Denazification

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Denazification

 

measures to purge the state and the sociopolitical and economic life of Germany from the consequences of the fascist regime and to carry out the democratic transformation of the country.

The decisions of the Potsdam Conference of 1945 and the decree of the Allied Control Council in Germany (October 1945) on carrying out denazification provided for the abolition of the National Socialist (Fascist) Party and its branches as well as of organizations under its control; the dissolution of all Nazi institutions and the guarantee that they would never be revived in any form whatsoever; the prevention of any and all Nazi activity or propaganda; the bringing to trial of active Nazis and of persons guilty of war crimes against the world and humanity; the removal of Nazis from all positions; the abolition of fascist legislation; and the removal of Nazi doctrines from the system of public education. The International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg convicted the principal war criminals (the sentences were announced on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 1946); it also declared as criminal the leadership of the National Socialist Party, the Gestapo, the SD (Security Service), and the SS.

In the Soviet zone of German occupation the Soviet military administration rendered the German democratic forces all manner of support in carrying out denazification, which was completed in 1948.

In the American, British, and French zones of occupation, denazification was essentially not carried out. The imperialist circles of the USA, Great Britain, and France jointly with West German imperialists actually suspended the execution of denazification. In the self-governing organs of the Western zones of occupation important positions were held by former Nazi officials. Many Nazi criminals in the Western zones were allowed to remain free. The Nazi criminals who were brought to trial were frequently given unreasonably light sentences. It is characteristic that in June 1958 the Allied law on the prohibition of the National Socialist Party was officially abolished in the Federal Republic of Germany. Many former Nazis have joined the National Democratic Party and other neo-Nazi parties and organizations.

The actual suspension of the denazification process was one of the acts of the Western powers directed at reviving reactionary militaristic forces in West Germany.

REFERENCE

Niurnbergskii protsess nad glavnymi voennymi prestupnikami. Sb. materialov, vols. 1-7. Moscow, 1957-61.

IU. M. SHARKOV