Leeds nostalgia: When Germans preferred to be ruled by Brits

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A secret 74-page report into the effects of the Allied occupation of Germany revealed that Germans preferred being under British rule rather than American. But the dossier also revealed they would rather be under the Americans than the Russians.

The report said there had been a “strong drift towards despair” for Germans under US occupation.

A report in the Yorkshire Evening Post on December 15, 1945, had this to say: “Germans in the zone, who have lived in or visited the British zone and a greater number who have merely heard reports of how the British adminsiter their zone, reflect general satisafastion with the occupation policies there and express the belief thag German civilians under the British receive more help towards a resumpution of normal life than those in the American or Russian spheres.”

It goes on: “Germans in this zone show three basic impressions of the British military government - that it is highly efficient and systematic. It is felt law and order are well maintained.

The biggest complaint about the Americans was that some men were arrested for no apparent reason and thereafter were never seen or heard from again.

US soldiers were in general believed to be taking liberties, there were unscotched rumours of them having liaisons with the former wives of SS officers, which, the report noted let to the “increasing feeling of injustice” and a sense of “lawlessness” and “resentment against the US.”

One US intelligence officer, commenting on the negative aspects of the report, stated that Britain’s long experience in colonial rule was being put to good use.

All Allies were involved in the ‘de-Nazificaion’ of soldiers.

Clocks of Leeds. The Leeds Town Hall....26th October 2010 .... Picture by Simon Hulme

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