January 28, 2017

1949. Germans Protest the Three-Power Occupation of the Ruhr

The Three Powers Determine Reparations and Germany's Industrial Future
"East Berliners take part in a December 1948 demonstration 'for a united democratic Germany,' organized by the Soviet-influenced Socialist Unity Party of Germany" (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

January 17, 1949

The Western Powers today are getting around to putting down on paper just how and how much the defeated German nation will pay for its aggression under Hitler.

The three-power meeting in London beginning today should come out with an occupation statute defining the powers of the military governments and their relationship with the proposed Western German state. Later today there will be an announcement of the Military Security Council, that three-power group assigned to police the Ruhr to make sure that the international control of that vital industrial area does not allow development of war industry.

The establishment of the International Ruhr Authority and the impending occupation statute are meeting strong opposition from German political leaders both of the West and from the Communists in the East. The German people have long known that they were going to have to pay for the war, and since the victory, plants have been dismantled and other reparations assessed.

However, using their position as pawns in the struggle between the East and the West, it is no secret that German politicians hope to alleviate the war payment burden by playing the international issues. Consequently, there will be another large howl when the details of the Military Security board and the occupation statute are revealed.

The Communists are already beating the anti-Western drums the loudest. Their vitriolic line this morning runs like this:

"Cursed be all those who agree with the Ruhr statute," it says. "Cursed be to all those who agree with the occupation statute which enslaves Western Germany."

The military struggle with Germany ended in 1945. Now begins the political struggle.

Sixteen thousand American occupation troops began winter maneuvers this morning. The first phase will be the defense of the west bank of the Rhine. The second will involve taking bridgeheads on the east bank of the river. Military authorities emphasize that these maneuvers are routine and in no sense connected with the present tension in Europe. However, it must be pointed out that the Rhine is a natural defense line in the event of an attack from the East.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.