REVERSAL OF POLICY: THE DEPARTMENTS OF STATE AND DEFENSE, AND THE ARMING OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY, 1946-1955
Goldberg, Sheldon Aaron
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Between 1946 and 1950, the U.S. State Department repeatedly expressed its determination to keep Germany disarmed and demilitarized and offered pledges regarding the extended presence of U.S. troops in Western Europe. At the same time, and initially unbeknownst to the State Department, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff were making plans to arm Germany in response to the growing Soviet threat to Western Europe. In September 1950, in reaction to the communist invasion of South Korea that had prompted fears the same would happen in Germany, the United States decided to arm the Federal Republic of Germany. Although coupled with a pledge to increase the number of U.S. troops in Europe, the U.S. decision resulted in a number of unintended consequences including a Congressional challenge to Presidential power, opposition by and discord among U.S. Allies, loss of control over the rearmament process, and the establishment of a new set of relations with its erstwhile enemy. While the actual outcome of that 1950 decision was positive, i.e., the arming of the Federal Republic of Germany was approved, the creation of a national German army was not what official U.S. policy had intended.