Office of Military Government for Germany (US)

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The Office of Military Government for Germany (US) ( OMGUS ; German Office of Military Government for Germany (United States) ) was the highest administrative body of the American zone of occupation in Germany and the American sector of Berlin in the first four years after World War II . OMGUS was headquartered in Berlin ; there were also branch offices in Frankfurt am Main .



From September 29, 1945, OMGUS replaced the US Army's US Group Control Council (USGCC) , which had already been created in London in August 1944 , as the core of a future American military government. Its workforce amounted to 5,000 people. USGCC had developed ideas and plans for the defeated Germany that turned out to be impractical. It had assumed that the role of an American military government could be limited to taking over and overseeing existing German ministries and central authorities. In the meantime, however, the German administration had been completely dissolved.

Transfer of responsibility to a military authority

Proclamation No. 1 from General Eisenhower to the German people, March 1945

General Lucius D. Clay took on the task of detaching an American military government from the command structure of the American army and building a suitable organization, which was given the designation OMGUS. The US Army was facing demobilization . The military administration of Germany, which was created in the fighting phase from September 1944 to May 1945 under Dwight D. Eisenhower and was led by the department G-5 of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF / G-5), was supposed to have a firm hold established military government, which should implement the political goals of the American government. In June 1945 the high command of the regular US troops was freed from the management of the local detachments for "Civil Affairs" and "Military Government Operations". In November 1945 these detachments also lost the direct right to give instructions to the German authorities, and one month later the right to give instructions in the administrative districts . Clay intended to significantly reduce the American authority below the state level. Therefore, German state governments should be installed as early as possible to take over the administrative tasks. In parallel to the establishment of the OMGUS authority, the states therefore had to be politically reorganized.

The essential tasks of this military authority

The tasks of the OMGUS employees also included the denazification and thus the reinstatement of Germans who had not been polluted by National Socialism in all positions of public life. Another focus was the acquisition of detailed information about the entanglement of the German economy in the Nazi regime . This extensive documentation (also called "OMGUS files") served as evidence during the Nuremberg trials . In a final report, OMGUS recommended, among other things, the dissolution of the three major German banks ( Deutsche Bank , Dresdner Bank and Commerzbank ) and IG Farben .

"Re-education"; US Army (1947)

Under Military Governor General Lucius D. Clay , the guideline of American occupation policy changed from Directive JCS 1067 (the prohibition of fraternization for American soldiers, economic dismantling and re-education of the population) to Directive JCS 1779 from 1947 . The "defeated enemy state" Germany was to be built into a Western-oriented democratic ally in the light of the looming Cold War against the Soviet Union : re-orientation instead of re-education . OMGUS carried out over 70 surveys in the American occupation zone by September 1949, with which the attitude of the German population to the occupiers, to denazification and to democracy was to be examined. Gradually the focus shifted more and more towards anti-communism .

The authority was officially dissolved on December 5, 1949; From then on, the US High Commissioner for Germany (HICOG) took over further tasks .

The OMGUS project

In 1950 the files of the military government (approx. 3200 running meters in 18 shiploads) were shipped to the USA ; they are now stored as "Record Group 260" in the Washington National Records Center in Suitland / Maryland . After the general American blocking period of 30 years had expired, the files were processed again from 1976 to 1983 in cooperation with the American archives for purposes of historical research and filmed on approx. 100,000 microfiches with over six million sheets . In addition to the Federal Archives , the Institute for Contemporary History was also involved in this joint project.

The OMGUS handbook based on it is an important source of research on the early contemporary history of post-war Germany.

See also


  • Conrad F. Latour, Thilo Vogelsang: Occupation and Reconstruction. The activity of the military government in the American zone of occupation in Germany 1944–1947 . Stuttgart 1982, ISBN 3-421-01622-4
  • Christoph Weisz (Ed.): OMGUS manual. The American military government in Germany 1945–1949 . Munich 1994, ISBN 3-486-55821-8
  • Christopher Simpson: War Crimes of the Deutsche Bank and the Dresdner Bank: The Omgus Report . New York 2002, ISBN 0-841-91407-9
  • Hans Magnus Enzensberger (Ed.): OMGUS. Investigations against IG Farbenindustrie AG. Translated and edited by the documentation center for Nazi social policy in Hamburg . Nördlingen 1986, ISBN 3-891-90019-8
  • Hans Magnus Enzensberger (Ed.): OMGUS. Investigations against Deutsche Bank. Translated and edited by the Documentation Center for NS Policy Hamburg . Nordlingen 1985.
  • Hans Magnus Enzensberger (Ed.): OMGUS. Investigations against Dresdner Bank. Translated and edited by the Hamburg Foundation for Social History of the 20th Century . Noerdlingen 1986.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Directive to the United States Military Governor for Germany (Clay) . Contains instructions to Clay regarding the application of the JCS 1779/1 directive. Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, Department of State
  2. ^ Robert A. Selig: America's Long Road to the Federal Republic of Germany (West) . In: German Life , June / July 1998 pdf 131 kB