The key to understanding the contradictions in American attitudes toward the Germans in the first years of occupation is found in the dramatic shift in foreign relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. As a professed democracy determined to provide the German people with the opportunity to select their own form of government, the Americans confronted an unsolvable dilemma. How could a vanquished people be taught the fundamentals of democracy when the victors were violating some of the basic precepts? In other words, how could the Americans advocate punishment for those Germans who had been ardent supporters of the Hitler regime, and at the same time allow broad exceptions for the ex-Nazis who could be helpful in implementing anticommunist policy? How did American actions, specifically those carried out by the CIC and the CIA, encourage the Soviets and East Germans to conduct a terrorist program of kidnaping against residents of West Berlin? The answers lie in a careful examination of why wartime planning faded before peacetime reality.
Throughout most of the war years, the Allies had periodically issued declarations of intent to punish the people who had committed war crimes, and to denazify Germany. Individual nations began compiling wanted lists of people to be charged with war crimes, and a United Nations War Crimes Commission began the creation of a central file. In 1945, the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF)