On Morgenthau and Peace

by Eric on November 12, 2012

Writing about the ways of making peace, Brad DeLong describes “the [1944-45] debate between [Secretary of the Treasury Henry] Morgenthau and [General George] Marshall that was carried on—largely below the surface, largely without explicit confrontation” over the fate of postwar Germany and notes “The State and Defense positions win entirely and utterly and completely over the Treasury-based Morgenthau Plan. We get the Marshall Plan instead. I am still not sure why.” Morgenthau, you will remember, wanted – in Winston Churchill’s word – the “pastoralization” of Germany.

I think there are two reasons for Morgenthau’s failure. First, though, I disagree with Brad: there was not a conflict between Morgenthau and Marshall, above or below the surface. The conflict was between Morgenthau and everybody else. As John Morton Blum writes, by the end of January 1945, Morgenthau “had yielded in his views toward Germany neither to his fellow New Dealers, nor to his colleagues in the Cabinet, nor to the arguments of his subordinates. So also, he had conceded nothing to the objections of Churchill, Eden, and Sir John Anderson. Nor was he moved by Russian plans.” That’s a lot of different people not to yield to; almost nobody wanted the Morgenthau plan except Morgenthau. Not even the man whom Brad – I think not 100% seriously – calls a “Marxist,” Harry Dexter White; White wanted internationalization of the Ruhr and its industrial production used to pay reparations.It’s true that FDR and Churchill agreed to something akin to the Morgenthau plan, despite Churchill’s objections, when Morgenthau was present at the Quebec conference in September 1944. As Peter Clarke notes, though, it’s obvious why – Churchill knew that Morgenthau was one of the few real friends Britain had in the Roosevelt administration, and was keen to help him out.

At various times various players had spoken to Morgenthau without expressly opposing the plan – but he was a powerful figure within the Roosevelt administration because he was personally close to the President, so of course they would prefer not to challenge him directly.

Which points to the second reason for the Morgenthau plan’s failure: Roosevelt’s death, and Morgenthau’s swiftly consequent fall from influence.

Now, it’s true that in October 1944 FDR expressed shock that he’d agreed to the Quebec memorandum supporting the Morgenthau plan. Speaking to Secretary of War Henry Stimson, FDR said “he had no idea how he could have initialed” the Quebec memo.

Roosevelt might have been pulling a fast one – he was not above telling advisor A one thing and advisor B another – or he might well have been losing a step. People – including Morgenthau – had begun to notice Roosevelt looking bad. The episode with Stimson was one of at least three times during the debate over the Morgenthau plan that Roosevelt expressed surprise at having signed something – he did it again regarding the memorandum of March 10, 1945, repudiating the Morgenthau plan, and again the night before he died, when Morgenthau showed him a photostat of a letter Roosevelt had written suggesting Morgenthau not write a book about his plan. (The letter seems clearly in Roosevelt’s own voice – he writes, characteristically, “We must all remember Job’s lament that his enemy had not written a book.”)

After Roosevelt’s death in April, 1945 Morgenthau was increasingly on the outs in the Truman administration and in July, Morgenthau resigned – and the last, if not only, proponent of his plan had gone from leadership in Washington, DC.

It may be worth noting that Americans themselves may have agreed with Morgenthau. When polled in August 1944 and asked, “Do you think the United Nations should or should not prevent the Germans from rebuilding their steel, chemical, and automotive industries?” 51% answered “should.” On the same question in October, the share rose to 58%. And while in surveys throughout the last year and a half of the war asking whether “our chief enemy is the German people as a whole, or the German government?” large majorities answered the government – 71% in January 1944, 72% in April, 71% in June, 61% in September, 58% in January 1945, 67% in February, 69% in March – and then a drop: 56% in April – with 30% volunteering the response “both.” It was of course in April 1945 that US soldiers first liberated a concentration camp (Buchenwald). Asked in a May poll if “the German people themselves should also be held responsible for these cruelties (discovered in concentration camps in Germany)?”, 52% answered “yes.” The American people seem to have followed the same course of thinking as Morgenthau; it wasn’t until Morgenthau formally compiled a list of Nazi atrocities in December 1943 that he began thinking about a more punitive peace.

{ 69 comments }

1

Katherine 11.12.12 at 5:09 pm

I’ve always thought (hoped) that the Morganthau Plan failed to gain real traction because it was self-evidently stupid, but that would be to assume that stupid ideas never get adopted.

Also, and I don’t have a cite or link for this, and it may be a case of faulty memory, wasn’t there some pretty nasty anti-semitism going on against Morganthau himself?

2

Brad DeLong 11.12.12 at 5:23 pm

So you think I have spent too much time meditating on Neumann’s “Behemoth” and Gerschenkron’s “Bread and Democracy in Germany”, and see those arguments as more reflective of the deep underlying intellectual structure of post-WWII policymaking than they in fact were?

3

Eric 11.12.12 at 5:53 pm

Katherine – I know Stimson thought Morgenthau only wanted this plan because he was Jewish. I’m sure there was more explicit anti-Semitism.

Brad – well, I’m a historian. You know, I like to start with the primary sources documenting policymakers’ work….

4

Brad DeLong 11.12.12 at 5:56 pm

And I am an economist: I like to start with the underlying models of how the world works–Angell rootless-cosmopolitan-interdependence on the one hand and Neumann-Gerschenkron materialist base-superstructure on the other…

5

Doug M. 11.12.12 at 6:21 pm

Why would Brad not be serious in calling Harry Dexter White a “Marxist”? He was a Communist and a Soviet agent. He only escaped exposure because he dropped dead of a heart attack first.

(There are still a few people trying to claim White was innocent, just like there are still people claiming Alger Hiss was innocent. But the evidence against White is, if anything, stronger than the evidence against Hiss — eyewitness testimony, the Venona decrypts, and Soviet archival material made available after 1990. )

The odd thing is, White seems to have been an excellent public servant who did surprisingly little damage to US interests /even though he was a paid Soviet spy/. To give a notable example, operating under Soviet instructions, he helped block a major US loan to Chiang Kai-Shek during the Chinese Civil War… which almost certainly would have made no difference in the war’s outcome. Based on prior experience, the money would largely have been wasted, with much of it going to line the pockets of Chiang and his colleagues. So blocking the loan resulted in a $200 million savings to the US treasury (about $2 billion in current dollars).

Let’s not even get into his work at Bretton Woods. It was an awesome accomplishment, setting up the framework for the postwar recovery of the West — and the Soviets knew all about it and thought it was fine, because they didn’t think it would work. It’s crazy stuff.

But anyway, yeah — if being a Soviet agent makes you a ‘Marxist’, then White was one for sure.

Doug M.

6

Brad DeLong 11.12.12 at 6:33 pm

I would say that Harry Dexter White was (a) one of the ten people who did the most to win the Cold War for the Free World, (b) somebody whom the NKVD in Washington was eager to claim was an agent, and (c) somebody whose office was an excellent place for those working for Stalin (and others) to go to get all kinds of information.

But if I had been running White for the NKVD as a conscious agent of the Kremlin, I could have made much, much better use of him and gotten much more out of him than the record of the information flow reveals.

Plus my reading is that he was a base-superstructure-capitalism not the final stage of economic organization guy…

7

Eric 11.12.12 at 6:33 pm

if being a Soviet agent makes you a ‘Marxist’, then White was one for sure.

There’s your problem, there. It’s quite possible to pass information to the Soviets without being a Marxist. That gets into the question of motive – you can have other motives than ideological ones.

It’s not your everyday Marxist who would champion monetarist policies for dealing with the Great Depression and who would design the Bretton Woods system, that’s for sure.

8

Eric 11.12.12 at 6:36 pm

if I had been running White for the NKVD as a conscious agent of the Kremlin, I could have made much, much better use of him

The thing is, the NKVD wanted to make better use of him, but he eluded that better use. I think your (c) is clearly correct, and to the intent that was intentional on White’s part, he’s guilty. Your (b) isn’t quite right, I think – as I read the record NKVD was eager to *recruit* him as an agent. As far as we know he *had been* an agent for GRU. He did in the late spring/early summer of 1944 begin to talk to NKVD. I have a read on how/why this happened, but it would take another long post.

9

Brad DeLong 11.12.12 at 6:36 pm

Indeed. Marxists tend not to be monetarists but Austrians a la Hilferding on macro policies. And a “heighten the contradictions” guy would have blown up the conference rather than designed the Bretton Woods system…

10

Brad DeLong 11.12.12 at 6:46 pm

RE: ” the NKVD wanted to make better use of [Harry Dexter White], but he eluded that better use…”

In which case Harry Dexter White is not an “agent”, but rather a “principal” playing his own game…

11

George J. Georganas 11.12.12 at 7:43 pm

Part of Morgenthau’s motivation may have been the experience of his father, Henry Morgenthau Sr., as US ambassador in Constantinople. Morgenthau senior recorded his experience of the genocide of Christians in the Ottoman Empire under the Young Turks in a book “Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story”. In the book he attributes the extermination policies of the Ottomans to advice they received from their German allies and advisors. Clearly, very few in the Roosevelt or Truman administrations had had such experiences. It is also possible that Morgenthau was appaled at the eagerness of the international community to give the Turks a pass on the Armenian Genocide. The Morgenthau plan would have served to render the Holocaust somewhat more prominent in the memory of its perpetrators.

The book is still in print : http://www.amazon.com/Ambassador-Morgenthaus-Story-Henry-Morgenthau/dp/1162652217

12

Josh G. 11.12.12 at 8:03 pm

George @ 11: I was aware that Hitler had cited international apathy towards the Armenian Genocide as one reason why he thought he could get away with the Holocaust, but I hadn’t heard that German advisors were implicated in those particular atrocities. Was this just Morgenthau’s recollections, or do other histories discuss it?
In any case, it seems to me that forced pastoralization would not have rendered ” the Holocaust somewhat more prominent in the memory of its perpetrators” so much as it would have made the Germans think the only thing they did wrong was to lose – in other words, it would have repeated the mistake of the Treaty of Versailles. What actually happened – the Nuremberg Trials for the worst criminals against humanity, followed by the Marshall Plan for ordinary Germans – in retrospect was obviously the most sensible alternative.

13

J. Otto Pohl 11.12.12 at 8:27 pm

The Morgenthau plan would have been basically genocide against Germans if implemented. Indeed the ethnic cleansing that did occur in 1945 and 1946 against ethnic Germans in Central and Eastern Europe arguably falls under the definition of the 1948 Genocide Treaty article II (c). It is just nobody ever has argued this because the official line for many people is that “the Germans” including women and children deserved everything bad done to them by the Soviets, Poles, Czechs, Yugoslavs, and Romanians. Robert Hayden in fact notes this in his article, “Schindler’s Fate: Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing, and Population Transfers,” Slavic Review, vol. 55, no. 4 (winter 1996), pp. 727-748.

So it has only been recently, since the 1990s, that there has been any historical treatment by non-German historians of any German populations as victims rather than perpetrators. The major exception being Alfred M. DeZayas, _Nemesis at Potsdam_ (London: Routledge, 1979). In 1945-1946 the mass expulsion of some 14 million ethnic Germans from eastern Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Yugoslavia led to the death of some 500,000 civilians, mostly women and children. Most of the survivors were crowded into the US and UK occupation zones of Germany. To have implemented the Morganthau plan would have led to millions of Germans starving death and tens of millions being permanently impoverished for the “crime” of being “German.” The term “German” being highly problematic since it included millions evacuees, refugees, and expellees whose ancestors had left Central Europe long before the creation of a German state to settle in such places as Siebenburgen, the Banat, Estland, Livland, Kurland, the Volga, the Black Sea coast, Crimea, Bessarabia, Congress Poland, the Caucasus, and other regions. In some cases like the Volga Germans a very large number fought in the Red Army against the Nazis, over 33,000 and almost none served on the side of Berlin during the war. There really is no moral justification for things like the Morganthau plan. It was racist and genocidal.

14

James Wimberley 11.12.12 at 9:56 pm

After the purges, in which most of the Great Illegals died – Central European Jews of high culture and considerable intellectual sophistication – my reading is that Moscow Central was run by provincial and uneducated Great Russian loyalists of unimpeachable class origins who thought Wall Street was run by a cabal of Jewish bankers. They really would have had no idea how to exploit their influence over Dexter White to best advantage at Bretton Woods.

They were also prone to identifying sources and agents, as probably happened with White. The extreme case was their later claim, made for internal political purposes, that Urho Kekkonen, the Prime Minister and than President of Finland in the 50s, was an agent under control rather than a Finnish nationalist who occasionally cooperated with them. Kekkonen correctly calculated that fellow-travelling on meaningless international questions was the best cover for steady emancipation from Soviet influence where it mattered, in economic integration with the Nordic countries and Western Europe. But having once claimed him as an agent, the speeches praising Cuba or something had to be trumpeted by his KGB handlers as great coups, and the trade deals with Sweden brushed aside as unimportant cover.

Naturally American conservatives fell into the same trap, and ¨Finlandisation¨ came to describe a process of progressive subservience 180 degrees from reality.

15

BillCinSD 11.12.12 at 11:48 pm

And I am an economist: I like to start with the underlying models of how the world works

This may be the funniest sentence I have ever read on Crooked Timber

16

Harold 11.13.12 at 12:48 am

There are members of the French Army who still today think Dreyfus was guilty of espionage.

17

Harold 11.13.12 at 1:21 am

In 1983, Jack Lang, the minister of culture in the Socialist government, commissioned the creation of a statue of Dreyfus. When it was ready in 1986, the proposal to place the statue at the École Militaire enraged the army and started fresh discussions of the traditionalist-modernist divide in French political culture. After two years of indecision, the statue was finally set up in the Tuileries. Six years after that, on the centenary of Dreyfus’s original conviction, the head of the French army’s historical section was sacked after he wrote an article minimizing the army’s misconduct and suggesting Dreyfus may not have been innocent. The epi- sode, noted Bredin, showed the “persistence of the old anti-Dreyfusard mentality, conserved and transmitted for over a century.” Others have noted that, as a result of the affair, French governments still distrust their intelligence services and consequently make poor use of them.–John Ehrman, “The Lessons for CI of the Dreyfus Affair”, Intelligence in Public Literature, Studies in Intellligence CIA.gov, March 2011.

18

Harold 11.13.12 at 1:22 am

Above should have been a blockquote.

They will never admit they made a mistake — seems to be what John Ehrman is hinting.

19

Bruce Wilder 11.13.12 at 1:55 am

I’m not sure that they even know what a mistake is.

20

Anderson 11.13.12 at 2:44 am

Slightly OT bleg but irresistible with all you smart folk here:

I’m reading “The Wise Men” and am fascinated by the inception of the Cold War. Is there a go-to book on the subject of how things went south?

21

Mitchell Freedman 11.13.12 at 4:29 am

Harry Dexter White was a pro-banker guy who almost exclusively wanted to cajole the Soviets into joining the IMF he was going to lead. As Whittaker Chambers admits in his book, Witness, when the tide in DC in the fall of 1944 was shifting into what became Cold War mode, White put away his Russian throw rug and had stopped almost all contact with Communist acquaintances and friends. As White’s Russian handler admitted, White never gave anything important to the Soviets. And as White’s most recent biographer admitted, White’s hiring of several Communist oriented economists, among hundreds of others, was more the result of a sudden dearth of available economists for government work than anything else in particular. When one reviews the entire set of evidence, one can make a better case that White was not a Soviet agent, that White was not a traitor.

Most professional historians don’t get it yet, and may never get it, because they really don’t understand the history of the 1910s through 1940s as a continuum, but here is my take that one day some professional historian will put together:

In the 1930s and early 1940s, the elite in DC chose sides. They each had lost faith in the American experiment. Some, like the Dulles brothers, chose the Fascist and even Nazi sides. Some, like Harry Dexter White, and more so Alger Hiss, chose the Communist side. By 1944, the sands shifted again, Americans began to realize they were going to control the world, didn’t need anyone else, and consequently, there was no longer a need to choose sides. They each returned to more obvious internal American battles, and ironically the Soviet espionage network shut down. However, after WWII, only one side became demonized after WWII, and it sure wasn’t the Dulles brothers’ side, strangely enough.

Think I’m being too rough on the Dulles brothers? Try this information, largely from Christopher Simpon’s “The Splendid Blond Beast” and “Blowback”, George Seldes’ works from the 1940s, particularly his post-war work, and the biography of the Dulles brothers by Leonard Mosley, among other sources: In the 1930s, the Dulles brothers played footsie with Nazis and Japanese war lords (see JF Dulles’ defense of the Japanese actions in China in the mid 30s in Harpers Magazine), were active in an organization 1943 trying to get a separate peace with Nazi Germany, and supported the rat lines that sent German and other Eastern European Nazis into Latin America and elsewhere after WWII.

If one uses the nomenclature against the Dulles brothers that is used against the likes Harry Dexter White, for example, such as fellow traveler, dupe and agent, one finds the nomenclature fits the Dulles brothers like a glove….

22

Harold 11.13.12 at 5:00 am

Dulles Bros., nothing to see there. Look over there Harry Dexter White, Alger Hiss.

23

LFC 11.13.12 at 5:19 am

I’m reading “The Wise Men” and am fascinated by the inception of the Cold War. Is there a go-to book on the subject of how things went south?

The origin(s) of the Cold War used to be a matter of vigorous historiographical controversy, to put it politely, and probably to some extent still is/are. I’m not a historian, but I would say J. L. Gaddis is probably the best-known proponent in the U.S. academy of what may now be more or less the ‘mainstream’ view, if there is such a thing (basically “Stalin caused the Cold War”). The Cold War ‘revisionists’ put more of the blame on the U.S., and no doubt others tried to spread the blame around to all sides.

The wikipedia article Origins of the Cold War (here) carries a bibliography (not all wikipedia articles do, of course) and of the books listed there I’ve read Leffler’s A Preponderance of Power, which is long, detailed, and (as I recall) less than scintillating, but seemed to be pretty solid scholarship. Good on the Truman admin’s assumptions and worldview, as I recall. Martin Walker’s The Cold War, which I haven’t read, might be worth a look (or not, I don’t know for sure).

Then you could spend a lot of time just reading all the books about Kennan, a big pile which the Gaddis biography made even bigger. Anders Stephanson’s Kennan and the Art of Foreign Policy puts Kennan through a sort of poststructuralist ringer; interesting, if that’s your cup of tea, but probably not what you’re looking for.

24

George J. Georganas 11.13.12 at 7:38 am

@Josh G. and J. Otto Pohl
Ambassador Morgentau documents in some detail the attempt by German diplomacy early in WWI to arouse the Muslims against their colonial masters, an attempt that was repeated in WWII in Iraq and India, by leveraging the influence of Ottoman Turkey, the seat of the Chaliphate, on the Muslim in the street. His book provides very compelling evidence that, as Mulsim nations were weak militarily, the German diplomats got the Ottoman Young Turks to order a people’s jihad by ordinary Muslims against ordinary Christians, except allies Germans and Austrians. Ambassador Morgenthau also records the efforts of ordinary Germans in Turkey to denounce and stop this genocidal policy. Still, the book is there for anyone to read and make up his or her own mind.
Yes, the Morgenthau plan was genocidal and, yes, people suspected of being of German origin did suffer ethnic cleansing and genocide (on a lesser scale than the Holocaust) in Eastern Europe. One can argue that Europe is, as a result, much more stable today than it would otherwise have been. After the events that led to the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, one can only shudder at the thought of what would have happened, if German-speaking minorities had been left to linger in all of Eastern Europe. One can argue the same for the ethnic cleansing in Greece-Turkey in 1922 and the Partition of British India : ethnic cleansing brings stability. Terrible to write, but genocide works ! Why, even the threat of genocide, appropriately backed by the technology of nuclear weapons, works. In fact, ethnic cleansing helped make the threat of nuclear genocide more credible and, thus, nuclear genocide less likely.

25

ajay 11.13.12 at 9:43 am

One can argue the same for the ethnic cleansing in Greece-Turkey in 1922 and the Partition of British India : ethnic cleansing brings stability.

One really cannot argue that the Partition brought stability, given what happened in 1947, 1965, 1971, 1993, 1999, 2001 and 2008, at least not unless one is OK with being thought to be a bit of a clot.

26

Katherine 11.13.12 at 9:58 am

Eric @3, yes, I think it was Stimson I was thinking of.

Frankly, given that you had Stalin on one side proposing to shoot 100,000 Germans summarily, and the Morgenthau Plan on the other, the fact that we ended up with the Nuremberg Trials (victor’s justice yes, but a pretty good version of it) and the Marshall Plan is some kind of miracle. (Mostly) good won out! How often can we say that?

27

X 11.13.12 at 11:20 am

“one can only shudder at the thought of what would have happened, if German-speaking minorities had been left to linger in all of Eastern Europe… Terrible to write, but genocide works !”

Try substituting, oh, say, “Cherokee” or “Armenian” for “German”, and see how that sentence sounds to you. If ethnic cleansing (let alone genocide) is the most effective way to achieve the situation you want, it’s time to reconsider your goals. And if your goal is a world of neat ethnically defined nation-states, then you should probably reconsider it even in contexts where ethnic cleansing isn’t currently necessary to achieve it.

28

George J. Georganas 11.13.12 at 11:26 am

@ajay
India-Pakistan has been considerably more stable than, say, the Middle East or South-East Asia, has it not ? Would an unpartitioned subcontinent have been less prone to the spasms of tribalism that accompany the fall of empires and decolonisation ? Certainly, a genocide, such as the ones of Cambodia or Rwanda, on a subcontinental scale would be much more damaging than the Partition. And one does not observe in the subcontinent the atomisation that resulted from the dissolution of Yugoslavia or the Soviet Union. Forcing people to live together, is not always preferable to allowing them to part ways.

29

rf 11.13.12 at 11:35 am

Anderson

This is an interesting run through of the various schools of thought surrounding the CWs beginning….and the authors book (stalins wars) I found pretty interesting

http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/public/International%20Affairs/2011/87_6roberts.pdf

Bear in mind I know next to naught about the topic

30

X 11.13.12 at 11:45 am

“Forcing people to live together, is not always preferable to allowing them to part ways.”

Given that George is discussing ethnic cleansing, it would rather appear that he means:

“Allowing people to live together, is not always preferable to forcing them to part ways.”

31

ajay 11.13.12 at 11:58 am

India-Pakistan has been considerably more stable than, say, the Middle East or South-East Asia, has it not ?

Er, no.

32

Chris Williams 11.13.12 at 12:00 pm

“India-Pakistan has been considerably more stable than, say, the Middle East or South-East Asia, has it not ? “

For the former: no (hint, there was this ‘East Pakistan’ place) and as for the latter, when you’re taking ‘avoided Cambodian-style genocide’ as the bar to clear, success is both easy and fatous.

33

Phil 11.13.12 at 12:35 pm

And if your goal is a world of neat ethnically defined nation-states, then

you are Woodrow Wilson and I claim my £5. National self-determination wasn’t a self-evidently crazy idea, although a variety of devils were in the details. Austria and Hungary are still there, last I looked, and Czechoslovakia was remarkably durable.

34

Katherine 11.13.12 at 1:11 pm

Nearly the instant Czechoslovakia came out from behind the Iron Curtain it started the process of splitting, peacefully, into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. I’m not sure what this does for whatever argument you are making.

35

ajay 11.13.12 at 3:10 pm

For the former: no (hint, there was this ‘East Pakistan’ place) and as for the latter, when you’re taking ‘avoided Cambodian-style genocide’ as the bar to clear, success is both easy and fatuous.

Given what happened in East Pakistan in 1970-71, I am not even sure that you can say the subcontinent avoided Cambodian-style genocide. At least half a million – or maybe a million or two million – civilians killed and 8-10 million refugees compares closely in scale to Year Zero.
And the deaths and migration around Partition are of similar scale as well.

36

ajay 11.13.12 at 3:11 pm

Austria and Hungary are still there, last I looked

Hungary isn’t quite still there in the same shape, though, and waged war on most of its neighbours in the 30s and 40s in an attempt to recover “lost” territory.

37

Chris Williams 11.13.12 at 3:20 pm

Ajay, in absolute terms it might not have done: in relative terms it clearly did, which was what I was getting at. Either way, it takes a special sort of ignorance not to know about the recent history of Bangladesh.

38

Phil 11.13.12 at 3:31 pm

I guess I’m saying you can look at Yugoslavia, an entirely new state created at Versailles in the name of national self-determination, and say “ethnically-defined lunacy and a recipe for disaster!” Or you can look at Czechoslovakia, an entirely new state created at Versailles in the name of national self-determination, and say “that didn’t go too badly”.

39

LFC 11.13.12 at 3:40 pm

George Georganas @28
one does not observe in the subcontinent the atomisation that resulted from the dissolution of Yugoslavia or the Soviet Union. Forcing people to live together, is not always preferable to allowing them to part ways.

This is a remarkably fact-free statement. There is a substantial Muslim minority in India — I’m not taking the time to look up the numbers — and there have been lots of instances of Muslim-Hindu violence in India (see under Gujarat, early 2000s, see under Ayodhya (sorry probably wrong spelling) temple etc etc). Therefore your implicit argument that the reason India has not ‘dissolved’ is that all the Muslims were driven out or removed at Partition is flat-out wrong. You have to seek the reasons for India’s non-dissolution elsewhere.

You are, incidentally, echoing the rather unpalatable views of a demographer named Joseph Schechtman, who advocated, in some cases, forced population transfers of ethnic minorities in postwar Europe which he thought would conduce to peace. Schechtman was close to Jabotinsky, the leader of Revisionist Zionism. (Schechtman is discussed in ch.3 of Mark Mazower’s No Enchanted Palace.)

40

Doug M. 11.13.12 at 3:50 pm

A minor fact not widely known: in the late 1930s Dulles was a partner at Simson & Bowles. Among his clients? Franco’s Nationalist Spain. S & B helped the Nationalists negotiate credit deals that allowed them to make strategically vital purchases in the US and Latin America, most particularly of oil. Without Dulles’ stalwart efforts, the Nationalist war effort might well have sputtered and failed.

Later, as SecState, Dulles was instrumental in Eisenhower’s opening to Nationalist Spain in the 1950s. Upon his first visit there, he was greeted as a long-lost friend. Which of course he was.

Doug M.

41

Anderson 11.13.12 at 4:17 pm

Thanks for the suggestions; Gaddis pretty well exemplifies what I am *not* looking for. I think I know enough to know that there was fault on both sides.

Herring in his OHUS foreign-policy volume lists “valuable general studies of the Cold War reflecting different points of view,” which is not as helpful as he may have imagined. The Leffler does sound good; he mentions “the more critical Arnold A. Offner, Another Such Victory: President Truman and the Cold War, 1945-1953 as a counterpoint to Leffler.

42

J. Otto Pohl 11.13.12 at 4:47 pm

24

German speaking minorities did continue to exist in Eastern Europe after 1946 just in smaller numbers. While East Prussia and European areas of the USSR were almost completely cleansed of German speaking minorities this was not true of Poland, Romania, and Hungary all of which still retained large German minorities up until the 1980s. About a million Germans remained in Poland after 1946. In 1950 Romania still had over 400,000 Germans. Even the Czech Republic had some 40,000 Germans as late as 2001. The largest group, however, remained the 1.3 million Germans in the USSR in 1953 which grew to over 2 million by 1989. By 1973 some ethnic Germans in the USSR were even allowed to settle in European areas of state such as Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, and western Russia. So I do not have to imagine what would have happened if German speaking minorities were left in Eastern Europe. Millions were left and they posed absolutely no problem or threat to stability, security, or what ever excuse is hip now for justifying ethnic cleansing.

43

LFC 11.13.12 at 4:53 pm

Anderson @40
Yes, I think the Offner (haven’t read it) might be a good suggestion. (Re Gaddis: was being telegraphic, therefore possibly a *bit* unfair to him. But this is a blog comments section, after all.)

44

Bruce Wilder 11.13.12 at 4:58 pm

“Millions were left and they posed absolutely no problem or threat to stability, security, or what ever . . . “

Too bad that wasn’t true before 1946.

45

rf 11.13.12 at 5:18 pm

Or there’s the Ronald Powaski book (the cold war) which looks at it from both sides tracing expansionist national ideologies back through history (if I remember correctly) *checks online* I do!

“In The Cold War, Ronald E. Powaski offers a new perspective on the great rivalry, even as he provides a coherent, concise narrative. He wastes no time in challenging the reader to think of the Cold War in new ways, arguing that the roots of the conflict are centuries old, going back to Czarist Russia and to the very infancy of the American nation. He shows that both Russia and America were expansionist nations with messianic complexes, and the people of both nations believed they possessed a unique mission in history.”

Odd Arne Westads ‘The Global Cold War’ is also decent, but more focussed on third world interventions (and national ideologies)

And this volume if, like me, you have a short attention span

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1107602297/?tag=hydra0b-21&hvadid=11069364725&ref=asc_df_1107602297

Cheap as well, for over 600 pages. (All of these perspectives open to disagreement by resident experts, of course)

46

J. Otto Pohl 11.13.12 at 5:18 pm

43

It depends which German populations you are talking about. They were quite diverse not only geographically and in terms of dialect, culinary culture, and religion, but also politically. The Sudeten Germans were generally supporters of unification with National Socialist Germany. However, even here there were Sudeten German Communists and Social Democrats who actively opposed the Nazis. Other German speaking populations were much less supportive of the Nazis. A very large number of ethnic Germans in the USSR fought against the Nazis both in the Red Army and in the anti-Nazi underground around Odessa, Leningrad, and other places. The Soviet government awarded eight ethnic Germans with the Hero of the Soviet Union. So I fail to see how the fact that some ethnic Germans in East Central Europe were pro-Nazi means that all ethnic Germans should be ethnically cleansed.

On Russian Germans in the anti-Nazi underground and partisans see my references for the post below.

jpohl.blogspot.com/2012/10/russian-germans-in-anti-nazi-partisan.html

47

ajay 11.13.12 at 5:30 pm

Ajay, in absolute terms it might not have done: in relative terms it clearly did

Fair point.

48

FredR 11.13.12 at 6:30 pm

Gaddis started out as something of a post-revisionist. I think it was his dissertation (later published as a book) which spent a lot of time talking about internal U.S. factors as leading, at least partly, to the Cold War. As his recent “The Cold War: A New History” makes clear, he’s now squarely in the “It’s all the Soviet’s fault” camp. I guess you can chart the change at least as far back as “We Now Know”, which I really liked.

49

Bruce Wilder 11.13.12 at 6:45 pm

Phil @ 38: “you can look at Yugoslavia, an entirely new state created at Versailles in the name of national self-determination, and say “ethnically-defined lunacy and a recipe for disaster!” “

I guess you can say that. Yugoslavia wasn’t a product of spontaneous and idle fantasies of Versailles diplomats, though.

The nationalisms that emerged into states after WWI had advocates and organizations going back into the 19th century. There were Young Turks and Pan-Slavic movements and all sorts of idealisms and efforts. There was actually quite a large effort put into uniting the linguistic cultures of Croatia and Serbia, as a precusor to building a new nationalism, a project that didn’t seem as crazy in prospect as it does from our vantage point, after its failure. The geographical intermixture of ethnic groups didn’t suggest boundaries for smaller states, which would be practical. Some of the south slavic ethnicities, like the Slovenes — now with the apparently successful Slovenia — had never had a state or shown any ambition for one, prior to 1918.

50

Trader Joe 11.13.12 at 7:22 pm

Wasn’t the Mortgenthau Plan essentially what the “Yankees” implemented following the War of Northern Aggression in 1866 and following?

Its remarkable how such actions give rise to a solid conservative voting block just 100 years later.

51

Anderson 11.13.12 at 7:26 pm

Wasn’t the Mortgenthau Plan essentially what the “Yankees” implemented following the War of Northern Aggression in 1866 and following?

No.

52

lurker 11.13.12 at 7:44 pm

‘Too bad that wasn’t true before 1946.’ (Bruce Wilder)
IIRC the only ones that were really problematic were the Sudeten Germans, and that was not the only problem with Czechoslovakia. The Czechs tried to run the place like it was their country and all others were just tolerated minorities, when they (the Czechs) were rather less than half the population. The Slovaks, the Germans, the Hungarians, the Poles and the Ukrainians were not altogether happy with this.

53

Trader Joe 11.13.12 at 8:02 pm

A rather terse answer Anderson…true, there was no partitioning….but the destruction, reposession and transfer of productive resources – ranging from ironworks, to ship-yards to railroads could scarcely have been more complete.

The old south was surely pastoral, but the ‘new’ south had little ability to be anything but…there are dozens of influences on the South’s subsequent development but there was certaintly no Marshall plan either.

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Bruce Wilder 11.13.12 at 10:35 pm

J. Otto Pohl @ 36

It depends which German populations you are talking about. . . .

I fail to see how the fact that some ethnic Germans in East Central Europe were pro-Nazi means that all ethnic Germans should be ethnically cleansed.

It doesn’t really matter whether you (or I) “fail to see” or don’t think it justified. It is easy to understand how others — with power — were thinking about the problem of ethnic minorities. Like it or not, the liberal project to replace “feudal” empires with democratic nation-states entails some principle of nationality, which usually gets operationalized in linguistic, religious or ethnic terms.

Empires treated nationalities and minority ethnic groups differently, extending particular privileges, etc., and political power could be the preserve of an hereditary elite, whose ethnic or linguistic or even religious identity was a malleable matter.

If the minority is small enough, and doesn’t have some historical claim on privilege in the geography in question, I imagine leaving them in place is safe enough. It doesn’t take a genius to see why Stalin or the Poles would want to clear the Germans, personally innocent or not, out of Silesia or East Prussia, or why the Sudenten Germans didn’t get much sympathy immediately after the war.

The “nation-state” has an ugly shadow. Neither liberalism nor socialism ever quite comes to grips with the inherent contradictions.

55

Bruce Wilder 11.13.12 at 10:45 pm

India is a Federal state, and it is not immediately clear why partition was necessary, given that some states could be, and would be, dominated by Muslims, and considerable political power would devolve to the states in India governance.

Partition virtually ensured that there would be war between India and Pakistan. Maybe, a civil war would have ensued, given a single federation, but it is not clear why there would be a series of civil wars, as there has been a series of clashes between India and Pakistan.

One of the interesting things about the political evolution of the Indian Federation has been the plasticity of its component states. Most Federal states rarely tamper with state boundaries — the U.S. has done so in only a handful of cases. And, Indian states have evolved in the direction of uniting linguistic groups. I don’t know if this increases centrifugal tension or not.

56

john c. halasz 11.13.12 at 10:48 pm

I’d always assumed that part of what influenced American policy toward the reconstruction of post-War West Germany, lurking in the background, was the historical awareness of the failure the the Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War.

57

Anderson 11.13.12 at 11:27 pm

“it is not immediately clear why partition was necessary, given that some states could be, and would be, dominated by Muslims, and considerable political power would devolve to the states in India governance”

Evidently the Muslims did not find that a sufficient safeguard against Hindi majority rule. I can’t say they were mistaken.

58

teraz kurwa my 11.13.12 at 11:34 pm

The German minority in Poland tended to be quite strongly pro Nazi by the eve of WWII. However, the vast majority of the Germans who were ethnically cleansed from postwar Poland were not part of that minority. They were German citizens living within the Versailles frontiers of Germany. Virtually none of the pre-war German minority was allowed to remain. The million or so who remained were mostly bilingual Upper Silesians and East Prussians with rather ambiguous national identities, of the rest there were a fair number of people with clear Polish identities and some straight up Germans in the Walbrzych area (Lower Silesia) who weren’t allowed to leave. The Polish communist government treated the remaining ex-German citizens pretty horribly in the Stalinist period, which led to many of them going from Polish or indeterminate national identity to straight up German identity.

Was it genocide? It clearly meets the legal definition, but equally clearly doesn’t correspond to the colloquial understanding of the term.

NB Zayas really shouldn’t be read these days. He’s a radical right winger with close ties to the most extreme elements of the German expellee movement. Fifteen years ago there was little better available, but plenty of stuff has come out over the past decade or so.

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Bruce Wilder 11.13.12 at 11:47 pm

Anderson @ 57

I wouldn’t say they were wrong, either, in the late 1940s.

I just wanted to point out that things have evolved since; I think that’s interesting. National and ethnic, religious or linguistic identities, and associated political organization, are dynamic and develop over time, interacting with (small-c) constitutions.

60

LFC 11.14.12 at 12:16 am

B Wilder:
I don’t know the history of the Indian federal states (to which you allude) and will take your word that their boundaries have changed over time, but in any case India has held together pretty well for a v. large, rather diverse country. AFAIK there is some Maoist armed activity, grouped under the umbrella term Naxalites, and there are several separatist movements centered in the far northeast, and in terms of persistent internal threats to the basic integrity of the state, that’s about it. These do result in fatalities unfortunately, but they are basically annoyances to the fed govt rather than something more serious, or at least that is my impression.

61

hannah 11.14.12 at 12:44 am

‘v mt Grmns f my gnrtn (brn 1963) wh’v sd cslly nd wtht ntndd rny tht t Grmns “n rdr s n rdr”.

Th Grmn stt s cnstttd bfr r ftr WW, r nw, shld nt xst.
nd th nw Jrslm shld by ll rghts b n th Rhn.

62

Stephen 11.14.12 at 4:28 pm

Eric: “Morgenthau was one of the few real friends Britain had in the Roosevelt administration”

Would be interesting to know the names of the other few. Not, obviously, Joe Kennedy.

63

Stephen 11.14.12 at 4:29 pm

Eric: “Morgenthau was one of the few real friends Britain had in the Roosevelt administration”

Would be interesting to know the names of the other few. Not, obviously, Joe Kennedy.
Nor Roosevelt?

64

Stephen 11.14.12 at 4:29 pm

Duplication apparently endemic: please delete also

65

Alex 11.15.12 at 9:50 am

Germans in Turkey: there were both a surprising number of German officers who turned up in the Holocaust who had been involved in Armenia early in their careers, and also a surprising number of German officers, diplomats, and civilian advisors in Turkey in WW1 who actively resisted. (I forget the name, but the paradigm-case was the Deutsche Bank guy sent to oversee the Berlin-Baghdad railway project.)

Indian federalism: the form of the state, as foreseen in the 1935 Act and then in the proposals of the Cabinet Mission, was intended to be even more federal than it ended up being, to the point of being neo-medieval. The Indian Union, as it was styled up until a few years after independence, was getting on for being a confederation rather than a federation. One way to look at it was that neither Nehru nor Jinnah was willing to have that degree of federation in their India, and partition was the price of India and Pakistan being centralised states within their borders.

66

ajay 11.15.12 at 10:39 am

One way to look at it was that neither Nehru nor Jinnah was willing to have that degree of federation in their India, and partition was the price of India and Pakistan being centralised states within their borders.

Hence, for example, one of the very few cases of completely successful post-war aggressive warfare and annexation – Tibet and the Aksai Chin being about the only other ones I can think of offhand – and I think the only one ever conducted by a democratic country.

67

LFC 11.15.12 at 3:00 pm

Hence, for example, one of the very few cases of completely successful post-war aggressive warfare and annexation

You’re referring to Goa? or something directly connected to Partition? (or do you want to play 20 Questions?)

68

LFC 11.15.12 at 3:03 pm

And if it’s Goa, isn’t there a difference btw accepting a confederation and accepting a colonial enclave?

69

ajay 11.15.12 at 3:14 pm

Goa – re: Indian government’s determination to have complete control over its territory. But I suppose a better example would have been Hyderabad – the Indian government refused to allow it to remain independent after partition, and invaded it.

Wikipedia, incidentally, is incredibly indirect in its description of this whole process: “the Government of India, through a combination of diplomatic and military means, acquired de facto and de jure control…” well, that’s one way of putting it.

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