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Author Topic: Key Historical Events ...THAT YOU MAY HAVE NEVER HEARD OF  (Read 6766 times)

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In this book I have tried to tell the story of an important problem and some of the things that happened when we tried to deal with it. Though many of the events occurred in Germany, before and during the military occupation, they seemed in an increasing degree to be echoes of something more fundamental that was happening back in the United States. For whatever reason, the larger pattern is a repetition of what followed after World War I; but the pace has been quicker, as though greater powers were moving more rapidly toward a more catastrophic result.

THE day I started to write this we discovered termites in the basement. We were preparing to build a wing on our old house and found a colony of them in the heavy timbers.

Termites are able organizers, and thoroughly attached to their way of life. The area they occupy is small in relation to the house (just the heavy underpinnings). They object vigorously to outside interference from the people who live in the other parts of the house. They object especially to structural changes, which they are bound to consider unwarranted.

They have two good reasons for objecting to changes. In the first place exposure to light and air kills them. In the second place any movement of the underpinnings ruins the whole structure of tunnels and channels which their enterprise has built within the framework of the house.

We hated to disturb them. They looked busy and enterprising. They seemed to want nothing more than a comfortable existence in accordance with their way of life.

We cleared the termites out to save the house, but I think I know how they looked at the whole matter. At the end of the Second World War I spent two and a half years in Germany dealing with some people who must think pretty much the same way.

We were becoming a little ashamed of having farm "surpluses" and industrial "overproduction" in one part of the world while people starved and did without things in other parts.

The tremendous wartime production in our own country^ outstripping all estimates, had itself been an eye opener. Why not have full production and full employment in peacetime, too? We were beginning to have some feeling for the idea that economic restrictions, depression, and war are not unrelated.

Francis Biddle's demand for curbs on the big German financial and industrial combines was not ignored. The Financial Branch of SHAEF, General Eisenhower*s headquarters in Europe, asked for help in planning the necessary steps. They were preparing to investigate the concentration of economic power in Germany. They wanted to discover how the German leaders were smuggling great fortunes abroad to provide a future base of operations after the coming military defeat. ... ... It was going to be our job to uncover records, and to find and talk to the German masterminds who had laid their plans for turning military defeat into economic victory. We had to find out what they had done and how they had done it. ... ... Whatever their story might be, we had to know how such men came to have power and what forces determined the use they made of it.

During the German occupation of the neighboring countries they had had new opportunities to strengthen their hold. Even before we left the United States it took no powers of divination to realize that German finance and industry would have made the most of these opportunities to set up new vested interests in hands that would appear to be French, or Dutch, or Belgian, or Italian. We could expect to be greeted by these "allied" defenders of the Nazi economic New Order, who would resist our countermeasures by wailing that they had already "suffered" under the Germans.

How were we going to fare when we ran up against real demonstrations of German economic power and ingenuity, where the opposition to change would be a lot more formidable because it would be carefully engineered? The answer was not long in coming.

We settled down out of the sky over England into a fog-covered beehive called Bushy Park, headquarters for the future military  government of Germany, then known as the U.S. Group Control Council. ... ... Our special team was assigned to work in the Finance Division with Captain Norbert A. Bogdan, a charming fellow who had been a vice president of the J. Henry Schroder Banking Corporation, a firm in whose files the Nazi banking affiliations were still warm when the United States went to war.

Agelbert NOTE: I will continue providing snippets in subsequent posts as I read this book. Aleady I have been flabbergasted by the fact that U.S. ship and factory reinsurers, AFTER we were at war with Nazi Germany, through Switzerland and South America on to Germany, were notified of when ANY U.S. was to leave port AND what cargo it had, providing the German submarines off our coast a "to sink" list! 

And all those factories making war stuff with lots of guards posted to keep Nazi spies from knowing what was going on there? Well, anyone could, and did, without any security clearance whatsoevah, buy "required reinsurance document copies" for pennies which included detailed descriptions of factories and their contents including, in the case of magnesium processing plants, what valve coulld not be closed because that would "cause an explosion". All this info was required by reinsurers. ANYBODY could access all this stuff, right down to where the fire extinguishers were in the White House! In spite of this OBVIOUS security threat, getting our own government to order American corporations to STOP sending this info to Germany took several MONTHS! 

You don't believe me? I just READ IT in this book! Read it yourself! 

We proposed to have the Attorney General send a letter to each company warning that transmission of marine and industrial plant information of this type came within the scope of the Espionage Act.

In the end the letter was sent out, nearly a year and a half after the leakage had first been brought to the attention of an agency of the government, and over four months after we in the Economic Warfare Section had taken up the case and pointed out what uses the Germans could be making of the information.

« Last Edit: July 01, 2019, 05:03:16 pm by AGelbert »
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23


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