Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Geroge Urbaniak

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This thesis examines the rehabilitation of western Germany from a totalitarian enemy to a democratic partner involved in a military alliance. Previous accounts of German remilitarization focus almost exclusively on the growing Cold War tensions after 1945 and argue that the Korean War acted as the primary catalyst influencing the birth of the Bundeswehr. These historians hypothesize that the four occupying powers largely demilitarized their respective zones of occupation. This thesis evaluates this orthodox argument using the perspectives offered by post-revisionist economic historians. These historians demonstrate that Germany's industrial infrastructure suffered far less destruction through bombing and reparations than understood in the immediate postwar period and that German industrial capacity remained higher in 1946 than before the Second World War. General Lucius D. Clay and the American State Department accepted the need for an early modification of the occupational policy developed in Joint Chiefs of Staff 1067 and at the Potsdam Conference owing largely to the high costs of the enterprise. The Americans placed Germany on the path towards the economic "miracle" of the 1950s. This thesis argues that these changes in deindustrialization also impacted the more traditional diplomatic and military functions of the future West Germany. West Germany maintained a military potential despite the policy of demilitarization. American difficulties with the Soviets during this period later intensified efforts at rehabilitating Germany.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

History Commons