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Promoting Democracy and Denazification: American Policymaking and German Public Opinion

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This analysis traces the evolution of the denazification programme in American-occupied Germany from 1945–1948. At the close of the Second World War, high-level American policy-makers proclaimed their determination to drive all Nazis out of power. However, the realities of denazification differed from American officials’ goals; additionally, their objectives in Germany dramatically changed over time. Monitoring German public opinion about the occupation, and keeping public opinion positive, proved of central importance to Military Government officials. They actively promoted denazification in an attempt to bolster German attitudes toward the programme. Using Office of Military Government of the United States documents, this analysis examines the decision to wind down the American denazification programme and shows that the decision came in April 1947 because of negative German public opinion. In place of denazification, American Military Government officials recommended increasing emphasis on reorientation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 2, 2015

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