First Advisor

Franklin C. West

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History




Military government -- Germany (West), Bavaria (Germany) -- Politics and government -- 1945, Germany -- History -- 1945-1955



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, v, 137 p.)


In May 1945, United States Military Government (MG) detachments arrived in assigned areas of Bavaria to launch the occupation. By the summer of 1945, the US occupiers became the ironical combination of stern victor and watchful master. Absolute control gave way to the "direction" of German authority. For this process to succeed, MG officials had to establish a stable, clearly defined and fundamentally strict environment in which German officials would begin to exercise token control. The early occupation was a highly unstable stage of chaos, fear and confusing objectives. MG detachments and the reconstituted German authorities performed complex tasks with many opportunities for failure. In this environment, a crucial MG obligation was to help secure law and order for the defeated and dependent German populace whose previously existing authorities had been removed. Germans themselves remained largely peaceful, yet unforeseen actors such as liberated "Displaced Persons" rose to menace law and order. The threat of criminal disorder and widespread black market activity posed great risks in the early occupation. This thesis demonstrates how US MG established its own authority in the Munich area in 1945, and how that authority was applied and challenged in the realm of criminal law and order. This study explores themes not much researched. Thorough description of local police reestablishment or characteristic crime issues hardly exists. There is no substantial local examination of the relationship between such issues and the early establishment of MG authority. Local MG records housed in the Bayertsches Hauptstaatsarchiv (Bavarian Main State Archives) provide most of the primacy sources. This study also relies heavily on German-language secondary sources.


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