The American Policy Towards the Early Stages German Reindustrialization, 1945-1947
82 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2014 Last revised: 5 Dec 2014
Date Written: May 7, 2012
In 1945, much of Europe lay scared with the devastation of six years of war. The great struggle over Europe that had begun in 1939 with the invasion of Poland ended with the capture of Berlin. People from the British Isles to the Soviet heartland had felt the pain of war and had seen their lands ravished by its effects. One area in disarray was the German industrial industry, which now was at the mercy of the victorious Allies. The reindustrialization of Germany would be controversial and tedious, but it would set the stage for one of the greatest economic recoveries of modern history.
The initial stages of the reindustrialization of Germany that occurred prior to the implementation of the European Recovery Act, or Marshall Plan, can be divided into two periods: an initial focus on deindustrialization, and a shift towards a more lenient reindustrialization policy. The initial policy focused on deindustrialization of heavy industry and development of light industries.The second stage began with a dramatic shift in the American policy towards Germany. As the old Alliance between the USSR and the Western Allies began to fray, the United States realized that German industry was something to cultivate instead of stifle. As the focus shifted to rebuilding Europe, the Western Allies began to accept that a rebuilt German industrial sector could provide the necessary impetus to rebuild all of Western Europe. Thus they began to focus on rebuilding much of Germany’s heavy industry. This stage led directly into the Marshall Plan and shared many characteristics with it.
Keywords: German Industry, Post-WWII, 1940s, European Economics, Marshall Plan, Industry
JEL Classification: N14, N42, N44, O14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation