740.00.119 Control (Germany)/9–845: Airgram

The United States Political Adviser for Germany ( Murphy ) to the Secretary of State

A–189. Intelligence reports constantly suggest that while all non-Nazi Germans welcome our denazification policy, they are often critical of its application. They feel it is too “schematic” and too rigid with insufficient provision for making numerous exceptions to the general rules. Germans usually feel that many persons who were only nominal Nazis are falling under the axe unjustly and that some [Page 961] active Nazis are being missed. They sometimes fail to realize that it is much easier for them to judge the real attitudes of their compatriots than it is for Military Government and that they could be of assistance in precisely this field.

Thus, a rumor has been circulating in Coburg that a new United States order will oust all NSDAP members who joined the Party prior to May 1937. This policy is criticized as being arbitrary and not penalizing those whom it intends to punish. Germans in Coburg say that people who joined the Party in 1933 did so under the influence of a mass movement and without full knowledge of what the Party stood for. Those who joined after 1938 on the other hand were fully informed about Nazism and its operations and acquiesced in all the Party stood for.

In other quarters the foregoing arguments are reversed. Those who joined the Party in later years are excused as having done so under pressure as contrasted with those who voluntarily joined during the early years of the movement.

There is apparently no agreement among Germans as to how far the denazification program should be carried. Two things seem chiefly to irritate them: What appears to their uncritical eyes to be mass discharges and penalties applied to all Party members regardless of individual merits of the case, and the unavoidable lack of uniformity in the application of the denazification policy in different localities.