National Geographic : 1949 Jan
With Uncle Sam and John Bull in Germany BY FREDERICK SIMPICH WHAT are we doing in Germany, with our Army, Air Force, civilian officials and their staffs, and thousands of Germans who work for us? What are the British and French doing there, with similar forces, in their Occupation Zones? Why has hard-pressed London already spent, for all purposes, more than two billion dollars, to help Germany and western Europe? Who gets all the money Uncle Sam is put ting up? I went to Germany to find out, then came home and talked with William H. Draper, Jr., our Under Secretary of the Army (page 118). This is the answer: Uncle Sam and John Bull are working there to get Germany on her feet again. They're there to feed her, keep order, rebuild her industries, increase coal and steel output, set up sound currency, and restore transport and foreign trade, so she can stay on her feet. By the Hague Convention victors in war can't let the vanquished starve. So Uncle Sam and John Bull vote funds to prevent hunger, disease, and unrest in the occupied areas. These funds are added to by millions from ECA, or the Economic Cooperation Adminis tration. It implements the Marshall Plan, under the general name of European Recovery Program (ERP). A third source of cash for Bizonia-mean ing the American and British occupied areas* -c omes from export of goods made by Ger mans. Only by increasing these exports can the cost of German aid, now borne by British and American taxpayers, be reduced. Aid to 16 Other Countries But all this is not just to get Germany off the backs of British and American taxpayers. Infinitely more is involved, including aid to 16 other lands in western Europe. Weak as she is, Germany just now may be the most important country in the world. The course of history may depend on what happens in and to her. Particularly is our own destiny, and that of the French and British people, involved. For decades Germany was the heart of western Europe's trade and industry. Besides aiding Germany, we Allies-and particularly Uncle Sam-are also sending vast sums into other nations, from Denmark south to Greece and Turkey, to help restore their farms, factories, and foreign trade. But all this centers around Germany. If we do not aid her and her old trading neighbors to cure their ills, that would suit Russia. Then she could push her Soviet way of life west to the Atlantic coast, and hold dominion over all European civilization. To Russia, also, rich Ruhr coal mines and steel works, and Germany's technical "know-how," are of infinite potential aid. Since German revival is the master key to all west European recovery, feeding her comes first. Bulk of Food from U. S. A. Bulk of food comes from the United States. It includes such foods surplus to our needs as potatoes, dried fruits, dried eggs, peanuts, soya-bean flour. We also send countless tons of bread grains, shiploads of Cuban sugar, whale oil from Japan, dates from Iraq, copra from the Philippines; and one consignment included 12,000,000 gallons of fruit juice for hos pitals! Such odd items, too, as 26 tons of frozen pork stomachs and 20 tons of frozen beef livers. In one recent month more than 100 ships were hauling food to Germany from all over the world. About 60 percent of all food is shipped in American vessels, to Bremen, Emden, and Hamburg. From there it goes to storage in scattered warehouses, where Germans receive it for distribution. It is charged against them, on the books, on the theory that some day they may pay for it! Just now, about $800,000,000 a year is be ing spent to feed Germany. We and the British learn, through reports made by Germans to our Military Govern ments, what kinds of food are most needed, and where. Germans Must Grind Grain Most bread grain goes over whole. Millers here urge us to send flour, so they can get the job of grinding it. But Army wants all grain ground in Ger many, so she may get the wages for her millers, and retain the bran and mash. Also, this is cheaper than sending flour. It's the same with cottonseed and soya beans; when the Germans grind them, they * See "Uncle Sam Bends a Twig in Germany," by Frederick Simpich, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGA ZINE, October, 1948, and especially the map on page 532 of that issue.