Restatement of Policy on Germany
"Restatement of Policy on Germany" is a famous speech by James F. Byrnes
James F. Byrnes
James Francis Byrnes was an American statesman from the state of South Carolina. During his career, Byrnes served as a member of the House of Representatives , as a Senator , as Justice of the Supreme Court , as Secretary of State , and as the 104th Governor of South Carolina...

, the United States Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

, held in Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

 on September 6, 1946.

Also known as the "Speech of hope" it set the tone of future U.S. policy as it repudiated the Morgenthau Plan
Morgenthau Plan
The Morgenthau Plan, proposed by United States Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., advocated that the Allied occupation of Germany following World War II include measures to eliminate Germany's ability to wage war.-Overview:...

 economic policies and with its message of a change to a policy of economic reconstruction gave the Germans
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 hope for the future.

The Western powers' worst fear by now was that the poverty and hunger would drive the Germans to Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

General Lucius Clay
Lucius Clay
Lucius Clay may refer to:*Lucius D. Clay , American military governor of Germany after World War II*Lucius D. Clay, Jr. , American commander of the Air Defense Command...

 stated "There is no choice between being a communist on 1,500 calories a day and a believer in democracy on a thousand".

The speech was also seen as a first firm stand against the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 as it stated the intention of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 to maintain a military presence in Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 indefinitely. But the heart of the message was as Byrnes stated a month later "The nub of our program was to win the German people . . . it was a battle between us and Russia over minds. . . ."

On the question of territorial integrity of Germany it was stated that "the United States will not support any encroachment on territory which is indisputably German or any division of Germany which is not genuinely desired by the people concerned. So far as the United States is aware the people of the Ruhr area
Ruhr Area
The Ruhr, by German-speaking geographers and historians more accurately called Ruhr district or Ruhr region , is an urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With 4435 km² and a population of some 5.2 million , it is the largest urban agglomeration in Germany...

 and the Rhineland
Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

 desire to remain united with the rest of Germany. And the United States is not going to oppose their desire."

A stated exception to U.S. support for self determination was the support given in the speech to the French claim to the Saarland
Saarland is one of the sixteen states of Germany. The capital is Saarbrücken. It has an area of 2570 km² and 1,045,000 inhabitants. In both area and population, it is the smallest state in Germany other than the city-states...


Byrnes who accepted Western Neisse as provisional Polish border also addressed the Polish
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and Soviet claims to all German territory east of the Oder-Neisse line
Oder-Neisse line
The Oder–Neisse line is the border between Germany and Poland which was drawn in the aftermath of World War II. The line is formed primarily by the Oder and Lusatian Neisse rivers, and meets the Baltic Sea west of the seaport cities of Szczecin and Świnoujście...

, an area comprising roughly 25% of pre-war (1937) Germany. In his speech he left the final extent of the area east of the Oder Neisse that would become permanently Polish to be decided in the future, stating The Soviets and the Poles suffered greatly at the hands of Hitler's invading armies. As a result of the agreement at Yalta, Poland ceded to the Soviet Union territory east of the Curzon Line. Because of this, Poland asked for revision of her northern and western frontiers. The United States will support revision of these frontiers in Poland's favor. However, the extent of the area to be ceded to Poland must be determined when the final settlement is agreed upon.".
Byrnes in fact did not state that such a change would take place (as was read by Germans who hoped for support of their revisionist goals). The purpose of the speech and associated US diplomatic activities was as propaganda aimed at Germany by Western Powers, who could blame Polish-German border and German expulsions on Moscow alone.

The territory had been handed over to Polish and Soviet administration at the Potsdam conference
Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 16 July to 2 August 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States...

, the border was to be determined at the peace conference (which did not take place until 1990), although with the area experiencing flight and expulsion of Germans in 1944-50 it in the de-facto became Polish and Soviet territory.

The Polish responded to the speech with loud rhetoric, with claims that the U.S. was supporting remnants of the Hitler regime, and officially they denied that the border set at Potsdam was not final. In a speech Wladyslaw Gomulka
Wladyslaw Gomulka
Władysław Gomułka was a Polish Communist leader. He was the de facto leader of Poland from 1945 to 1948, and again from 1956 to 1970.-Life and career:...

 condemned Byrnes speech and its implication of a border revision in favor of Germany as reactionary. It made Gomulka see it as further need for a strong Polish-Soviet Union alliance.

Many years later Polish leader Wojciech Jaruzelski
Wojciech Jaruzelski
Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski is a retired Polish military officer and Communist politician. He was the last Communist leader of Poland from 1981 to 1989, Prime Minister from 1981 to 1985 and the country's head of state from 1985 to 1990. He was also the last commander-in-chief of the Polish People's...

 would reflect on the implications of the speech:
"It was a shocking statement. It made us think that our western border was being questioned by the Germans and by other Western countries. It was one of the most important things that strengthened our ties with the Soviet Union."

Olszewski asked the U.S. ambassador to Poland for an explanation, claiming that the speech would have a negative impact on the Poles from beyond Curzon Line
Curzon Line
The Curzon Line was put forward by the Allied Supreme Council after World War I as a demarcation line between the Second Polish Republic and Bolshevik Russia and was supposed to serve as the basis for a future border. In the wake of World War I, which catalysed the Russian Revolution of 1917, the...

 that were moving into western territories. Ambassador Arthur Bliss Lane
Arthur Bliss Lane
Arthur Bliss Lane was the United States Ambassador to Poland .- Biography :Lane was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Kings County, New York. He was appointed U.S. Minister to Nicaragua ; Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania ; Kingdom of Yugoslavia, ; and Costa Rica . He was then appointed U.S...

 reassured Byrne's speech shouldn't be interpreted as USA's desire to avoid its obligations made at Potsdam. He underlined that Poland was given provisional control over the area, and if that the Polish settlers believed their presence was permanent, this was due to work of Polish government and press itself Lane later continued to re-essure Poles of US friendship and was disturbed by distortion of Byrnes speech, eventually he learned after discussing the issue with members of Depeartment of State, that the speech was intended to "smoke out Molotov's attitude on the eve of elections in Germany"

From November 1946 onward the US military government in Germany prepared a number of new alternative border plans. U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall
George Marshall
George Catlett Marshall was an American military leader, Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of State, and the third Secretary of Defense...

 insisted during the 1947 Council of Foreign Ministers
Council of Foreign Ministers
Council of Foreign Ministers was an organisation agreed upon at the Potsdam Conference in 1945 and announced in the Potsdam Agreement.The Potsdam Agreement specified that the Council would be composed of the Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, China,...

 meetings in Moscow and London that a border-revision be done that would return agricultural areas Pomerania
Pomerania is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. Divided between Germany and Poland, it stretches roughly from the Recknitz River near Stralsund in the West, via the Oder River delta near Szczecin, to the mouth of the Vistula River near Gdańsk in the East...

 and Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

 to Germany while leaving Poland large part of eastern Pomernia and Upper Silesia, as well as Gdańsk and East Prussia. With backing from the UK, and partly from France he also advocated the establishment of a four-power commission that would be given the task of deciding the extent of the new border revisions in favor of Germany. The American change of tactic was motivated by two things-winning winning over German loyalties and embarrassing Soviet Union; in private American policy makers like Marshall admitted that chances of changing Polish border were "very slender"

The speech had negative impact on US relations with Poland, but made the Germans more positive to the US, and the Soviet Union was forced to commit itself to the Oder-Neisse line. As a consequence of this commitment the Soviet Union had to give up hope of gaining influence over western Germany.

Further reading

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.