2003 April 24 Thursday
De-Nazification Compared To De-Baathification

Writing in the Opinion Journal Daniel Johnson describes the process of de-Nazification in the aftermath of World War II.

In the U.S. zone, where de-Nazification was pursued most vigorously, three million out of 13 million who filled out the form were followed up. Former Nazis were divided into four categories, ranging from senior officials with a high degree of culpability to mere fellow-travelers. Punishments ranged from prison or labor camp (to which 9,000 were sentenced) to confiscation of property (25,000), exclusion from public office (22,000) or fines (more than 500,000). By 1948, when de-Nazification was phased out except for about 30,000 senior Nazis, the Americans had prosecuted nearly a million Germans, of whom more than 600,000 were penalized. In the British zone, only about two million were investigated, of whom 350,000 were excluded from positions of responsibility.

To make this process work in Iraq the United States would have to commit to an occupation period that would last for years. At this point the Bush Administration is unwilling to commit (at least publically) to such a long occupation. For this and other reasons mentioned in Johnson's essay de-Baathification is unlikely to be pursued to even remotely near the extent that de-Nazification was pursued in Germany.

Iraq is harder to reform into a democracy than Germany was at the end of World War II. Yet the United States is not going to try has hard in Iraq as it did in Germany. Success in reshaping Iraq seems unlikely.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 April 24 04:40 AM  Reconstruction and Reformation


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