Felix Morrow

Allied Powers Divide Germany
in 4 Spheres

(16 June 1945)

Source: The Militant, Vol. IX No. 24, 16 June 1945, p. 4.
Transcription/Editing/HTML Markup: 2018 by Einde O’Callaghan.
Copyleft: Felix Morrow Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2018. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

The dismemberment of Germany was in effect formally established by a series of four-power documents issued June 5.

The documents make a perfunctory reference to the four zone commanders acting “jointly in matters affecting Germany as a whole.” The reality, however, is the “supreme authority” of the commanders “each in his own zone of occupation.”

That authority covers just about everything conceivable. It is a military dictatorship which promises no rights of any kind to the German people. There is no date for the termination of the occupation nor even the promise that the day will come when Germany will be an entity again.

Considerable sections of the Kremlin’s zone of occupation are slated never again to he part of Germany. All of Silesia – about 30 per cent of Germany’s industrial plant and resources – and most of East Prussia are now part of the Kremlin-backed Poland, The rest of East Prussia is part of the Lithuanian Soviet republic. There are British and French plans, as yet unofficial, as well as that advocated by an American group for which former Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles speaks, for permanently carving up other parts of Germany: a Rhineland State, a Bavarian or southern German state, etc.

The four-power documents formalize their common aim of dismembering Germany and preventing it from rising again as an independent entity. But here the agreement ends, for then there arises the question of who is to get what.

The four powers are quarreling over the spoils. Big stakes are involved. They add up to one thing: each seeks to strengthen its base in Germany for World War III which all know very well is certain to come sooner or later. Each is trying to weaken the German base of the other side.

Moscow’s Map

The June 5 documents did not designate the respective boundaries. The next day Moscow published a map of the zones, apparently OK’d by Roosevelt and Churchill at Yalta. But when, Germany collapsed, the U.S. Army did not halt at the border designated by the map. Territory assigned by the map to the Red Army, but which U.S. troops now hold, includes the provinces of Saxony and Thuringia, in which are the important cities of Leipzig, Weimar, Jena, Elsenbach, Chemnitz, Halle and Dessau.

Until the Americans evacuate this territory, the Kremlin refuses to establish the four-power Control Council of the four zone commanders. The immediate importance of this refusal is that thereby the Greater Berlin area, to be divided into four zones remains in the hands of the Red Army. There are reports that the Russians are utilizing the interim to strip the Greater Berlin area of machinery and manpower.

Following publication of the Soviet map, Moscow newspapers and radio began demanding when U.S. troops would evacuate the disputed area. Washington remained silent on the question.

Whatever settlement might come on this question, the dispute over allocation of German machinery, resources and manpower will continue.

Forced Labor

Under the Yalta formula of “reparations in kind,” the Kremlin includes forced labor as a major category. Shortly after Yalta, Roosevelt verbally indicated he had no objection to Russian use of such labor. En route to Moscow for the reparations discussions, Edwin U. Pauley, chairman of the U.S. delegation, said in Paris June 9 that the Russians “might be able” to get some reparations in this form, but that this is “hardly feasible” for the U.S.

The question at issue, however is whether the Kremlin will get in addition to the labor it found in its zone, other millions of soldiers, workers and peasants who are now in the British and American zones. An indication to the contrary was the statement June 9 in Paris by Col. Robert J. Gill, chief of the prisoner-of-war division.

Gill emphasized that “all plans for employment of prisoners are based on the Geneva Convention” to which the Soviet Union is not a signatory. The U.S. held 2,850,000 German prisoners in Europe and 500,000 in this country. Of these 3,350,000, the U.S. will retain 600,000 as laborers for the present – about 18 per cent. Another 18 per cent are being discharged and sent home, including miners, farmers, transport workers, women prisoners and men over 50. From 200,000 to 250,000 are being handed to France for labor there, and 160,000 to the British in U.S.-held territory which goes to Britain. This leaves a considerable number to be disposed of before the U.S. figure is cut to 600,000. Col. Gill stated that this would be done by “various means,” some of which have not yet been decided upon. This may mean that the way is still left open to turn large numbers over to the Kremlin.

Kremlin and U.S.

But the Kremlin is unlikely to agree to abide by the Geneva Convention rules which the U.S. army insists on, and it may well be that the 18 per cent whom the U.S. is immediately sending to their homes may grow larger with the next months, leaving the Kremlin’s demand unsatisfied.

No doubt the U.S. and British commanders welcome the opportunity of the forced-labor issue in order to parade as more liberal than the Red Army which in its own zone is driving millions eastward for such labor. In turn, Marshal Zhukov plays the liberal, announcing June 10 that not only trade unions (legalized some time ago in the U.S.-British region) but all anti-fascist political parties may now exist. This paves the way in the Red Army zone for another masquerade like that in Poland, where a “Workers party,” and a “Socialist party” speak the language of Stalinism. It is impossible for the Kremlin totalitarian dictatorship to permit

genuine political life anywhere in the areas it controls. Zhukov’s announcement is an empty gesture for his own zone, but it means the beginning of a pressure campaign to permit the Communist party free rein in the Allied zones.

The knottiest of all questions in dispute is the disposition of the two-thirds of German industry and resources which are in the U.S.-British-French zones. The Kremlin demands dismantling of the factories and machinery and their transportation to the Soviet Union and its satellites – Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, etc. The British, quite openly, have no intention of dismantling anything in their zone, but of linking it with British industry for its drive to recapture export markets. The British are especially in a hurry to renew coal exports. Here they run into not only Russian but also French opposition, for the French are demanding that part of the coal mines he turned over to them.

Reports are that U.S, occupation officers are acting along the line indicated by Rosenman. This is probably what is meant by the June 9 charge over the Moscow radio that U.S, industrialists are “doing their utmost to restore German heavy industry.” Moscow correctly observes that this will serve the eventual revival of German imperialism. True enough, but Moscow is scarcely naive enough to expect that British and American imperialism will abolish German capitalism or actually de-industrialize Germany. The German industrial base will in one way or another be preserved for eventual use by the Anglo-American bloc against the Soviet Union. That is why the Big Three disputes over Germany continue and must continue.


Last updated on: 22 November 2018