Denazification policy in Germany in the coverage by the representatives of American scientific and political thought in the second half 1940s – 1950s
Ph.D. (History), Associate Professor
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv, Ukraine
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv, Ukraine
Abstract. Based on an analysis of published works by American researchers (historians, political scientists, lawyers, sociologists, philosophers), the majority of whom was involved in the preparation and implementation of the process of re-education of Germans in the first postwar years, the authors aim to identify the main trends, approaches, assessments of the progress and future prospects of denazification of Germany from the point of view of American scientists and politicians of the first postwar decade. Denazification became one of the main public topics that was widely discussed in American society in the second half of the 1940s and 1950s, but these publications have not yet been the subject of a separate historiographical analysis in either ukrainian or foreign scientific literature that determines the novelty of the proposed article.
Discussions were formed by those who were involved in its implementation and did not always express the views of academics alone. Based on the methods of historiographic analysis and problem-chronological approach, it was found that the program of «re-education» of Germany and its implementation were ambiguously perceived and evaluated by different researchers, which led to the formation of two directions in historiography of this problem. The first and a little earlier formed direction showed a balanced positive assessment of the denazification policy even if certain problems, shortcomings or even partially negative results were stated. Another trend, which crystallized a little later, articulated a more critical, skeptical, and even negative view of US policy in occupied Germany. In American historiography there is a thesis that the Germans must solve their own problems.
The assessment of denazification took place at a time of critical geopolitical change in Europe, interest in which waned in the 1950s. Exacerbation of the confrontation with the USSR, fear of possible radicalization of Germany, problems of postwar economic recovery forced the United States to reconsider approaches to methods and rates of denazification policy and transfer control over its implementation to the newly formed Germany, an American ally.
Key words: American military administration, denazification, lustration, National Socialism, Germany.
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