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Oh no, Jake S, I carefully avoided suggesting that if every citizen was collectively and firmly responsible for the acts of their government, Germany would have been obliterated from the map in 1945 instead of being given a massive wealth transfer to a thriving industrial economy.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 04:38:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You did. I was feeling less charitable. And the analogy is becoming increasingly apropos.

Papademos and his merry band of collaborators should take very careful note of what happened to Vidkun Quisling.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 04:46:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you might want to read a little about that before making wild claims.

Germany received some 1.4 billion US$ over the whole Marshal plan duration; which amounts to slightly more than 10% of its overall size. Germany repaid about 2/3 of that.

On the other hand, the allies took values from Germany, in the form of dismantled industries, patents, trademarks, trade secrets and abducted scientists that exceeded that sum by orders of magnitutde.

And that doesn't even account for all the other willful damage that the allied occupation forces inflicted, especially in the early years of the occupation (when they did not fear a surging Soviet Union).

Go, read some Wikipedia

by cris0 on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 06:03:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you might want to read a little about that before making wild claims.

Germany received some 1.4 billion US$ over the whole Marshal plan duration; which amounts to slightly more than 10% of its overall size. Germany repaid about 2/3 of that.

Forgetting the Versailles war reparations, are we?

Forgetting the reparations to the victims of war crimes, are we?

Forgetting the reparations to occupied states for the goods and services looted from them during the war, are we?

On the other hand, the allies took values from Germany, in the form of dismantled industries, patents, trademarks, trade secrets and abducted scientists that exceeded that sum by orders of magnitutde.

Oh, you mean they took away war criminals like von Braun and put them to use in their own industries instead of shooting them? How was that burden not self-inflicted, again?

Patents, trademarks and trade secrets were not internationally protected at the time, so no dice there.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 06:12:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
now you crossed from economical delusions and hate mongering to open historical revisionism.

Which is the signal for me to call it a day. It probably was time for that hours ago.

Arguing with fanatics is a waste of time.

by cris0 on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 07:15:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The only revisionism here is your insistence that Germany was not granted massive aid and debt relief after the last world war (starting, actually, in the interbellum).

It really is bizarre. These facts are a matter of public record. Anybody can look up how great a fraction of the Versaille payments Germany actually made, and how many reparations Germany paid to the victims of its various occupations. The numbers are not secret. Just embarrassing to any German who gets on a high moral horse about international debts.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 07:34:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I think you are both right.

First the allies pillaged Germany:
Industrial plans for Germany - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The first "level of industry" plan, signed by the Allies on March 29, 1946, stated that German heavy industry was to be lowered to 50% of its 1938 levels by the destruction of 1,500 listed manufacturing plants.[2] In January 1946 the Allied Control Council set the foundation of the future German economy by putting a cap on German steel production capacity: the maximum allowed was set at about 5,800,000 tons of steel a year, equivalent to 25% of the prewar production level.[3] The UK, in whose occupation zone most of the steel production was located, had argued for a higher limited reduction by placing the production ceiling at 12 million tons of steel per year, but had to submit to the will of the US, France and the Soviet Union (which had argued for a 3 million ton limit). Steel plants thus made redundant were to be dismantled. Germany was to be reduced to the standard of life it had known at the height of the Great Depression (1932).[4] Car production was set to 10% of prewar levels, etc.[5]

Destroyed forests:
Industrial plans for Germany - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Timber exports from the US occupation zone were particularly heavy. Sources in the US government admitted that the purpose of this was the "ultimate destruction of the war potential of German forests." Extensive deforestation due to clear-felling resulted in a situation which could "be replaced only by long forestry development over perhaps a century.".[7]

And took over patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets:
Industrial plans for Germany - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Allies also confiscated large amounts of German intellectual property (patents and copyrights, but also trademarks).[28] Beginning immediately after the German surrender and continuing for the next two years the US 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 Postwar Germany", that the "intellectual reparations" taken by the US (and the UK) amounted to close to $10 billion.[29][30][31] The US competitors of German firms were encouraged by the occupation authorities to access all records and facilities.[32] In 1947 the director of the US Commerce Department's Office of Technical Services stated before congress: "The fundamental justification of this activity is that we won the war and the Germans did not. If the Germans had won the war, they would be over here in Schenectady and Chicago and Detroit and Pittsburgh, doing the same things."[32] A German report from May 1, 1949 stated that many entrepreneurs preferred not to do research under the current regulations (Allied Control Council Law No. 25) for fear of the research directly profiting their competitors. The law required detailed reporting to the Allies of all research results.[32]

The patents, drawings and physical equipment taken in Germany included such items (or drawings for) as electron microscopes, cosmetics, textile machinery, tape recorders, insecticides, a unique chocolate-wrapping machine, a continuous butter-making machine, a manure spreader, ice skate grinders, paper napkin machines, "and other technologies - almost all of which were either new to American industry or 'far superior' to anything in use in the United States."[33]

The British took commercial secrets too, by abducting German scientists and technicians, or simply by interning German businessmen if they refused to reveal trade secrets.[34]

Though I must say that I do not know exactly how that worked. I would imagine that at least they transfered the rights companies held in the western allied countries to allied companies and the rights companies held in Germany to allied companies. If enforced in Germany that should have been quite devastating. I know that the neutral Swedish government did not quite accept these seizures leading to an interesting period. Still does not accept some of them as the copyright of Mein Kampf in Sweden was in the 90ies found by a Swedish court not to belong to the state of Bavaria. Probably would belong to hitlers relatives but they do not enforce their rights.

Anyway, then the Allies changed their policy and instituted the much more well known policies to let West Germany rebuild.

So what Jake should say that in keeping with Cris view on the consequences of going out in the rain, the policy of grabbing everything should have continued.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 05:57:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The plunder described here is still assessed as less than a third of the aid and debt forgiveness granted to Germany, nevermind the order of magnitude that Chris was confabulating about.

You can quibble with the valuation, of course, but one and a half orders of magnitude is a pretty big quibble.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 06:53:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole idea is obscene given the human toll.
by Upstate NY on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 09:39:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
cris0 is talking about the post WW II era while Jake is including the entire period from the end of WW I through the Marshall Plan. The US did change its plan part way through the post WW II era when it became concerned about the perceived thread from the Soviet Union. Before it was planning on turning Germany into a poor agricultural and resource extracting country. After, it was concerned to turn Germany into a pillar of opposition to the Soviets and supported the re-industrialization of Germany and encouraged the beginnings of the common market.

I recall being shown equipment in the Mechanical Engineering Lab at Oklahoma State University that had come from Germany in the early years after WW II. But given Germany's performance during and before WW II, a case could be made for the first policy: "Never Again!" Now, an argument can be made that they are accomplishing through economic means what they could not accomplish through military might.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 01:08:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is one take on what happened. Varoufakis' book, Modern Political Economics, has a lot of research that shows that in the immediate postwar period, the USA also had plans to recycle its surplus through Germany and extend its economic dominance. So it wasn't only a military strategic goal, but also an economic one. Varoufakis sees the Marshall Plan as the upshot of the US's rejection of a global surplus recycling mechanism as proposed at Bretton Woods. So, some form of Marshall Plan was already in the offing as soon as 1944.
by Upstate NY on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 02:01:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great book. I wish he had referenced his sources for the discussion of post war US planing. I strongly suspect his conclusions are based on biographies, memoirs and secondary works. It would be unreasonable to expect an economist to do the sort of primary source research to document such a claim. And this is not an area I ever studied in any significant way, but his conclusion seems so right.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 12:38:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are not seriously arguing the postwar?

I mean, massive amounts of German debt were expunged. In Greece alone, Germany not only had its pre-war debts expunged, but its forced loan for the German occupation was never repaid, it took many billions of gold from the National bank treasury, not to mention all the damage, death and destruction.

Read all about it: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,769703,00.html

by Upstate NY on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 06:15:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Prior to the Marshall Plan, the USA had given an equivalent amount to Germany. The total of the Marshall Plan was $26 billion or more than 15% of US GDP at the time.

In an American context, this is equivalent to $225 billion today.

In a German context relative to GDP, this would be $50 billion.

The total amount Greece has received from Germany so far is $15 billion, but it will all be paid back, and it is being paid back at 5.25% over the last 18 months. Germany actually received the Marshall Plan money. The Greek money however has mainly gone to the creditors.

by Upstate NY on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 06:43:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm

Wikpedia seems to differ (it gives the total amount as 12.731 bn), but in any case, as mentioned before, the actual subsidy to Germany was about 400m US$, plus another 1bn in repaid loans. The vast majority of Marshal Plan funds went to US allies; and the British received another 40bn on top outside of it.

But this exists in a context of allied powers extracting/looting several 10bns of values from Germany during the same period; and further damage through malicious and/or stupid occupation rules and actions. (like, intentionally starving the population, forbidding food imports etc).  Just read the Wikipedia article.

by cris0 on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 07:29:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I should have written the total aid. In the year prior to the Marshall plan they gave $13 billion and then another 12.7 in the Marshall Plan. Germany was one of the biggest beneficiaries, but unlike countries in the Eastern Bloc and Greece where all the money was spent on the military in fighting still running wars, 60% of the 3 billion given to Germany was used giving loans to industry to rebuild Germany's industrial capacity.
by Upstate NY on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 10:23:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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