American Experiences in Military Government in World War II

American Experiences in Military Government in World War II

American Experiences in Military Government in World War II

American Experiences in Military Government in World War II

Excerpt

Military occupation and government have become a central concern of American foreign policy. They impinge upon our relations with virtually all the powers with whom we are in diplomatic contact. Like colonies, occupied territories complicate foreign policy, because the needs of the occupied country cannot be disregarded, except at great cost to the taxpayer of the occupying power; yet these needs may clash with the needs of adjoining nations. The problems raised by the Ruhr, its coal and steel production, and the role it might play in German and European reconstruction constitute only one of many such instances where the occupation officials, concerned primarily with the local situation, will differ sharply regarding policy from officials at home, especially those concerned with foreign policy in its over-all aspects.

At the same time military occupation and government is putting to a severe test the genuineness of our democratic faith. While intimately linked to the winning of the war, it is even more crucial in the winning of the peace. Who would question the urgency of democratizing Germany and Japan? Who would deny the paradox implied in trying to do it by force? Who would be ready to proclaim the success of denazification or demilitarization at this time? Or controvert the importance of these policies for the establishment of a lasting peace? How to carry forward these and similar policies, and not to become imperialist in the process, is the challenge confronting the United States as an occupying power today and for many years to. come.

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