University of Notre Dame
Steven Mark Schroeder.
Reconciliation in Occupied Germany, 1944-1954.
Degree: PhD, History, 2008, University of Notre Dame
During the decade between the collapse of the
Nazi Empire and the end of Allied occupation of West Germany, a
wide variety of individuals and groups in all four occupation zones
began processes of reconciliation between Germans and their wartime
enemies and victims. This dissertation studies those early steps
toward reconciliation and compares and contrasts developments in
the western zones of occupation, eventually the Federal Republic of
Germany, and the eastern zone/German Democratic Republic. In many
ways, interactions between the Allies and Germans in the first year
of occupation supported reconciliatory efforts. However,
Allied-German relations proceeded with a mandated distance between
the two groups and through legal impositions on the German people.
A different approach was needed in order to achieve the peaceful
integration of Germany into international affairs. Non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) – international and German – provided such an
alternative. Rather than addressing exclusively the statist
concerns that drove Allied policies, NGOs prioritized attempts at
reconciliation between individuals and communities, provided a
crucial link between Germans and the outside world, and fostered
dialogue in ways that governments and military personnel did
not. After the collapse of the Third
Reich, most Germans were unwilling to engage critically with the
recent past. Still, the conditions of Allied occupation and demands
of the international community led Germans to acknowledge, however
reluctantly, the crimes of the Nazi era. In all parts of occupied
Germany, NGOs – aided by a disparate array of individuals – played
a key role in shaping public memory of the past. In western
Germany, Germans engaged in discussions and negotiations that
acknowledged Nazi crimes and recognized victims of Nazism.
Discourses created in eastern Germany also acknowledged Nazi crimes
but did not admit that Germans in the Soviet zone/German Democratic
Republic bore any responsibility for them. In general, the motives
of people involved in initiating dialogue between former enemies
and between perpetrators and their victims mattered less than
actions and their repercussions. As the increasing divergence after
1947 between the situation in western and eastern Germany
indicates, however, Allied support was necessary, if not
sufficient, for any productive efforts at reconciliation.
Advisors/Committee Members: Doris Bergen, Committee Chair, Semion Lyandres, Committee Member, Wilson Miscamble, C.S.C., Committee Member, Thomas Kselman, Committee Member.
Subjects/Keywords: Soviets; Nazism; victims; Christian-Jewish relations; NGOs; Allies; reparations
to Zotero / EndNote / Reference
APA (6th Edition):
Schroeder, S. M. (2008). Reconciliation in Occupied Germany, 1944-1954. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Notre Dame. Retrieved from https://curate.nd.edu/show/4j03cz32k79
Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):
Schroeder, Steven Mark. “Reconciliation in Occupied Germany, 1944-1954.” 2008. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Notre Dame. Accessed May 24, 2018.
MLA Handbook (7th Edition):
Schroeder, Steven Mark. “Reconciliation in Occupied Germany, 1944-1954.” 2008. Web. 24 May 2018.
Schroeder SM. Reconciliation in Occupied Germany, 1944-1954. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Notre Dame; 2008. [cited 2018 May 24].
Available from: https://curate.nd.edu/show/4j03cz32k79.
Council of Science Editors:
Schroeder SM. Reconciliation in Occupied Germany, 1944-1954. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Notre Dame; 2008. Available from: https://curate.nd.edu/show/4j03cz32k79