S.R.
Germany is changing its borders.
There is an issue of responsibility for the Cold War.
The Soviets claimed that they had suffered more from the war than the Western Allies did.
It was difficult to contest but also impossibly open-ended.
Hundreds of thousands of forced laborers from Germany were used by the Soviet authorities in the immediate postwar years.
In the first year after the war, a lot of Germany's industrial infrastructure was taken over by the Soviets.
The Soviets moved 10 billion dollars' worth of agricultural and industrial goods from Germany to the Soviet Union in five years.
It reduced the German population to even greater destitution in many areas, but it only caused a fraction of Nazi damage to the Soviet Union.
By the autumn of 1949, the four zones of occupied Germany had been divided into western and eastern states.
The Federal Republic of West Germany or the Bonn Republic is informally known as the American, British, and French zones.
The German Democratic Republic was informally East Germany and had its capital in Berlin.
The Federal Republic lacked the large, previously dominating Prussian element of the Weimar Republic, but some of them were similar to it.
An extensive bill of rights was included to address the perceived weaknesses of the constitution.
The term "people's republic" was used for most of the eastern European countries that fell under Soviet domination.
The means of production were taken over by the state and the state itself was guided by the Communist Party in these republics.
Walter Ulbricht, a particularly wooden Stalinist who became the most familiar face of East German Communism, was the leader of the former KPD.
The first general elections in West Germany saw the emergence of two major parties.
The pre-Nazi Catholic Center Party had roots in the Christian Democratic Union.
The Social Democratic Party was a revival of the pre-Nazi party.
The Center Party and the SPD were the two largest parties of the initially ruling Weimar Coalition, but they did not form a reliable majority in the following years.
Both the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats could aspire to win an absolute majority, though a secure majority remained an ever-elusive goal for both, as the situation had changed significantly by 1949.
The right-wing parties were mostly gone during the Weimar years.
People who voted Nationalist or Nazi in the past are now voting for the Christian Democratic Party.
The Communists in West Germany did not have a lot of popular appeal.
The Free Democratic Party has roots in the Democratic and People's parties of the Weimar years.
The Free Democrats allied with the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats in order to provide them with more secure parliamentary majorities.
The leaders of the two major parties were different from those of the Weimar parent parties.
Kurt was in the concentration camps of the Third Reich for twelve years.
He emerged from the camps shattered in health but still harbored a belief that he could lead Germany from ruin to the promised land of democratic socialism.
During World War I, when he had lost his right arm, he was treated with relative leniency by the Nazis, but his stubbornness cost him his life.
Konrad Adenauer was a less remarkable figure.
He was able to survive the Nazi years by walking a fine line, not compromising his Catholic beliefs, but also avoiding the kind of overt opposition to Nazi rule that would have resulted in his being sent to.
His vision was for Germany to have a free-market economy and a Western-style society.
Adenauer was a man of cunning political instincts and strong opinions, but he also had few illusions about his fellow Germans.
He was a stern, no-nonsense leader, but he was able to compromise when necessary.
Observers concluded that only an authoritarian but politically flexible fig ure had a chance of ruling West Germany.
His resemblances were countered by more profound differences.
He was neither a Protestant nor a Junker, he was a Catholic.
In 1949, West Germany was fifty-fifty Catholic and Protestant, whereas the Reich had a large Protestant majority.
Prussia had been destroyed by the Junker ruling class.
It was politically foolish to overdo denazification.
He wasn't particularly curious about the Nazi pasts of many who came to hold important positions in the Federal Republic.
As part of his effort to rehabilitate Germany's moral standing in the world, he established good relations with the new state of Israel.
He believed that an anti-Communist stance was crucial to maintaining a close alliance with the United States.
The American leaders preferred Adenauer, who expressed socialist convictions that drew him into confrontations with American military authorities.
He had a dream of Germany being neutral in the Cold War.
He wanted to nationalize the industry because he thought Germany's elite supported Hitler.
The Christian Democratic Union gained the support of the Free Democrats and the Bavarian Christian Social Union in the 1949 national elections in order to win more seats in the Bundestag.
He assumed an opposition to almost everything undertaken by the Christian Democrats after he was incensed by Adenauer's victory.
Many of his party's leaders were unenthusiastic about his intransigent anticapitalism, hoping instead to continue the transformation of their party toward democratic reformism and the "vital" political center.
Their dilemma was solved by Schumacher's frail health.
He lost his arm in World War I and had a leg amputation in December 1951, and died at age fifty-six.
The SPD adopted a new program in 1959 that made an even cleaner break with Marxist theories of class conflict and economic determinism than it had in the past.
Classical philosophy and Christian ethics were emphasized in the program.
Private ownership of the means of production and open market incentives were both pronounced by the SPD.
The Social Democrats won many provincial and urban victories, most notably in Berlin, but national office remained elusive from 1949 to 1969.
The Christian Democrats were not hard line defenders of capitalism.
Germany's economic recovery was linked to the tradition of state intervention to regulate capitalism's excesses and to aid the lower orders.
Both social-democratic and Christian-democratic versions of a fine-tuned capitalism are capable of controlling the free market's tendencies to undermine social solidarity.
After World War II, all major political tendencies in Europe accepted the role of the state in regulating capitalism.
At the end of the war, an Austrian identity came back to life.
Vienna was surrounded by the Soviet zone and was divided into four occupation zones.
The Social Democratic and Christian Social parties of the first republic had roots in the Socialist Party and People's Party, but with new names, the Socialist Party and People's Party, the latter moving away from its earlier close identification with the Catholic Church.
The two main parties were able to put aside the violence that had characterized their parent parties during the 1930s in order to form a two-party system.
Suppressing memories of the recent past, or creating a mythical, more bearable past, was a tendency in most European countries, but that tendency took on particularly striking aspects, as part of Austria's being Nazism's first victim.
It was plausible that both parties had been anti-Nazi when the Nazis took over Austria in 1938, as the pretense was attractive and one does not blame a victim.
The common experience of persecution, which meant that in some cases, being in the same prison cells or concentration camps, contributed to the surprising tolerance that each party extended to the other after the war.
The new political arrangements worked well.
Austria experienced its own kind of economic miracle, based on what was termed a "social partnership" of capital and labor, after some very hard times in the postwar years.
Austria regained its prewar unity within a decade of the end of the war.
Austria was a neutral country during the Cold War.
Europe did not have a "hot" or "shooting war", but rather threats, military build-ups, and some hair-raising confrontations.
Most of Europe became involved in the dispute over the status of Berlin, which was one of the initial arenas of Cold War confrontation.
In Korea, full-out shooting wars occurred in June 1950 to July 1953 due to the conflict in the form of "Communism vs. Democracy".
The spread of Communism to China in 1949 was seen as a great victory for Communism and thus the Soviet Union, which further fueled the fires of anti-Communism in the United States and Europe.
The exact point at which the Cold War began is difficult to say since there were no formal declarations of war.
Truman assumed a more confrontational stance than Roosevelt, but hopes for continued Allied cooperation remained alive for most of the rest of 1945.
By early March 1946, the tone of the east-west relations was becoming more serious.
At the time, the "iron-curtain" speech was seen as an undiplomatic provocation by the public.
Those who still harbored hopes for postwar cooperation reacted in such a way.
Moderates and left-wingers in Britain criticized Churchill as an irresponsible war-monger, just like they criticized him in the 1930s.
Many years ago, it was thought that the Cold War had arisen from the West's resistance to Soviet aggression.
As he had warned against the appeasement of Nazi Germany, he was thought to have been prescient in his iron-curtain speech.
Appeasing dictators only whetted their appetites; they must be met with force.
The Soviet Union became the new Nazi Germany and Stalin the new Hitler for many people in the West.
The counternarrative grew in appeal as the century progressed, one that emphasized American capitalism as the real trouble-maker, whereas the Soviet Union was seen as gravely weakened by the war and acting defensively against the aggressive stance of the United States.
There are parallels between the changing views of the origins of the Cold War and the changing views of the origins of World War I.
Historians of the Cold War have tended to emphasize the clash of expansionist states, each with a universalist ideology that demonized its opposition, while seeing itself as courageously defending high principles.
The Cold War appears to be predictable rather than the result of bad leadership.
The early accounts of World War I and the Cold War were both characterized by moral outrage that focused on the central role of evil people.
At Tehran and Yalta, "personal diplomacy" played a key role, and with Roosevelt's death, things changed at Potsdam in part because different people were involved.
If Roosevelt had lived, history might have taken different directions.
Revisionist interpretations of the origins of the Cold War have come to be termed as Assumptions related to such speculations.
It seems that the most to be expected was a somewhat less dangerous or intense confrontation, not genuine or lasting harmony.
The fact that there were only two major powers in the postwar years had ominous implications.
Psychic instability and dangerous mood swings are referred to as "bipolar" in recent times.
"bipolarity," in the sense of two poles of power, could be termed inherently dangerous in diplomacy.
Communism and liberal democracy were demonizing each other after World War II, which led to the dangers of bipolarity.
There was something profoundly "structural" at work in those years, something deeper than personality in the worsening relations between the Soviet Union and the United States.
In the 19th century, Russia and America viewed each other as polar opposites.
The United States and France would emerge as major world powers in the future according to the French observer of early democracy in the United States.
In the Russian Civil War, the United States sent troops into Russia.
The New Deal and Popular Front had a common enemy in Nazi Germany and the decline in overt hostility was a result of that.
When the Nazi-Soviet Pact was signed in August 1939, the relationship relapsed into a familiar if also more intense hostility.
The argument that moral ideals also matter in international relations overlaps with the issue of personality.
The United States and the Soviet Union are not morally equal states, according to some people.
The most hostile to the Soviet Union in the immediate postwar period pointed to Stalin's appalling personal record and the Communist regime since 1917.
Stalin imposed Communism in eastern Europe after the Third Reich was destroyed.
Stalin made a number of conciliatory gestures in the immediate postwar period, whereas the Americans made a number of provocative ones, according to the revisionists.
Stalin understood how foolish it would be to provoke the Americans during the war, according to the revisionist argument.
Stalin's initial conciliatory actions did not add up to his sincerely working for peace and lasting international harmony.
He was going to return to the brutal methods he had used in the 1930s.
For Stalin's detractors, the attempt to present him as a rational, reliable leader, simply pursuing the national interest of his country, has something in common with the description of Hitler as a traditional statesman.
Stalin's past revealed his true moral essence, despite the fact that he could appear reasonable.
The relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States was in a state of limbo from 1945 to 1947, with both sides making conciliatory gestures, but by the beginning of 1948 the hopes for harmonious relations had largely disappeared.
A battle over the status of Berlin averted a shooting war for the rest of the year.
The coalition governments of Communists and non-Communists that had been patched together at the end of the war fell apart in both eastern and western Europe.
The Truman Doctrine was proclaimed by the United States in March 1947, promising military aid to any country that was threatened by Communism.
The Marshall Plan, which promised billions of dollars to restore the economies of Europe, was more decisive in permanently separating the two sides.
The Truman Doctrine was seen by Stalin as less threatening than the Plan because a number of eastern European states were tempted to apply for aid under its provisions.
The Plan's promise to open Europe's economy to American trade and investment was one of the main attractions for members of the United States congress.
The Plan was perceived by Stalin as American capitalist expansion into areas that were friendly to the Soviet Union.
Communism's appeal was to impoverished populations, but most Americans saw the Plan in a more altruistic light.
It was believed that restoring Europe's economy was crucial to defeating Communism.
The Czechoslovak Communist Party won 38 percent of the vote in 1946, making it the strongest party.
The Communist Party leader, Klement Gottwald, was appointed to head a multiparty cabinet by President Edvard Benes, who was on friendly terms with Stalin and who had also been president at the time of the Munich Agreements.