Talk:Allied plans for German industry after World War II

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Questionable paragraph[edit]

"By 1949 the West Germans had become confident enough to mount increasing protests against the ongoing Allied policy of factory dismantling. The Western Allies, the U.S., France, and the UK finally had to halt dismantling in 1950. [1] [2]"

I have removed this paragraph because it seems incorrect to me. As I understand it the Allies had favoured industrial growth since at least 1947, even mid 1946, though it was a gradual process. It's true that Adenaur argued in favour of decreasing dismantling at the 1949 Petersburg conference and that concessions were granted it is vastly overstating his role to suggest that dismantling ended due to German pressure. I realise that the paragraph has references but the first one is in German, which I can't read, and the second does not support the assertion - merely stating that dismantling took place, was unpopular and then stopped. I shall check a couple of books and find something more accurate to replace it with. --Cherry blossom tree 15:35, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

I reverted, until such time as you can you can provide any better source. Meanwhile, for inspiration while you're searching for sources, why not read:
I've cited my source. --Cherry blossom tree 22:23, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Today's edit[edit]

"...the Petersberg Agreement of November 1949 (where the Germans had to accept international control of Ruhr Area as a condition for the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany"

It doesn't make sense. The Petersburg Agreement was dated 22 November 1949. The Federal Republic was officially established on 23 May 1949 and functioning as a country at least since Adenauer was elected on 15 September, if not before. The Petersburg Agreement also gave Germany more control of the Ruhr, not less, announcing the intention to apply for membership of the International Authority for the Ruhr where it had previously been an observer. The source cited is entirely consistent with this, so I shall remove this text. Thanks. --Cherry blossom tree 21:04, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

I might have drawn to fast conclusions, I shall check the given source (Amos Yoder, "The Ruhr Authority and the German Problem", The Review of Politics, Vol. 17, No. 3 (Jul., 1955), pp. 345-358) more thoroughly.
In the meanwhile, please check the accuracy of the Petersberg Agreement. It states that one of the points of the agreement was. "Acceptance of international control of the Ruhr district (entry of the FRG to the Ruhr Agreement)". So naturally I searched for the "Ruhr Agreement". And found the secondary source I provided that stated "The Ruhr Agreement was imposed on the Germans as a condition for permitting them to establish the Federal Republic of Germany. I shall dig into this. --Stor stark7 Talk 21:37, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Point II of the Petersburg agreement only states that the FRG intends to apply for membership (with the aim of contributing to the rehabilitation of the European economy.) This did de facto amount to recognising some international control of the Ruhr. The Petersburg Agreement did meet with significant opposition in Germany and led to Kurt Schumacher effectively accusing Adenauer of treason in the Bundestag ("The Allies' Federal Chancellor!") but this was sparked by the issue of dismantling rather than control of the Ruhr. I'll try and get some references for this tomorrow, but if it isn't tomorrow then it will be a while.--Cherry blossom tree 21:59, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Soviet looting of industry[edit]

I wonder if and how the fact that Soviets disassembled and transported east most of factories on the German territories they controlled affect this plan - and the economy of Eastern Germany? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 17:04, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

If you wish to contribute a section on that I suggest you read Norman M. Naimark "The Russians in Germany" first, he quite exhaustively deals with the topic of dismantling, at least as applied to the part of occupied Germany that became the DDR.
The section of Germany that became the DDR was bled quite heavily by the Soviets, until 1956 if I remember correctly and lost a huge amount of its industry. The "the fact that Soviets disassembled and transported east most of factories" is not quite a true fact. I think they only ended up taking 25%-40% of the remaining industrial capacity of what was to become the DDR.
Note that the territories the Poles administered and eventually annexed were much richer than what was left to the DDR area[3], particularly as regards mineral deposits, and even though cities and industries may have been damaged, just as in the rest of Germany, the underlying infrastructure was already in place, streets and roads, electricity, water plumbing etc.
Note also that the Russian activities were only tangential to the industrial plans, they were only useful for the Russians as a means to get material from the western sectors too, aside from that they played they own game in the east. As regards the 20-25% section of Germany placed under temporary Polish administration they took many factories right after occupying the territory, (they were surprised to find them intact) but after the Poles moved in it was mainly the Poles business if I remember correctly. The Poles even sold the Russians coal from Silesia very cheaply at prices below mining costs as a trade against Russian claims on mines etc in the Polish administration zone of Germany.
The shipments of reparations from the U.S. zone was (temporarily?) stopped in 1946 or 47 or something similar, allegedly as a demonstration against the Russians indiscriminate dismantling in the DDR area and lack of cooperation, however John Gimbel was later able to show that this was cold war propaganda, the real target of U.S. policy was the French who were not playing nice with the U.S. plans. see John Gimbel, "The American Reparations Stop in Germany: An Essay on the Political Uses of History"
Gareau showed in the addendum to his his paper on industrial disarmament that taking industry as reparations is incredibly inneficient, the only purpose it can have is to damage the looser economically, the victors taking the factories gains next to nothing of the factories real value. Factories are dependent on the placing near the right type of local resources, usually of local supporting satellite industries, dismantling damages parts of the factory increasing the cost, shipping costs are usually very high for most types of heavy industry machinery etc etc. More efficient would have been to let the factories produce where they were, and take part of the products they produce. But then the underlying goal of the industrial plan was never reparations, the goal was to weaken Germany, the reparations cover was just a means to this end. The Russians eventually discovered that economically it was giving them much less benefit than they had hoped, as Naimark shows, and settled for letting the remaining factories stay put, instead claiming partial ownership of them in situ and taking extremely heavy reparations from ongoing production, something the Western powers had been very much against since taking from production meant an eventual rebuilding of German industry. This is what I have from memory, but I recommend you start with the Naimark book.--Stor stark7 Talk 18:20, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Squaring the circle[edit]

Squaring the circle. This article is very slanted. It looks at only one side of the equation. For example "The costs of the occupation were charged to the German people, about $2.4 billion per year" yet the article that comes from points out that the Germans did not have to pay for their own defence budget, so that number needs to be compared with the pre 1933 German defence budget to begin to see if that figure is fair or punitive. Also the figure is not clear if that is for all four occupied zones or just the western zones or just the US zone.

To balance the cost of taxation (which is what the occupation charges can be seen as), how much did the Allies pump directly into the Germany economy during the same period paying for goods and services? For example the British support for the Volkswagen Beetle factory suggests that it was not all gloom and doom (Volkswagen Beetle#Post-war production & boom). This suggests that despite any theoretical plans at a practical level the Allies took steps to restart German industry.

For this article to be balanced in needs to include what actually happened as well as what was projected. How large was the German economy by May 1946 in comparison with pre-war levels and the calculated size of the economy in May 1945, and by 1947 was it growing? How soon after the war did German industry start to supply oversees customers with goods. How did they pay for transport costs (as the German merchant marine had been confiscated). How soon did Germany start to pay for imports? How did the revival of the German economy (with or without the Allied plans) compare with countries like Britain, France, Italy, Benelux, Denmark and Austrian.

Without comparisons this article verges on an apologist bias. For example:

"The Allied Control Council set the price for German coal at half what it cost to produce it.[23] From May 1945 until September 1947 the U.S., U.K., and France exported German coal for $10.50/tonne, while the world price hovered closer to $25-$30 per tonne. During this period the Allies thus took roughly $200,000,000 out of the German economy from this source alone. In September 1947 the export price was raised but remained set at $5-$7 below world-market prices."

It can equally be argued that by pricing German coal below world prices that the Allies were helping German mining at the cost of other mines which were competing with German mines for exports. After all eliminating such artificial price fixing is part of what GATT is all about. The Allies could have set German prices from May 1945 until September 1947 at $39.50 a tonne and then at $5-$7 a tonne higher than world-market prices. If they had done this would German coal production have revived?

All in all this article currently paints post war Germany as a flat medieval scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, (with a really bad one sided economic analysis), when in reality it was multifaceted and dynamic system. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 14:55, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

You did make some worthwhile observations, there are some statistics needed, perhaps some tables, and there are additional sections needed such as on the Soviet zone and the UK socialization programme BUT
Please Philip Baird Shearer, do not engage in OR. The section on German coal exports comes from what is essentially the reference work for those looking into the German economy during the occupation, your argument comes from fantasy. You reveal your ignorance of the topic at hand by your arguments. "It can equally be argued....mines which were competing with German mines for exports". No it can certainly not be argued. There was no competition for exporting coal. Quite the contrary, all of Europe badly needed coal, which was the reason the Ruhr coal mines were the only heavy industry sector that the Allies did not shut down but actually tried to promote to some extent. There were many young and old Germans who froze to death for lack of heating coal in those winters, and even in the coal rich UK there were problems. Coal was truly the sellers market, which makes your arguments so very very far of the mark.
As to reviving the coal industry, this section from a Time magazine article from the summer of 1947 might help you:

"France wants more coal and is entitled to it, but will not permit the necessary industrial production to feed and supply the German miners to produce more coal. Britain, which wants both greater coal and industrial production, wants both under her control and socialization program."[4]

Please note that this was in the summer of 1947, after more than 2 years of occupation.
If it amuses you you can read about the UK opinion on reviving German exports.[5] go to the section from 11th June, 1945. It is also there that they explicitly call the projected reparations forced labor that you are acquainted with for its true name: slave labor. Oh and the opinion was, "Only reparations worth having = German export markets."
By late 1946 the UK tune had changed to "In Coalition days we went too quickly along line - ruin Germay´s export trade & clip her wings. cf. H.M.´s memo. To save our money we shall have to allow her some (less important) exports."[6] The UK problem was that by going along with the U.S. Morgenthau plan (not that they had much choice, the UK economic weakness made the UK essentially a US stooge, see Anglo-American loan) they had managed to wreck the German economy more than expected, and although whatever minimum of necessities they were providing the Germans with would later have to be repaid by Germany, at the moment they had left the Germans with no means to pay.
In a April 1946 lecture U.S. economic policy was explained as simply to push the Germans down until everybody else is way ahead of them, then slowly the US would let go of the stranglehold and the Germans be allowed to rebuild what the Allies had left of their economy.[7]
But I see now that you are perhaps thinking of the later stages of the occupation. This 1949 UK letter on dismantling of German industry is interesting [8]. German workers refusing to destroy their own livelihood was putting the UK and the rest of the Allied prestige in a fix.
You make some extrapolations from the fact that UK car manufacturers were unable to see the value of Volkswagen, so instead of dismantling it it ended up producing trucks for the UK army thanks to one benevolent individual. Well yes, of course there were some. You can read about some in this book from 1948 The High Cost of Vengeance, Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, (1948). Or in this fascinating book The Journal of a Retread; The observations, problems, and comments of a food and agricultural officer in Military Government in World War II Col. Stanley Andrews U.S. Army (Retired) Alamo, Texas 1975
As to your complaint about the section on occupation costs. Why did you neglect to mention the succeeding sentence? "One estimate for the year 1948 placed this cost to the German economy, through requisitions of goods, materials and direct payments, to be 46% of local tax receipts." I have a feeling that no-one, with the possible exception of North Korea, spends that high a proportion of their tax income on their defense budget. As a side-note it can be mentioned that West Germany had to pay all occupation costs, including U.S. military base construction, until 1957.
You rhetorically ask "how much did the Allies pump directly into the Germany economy during the same period paying for goods and services?", there was no payment for goods and services, the Allies requisitioned what they wanted. Perhaps you are referring to the Allied use of cigarettes to buy sex from starving women? War_children#American. Or perhaps you are referring to the exploitation through the black market? In July 1945 the Berlin U.S. army pay office paid out $1,000,000 as wages to the troops, but somehow the GI's managed to send home to the U.S. $3,000,000.... I guess that counts as some sort of pumping of money into the economy, the economy of the U.S. that is.--Stor stark7 Speak 21:08, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Continuing problems[edit]

I would like to echo and re-raise PBS's concerns from two years ago which I don't think were ever adequately addressed.

Furthermore, the lede is POV (and crappy) in that it does not accurately reflect the contents of the article itself. Volunteer Marek  20:23, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

I'm also noticing that this article over relies on Liberterian (god bless those Liberterian) such as econlib and the Independent Institute. These may or may not be reliable. But they are definitely not representative of mainstream views and at the very least should be balanced by more standard accounts. The fact that apparently quotes and bits of info are being cherry picked and torn out of their contexts from these sources, doesn't help matters either. Volunteer Marek  20:32, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

And so...VolunteerMarek 04:02, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Removals by Marek[edit]

I have reverted these. The Time Magazine is by all standards of Wikipedia an acceptable source and there is no reason for this removal of information. I'll continue to revert further removals that are done without discussion and will take that up with a mediating board if necessary. For instance: The removal of "reduce" is POV rather than the word as claimed by him. "Manage" on it's own is euphemistic and implies that all the plans were intended to do is benevolently manage the industry of an occupied country. The reduction was the stated goal as stated and sourced in the article so there is utterly nothing wrong with the word in the lead.

The other removals have similar problems Xeruni (talk) 11:01, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

(btw I'm 62.156.174.162)

Time Magazine from 1946 is a primary source. See WP:PRIMARY. Please find secondary sources to support the text. The overall problem with the article is rampant POV pushing which takes the form of trying to suggest that various hypothetical plans which were simply considered were actually implemented.Volunteer Marek 17:06, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

Time Magazine is not a Primary Source. "close to the event" is not meant in a temporal sense. A news outlet reporting on an event or actions by people is by definition a secondary source.

And they were partially implemented. Obviously it is not possible to that over night which left time for later revisions. The article includes a citation by someone involved in the implementation about the progress that had been made with that. And also sourced numbers and data on the effects of the plans on industrial production.

Please enlighten me as to how hypothetical actions that were actually never undertaken could have had such an affect on the material world.

Your argument continually consist of nothing but baseless and highly projective (The only POV pushing I see is you trying to remove sourced information that is not in line with your views) assertions and the assertion that events which effects are directly described "simply did not happen at all"

Since you'll probably just remove it again I'll now go read up on how the mediating process works and is initiated :) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Xeruni (talkcontribs) 00:27, 3 June 2013 (UTC) (wow that bot is fast! I was just getting round to adding that) Xeruni (talk) 00:31, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

While the above points stand I'd like to rescind the aggressive tone, apologies. Xeruni (talk) 00:54, 3 June 2013 (UTC)