The "No Fraternization" policy provided some challenges to the maintenance of discipline, as did the black market that sprang up in the absence of a functioning civilian economy. Of the former situation, the Story of the Century explains it best,

There isn't much use in explaining to a man who has not spoken to a woman in a year that some gorgeous blond was his enemy or that "the female of the species is deadlier than the male." [As some Army instructional material put it.]

In such circumstances a man can reason rather circuitously. The particular light of his life was not a Nazi. She was merely dragged along with the Hitler "putsch." She loved Americans, hated the French, despised the Russians. Besides the war was over and it was up to us to educate the Germans as to the benefits of democracy. Anyway, who was interested in her politics? All the dame wanted was a bar of chocolate or a pack of butts. That was pretty reasonable for a fraulein [sic] who was as frustrated as we were. So we fraternized and dreamed of home.

That "pack of butts" was a part of the other problem, namely black marketeering. With the German economy smashed, even though the Allies were printing German money, it was all but worthless; the currency of the day was cigarettes and other "luxury" items. The bartering of individual soldiers was relatively inconsequential, but the mass theft and illicit sale of huge quantities of PX items was something that kept the already over-burdened MPs watchful all the time.

With the German economy in ruins Centurymen patronized Army recreation and dining facilities, like this one in Stuttgart.

The devastation evident in Stuttgart provided an indication of the extent to which Germany had been utterly defeated and economically destroyed.

Next

Previous