Germany in Power and Eclipse: The Background of German Development

Germany in Power and Eclipse: The Background of German Development

Germany in Power and Eclipse: The Background of German Development

Germany in Power and Eclipse: The Background of German Development

Excerpt

The preparation for World War II and the war years revealed an astonishing lack of basic data, not to mention understanding, concerning the German area and the German people. Even in several old German sources, long out of date, let alone sources in English, there was no body of essential information which added up to a well-rounded treatment of the German area and its peoples, and of how the German state and society had evolved down through the centuries. Although old, local cultural histories were available in the German language, nothing approximating a socio-economic-political survey of Germany and its integral territorial units was in existence.

Geopolitical studies of Germany, such as the Germans themselves made of other critical areas of the world, were not available when Hitler unleashed the dogs of war in 1939. Thereafter, official and private research dealing with Germany was intensified, and following the United States' entry into the war in 1941 and in the years which followed, great efforts were made to train thousands of military personnel in the general and also in the detailed facts about the German area and its people.

In connection with this training it appeared that there was an acute lack of concrete information which would be necessary and helpful to our military government personnel when they undertook to occupy and govern the country of the defeated enemy. Otherwise well-informed German specialists were without the tools with which to instruct the officers and men who were later to undertake important responsibilities all over Germany.

In this emergency situation with the help of our colleagues, we began the compilation, evaluation, and presentation of the essential facts covering the entire German area, province by province, and state by state. Some twenty-two unit studies were prepared in the course of the war and made available to the War Department and the State Department. Without any financial help from or obligation to the federal government and due to the generosity of the University of Michigan, research into all aspects of German development was undertaken . . .

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