Restatement of Policy on Germany

"Restatement of Policy on Germany" is a speech by James F. Byrnes, the United States Secretary of State, held in Stuttgart on September 6, 1946.

Also known as the "Speech of hope" it set the tone of future US policy as it repudiated the Morgenthau Plan economic policies and with its message of a change to a policy of economic reconstruction gave the Germans hope for the future.

1946 newsreel

Context and speech

The Western powers' worst fear by now was that the poverty and hunger envisioned by the Morgenthau Plan would drive the Germans to Communism. American Occupation General Lucius Clay stated, "There is no choice between being a communist on 1,500 calories a day and a believer in democracy on a thousand".

The speech was also seen as a first firm stand against the Soviet Union as it stated the intention of the United States to maintain a military presence in Europe indefinitely. But the heart of the message was as Byrnes stated a month later "The nub of our program was to win the German people ... it was a battle between us and Russia over minds. ... "

On the question of territorial integrity of Germany it was stated that "the United States will not support any encroachment on territory which is indisputably German or any division of Germany which is not genuinely desired by the people concerned. So far as the United States is aware the people of the Ruhr area and the Rhineland desire to remain united with the rest of Germany. And the United States is not going to oppose their desire."

A stated exception to US support for self-determination was the support given in the speech to the French claim to the Saarland.

Byrnes, who accepted Western Neisse as the provisional Polish border,[1] also addressed the Polish and Soviet claims to all German territory east of the Oder-Neisse line,[2][3] an area comprising roughly 25% of pre-war (1937) Germany. In his speech, he left the final extent of the area east of the Oder Neisse that would become permanently Polish to be decided in the future, stating, "The Soviets and the Poles suffered greatly at the hands of Hitler's invading armies. As a result of the agreement at Yalta, Poland ceded to the Soviet Union territory east of the Curzon Line. Because of this, Poland asked for revision of her northern and western frontiers. The United States will support revision of these frontiers in Poland's favor. However, the extent of the area to be ceded to Poland must be determined when the final settlement is agreed upon."[3][4][5]

Byrnes in fact did not state that such a change would take place. The purpose of the speech and associated US diplomatic activities was as propaganda aimed at Germany by the Western Powers, who could then blame Polish-German border and German expulsions on Moscow alone.[3]

The territory had been handed over to Polish and Soviet administration at the Potsdam conference, the border was to be determined at the peace conference (which did not take place until 1990, and ratified what had been in place since 1945), but with the area experiencing the flight and expulsion of Germans in 1944–50 it in the de facto became Polish and Soviet territory.

Polish response

The Polish government responded to the speech with loud rhetoric, with claims that the US was supporting remnants of the Hitler regime and officially claimed that the border set at Potsdam was final.[6] In a speech, Władysław Gomułka condemned Byrne's speech and its implication of a border revision in favor of Germany as reactionary.[6] It made Gomulka see it as further need for a strong Polish-Soviet Union alliance.[6]

Many years later, Polish leader Wojciech Jaruzelski would reflect on the implications of the speech:

It was a shocking statement. It made us think that our western border was being questioned by the Germans and by other Western countries. It was one of the most important things that strengthened our ties with the Soviet Union.[2][7]

Olszewski asked the US ambassador to Poland for an explanation, claiming that the speech would have a negative impact on the Poles from beyond Curzon Line that were moving into western territories.[6] Ambassador Arthur Bliss Lane reassured Byrne's speech should not be interpreted as US's desire to avoid its obligations made at Potsdam. He underlined that Poland was given provisional control over the area, and if the Polish settlers believed that their presence was permanent, it was due to work of Polish government and press itself.[6]

Lane later continued to reassure Poles of US friendship and was disturbed by distortion of Byrnes speech. Eventually, he learned, after discussing the issue with members of Department of State, that the speech was intended to "smoke out Molotov's attitude on the eve of elections in Germany".[6]

From November 1946, onward the US military government in Germany prepared a number of new alternative border plans.[5] U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall insisted during the 1947 Council of Foreign Ministers meetings in Moscow and London that a border revision be done that would return agricultural areas Pomerania and Silesia to Germany while leaving Poland large part of eastern Pomernia and Upper Silesia, as well as Gdańsk and East Prussia.[3][5] With backing from the UK and from France, he also advocated the establishment of a four-power commission that would be given the task of deciding the extent of the new border revisions in favor of Germany.[3] The American change of tactic was motivated by two things: winning over German loyalties and embarrassing the Soviet Union; in private, American policy makers like Marshall admitted that chances of changing the border were "very slender".[3]

The speech had a negative impact on US relations with Poland but made the Germans more positive to the US, and the Soviet Union was forced to commit itself to the Oder-Neisse line. As a consequence of this commitment, the Soviet Union had to give up any hope of gaining influence over West Germany.[3]

See also


  1. ^ No exit: America and the German problem, 1943–1954, page 94, James McAllister,Cornell University Press 2002
  2. ^ a b " (Scott Lucas, Freedom's war: the US crusade against the Soviet Union, 1945–56, 2004 Manchester University Press ND, p. 23")
  3. ^ a b c d e f g " (Pertti Ahonen, After the expulsion: West Germany and Eastern Europe, 1945–1990, 2003 Oxford University Press, pp. 26–27")
  4. ^ Stuttgart Speech
  5. ^ a b c " (Peter H. Merkl, German Unification, 2004 Penn State Press, p. 338")
  6. ^ a b c d e f " (Debra J. Allen, The Oder-Neisse line: the United States, Poland, and Germany in the Cold War, 2003 Greenwood Publishing Group, pp. 50–52")
  7. ^ "CNN Episode 2, Iron curtain". Archived from the original on May 18, 2007. Retrieved 2011-07-14.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)

Further reading

External links

1946 in Germany

Events in the year 1946 in Germany..

ASEAN Declaration

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Allied plans for German industry after World War II

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Arms race

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In technology, there are close analogues to the arms races between parasites and hosts, such as the arms race between computer virus writers and antivirus software writers, or spammers against Internet service providers and E-mail software writers.

More generically, the term is used to describe any competition where there is no absolute goal, only the relative goal of staying ahead of the other competitors in rank or knowledge. An arms race may also imply futility as the competitors spend a great deal of time and money, yet end up in the same situation as if they had never started the arms race.

Asian Relations Conference

The Asian Relations Conference took place in New Delhi in March-April 1947. It was hosted by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who then headed a provisional government that was preparing for India's Independence, which came on 15 August 1947. The Asian Relations Conference brought together many leaders of the independence movements in Asia, and represented a first attempt to assert Asian unity. The objectives of the conference were "to bring together the leading men and women of Asia on a common platform to study the problems of common concern to the people of the continent, to focus attention on social, economic and cultural problems of the different countries of Asia, and to foster mutual contact and understanding."

In his writings and speeches, Nehru had laid great emphasis on the manner in which post-colonial India would rebuild its Asia connections. At this conference Nehru declared: "... Asia is again finding herself ... one of the notable consequences of the European domination of Asia has been the isolation of the countries of Asia from one another. ... Today this isolation is breaking down because of many reasons, political and otherwise ... This Conference is significant as an expression of that deeper urge of the mind and spirit of Asia which has persisted ... In this Conference and in this work there are no leaders and no followers. All countries of Asia have to meet together in a common task ..."

Cold War (1947–1953)

The Cold War (1947–1953) is the period within the Cold War from the Truman Doctrine in 1947 to the conclusion of the Korean War in 1953. The Cold War emerged in Europe a few years after the successful US–USSR–UK coalition won World War II in Europe, and extended to 1989–91. In 1947, Bernard Baruch, the multimillionaire financier and adviser to presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Harry S. Truman, coined the term “Cold War” to describe the increasingly chilly relations between two World War II Allies: the United States and the Soviet Union.

Some conflicts between the West and the USSR appeared earlier. In 1945–46 the US and UK strongly protested Soviet political takeover efforts in Eastern Europe and Iran, while the hunt for Soviet spies made the tensions more visible. However historians emphasize the decisive break between the US–UK and the USSR came in 1947–48 over such issues as the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan and the Berlin Blockade, followed by the formation of NATO in 1949.The Cold War took place worldwide, but it had a partially different timing outside Europe.

Exercise Verity

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Guerrilla war in the Baltic states

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History of Stuttgart

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International Authority for the Ruhr

The International Authority for the Ruhr (IAR) was an international body established in 1949 by the Allied powers to control the coal and steel industry of the Ruhr Area in West Germany. Its seat had been in Düsseldorf.

International supervision of the Ruhr was set out in the communiqué issued June 7 1948, after the meetings in London between the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France and the Benelux countries. It was abolished by the Treaty of Paris in 1951, which moved its activities to the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The IAR ended its work on 27 May 1952.

Jamaican political conflict

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Johnson Doctrine

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NDF Rebellion

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Reconstruction of Germany

The reconstruction of Germany after World War II was a long process. Germany had suffered heavy losses during the war, both in lives and industrial power. 6.9 to 7.5 million Germans had been killed, roughly 8.26 to 8.86 percent of the population (see also World War II casualties). The country's cities were severely damaged from heavy bombing in the closing chapters of the War and agricultural production was only 35 percent of what it was before the war.

At the Potsdam Conference, the victorious Allies ceded roughly 25 percent of Germany's pre-Anschluss territory to Poland and the Soviet Union. The German population in this area was expelled, together with the Germans of the Sudetenland and the German populations scattered throughout the rest of Eastern Europe. Between 1.5 and 2 million are said to have died in the process, depending on source. As a result, the population density grew in the "new" Germany that remained after the dismemberment.

As agreed at Potsdam, an attempt was made to convert Germany into a pastoral and agricultural nation, allowed only light industry. Many factories were dismantled as reparations or were simply destroyed (see also the Morgenthau Plan). Millions of German prisoners of war were for several years used as forced labor, both by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union.

Beginning immediately after the German surrender and continuing for the next two years, the United States pursued a vigorous program to harvest all technological and scientific know-how, as well as all patents in Germany. John Gimbel comes to the conclusion in his book, Science Technology and Reparations: Exploitation and Plunder in Post-war Germany, that the "intellectual reparations" taken by the U.S. and the UK amounted to close to 10 billion dollars, equivalent to around 100 billion dollars in 2006. (see also Operation Paperclip).

As soon as 1945, the Allied forces worked heavily on removing Nazi influence from Germany in a process dubbed as "denazification".By mid-1947, the success of denazification and the start of the Cold War had led to a re-consideration of policy, as the Germans were seen as possible allies in the conflict and the dawning realization that the economic recovery of Europe was dependent on the reactivation of German industry. With the repudiation of the U.S. occupation directive JCS 1067 in July 1947, the Western Allies were able to start planning for the introduction of a currency reform to halt the rampant inflation. This type of action to help the German economy had been prohibited by the directive and its execution also led to the setting up of a Soviet controlled puppet state in the eastern zone, to maintain Soviet control there.

In 1948, the Deutsche Mark replaced the occupation currency as the currency of the Western occupation zones, leading to their eventual economic recovery.In 1947, the Marshall Plan, initially known as the "European Recovery Program" was initiated. In the years 1947–1952, some $13 billion of economic and technical assistance—-equivalent to around $140 billion in 2017—were allocated to Western Europe. Despite protests from many beneficiaries, the Marshall Plan, although in the less generous form of loans, was in 1949 extended to also include the newly formed West Germany. In the years 1949–1952, West Germany received loans which totaled $1.45 billion, equivalent to around $14.5 billion in 2006.

The country subsequently began a slow but continuous improvement of its standard of living, with the export of local products, a reduction in unemployment, increased food production, and a reduced black market.

By 1950, the UK and France were finally induced to follow the U.S. lead, and stop the dismantling of German heavy industry. The country's economic recovery under the newly formed democratic government was, once it was permitted, swift and effective. During the mid-1950s, the unemployment rate in Germany was so low that it led to the influx of Turkish immigrants into the country's labor force. Germany's economy continued to improve until the 1973 oil crisis. (see also Wirtschaftswunder)


Restatement may refer to:

Restatements of the Law, published by the American Law Institute as scholarly refinements of black letter law; these include:

Restatement of Contracts, Second, completed by the American Law Institute in 1979

Restatement of Policy on Germany, a famous speech by James F. Byrnes, then United States Secretary of State, held in Stuttgart on September 6, 1946

Restatement (finance), the amendment and republication of a company's financial statement to correct an error, or change in accounting standard

Repetition (music)

Saar Protectorate

The Saar Protectorate (German: Saarprotektorat; French: Protectorat de Sarre) was a short-lived protectorate (1947–1956) partitioned from Germany after its defeat in World War II; it was administered by the French Fourth Republic. On rejoining West Germany in 1957, it became the smallest "area state" (Bundesland), the Saarland, not counting the "city states" (Stadtstaaten) of Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen. It is named after the Saar River.

The region around the Saar River and its tributary valleys is a geographically folded, mineral-rich, ethnically German, economically important, heavily industrialized area. It has well-developed transportation infrastructure, and was one of the centres during the Industrial Revolution in Germany. Around 1900, the region formed the third-largest area of coal, iron, and steel industry in Germany (after the Ruhr Area and the Upper Silesian Coal Basin). From 1920 to 1935, as a result of World War I, the region was under the control of the League of Nations as the Territory of the Saar Basin. Near the end of World War II it was heavily bombed by the Allies as part of their strategic bombing campaigns.

Geographically, the post–World War II protectorate corresponded to the current German state of Saarland (established after its incorporation into West Germany on 1 January 1957). A policy of industrial disarmament and dispersal of industrial workers was officially pursued by the Allies after the war until 1951 and the region was made a protectorate under French control in 1947. Cold War pressures for a stronger Germany allowed renewed industrialization, and the French returned control of the region to the government of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1957.

Ulbricht Doctrine

The Ulbricht Doctrine, named after East German leader Walter Ulbricht, was the assertion that normal diplomatic relations between East Germany and West Germany could occur only if both states fully recognised each other's sovereignty. That contrasted with the Hallstein Doctrine, a West German policy which insisted that West Germany was the only legitimate German state.

East Germany gained acceptance of its view from fellow Communist states, such as Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria, which all agreed not to normalise relations with West Germany until it recognised East German sovereignty.

West Germany eventually abandoned its Hallstein Doctrine, instead adopting the policies of Ostpolitik. In December 1972, a Basic Treaty between East and West Germany was signed that reaffirmed two German states as separate entities. The treaty also allowed the exchange of diplomatic missions and the entry of both German states to the United Nations as full members.

Western Bloc

The Western Bloc during the Cold War refers to capitalist countries under the hegemony of the United States and NATO against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. The latter were referred to as the Eastern Bloc. The governments and press of the Western Bloc were more inclined to refer to themselves as the "Free World" or the "Western world", whereas the Eastern Bloc was often called the "Communist world or Second world".

Frozen conflicts
Foreign policy
See also

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