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Control Council Directive No. 38 (October 12, 1946)

Control Council Directive No. 38 of October 1946 gave concrete form to the denazification called for in the Potsdam Agreement. The commanders of occupation zones were to assume primary responsibility for this process. All adult Germans were to appear before denazification courts [Spruchkammern], where their conduct during the Third Reich would be examined. Afterwards, they would be placed into one of five groups: major offenders, offenders, lesser offenders, followers, or exonerated persons. The directive sought to give precise definition to the kinds of behavior associated with each category and to lay out the appropriate punishment. Punishment could range from the death penalty or long prison sentences for major offenders, to the confiscation of property, a ban on exercising one’s profession, pay cuts, travel restrictions, or compulsory registration with the authorities.

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Control Council Directive No. 38: The Arrest and Punishment of War Criminals, Nazis, and Militarists and the Internment, Control, and Surveillance of Potentially Dangerous Germans.

The Control Council directs as follows: —


1. Object
The object of this paper is to establish a common policy for Germany covering:
(a) The punishment of war criminals, Nazis, Militarists, and industrialists who encouraged and supported the Nazi Regime.
(b) The complete and lasting destruction of Nazism and Militarism by imprisoning and restricting the activities of important participants or adherents to these creeds.
(c) The internment of Germans, who, though not guilty of specific crimes are considered to be dangerous to Allied purposes, and the control and surveillance of others considered potentially so dangerous.

2. References
(a) Potsdam Agreement, Sec. III, Para. 3, I(a);
(b) Potsdam Agreement, Sec. III, Para. 3, III;
(c) Potsdam Agreement, Sec. III, Para. 5;
(d) Control Council Directive No. 24;
(e) Control Council Law No. 10, Article II, Para 3 and Article III, Paras. 1 and 2.

3. The Problem and General Principles
It is considered that in order to carry out the principles established at Potsdam, it will be necessary to classify war criminals and potentially dangerous persons into five main categories and to establish punishments and sanctions appropriate to each category. We consider that the composition of categories and the nature of penalties and sanctions should be agreed in some detail but without limiting in any way the full discretion conferred by Control Council Law No. 10 upon Zone Commanders.

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