Gruesome Harvest

Gruesome Harvest
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A year and a month after the Potsdam Declaration was published, Secretary of State Byrnes suddenly left the Paris peace conference and went to Stuttgart where among the German people he attempted to justify and defend America’s policy toward the defeated Reich.
This willingness to place a value on German public opinion marked a fundamental and welcome turning point in our official attitude, for previously we were carrying out our mission in Germany with utter disregard for what the Germans might think of it or us.
The change did not arise from any newly discovered fondness for our defeated subjects. Mr. Byrnes had put his finger on the real reason when he said: “It is not in the interest of the German people or in the interest of world peace that Germany should become a pawn or a partner in a military struggle for power between East and West.”
That is precisely what had already happened. Belatedly, we had come to realize that while we were busily and blindly alienating the German people by carrying out one of the most brutal and terrifying peace programs ever inflicted on a defeated nation, Russia, who had been egging us on, was quietly preparing to come forward as their champion and to offer them an avenue of escape from us through the establishment of a unified, revived, and Communist Reich to be joined to the Soviet Union. This had been made clear by Molotov in July at Paris.
Germany is more than a mere pawn in the struggle for power between world ambitious Communist Russia and the West, she is the major price. World Communism has long coveted Germany as the brightest jewel in its crown. The Kremlin knows and we know that all Europe would have to fall before the combined might of a union between Soviet Russia and a resuscitated Reich.
Such an eventuality cannot be tolerated by Britain who, with a hostile Europe at her back, would find her very existence threatened. Nor could we countenance such a threat to England, because treatment of the British Isles as our first line of defence in the Atlantic is one of the imperatives of our present foreign policy.
Union between Soviet Russia and a sovietized Germany would mean war. To prevent war, we must therefore prevent the fruition of Russia’s design. Hence, it becomes necessary that we attract Germany to our side and keep her there.