American/German Club news

Frank Nechvatal

The American/German Club meets the fourth Tuesday of the month from September through April at 6:00 p.m. in the Lakeview Room. The club is open to anyone interested in the German culture. The club typically hosts for itself an Oktoberfest and a Fasching (Mardi Gras) festival each season. Please join us on our meeting dates.

Our next meeting will be September 27. The purpose of this meeting will be to plan for the Oktoberfest. See you then.

In our history of Germany we left off with the surrender of Germany to the allies to end WW II in Europe. Following the war, Germany and its people fell into a state of chaos. The allies found that there were nearly 10 million German refugees. The allied bombing had destroyed a fourth of housing. Food production was only two-thirds of prewar levels. Coal production was down 60 percent, industrial production fell more than half and only returned to prewar levels at the end of 1949. Also at this same time allies conducted a denazification program to round up former Nazi officials. Those who had had positions of leadership were tried as war criminals and sentenced to either death or prison. In the Soviet sector many of the POWs were used as forced labor. As the Soviets crushed dissent and imposed another police state they utilized ex-Nazis in their dreaded secret police, the Stasi. The Allies worked on a program of industrial disarmament while building the agricultural sector. However, the deindustrialization became impractical and the US led the call for a strong industrial base so as to stimulate both European and German economic recovery. In 1949 two governments rose in what had been Germany. The Soviet Zone saw the rise of the Deutsche Demokratishe Republik (the German Democratic Republic) while the remaining Allied Zones saw the rise of the Bundes Republik of Deutschland (the United Republic of Germany). The DDR’s capital was located in the divided city of Berlin, divided into two sectors – one allied and the other Soviet. The BRD capital became located in Bonn, hence the term the Bonn Republic. In 1961 the DDR formly divided Germany by building the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was built to stop East Germans from fleeing into West Germany in order to escape Communist control.

Next time: the economic growth of West Germany and the reunification of a divided country.

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