Denazification

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Denazification (German: Entnazifizierung) was an Allied initiative to rid German and Austrian society, culture, press, economy, judiciary, and politics of any remnants of the National Socialist ideology. It was carried out specifically by removing those involved from positions of influence and by disbanding or rendering impotent the organizations associated with it. The program of denazification was launched after the end of the Second World War and was solidified by the Potsdam Agreement. Ultimately with the onset of Cold War, and creation of West Germany denazification was abandoned, and in some cases reversed.

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Overview

Denazification in Germany was attempted through a series of directives issued by the Allied Control Council, seated in Berlin, beginning in January 1946. "Denazification directives" identified specific people and groups and outlined judicial procedures and guidelines for handling them. Though all the occupying forces had agreed on the initiative, the methods used for denazification and the intensity with which they were applied differed between the occupation zones.

Denazification also refers to the removal of the physical symbols of the Nazi regime. For example, in 1957 the German government re-issued World War II Iron Cross medals without the swastika in the center.

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