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Chris Knowles

David Welch has the same 'Four Ds' as Nicholas Pronay: de-militarisation, de-nazification, democratisation and deindustrialisation, in his article on ‘Priming the Pump of German Democracy: British ‘Re-Education’ Policy in Germany after the Second World War’ in Ian D. Turner (Ed), Reconstruction in Post-War Germany: British Occupation Policy and the Western Zones 1945-1955 (Oxford: Berg Publishers Ltd, 1989).

Christian Alferez

Fascinating article. But beyond the hard tactics of the 4 Ds, how successful was the policy of re-education? How was re-education implemented as a policy?

Chris Knowles

It all depends on what they meant by 're-education' and no-one really agreed on this.

General Sir Brian Robertson wrote that their task in Germany was 'rather like the problem of educating a child ... Just as in the case of children, what happens to them during their formative years has a lasting effect on them for the rest of their lives, so it may well be that in the case of the German nation, which is in a sense being reborn in the present stage of its history, what happens during the early years after its rebirth may have an effect upon its character for centuries to come.'

Harold Ingrams and the Administration and Local Government Branch believed that 're-education' was part of the process of democratisation, which was a complete way of life, and more than just elections and voting.

The Education Branch, on the other hand, detested the word and never used it. Harold Walker, director of the branch, wrote in 1948 that their policy since 1945 had been: ‘to endeavour through the German educational system to awaken in Germans, individually and collectively:
a) A sense of responsibility for what is done in the name of the community in which they live
b) A respect for objective fact for freedom of opinion, speech the press and religion; and
c) An interest in the ideas of representative and responsible government’
But he added: 'We detest the word “re-education” as much as the Germans. This is an Education Branch, not a “Re-education” branch, and the word has never been used in our directives.'

Chris Knowles

According to a book I'm reading by Ulrich Reusch on British attempts in 1946-7 to reform the German Civil Service, the first reference to the idea of the 'Four D's' was by Carl J. Friedrich, Professor of Government at Harvard University and Director of the Civil Affairs Training School, School of Overseas Administration. He was also Special Adviser on Governmental Affairs to the US Military Governor of Germany from 1946-49. His 'four D's' were democratization, denazification, demilitarization and deindustrialization.

Carl Friedrich, ‘Military Government and Democratization’, in Carl Friedrich (ed) American Experiences in Military Government in World War II (New York: 1948) pp3-23, cited in Ulrich Reusch, Deutsches Berufsbeamtentum und Britische Besatzung 1943-1947 (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1985), p61.


But had the 4D's help to the reconstruction of Germany, I mean, nowadays, we can say that the Germany of today is the result of Potsdam conference?

G.W. Smith

Too many chefs spoil the soup.

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