740.0011 E.W./5–145: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Caffery) to the Secretary of State

2252. From Murphy. SHAEF joint intelligence committee analyses the attitude of the bulk of the German population thus far as apathetic and docile. It is considered that there is no large scale security problem for the immediate future. No serious act of sabotage has been reported against the vast masses of Allied war material and dumps or against Allied pipe lines and communications. In many cases German civilian population and even field commanders have disobeyed orders to destroy installations.

On the other hand the German people seem utterly unrepentant and sunk in inconceivable ignorance of the deeds of their leaders and the hatred with which Germany is regarded in Europe. They are also indifferent to the plight of foreign workers and displaced persons and manifest arrogant indignation at the suggestion that Germany was responsible for the war and that she should now suffer for her misdeeds. The average German realizes that Germany is militarily defeated but does not admit that she is conquered. Many regard themselves as liberated from the horrors of war imposed on them from above for which, they consider themselves not responsible. Children give the V sign to Allied troops and in Duisburg and Essen United States troops were received with cheers. During 10 years of Nazi rule Germans have acquired the habit of shutting their eyes as to what went on in the next street. Few admit knowledge of concentration camps and SS atrocities and they disown responsibility. They seem generally only too anxious to help military government and to rehabilitate their towns. In their eyes the only crime Germany has committed is to lose the war.

Many profess ignorance of events during the past years stating the belief that United States declared war on them and that Great Britain and France were plotting for years to attack Germany. They are grieved when foreign workers loot their goods and have to be fed. Even the Archbishop of Minister35 is quoted as referring to all displaced [Page 938] persons as Russians and demanding that the Allies should afford Germany protection from these “inferior peoples.”

Among the educated groups there is already gloating over difficulties confronting the Allies in their dealings with the Russians and it is clear that they will do all they can to poison Allied-Russian relations and play one off against the other. So far churches show no signs of taking initiative though individually priests have served temporarily in most of small communities as burgomeisters. Herr Zapp, late of notorious Transocean propaganda service in the United States and recently head of the Section for American Affairs in the German Foreign Office, now captured, said that he thought little could be expected from Protestant pastors or even from Catholic priests.

Nazi threats seem to have had little effect on German officials working for the Allies. The assassination of the Mayor, of Aachen36 caused no resignations and no further werewolf incidents have been reported.

Most acute problem still that of the displaced persons of whom over a million are in charge of the Allies. Temporarily food supplies are holding out. [Murphy.]

  1. Clemens Graf von Galen, Bishop of Münster.
  2. Franz Oppenhof, non-Nazi Mayor of Aachen, had been killed by three German parachutists in uniform in late March.