The Allied reconstruction of the Berlin police, 1945-1948 / by Gilbert Eugene Jones, Jr.
Western historians of the Cold War have generally ignored the extent to which historical and cultural differences contributed to the Soviet-American conflict in Berlin following the Second World War. They have attributed the collapse of quadripartite administration and the division of the city in 1948 almost exclusively to ideological differences. Thus the dispute over the police which emerged as the most divisive feature of Soviet-American discord in the former Nazi capital has most often been explained as a product of the Cold War. This study, however, emphasizes the impact of contrasting police traditions on the Allied reconstruction of the police and on the evolution of the conflict that followed. The study focuses initially on the differing notions of police and on Allied preparations for dealing with postwar Germany. It examines the two police traditions--the continental and the Anglo-American--that competed for expression in occupied Berlin and identifies four major features that distinguished the two systems. Furthermore, it suggests that the two protagonists approached the occupation of postwar Germany from quite different perspectives. The Western powers stressed the need for a fundamental reform of the old police system, while the Russians concentrated on employing the future police in Berlin as a means of maintaining Communist hegemony over all four sectors of the city. When the Russians occupied the city in May 1945, they relied heavily on German emigre Marxists and former German prisoners of war to establish a Communist dominated police force based strictly on the continental model. Committed as they were to a general overhaul of the old police structure, Western officials subsequently launched a program to replace the Soviet sponsored police with one that was more in consonance with the Anglo-American conception of law enforcement. Relying on military government records, German police files, and reports of the Allied Kommandatura, the study concludes that contrasting police traditions seriously aggravated the task of rebuilding the Berlin police. Although, in themselves, the contrasting notions of police did not generate unreconcilable differences, they did serve to intensify the more fundamental issues of the dispute.
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