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Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 86 (March 1947)

[Highlights of policy],   pp. [4]-15 PDF (7.1 MB)


Page 14

APPROACH TO SYMPATHY
A problem which becomes increasingly
grave and urgent for all Englishmen in Ger-
many, is the problem of how to argue with
a German.
Many members of the C.C.G. and B.A.O.R.
are coming into contact with Germans for
the first time. There is a very real danger,
based on a traditional English disinclination
for unpleasant argument, that in the course
of conversation the temptation to agree with
a German who criticises Military Govern-
ment will prove too strong for reason.
It is now a recognised fact that after the
1914--1918 War the Germans organised
sympathy for their plight, and swayed Eng-
lish public opinion to such an extent, that
it was only in 1939 that the danger became
clear to the man in the street. There are
signs that this is happening again.
The man in the street in England is not
yet blinded to facts, but he is in danger of
being misled, both by what he has the right
to consider informed opinion at home, and
by members of the Control Commission, who
in his view, are the experts on the spot.
BAD NEWS BETTER THAN GOOD
Informed circles at home, even those who
visit Germany from time to time for a few
days, are apt to base their public utterances
on information gleaned from dissatisfied
The above article. is reprinted from the
British Zone Review, official fortnightly or-
gazn of the Control Commission, Military
Government of the British Zone of Germany.
In the article, C. C. G. means Control Com-
mission for Germany, the British MG cor-
responding to OMGUS, and B.A.O.R. means
British Army of the Rhine, the military
force similar to that of the US Army in the
U;S Zone.
elements in Germany. "Bad news is better
news than good news."
It is, therefore, at these, and at the mem-
bers of the Control Commission and the gar-
risons of B.A.O.R. that the Germans are
aiming their sympathy campaign. They are
likely to succeed.
How many Englishman in Germany today
can claim to win every argument with every
German that he meets? Yet we must in every
argument. Each one lost is retailed a thou-
sand times, enlarged and becomes distorted.
The cause of our defeat is simple. Not
enough Englishmen take the trouble to learm
the facts that would equip them to face a
G-erman enemy in verbal battle.
COAL PROBLEM CONSIDERED
One example points to the moral. One
of the chief subjects of conversation between
English and Germans today is the subject
of coal. The Germans are unable to under-
stand why, when 4 nmillion tons of coal are
produced in the Ruhr in 5 weeks, they must
remain cold. In every argument, the British
are accused of bleeding Germany in repara-
tions for the Low Countries and for herself.
"Where does the coal go to?" is the con-
stant cry. How many Englishmen must retire
defeated? Yet how simple is the answer, and
answer available to everyone, printed in the
German Press, released to the British Press,
an answer that leaves the Englishman the
victor. It is this.
Not one ton. has ever been paid by Ger-
many in reparations Only 4.1 percent of the
coal produced in the British 'Zone is taken by
the Occupation Authorities for their own
use. The remainder is evenly divided be-
tween operating German railways, ports and
inland waterways, providing essential ci-
14


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