James F. Byrnes, Lucius Clay, and American Policy in Germany, 1945-1947

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This study traces the collaboration of Secretary of State James F. Byrnes of South Carolina and General Lucius D. Clay of Georgia, Military Governor of the US Occupation Zone, in turning American policy in Germany after WWII away from a ‘peace of vengeance’ toward a more positive, reconstructionist direction. It also describes the success of German efforts to influence American policy through Clay. It concludes by examining Byrnes’s 1946 Stuttgart speech, much of which derived from a Clay cable to Washington. This vital speech is interpreted as a statement primarily directed to the Germans in the context of General Clay’s push for the establishment of a prototype German government and Byrnes’s concern over the lack of Soviet and French cooperation toward this end. This work will appeal to scholars interested in the Cold War, US diplomatic history, recent German history, and Southern history.


“Meticulously researched and nicely written, Curtis Morgan’s Byrnes, Clay and American Policy in Germany, 1945-1947 is a major contribution that will aid scholars for many years to come.” – Jean Edward Smith, John Marshal Professor of Political Science, The John Deaver Drinko Academy For American Political Institutions and Civic Culture

Table of Contents

1. America and the German Question: The Search for a Postwar Policy
2. Transition
3. Stunde Null
4. Potsdam: The Success that Failed
5. Retreat from Potsdam: The Search for an Alternative Policy 6. Irreconcilable Differences
7. From Paris to Stuttgart
8. An Ending for Byrnes, a Beginning for Germany
9. Conclusion: Partners after the Fact
A Brief Review of the Literature; Bibliography; Index

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