Excuse me, but I'm too dense to see what all the fuss is about.
Michael Mills wrote:
It is interesting that Adenauer considered the Morgenthau Plan to be as bad as the National Socialist crimes. He considered it as a plan to starve 30-40 million Germans through the dismantling of industry. Accordingly, it appears that the United States had a starvation plan for Germany as bad as that which Nazi Germany had intended to impose on the Soviet Union.
In the first place, whatever Adenauer might have thought the effect of the Morgenthau Plan might be ( and viewed in light of the obvious political character of his speech quoted by Mr. Mills one may, I think, legitimately question whether it reflected Adenauer's considered judgement of the matter) I know of no evidence that its purpose
was to starve 30-40 million Germans, or indeed that that would have been the effect had it been put into practice.
In the second place, Mr. Mills' notion that "the United States had a starvation plan for Germany" suggests that the Morganthau Plan had been in some way officially adopted by the United States Government. It had not and was not. Unlike Adolph Hitler's, Franklin Roosevelt's ipse dixit
was not sufficient to transform a whim into official policy of the state, as Roosevelt himself quickly acknowledged when faced with the public uproar after news of the Morganthau Plan was leaked to the press.
In the third place, Roosevelt promptly abandoned support of the Morgenthau Plan when faced with its potentially severe political repercussions, and it was never placed in effect. IMHO a convincing demonstration of one of the more compelling arguments in favor of a form of government which is ultimately answerable to the will of the public.
So what do we really have here? A political speech by Konrad Adenauer criticizing a proposal by the US Secretary of Treasury, which was in fact never adopted as official US policy and never placed in effect. And an argument he made four years later to his political council urging support for compensation for Israel, on the grounds, among others, that Jews have great power in the economic sphere (which is certainly a truism.) IMHO involving nothing more than the veritable tempest in a teapot.
Apparently, however, Mr. Mills sees a significant link between the Adenauer speech which he quotes and Germany's decision to make restitution for the evils which the Third Reich heaped upon the Jews. As best I can make it out (and if I'm wrong I'm sure Mr. Mills will not hesitate to correct me) the link seems to consist in Adenauer's concept of the tremendous power which the Jewish community exerts in the US which, if it could result in the Morgenthau Plan, could also result in a denial of Germany's much need financial credits if not assuaged by financial compensation to Israel.
If that is indeed the link, it strikes me as tenous indeed. A statement made in a political speech in 1948 and another to his Party Committee four years later in 1952. Both statements taken out of the context in which they were made. And of course we shall never know precisely what was in Adenauer's mind, but as Qvist has already perceptively pointed out, in the latter statement Adenauer clearly placed the moral and political factors before the economic.
Finally, from Mr. Mills' post here and elsewhere on this forum, I have the impression (and again if I'm wrong I would welcome a correction) that he attributes the brutalities of the Third Reich against the Jews to a pervasive, and, in his view, well founded fear of an internationally solidified and powerful Jewish cabal united toward the utilization of whatever means available to quell opposition to the Zionist cause and to punish Germany and all Germans. In his above post he states:
It should be noted that the Morgenthau Plan was not a plan conceived by the the political mainstream in the United States, but rather of the leftist, heavily Jewish, coterie around Roosevelt which by the end of the war had seized policy-making power for itself from a Roosevelt who was already half-dead. It was not implemented due to opposition from the United States military and the State Department, which were opposed to the Jewish power centred on the Treasury.
Now there is no question but that Henry Morgenthau, the then Secretary of Treasury, was a Jew, nor that Harry Dexter White, his Assistant Secretary and probably the author of the details of the Morgenthau Plan, was Jewish. Nor is there any question that there were several others of Jewish faith in the Treasury Department at the time, although I do know to what degree they did, in fact, support the Morgenthau Plan. But the implication that the Plan reflected the general opinion of "leftist" Jews in the Roosevelt administration is simply false. As only one example, Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, who was a Roosevelt appointee to the then so-called "Jewish seat" on the US Supreme Court and extremely close to the President himself, was vocally opposed to the Morgenthau Plan; as, I believe, were other prominent American Jews who supported the President.
Moreover, the opposition of the War Department and Department of State was not toward "the Jewish power centred on [sic] the Treasury", but rather toward the very nature of the Plan itself, to which they objected on moral, strategic and pragmatic grounds. Henry Stimpson, the Secretary of War, was indeed upset at the Treasury Department's efforts to take a leading role in deciding the fate of post-war Germany, which he felt was more properly the domain of the Departments of State and of War, and he recognized with some understanding that Morgenthau's harsh position may have been in response to Germany's treatment of the Jews, but from what I have read his opposition to the Morgenthau Plan itself was based on the belief that it was morally wrong to burden the entire German people with the crimes of Nazism and that the practical result would inevitably lead to aggressive revanchisme
in the future. I have seen nothing to indicate that either Stimpson or Cordell Hull, the Secretary of State, were opposed to the Plan because it reflected "Jewish power". That may of course be because I am not an expert in this field, and certainly if any such evidence exists I would be pleased to know of it.
I'm sorry that I have no sources to cite for the above other than my memory of various readings over the years, which admittedly is becoming more feeble as the years progress.