A Morgenthau Plan for Iran?

"In January 1946 the Allied Control Council set the foundation of the future German economy by putting a cap on German steel production, the maximum allowed was set at about 25% of the prewar production level.[43] Steel plants thus made redundant were dismantled. Also as a consequence of the Potsdam conference, the occupation forces of all nations were obliged to ensure that German standards of living were made equal to the level of its European neighbors with which it had been at war with, France in particular. Germany was to be reduced to the standard of life it had known in 1932.[need quotation to verify].[44] The first "level of industry" plan, signed in 1946, stated that German heavy industry was to be lowered to 50% of its 1938 levels by the closing of 1,500 manufacturing plants[45] The problems brought on by the execution of these types of policies were eventually apparent to most U.S. officials in Germany. Germany had long been the industrial giant of Europe, and its poverty held back the general European recovery[citation needed]. The continued scarcity in Germany also led to considerable expenses for the occupying powers, which were obligated to try and make up the most important shortfalls through the GARIOA program (Government and Relief in Occupied Areas). In view of the continued poverty and famine in Europe, and with the onset of the Cold War which made it important not to lose all of Germany to the communists, it was apparent by 1947 that a change of policy was required. The change was heralded by Restatement of Policy on Germany, a famous speech by James F. Byrnes, then United States Secretary of State, held in Stuttgart on September 6, 1946. Also known as the "Speech of hope" it set the tone of future US policy as it repudiated the Morgenthau Plan economic policies and with its message of change to a policy of economic reconstruction gave the Germans hope for the future. Herbert Hoover's situation reports from 1947, and "A Report on Germany" also served to help change occupation policy. The Western powers' worst fear by now was that the poverty and hunger would drive the Germans to Communism. General Lucius Clay stated "There is no choice between being a communist on 1,500 calories a day and a believer in democracy on a thousand." After lobbying by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Generals Clay and Marshall, the Truman administration realized that economic recovery in Europe could not go forward without the reconstruction of the German industrial base on which it had previously been dependent."  Wiki



Having lived in occupied Germany as a small, but sentient, child I remember the atmosphere of hopelessness that hung over that country before the Morgenthau Plan as embodied in JCS 1067 was revoked in favor of a combined policy intended to re-build Europe as a modern region of the world that would not become dominated by communist parties and alliances with the USSR.

IMO we are facing a similarly motivated conception of what should happen to Iran.  What I mean is that just as the Morgenthau Plan was motivated by Han Morgenthau's hatred, fear and desire for vengeance towards Germany, Bibi's hatred fear, and paranoia directed towards Iran is seeking to drive US and European policy towards a goal of making Iran into a country that makes oriental rugs just as he wanted Germany to be a country that made cuckoo clocks and strudel.

The level of pressure against Obama can be sensed in the waffling and ass k—-g seen in every public statement made by Obama and Amtrak Joe on the subject.  pl


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59 Responses to A Morgenthau Plan for Iran?

  1. Lucius Clay–wiki
    Clay did not see actual combat but was awarded the Legion of Merit in 1942, the Distinguished Service Medal in 1944, and received the Bronze Star for his action in stabilizing the French harbor of Cherbourg, critical to the flow of war materiel. In 1945 he served as deputy to General Dwight D. Eisenhower. The following year, he was made Deputy Governor of Germany during the Allied Military Government.
    He would later remark regarding the occupation directive guiding his and General Eisenhower’s actions: “there was no doubt that JCS 1067 contemplated the Carthaginian peace which dominated our operations in Germany during the early months of occupation.”
    OMGUS and Cold War
    Clay was with General of the Army D.D. Eisenhower at Gatow Airport in Berlin during the Potsdam Conference in 1945.
    Clay heavily influenced United States Secretary of State James F. Byrnes’ September 1946 speech in Stuttgart, Germany. The speech; “Restatement of Policy on Germany” marked the formal transition in American occupation policy away from the Morgenthau Plan of economic dismantlement to one of economic reconstruction. Clay was promoted to lieutenant general on 17 April 1945 and to general on 17 March 1947.
    On March 15, 1947, Clay succeeded Eisenhower as military governor of occupied Germany—the head of the OMGUS, the “Office of Military Government, United States”. Clay’s responsibilities covered a wide spectrum of social issues related to Germany’s recovery from the war in addition to strictly military issues. He commissioned Lewis H. Brown to research and write “A Report on Germany,” which served as a detailed recommendation for the reconstruction of post-war Germany, and served as a basis for the Marshall Plan. Clay promoted democratic federalism in Germany and resisted US politicians who sought to undo a conservative constitution adopted in Bavaria. He also closed the borders of the American Zone in 1947 to stem the tide of Jewish refugees who were generating tension with the local populations.

  2. John says:

    Iran’s is a one port, one commodity economy. And its four super-giants peaked in the 70s. NIOC’s gas injection program may be able slow the final collapse, but not for long.
    Even then there won’t be enough hard currency to pay for refined products, food, and the subsidies that consume 1/4 of Iran’s GDP.
    Throw in a decline in TFR never before witnessed in human history, the flight of educated youth, environmental degradation, water scarcity ….
    Sanctions, no sanctions. Morgenthau, no Morgenthau. It’s hard to see how it makes any difference. It’s just the end of them.
    Rugs may be the best case scenario.

  3. Pat Lang,
    The Morgenthau Plan and the decision reached at the Quebec Conference to largely implement it were a manifestation of FDR’s detestation of Germany. Had that not been so, the plan would probably never have seen the light of day. JCS Directive 1067 resulted from the decision made at the Quebec Conference and that decision was reached with acceptance of the American view that Germany was to be severely punished for the war. It’s clear that Churchill’s agreement was procured through coercion. As I recall, he disavowed much of the Morgenthau Plan when he returned to England and faced questions in Parliament.
    A great “what if?” from the adoption of the Morgenthau plan and the earlier “unconditional surrender” statement adopted at the Casablanca conference concerns the determination of Germany to fight to the bitter end. That this was all or mostly because of Nazi fanaticism is, I think a myth.
    Another myth, believed fervently in America, is the idea that we occupied Germany, helped it recover, brought democracy, and so forth. The truth of the matter is far more complicated. Even the Marshall Plan provided very little aid to the German economy and that was only at the insistence of the War Department/DOD and the State Department.

  4. Castellio says:

    Given that Iran has no abilities other than, as a best case scenario, making rugs, why doesn’t the US lift its sanctions?

  5. turcopolier says:

    Iran, like Germany) has greater potential for industrialization thatnartisanal goods. That is not the point. The point is that as Roosevelt set out under Morganthau’s guidance to beggar and pauperize Germany so are we setting out under Obama to do Israel’s will upon Iran. pl

  6. Colonel Lang,
    Castellio can answer for himself. But I had assumed that, in his response to ‘John’, he was resorting to irony, a response you frequently practice yourself, and recently recommended to Tyler.
    It seemed to me Castellio was pointing to the tension between the very evident belief of Israeli leaders – which I thought reflected in the comment by ‘John’ – that all the peoples among whom they have to live are irredeemably ‘primitive’, and incapable of ‘modernity’, and their hysterical fear of Iran’s not in the end very advanced nuclear programme.

  7. JohnH says:

    I suspect that Bibi would prefer a Gaza-style plan for Iran rather than a Morgenthau-style plan. Part of that plan would entail the privatization and tax-exemption of Iranian energy assets.
    In their best scenario a clone of the Shah would be installed. The Shah, it will be recalled spent 20% of GDP on the military, and, except for a wealthy few, left the country undeveloped and impoverished. The Shah and Israel were best buddies.

  8. Fred says:

    So they pose no strategic threat to the region, especially to Israel and Saudi Arabia; nor do they have influence in Iraq and can’t fund Hezbollah in Lebannon nor help Assad in Syria. So glad to find that out.

  9. Fred says:

    So the Obama administration is going to start a negotiation with Iran with the view that it is a nation defeated? That’s sure to be successful, if success is defined by Bibi and company.

  10. Norbert M Salamon says:

    seeing that Iran Exports electricity , steel and concrete etc., has one the highest scientific journal output in ME land bar Israel, has “nano-technology”, builds is own centrifuges, builds a heavy-water reactor, etc., it is presumptuous to think that rug export is the only future for the country as in the eyes of Bibi and co.
    Were Obama to act like Iran was a defeated country, he and his cohort are in for a surprise. He is also likely to loose a bunch of the “with-me” crowd in Sanction land. Iran’s oil is a demand good by the 2nd and third largest economy of the planet [if we do not take EU to be the largest, which is in fact it is] among others, and most of the rest of the world [including USA Companies] would love to serve that large market [70 million] of educated citizenry.
    Neither he, nor the American economy nor American citizenry can afford another war in ME land [treasure, forgone attention to the citizenry’s needs, etc.], with probably grave consequences for the world economy.
    As an aside it should be noted that no major Chinese firm has been sanctioned by the USA Treasury for the simple reason that you can not scr*w your Major banker [and supplier of the material needs of the famous 90% of broke Americans] in the long run.

  11. walrus says:

    “A great “what if?” from the adoption of the Morgenthau plan and the earlier “unconditional surrender” statement adopted at the Casablanca conference concerns the determination of Germany to fight to the bitter end. That this was all or mostly because of Nazi fanaticism is, I think a myth.”
    I think Sir, that the truth is far more complicated than the Nazi fanaticism argument or the suggestion that our surrender terms may have been too harsh and the subject continues to be the subject of much soul searching to this day.
    I personally am attracted to a suggestion in Ian Kershaws introduction to his own work on the topic (The End); that Germans could simply not envision any other system of Government but the one they had at the time.
    This argument has, to me, the benefit of supporting Robert Paxtons observation that no country has adopted Fascism without first being a failing democracy. We should also perhaps remember that Germany’s total experience of democracy was from 1919 to 1933 – Fourteen years is not a long time to instil democratic traditions.
    Kershaws work, BTW, opens with the horrifying description of the hanging of a nineteen year old theology student at Ausbach for trying to save his town from destruction when the American Army was already at its gates. Four hours after his death the town was taken. Irrational fanaticism indeed.

  12. confusedponderer says:

    I think that this ‘capability’ game that the Israelis play about Iran’s industrialisation is simply ludicrous.
    The argument they make again and again is that a capability is, in a rhetorical slight of hand, tantamount to an actual threat.
    That’s of course utter nonsense, and sadly goes unchallenged almost every time.
    It is on the face absurd to assert that Iran must not enrich. The Iranians have under the NPT the ‘inalienable right’ to enrich for peaceful purposes. There is nothing difficult to understand about that. They are allowed to enrich for peaceful purposes as much as they feel they need to.
    Who gives a poop what the Israelis want? The Izzies aren’t even a member to the NPT. How they feel entitled to have an opinion what Iran’s right under the NPT are is beyond me, just why anybody is listening to them at all about this.
    All that however is beside the point as in reality it is about regime change and the nuclear issue is but a pretext.
    JohnH’s below point about the Izzies wanting the Shah back is probably rather close to the truth.
    Closer still is probably the boneheaded sentiment ‘Anything but the Ayatollahs!’, which in Iraq and Syria means giving preference to Al Qaeda and like minded people. Nuts!

  13. Andy Mink says:

    Pat, I agree with your main point re Netanyahu and Iran. But Morgenthau wasn´t motivated by hatred and desire for vengeance. I read the book he wrote about his “plan” in college (“Germany is our Problem”) and it´s basically an effort to analyze German militarism and imperialism, and take the tools to realize their deep seated, aggressive tendencies (heavy industry concentrated at the Ruhr) away from the Germans. Morgenthau shared a certain view of the German mind or “character” that must have been widespread at the time and was presented, for example, in Halford Mackinder´s “Democratic Ideals and Reality” in 1919.
    Andy Mink

  14. turcopolier says:

    Andy Mink
    And you believe him? I saw your country in 1947 and I do not believe him. [pl

  15. raiserw says:

    Great post. Few seem to recognize the positive potential of Iran in the region and the possibility of our working together rather than at swords drawn.

  16. confusedponderer says:

    “Germany’s total experience of democracy was from 1919 to 1933 – Fourteen years is not a long time to instil democratic traditions”
    You completely ignore that Imperial Germany before was a constitutional monarchy, and that even Bismarck found it necessary to preempt the social democrats by issuing model legislation for social protections and the like.
    Imperial Germany did have a parliament from the onset. Of course there was democratic tradition and there were experienced politicians and there were parties.
    Where democracy failed in Germany was the ‘new order’ that came with Versailles. The democratic parties were blamed for surrendering and accepting the reparations. That the Brits continued the blockade from the armistice to the signing of the Versailles treaty didn’t help either.
    It put the democrats in the unenviable position of bearing the blame for the war and having to make democracy work in the aftermath of famine, disease and war, loss of territory, with revolutions abound and a devastating economic crisis looming, and all of that not made any easier by the reparations and foreign occupation.
    I dare say that under such conditions democracy would have failed in many a place.

  17. Ulenspiegel says:

    W. Fitzgerald wrote: “Even the Marshall Plan provided very little aid to the German economy and that was only at the insistence of the War Department/DOD and the State Department.”
    However, one very important contribution of the Marshall Plan was the political signal: Nobody in Germany longer had to hord raw materials or to fear the brake down of production facilities, with hard currency and access to US hardware the industry was unlocked. Add the “Währungsreform” that supported the local ecomnomy…

  18. charly says:

    Looking at Canada and Australia and seeing what raw material exports does to a country (closed car factories among others) makes me doubt that stopping Iran from exporting oil is bad for the industrialization of Iran. In fact i expect a finished goods export boom after some readjustments.

  19. confusedponderer says:

    There was, for instance, a lot of anti-german sentiment in the US during WW-I. There is a reason why German language all but disappeared from public life in the US in the period, and why Frankfurters were renamed hot dogs.
    It seemed ludicrous when in 2003 French Fries became Freedom Fries, but such folly has a history.
    In Britain anti-German sentiment was so bad that the Royals had to rid themselve of their German titles under suspicion of double loyalty.
    It is well possible that Roosevelt or Morgenthau were influenced by something like that.
    If one wants to get a more general taste of it, I recommend John Buchan and the later Sherlock Holmes stories by Conan Doyle (the latter also humours with its many references to phrenology and physiognomy, sciences in their day).
    And for the heck of it:

  20. John says:

    That’s precisely my point. It doesn’t matter, one way or the other. The economy will collapse in the near future in either case.
    Iran’s GDP is almost entirely derived from gas and oil exports. Its main fields are in steep decline — some 10%/yr. Gas injection from South Pars can slow that … a bit. But energy consumption will eventually exceed production. Perhaps by the end of the decade, perhaps by 2025. Whatever extra natural gas production there is from South Pars will go to make up the difference, not to exports.
    Basic commodities in Iran are very heavily subsidized, more so even than in Egypt. Iran requires some $100 billion/yr. Egypt only $60 billion. Without those subsidies, body and soul cannot be held together — not on $300/month in urban households; certainly not among the poorer rural households.
    At the same time, Iran is facing an apocalyptic demographic shift. While the average woman of child-bearing age has 6 or 7 siblings, she herself will have less than two. And the TFR continues to decline.
    The TFR decline is most rapid among ethnic Persians, who will be a minority in Iran within a generation. Not a good position to be in for a revolutionary regime — not when it’s been oppressing its own ethnic minorities.
    Because of the declining TFR, between now and 2050, the elderly dependent ratio will increase ten-fold, to nearly half the population. Simultaneously, oil production will plummet from its current 3.5 mb/d to perhaps 1.5 mb/d, perhaps lower — all of which will be needed for internal consumption.
    To make matters worse, Iran’s agricultural sector is in decline. Already rice, wheat, meat, etc., are being imported. With the grave and growing problem of water scarcity, the need for imports will grow. And that will require hard currency, of which there will be none.
    One can hardly begin to imagine the misery Iranians will soon face. And there’s nothing to be done about it. The processes that brought the country to this point were set in motion in the 1960s and exacerbated by the revolutionary regime. They’re also irreversible. Iran’s future is one of famine, not regional hegemony.

  21. John says:

    I think not. Collapsing states are more dangerous than stable ones — perhaps especially when they’re armed with adult caliber weapons and possessed of a revolutionary ideology. Nations like people do unexpected things when faced with the prospect of immanent death.

  22. Andy Mink says:

    That would need a long set of answers, but here´s a try:
    —dividing Germany and creating the European Union (by starting to integrate the Ruhr area with France, BeNeLux and Italy in 1951 in the Montan Union) basically solved Morgenthau´s “German Problem” and was based on the same assumptions: Germany is inherently aggressive and must be tamed, declawed and reoriented. This worked tremendously well, esp. for the Germans.
    —Germans must have still been under shock when you met them in 1947. The mood must have been quite different in, say, the summer of 1940 after the defeat of France. That the Reich fought so long and ferociously in 1944-45 (while running the extermination camps at a manic pace) must have told Morgenthau and many others that there was something deeply wrong with the Germans that needed to be “treated” in a throrough and lasting manner. But German elites and the wider population learned by their defeat that war and conquest were not productive avenues for the nation and refocussed their energies on industry, learning, etc to great advantage. Let´s not forget that young elites in academia, esp law schools, had been the driving forces of Nazism, esp in places like the SS and their Reichsicherheitshauptamt. These people (if they survived what they had wrought) learned their lesson. When I grew up in the 60s and 70s I met a lot of resentment against the Allies—“we lost due to American material superiority” was a favorite—but nobody wanted to undertake that excercise again (and the Russians were still the enemy).
    —The war and defeat therefore fundamentally changed Germany and the Germans, while leaving many traits intact that are based on culture, tradition and the economic basics, ie Germany being rather poor in natural resources (outside the Ruhr) and depending on intellectual ones, plus discipline, learning, etc, instead to make it in the world. Nazism, the war and post-war re-ordering also fundamentally changed German society into a much more homogenized one. Regional, religious and ideological differences hat been stamped out or smoothed, which made the country poorer in many ways, but easier to govern.
    But I´ve moved to the US in 1996 and Germany keeps on changing, yet sticking to certain basics established in 1945—turn aggression into productive industry instead of outwardly. Maybe you encountered the beginning of that transition.
    Andy Mink

  23. Fred says:

    Iran has been collapsing and a threat to the world since 1979. Decades of American policy has lead Iran to the brink of collapse – making is a state more dangerous? Why that means if we change policy and end sanctions – Iran will not collapse and will thus be, why, less dangerous! My, why didn’t anyone think of that sooner. So Obama’s policy isn’t driven by poor strategy but by true love peace and democracy. I look forward to the day (soon) when he earns a second Nobel Peach prize.
    You mention “Adult” caliber weapons? What are those? Having been an NCO I only had to handle the lethal kind.

  24. Bandolero says:

    That’s the story of the internal side of why democracy failed in Germany in 1933.
    However, there is also an external side of that story. One may also think of the power grab of the Nazi movement as something comparable to the “Colered Revolutions” which are engineered by the US around the world nowadays. The Nazi grab of power has stunningly many paralels with nowadays “Colered Revolutions” – with the major difference that the color brown was – as far as I know – never again used for a US sponsored “color revolution”. Remember, what happened in Germany in 1933 was called in Germany the “German Revolution” at that time.
    To really compare the Nazi power grab of 1933 with today’s color revolutions one should ask: were there foreign powers financing the “German Revolution” of 1933?
    Well, there were. Read for example the Guardian of 2004:
    How Bush’s grandfather helped Hitler’s rise to power
    GDR historians have long claimed that the support of the transatlantic “capitalist factions” in Germany were crucial for the rise of the Nazi movement.
    As to why financially powerful US elites supported the German Nazi movement that they see two major reasons:
    1st: They found Nazi thinking attractive. One may just read the books of Henry Ford, Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard to understand how close some mighty US capitalist factions were intellectually to the Nazi movement.
    2nd: The Nazi movement was seen as a bullwartk against communism and communism was considered the main enemy by the financial elite in the western world at those times in the 20s. And when the Nazis helped Franco to crush the democratically elected left in Spain from 1936 to 1939 Hitler was actually doing what these western elites always hoped the Nazis would do: crush communism.
    What the Western elites didn’t foresee as they funded the rise of the Nazis was the Hitler-Stalin pact that emerged later in 1939 and changed the whole board of global power configuration.

  25. Walrus,
    Thanks for the reply. “What ifs”, of course are imponderable. However, the Casablanca unconditional surrender statement did not constitute surrender terms. In fact it meant that terms would not be presented and that Germany would have to accept whatever the victors wished to inflict. The Quebec Conference then indicated to them what the Allies were planning. Faced with the choice between national suicide and fighting on, it seems to me that fighting on would be preferable to most. I think the question in my mind is whether, with the possibility of terms of surrender, an overthrow of the Nazi government would have been possible. A list of the possibilities is huge, so I’ll leave it there.

  26. Ryan says:

    And pistachios. Iran is a leading producer and one of its biggest buyers is Israel interestingly enough. I seem to recall a story some years back that Israel buys theirs over those grown in California.

  27. Ryan says:

    Here you go. Nuts going nuts about nuts.
    “US asks Israel to stop importing pistachio from Iran”

  28. Babak Makkinejad says:

    US & EU do not care about that – it is their way or highway.

  29. North says:

    They don’t have ‘way’ anymore. Empty rhetoric, total oligarchy masked as “democracy”, neocolonialist resource extraction and endless finger-pointing for averting attention and cognitive dissonance neutralization. Lies in public, lies in private.. meaningless treadmill.

  30. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think you need to pay special attention to the following:
    In 2003, a military historian, Martin van Creveld, thought that the Al-Aqsa Intifada then in progress threatened Israel’s existence. Van Creveld was quoted in David Hirst’s The Gun and the Olive Branch (2003) as saying:
    “We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force. Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: ‘Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.’ I consider it all hopeless at this point. We shall have to try to prevent things from coming to that, if at all possible. Our armed forces, however, are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.”
    My recommendation to you, if you be a European, is to do your best to disarm Israel lest Rome go up in smoke.

  31. Norbert M Salamon says:

    My father was a scholarship student in Germany in 1933-4 [paid in gold species]. The residence had only one cup of milk for 8 students for breakfast [all on similar scholarships] – indicative of the economic short comings of post Versailles Peace treaty [Hungary lost 2/3 of its area due to the same Peace Treaty. interesting prognostications by Lord Keynes: the Aftermath of Versailles.

  32. William Fitzgerald, walrus:
    This is a history I find hard to understand, but one curious story may be worth inserting into the ‘mix’, as it were.
    The Abwehr hand ciphers were originally identified and the first decoding done not at Bletchley Park but by the Merton College (Oxford) physicist, E.W.B. Gill, a veteran of First World War wireless intelligence in the Middle East, and Hugh Trevor-Roper, a young historian he had taken into the Radio Security Service with him. This was partly because Trevor-Roper had some knowledge of German.
    Building on this, Dilwyn Knox cracked the Abwehr machine codes at Bletchley. As a result, by November 1942 Trevor-Roper – who for his sins had been transferred into MI6, largely useless then as now – had grasped the depth of the tensions between the Abwehr and the General Staff, and the Nazi Party and the ‘Sicherheitsdienst’.
    Accordingly, he understood that the overtures from Admiral Canaris for a meeting in Spain with the head of MI6, Stewart Menzies, were not a manoeuvre intended to produce a new Venlo incident.
    The attempts by Trevor-Roper to send the information up the chain of command were, initially, frustrated by a collaboration between his inept superior Felix Cowgill and Kim Philby. However, as is now known, he circumvented these obstacles, and the information was presented to Churchill, who ignored it.
    Whether had there been a serious exploration of the overtures from Canaris it might have been possible to do a ‘butcher’s cleaver’ move, and engineer a successful plot to assassinate Hitler, is one of the great imponderables of the Second World War.
    On the one hand, the assassination attempts came close to success – and had they enlisted more high level support among the senior army commanders, they might very well have succeeded. On the other, such overtures would have been known to Stalin, through Philby. It could be that, had the matter been handled with sophistication, there would not have been a risk of a premature rupture in relations with the Soviet Union.
    But two things have to be remembered. One is that Stalin, unlike Roosevelt or Churchill, was in a position to make rapid and drastic changes in strategy. This ability could have been used to ensure that, once the Allied bridgehead in Normandy was secure, the energies of the Wehrmacht were shifted to the West.
    Another is that Roosevelt’s blatant buttering up of Stalin, and determination to distance himself as much as possible from Churchill, who the Soviets greatly admired by comprehensively distrusted (with reason), paid dividends.
    All the evidence suggests that, contrary to what George Kennan suggested, at the end of the war Stalin believed that he could maintain some kind of modus vivendi with the United States into the post-war period, and had strong interests in doing so.
    It is not clear to me whether, had this not been so, Stalin would not have found means of slackening off his offensives in the East, so that the could calibrate policy to ensure that the Germans and the Western Allies did each other the maximum amount of damage.
    Looking at the matter in purely Machiavellian terms, however, it seems to me that this could well have been a more sensible strategy for Stalin to have pursued than that which he did actually pursue.

  33. LeaNder says:

    I am absolutely with you on that larger strategic outlook. Even the sanctions against Iran me angry.
    One little point I have to look at again: As you know the seamless shift from Nazi Germany to the cold war was one of my main scapegoats, connected to my encounter with my headmaster in English, from my very limited perspective it made it far too easy for the easily aligned to survive into the new era. In this context the soldier only feels as the peak of a larger social iceberg, the too easy well-adjusted no matter what. I can see it’s different on the larger political plain, where it is not about my own traumas but about the larger social benefit, but then politics was never one of my interests. The political microcosm was, everyday people and resentment, the political microcosm always was. Where exactly to things start?
    In the seventies I was admittedly puzzled about the left’s collective grasp of US soldiers as enemy, which felt peculiarly similar to the prejudice against foreign workers, as they were called at that time. People expected them to be “guests” only, apparently. The attacks on the US military from the left wing terrorists on the American military over here in the 70s felt misguided to me and pretty similar to the prejudice I had witnessed before. Somewhat reminiscent of right wing thought. But then I was never interested in politics pre 911, only in the he “microcosmic political level” The “collective prejudice” against soldiers as earlier that against other “foreigners”, it felt similar: Talk to or be friends with American soldiers, same effect as talking with the Greek or Italian workers in the little town I wound up with 15, you were suspected of being a whore.
    Two points though:
    Without the shift to the “cold war” and the fact that it was easily surviving former Nazis, why not pick out the prominent German Nazi careerists like the later the American Wernher Magnus Maximilian von Braun, maybe there wouldn’t have been German terrorists?
    “The change was heralded by Restatement of Policy on Germany, a famous speech by James F. Byrnes, then United States Secretary of State, held in Stuttgart on September 6, 1946.”
    It would be interesting what effect this speech had on high school curricula politics and the larger context.
    More on your line of thinking, and I think I agree:
    There would have been no Nazis and no WWII without the repressive regime post WWI. And that had much to do with the harsh post war regime that Nazis could far too easily exhibit for their own designs.
    Why do you think that the execution of Saddam Hussein made me think of the South African truth commission? Why did he have to be dead so fast? Maybe the truth would have been more important than punishment in the long run? But I guess that is lost in secrecy? And our law, the only thing we have, does not really guarantee it. Or do you really think? As I realized once I studied it in my limited post grad ways, law may in fact be exactly the point where our democracy is deficient. But there is nothing better unfortunately. Some know it and can adjust their tales accordingly and some don’t.

  34. Will says:

    the 1848 German refugees contributed much to America. Carl Schurz was a civil war general and later interior minister. The German “gymnasts” guarded Lincoln. Many Union outfits in the Civil War were all Germans. The Germans of St. Louis headed off secession.
    What a pity they became considered quasi “Enemy Alies” in world War I. Wilson is cast as an idealist but it he was half English (thru his mother) and that’s why he entwined us in that war among the three cousins (George, Wilhem, and Nicholas), all of them Queen Victoria’s grandchildren.
    Don’t understand how the British became estranged from the Deutsch. They were allies against Napoleon. And the first World War set the stage for the Second.

  35. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Comparisons to Germany – beyond some doubtful historical analogies are not useful.
    I think the only European country that one could usefully compare Iran with is Spain, followed (distantly) by Italy.
    Germany is too new, too raw, too precise, and too controlled to suit the Iranians’ tastes.
    Iranians like Spain – without a doubt, specially Barcelona (from hearsay).
    And they like the Hispano-American culture; so many married Puerto Rican women – that is also well-known (in Puerto Rico) which puzzled the Puerto Ricans.

  36. Babak Makkinejad says:

    JP Morgan had loaned money to France.
    He got US in that war so that his loans would be paid back.
    I do not know if he ever got his money back though.

  37. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think you and others are looking for rational or semi-rational explanations, all the while discounting what C G Jung had observed: “Wotan inside every German”.
    The will to war that required democracy to be abandoned for war to have a chance.
    And before you dismiss me (and him) recall that in the US Civil War, the Abolitionists could have issued bonds (through their control of the US Federal Government) to buy all the slaves and to free them.
    But they wanted war and so did the South; in my opinion.

  38. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You are probably right; judging but what they did to Syria….

  39. Norbert M Salamon says:

    It does appear that further sanctions by USA are counterproductive, as can be observed by Iran walking out of meeting [and going home] since the USA Treasury decided to punish Third Parties for dealing with IRAN.

  40. Larry Kart says:

    Just to be clear — the Morgenthau Plan was the bright idea of Secretary of Treasury Henry J. Morgenthau, not political thinker Hans Morgenthau:

  41. Fred says:

    There were many people of German decent in America before the war for independence; 1848 was only an additional period of immigration.

  42. confusedponderer says:

    We Germans sure are sure collectively afflicted by our heritage – spiritual, historical and gentic. Jonah Goldhagen sees in the Germans that unique “eliminatory anti-Semitism” that only we are privvy too. And now, we are being possessed by Wotan, too!
    Now, Goldhagen is an idiot, we can cut it short and leave it at that.
    And while I take Jung serious, I don’t know what he saw. Let me imagine then: So maybe Jung before WW-I heard the sentiment that Imperial Germany was an aspiring nation denied its place in the sun – the various crises about colonial possessions were about that. After WW-I he may have perceived a sense of (unjustified?) grievance and a desire to right it in Germans?
    Maybe Jung just didn’t get out much, or listened to too much Wagner. Such sentiment is probably simply something that militarism, or an unfair peace, does to people.
    I fail to see how any of this that would be something peculiarly German.
    The French certainly had it in them, if Chauvinism or General Boulanger – mind his nickname “General Revanche” – are any indication. Were the French ridden by Mars then?
    The Israelis appear to have it in their blood, too, considering their demonstrated inclination to use force wherever practically or impractically possible. Is the thunder and brimstone face of Yahweh behind that?
    What do the numerous interventions of late by the US tell us about them, that they, the victors of the Cold War, are ridden by Nike? Or Nemesis, posing as Nike?
    Curiouser and curiouser …

  43. Castellio says:

    Exactly so, David. Thanks.

  44. turcopolier says:

    CP et al
    As you know I have been absent in SC for HF Guggenheim foundation board meeting and only partly paying attention to what has been occurring bit I’m back. I must say that the level of consternation and Teutonic wearing of sack cloth and ashes that resulted from my fairly casual comparison of the Merganthauing of Germany and Iran surprises. Evidently a lot you Tchermans are really still gripped with shame and are grateful to Morgenthau and Roosevelt for seeking the destitution of your country as punishment for the wickedness of your collective character. I didn’t think that calvinism had that firm a grip on the German souls. For C—-t sake! You didn’t do it! Let’s see. If we are going to play that game, then all the sins of the fathers should be visited upon the heads of the children unto generation X. pl

  45. North says:

    They didn’t do it by themselves, Col. Let’s not forget that certain people used the blame game as a mean to extract concessions an impunity for their own misbehavior. Same old game of hmm.. “politics”, even during the last few years.

  46. confusedponderer says:

    Re: the “wickedness of your collective character”
    My very point was that this notion is nonsense.
    That is why I think Goldhagen’s inane assertion of some innate murderous train in us Germans as idiotic as Jung’s observation that there is Wotan residing in our souls. It’s BS, all of it.
    And I wholeheartedly agree that I, born in 1974, bear zero responsibility for WW-I, WW-II and the holocaust, and owe nothing, least of all deference, to Israel for that matter.

  47. CP,
    In trying to find a way out of the current shambles, German Holocaust guilt is actually peculiarly unhelpful. The former Labour Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, pointed this out recently – and unsurprisingly found what he had said totally misrepresented by stupid and hysterical Zionists.
    The report in the Jewish Chronicle is extremely revealing:
    ‘Israeli Ambassador Daniel Taub has said comments made by former British foreign secretary Jack Straw follow a “very troubling tradition” of familiar tropes about “sinister Jewish power”.
    ‘The ambassador was speaking after a row over Mr Straw’s remarks in a Parliamentary debate on diplomacy in the Middle East.
    ‘The former Labour minister dismissed claims that his comments had been “antisemitic”, following earlier criticism from ex-Knesset member Einat Wilf.
    ‘She had appeared alongside Mr Straw on a panel in Westminster last week.
    ‘Following the Round Table Global Diplomatic Forum event, Ms Wilf posted a message on Facebook claiming she “nearly fell off my rickety British chair” while listening to Mr Straw.
    ‘He had spoken about Israeli settlement building in the West Bank, Germany’s support for Israel within the EU, and the work of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac).
    ‘Ms Wilf claimed: “He said ‘unlimited’ funds available to Jewish organisations and Aipac in the US are used to control and divert American policy in the region and that Germany’s ‘obsession’ with defending Israel were the problem.
    ‘“I guess he neglected to mention Jewish control of the media.”
    ‘Her comments were picked up by Israeli newspapers, which interpreted Mr Straw’s remarks as an “antisemitic diatribe”. One British website said he had “peddled [a] ‘Jewish control’ trope”.
    ‘Mr Taub said Mr Straw’s comments “fall in a very troubling tradition of attributing support for Israel to a sinister exercise of Jewish power.
    ‘“Particularly striking is the refusal to consider that support for Israel may arise, not as a result of pressure from some mysterious cabal, but simply from the recognition that, within the current turmoil in the Middle East, Israel remains an island of stability, irrevocably committed to democracy, free speech and the rule of law. “
    ‘Mr Straw had earlier hit back at Ms Wilf, denying that he had “embarked on an antisemitic rant”. He said there was “no justification whatsoever” for the claims made in Israel.
    ‘“I am not remotely antisemitic. Quite the reverse. I have all my life strongly supported the state of Israel, and its right to live in peace and security,” said Mr Straw.
    ‘The former Labour minister, who announced on Friday that he would be retiring as Blackburn MP at the 2015 general election, offered an explanation for his comments.
    ‘He said one of his concerns related to the “theft of Palestinians’ land” as a result of Israeli settlement building.
    ‘Mr Straw said he believed one of the difficulties in getting the EU to agree on taking a tougher stance towards Israeli activities in the West Bank was “the attitude of Germany, who for understandable reasons have been reluctant to be out of line with the government of Israel”.
    ‘He added: “I spoke of the problems which faced President Obama from Aipac and the ‘Israeli lobby’ more generally. I pointed out that Prime Minister Netanyahu was a player in domestic US politics, on the Republican side, and that under US political funding rules, huge sums were spent by Aipac in support of some elected politicians and against others.”
    ‘Mr Straw concluded: “None of this is ‘antisemitic’. There are plenty of people in Israel who take a similar view to me — not least because they believe that the current approach of the government of Israel will weaken Israel’s position.”
    (See http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/112781/storm-over-jack-straw-hate%E2%80%99-remarks )
    To add a personal note. One of my late mother’s lifelong friends, the daughter of a Russian Jewish émigré lawyer, is also a close friend of Jack Straw’s mother – I heard her singing his praises some years back. Like me, Straw is a classic British philosemite. The sheer self-destructive stupidity of Israel’s apologists, both in the United States and in Britain, never ceases to amaze me.

  48. Babak Makkinejad says:

    C G Jung had stated that he did not see the World War I coming, but he was certain of World War II since he could then see Wotan inside every German.
    I do not think by that he meant there was Wotan inside every German all of the time.

  49. different clue says:

    I remember reading somewhere that Captain of Artillery Harry Truman, serving in Europe up to the time of Armistice, said something about how if the war was not kept going and the German Army was not forced to admit its own defeat within Germany itself; that there would be another war with Germany in twenty years. He didn’t invoke Wotan to predict that.
    And Keynes predicted that the punitive and predatory peace following the Armistice would in itself drive Germany to another war at some point.
    When did Jung make his prediction?

  50. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You are not going far enough in your conclusions; that sane men like Jack Straw have no place in common Western position on Israel and the broader Middle East.
    The absence of sanity is clear: US and EU engaged in essentially a religious war in the Middle East against both Shia and Sunni.

  51. Babak Makkinejad,
    You say I am not going far enough in my conclusions. So let me try to go a bit further.
    As to Jack Straw, what he is doing is uttering in public thoughts which a lot of people here have thought for a considerable time, but which it has not been ‘politically correct’ to say openly.
    It is material here that, increasingly, Zionists are responding to the problems Straw pinpointed in confused and contradictory ways. You have people like Ari Shavit, Tom Friedman, and even Goldberg finally making an implicit acknowledgement in public of the obvious fact that colonising the West Bank was always liable to be suicidal for Israel.
    But Straw’s accurate description of key reasons why it has been impossible to divert Israel from committing hara-kiri in this way causes him to be accused of being a crypto-Nazi.
    Whether Straw has any very good grasp of the religious undercurrents of these conflicts is a separate issue. Commonly, elites in the modern West are ‘tone deaf’ in matters of religion. And in recent years, they have embraced the notion that everyone is heading towards ‘modernity’ – without grasping that this belief is crypto-religious, or reflecting that their conception of ‘modernity’ has limited relation to the actual empirical reality of contemporary Western societies.
    Accordingly, they are largely incapable of understanding the ‘soft totalitarian’ nature of their own political projects, and the implications of the implicit premise that everybody can be turned into clones of what they think they themselves are, particularly in relation to people’s reactions to what is inherently liable to be perceived as an assault on the fundamentals of their identity.

  52. Babak Makkinejad says:

    A few years into the first presidency of George Bush II, Ambassador Chas Freeman gave a speech in which he said that US hand, in effect, identified the enemies of Israel to be the enemies of the United States.
    I think that policy has continued under Obama.
    Crucially, EU also has adopted that policy; an insanity which being tone-deaf to religion does not account for it.
    EU leaders are tone deaf to the “Other”-side’s religion – in pursuit of the religious agenda of those whom you call Zionists.
    This is the only thing that explains the apparent US and EU policies in the Levant and the Persian Gulf – Security for Israel at all costs – to them and others.
    Now, what I find curious is how England, the country of eminently and ruthlessly pragmatic people has fallen into this rut.
    Is it because UK leaders feel that they have to be on the right side of the United States at any and all costs?
    Do you know how one can account for this degeneration in UK policy circles?

  53. Castellio says:

    Babak, just to say I’d be happy to read your attempt to answer your own question.

  54. Babak Makkinejad,
    Part of the explanation is a simple collapse in the political intelligence of the elites. If you want to get some sense of this, a good starting point is an article entitled ‘How Iraq and climate change threw the right into disarray’ written in 2007 by Gideon Rachman, not long after he moved from the Economist to become chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times. An excerpt brings out the sheer intellectual shoddiness which has become common:
    “When the cold war was won in 1989, the right embraced an exuberant universalism. The cheering crowds in Prague and the Baltic states – and even the martyred students of Tiananmen Square – seemed like clinching evidence that all men do indeed desire the same things, and that a western formula for freedom and prosperity is infinitely exportable.”
    (See http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2ebaf5d0-aa55-11db-83b0-0000779e2340.html#axzz2HwkskfC7 )
    Some of would have expected that at any point since the Red Army brutally reimposed Soviet rule in 1944 the prospect of its removal would have brought out cheering crowds in Tallinn, Riga or Vilnius. The notion that it provided any information whatsoever about whether the ‘western formula for freedom and prosperity’ was ‘infinitely exportable’ was, quite patently, a howling non-sequitur.

  55. confusedponderer says:

    On a related note, it appears that the Israelis have their own Morgenthau Plan for Gaza, and the de-development of Gaza appears to have contributed to the Palestinians inability to deal with recent floods:
    “As thousands in the Gaza Strip remain displaced and streets across the coastal enclave are still flooded Tuesday, it is increasingly clear that the devastation caused by storm Alexa was not a purely natural phenomenon.
    Emergency response crews have been crippled by a lack of electricity to pump water and a lack of fuel to operate generators. But these conditions of scarcity are not a result of the storm. They were a fact of life even before the rain started falling, due to the Israeli-led siege and the severe limitations placed by Israel on imports and exports.
    The severity of the storm’s effects and the seven years of siege the region has endured are connected by a near-total economic blockade that has led to a slow but steady collapse of infrastructure as well as a deeply weakened capacity for emergency response, a United Nations official charged Sunday.
    “Long term de-development of Gaza is the context in which (the storm) occurred,” Chris Gunness of the UN’s Palestine refugee agency UNRWA said in an interview.
    “It’s fairly obvious that it’s a combination of man-made problems and natural problems” that produced the latest disaster in Gaza, Gunness added.
    He pointed out that despite the tremendous amount of work being done to relieve the crisis, it is an “overwhelmingly grave situation.”
    “Before the rains, there was sewage flooding in the streets because sewage pumps did not have electricity to pump waste water,” Gunness said, referring to a number of incidents in recent weeks.
    “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out who’s responsible for that.”

  56. Barry says:

    “This argument has, to me, the benefit of supporting Robert Paxtons observation that no country has adopted Fascism without first being a failing democracy. We should also perhaps remember that Germany’s total experience of democracy was from 1919 to 1933 – Fourteen years is not a long time to instil democratic traditions.”
    And the more I read, the less I think of it as a democracy. It was under military government until just before the end of WWI, so the democratic government got the defeat dumped upon it. During the 20’s, right-wing paramilitary forces were killing a lot of people, with nominal punishment; leftists who broke the law were severely punished. The Army and judiciary were clearly in the far right; they weren’t Nazis only because Nazism hadn’t been coined yet, and was a fringe party.

  57. Barry says:

    “Looking at the matter in purely Machiavellian terms, however, it seems to me that this could well have been a more sensible strategy for Stalin to have pursued than that which he did actually pursue.”
    Under the circumstances, I could see *any* Soviet or Russian government doing its d*mnedest to seize as much of Eastern/Central Europe as possible, in 1944-45. Better to fight the next war in Germany or Poland than Ukraine or Belarus (and better in those than in Russia itself).

  58. Barry says:

    It didn’t get that much, but it was on top of what the Germans had, which was sh*t, so it probably made a massive difference.
    Also, the Marshall Plan gave preferences to international trade aid, which helped Europe, both in terms of rebuilding trade networks, and taking advantage of cross-European efficiencies.

  59. Barry says:

    ” Let´s not forget that young elites in academia, esp law schools, had been the driving forces of Nazism, esp in places like the SS and their Reichsicherheitshauptamt.”
    This is important – Nazism was a ‘wave of the future’.
    Also, what’s interesting about the original article was that in 1945, Germany had invaded their neighbors twice in twenty odd years, and had caused incredible devastation. And that was on top of their invasions in the mid/late 1800’s.
    The view that Germany was a deep problem, and had to be ‘dealt with’ in a serious manner, was not unreasonable. The only question was what that manner should have been.
    Iran, last I heard, has not invaded other countries for centuries.

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