General Omar Bradley (1893-1981) commanded the Twelfth Army Group during WWII and was the commander of Allied land forces invading Germany from the west. The following special orders were issued by five-star General Omar Bradley after Germany surrendered (May 8, 1945).
Twelfth Army Group
I need not speak of your past accomplishments, other than to say you have reflected great credit upon yourself and your command.
We are now fighting on German soil, and we are in contact not only with soldiers of our enemy but also civilians of Germany. As conquerors, we must now consider our relations with the people of Germany.
It is imperative that you do not allow yourself to become friendly with Germans, but at the same time you must not persecute them. American soldiers can and have beaten German soldiers on the field of battle. It is equally important that you complete the victory over Nazi ideas.
To guide you I have issued these special ” battle ” orders. They may appear to lead along a narrow path, but they are NECESSARY. You personally must prove to the German people that their acceptance of Nazi leadership is responsible for their defeat, and that it has earned for them the distrust of the rest of the world.
[signed] O N Bradley
LIEUTENANT GENERAL, U.S. ARMY
SPECIAL ORDERS FOR GERMAN-AMERICAN RELATIONS
1. To remember always that Germany, though conquered, is still a dangerous enemy nation.
a. It is known that an underground organization for the continuation of the Nazi program for work) domination is already in existence. This group will take advantage of every relaxation of vigilance on our part to carry on undercover war against us.
b. The occupational forces are not on a good-will mission.
2. Never to trust Germans, collectively or individually.
a. For most of the past century, Germany has sought to attain world domination by conquest. This has been the third major attempt in the memory of men still living. To many Germans this defeat will only be on interlude – a time to prepare for the’ next war.
b. Except for such losses of life and property suffered by them, the Germans have no regrets for the havoc they have wrought in the world.
c. The German has been taught that the national goal of domination must be attained regardless of the depths of treachery, murder and destruction necessary. He has been taught to sacrifice everything— ideals, honor, and even his wife and children for the State. Defeat will not erase that idea.
3. To defeat German efforts to poison my thoughts or influence my attitude.
a. The Nazis have found that the most powerful propaganda weapon is distortion of the truth. They have mode skilful use of it and will re-double their efforts in the event of an occupation In order to influence the thinking of the occupational forces. There will probably be deliberate, studied and continuous efforts to influence our sympathies and to minimize the consequences of defeat.
b. You may expect ail manner of approach—conversations to be overheard, underground publications to be found; there will be appeals to generosity and fair play; to pity for victims of devastation : to racial end cultural similarities; and to sympathy for an allegedly oppressed people.
c. There will be attempts at sowing discord among Allied nations; of undermining Allied determination to enforce the surrender; at inducing a reduction in occupational forces; at lowering morale and efficiency of the occupying forces; at proving that Nazism was never wanted by the “gentle and cultured ‘ German people.
4. To avoid acts of violence, except when required by military necessity.
For you are on American soldier, not a Nazi.
5. To conduct myself at all times so as to command the respect of the German people for myself, for the United States, and for the Allied Cause.
a. The Germans hold all things military in deep respect. That respect must be maintained at all times or the Allied Cause is lost and the first steps are taken toward World War III. Each soldier must watch every action of himself and of his comrades. The German will be watching constantly, even though you may not see him. Let him see a good American Soldier.
b. Drunkenness will not be tolerated. Penalties will be severe.
6. Never to associate with Germans.
a. We must bring home to the Germans that their support of Nazi leaders, their tolerance of racial hatreds and persecutions, and their unquestioning acceptance of the wanton aggressions on other nations, have earned for them the contempt and distrust of the civilized world. We must never forget that the German people support the Nazi principles.
b. Contacts with Germans will be made only on official business. Immediate compliance with all official orders and instructions and surrender terms will be demanded of them and will be firmly enforced.
c. American soldiers must not associate with Germans. Specifically, it is not permissible to shake hands with them, to visit their homes, to exchange gifts with them, to engage in games or sports with them, to attend their dances or social events, or to accompany them on the street or elsewhere. Particularly, avoid all discussion or argument with them. Give the Germans no chance to trick you into relaxing your guard.
7. To be fair but firm with Germans.
a. Experience has shown that Germans regard kindness as weakness. Every soldier must prove by his actions that the Americans are strong. This will be accomplished if every soldier treats the Germans with firmness and stern courtesy at all times.
b. Firmness must be tempered with a strict justice. Americans do not resort to Nazi gangster methods in dealing with any people. Remember, your fair but firm treatment of the German people will command the proper respect due a member of a conquering nation.
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