View Full Version : ww11 question
what did we do with the jap and german embassy buildings in washington during the war? did they just move back in after the surrender?
same question for what the bad guys did with the good guys' embassies.
Germany and Japan closed our buildings. The one in Tokyo survived but we (allies)destroyed the US embassy in Berlin. What was left standing was bulldozed by the Russians.
The Jap embassy in DC was converted to a Congressional brothel and the German embassy just stayed open as a tavern. Don't quote me on that. ;)
I don't have details, but under international law, the buildings remain the property of the country, and can be reclaimed by that nation or its successor after the war. They are usually placed in the care of a neutral nation. The host country can take over the buildings and anything inside for the duration of the war, but is not supposed to destroy the real property. Things like records, code books and the like would be destroyed by the occupants at the onset of war so as to deny intelligence to the host government.
The staff members who are citizens of the nation or who have diplomatic status are interned to be sent home as soon as possible. Staff members who are citizens of the host nation normally are just told they are out of work, though they might be questioned or even arrested in some countries.
During WWII, enemy diplomats were mostly interned in a luxury resort in Bedford Springs, PA. They were ultimately sent home on neutral ships, notably the Swedish luxury liner Gripsholm.
I took a look and discovered the UK auctioned off the contents from the German embassy following the war. Didn't find what the US had done but I didn't dig deep enough. Neither nation allowed German ambassadors back into country until 1955.
I don't think either UK or USA was hostile to the Germans 1945-1955 per se, but that simply up to 1955 the Soviets had been vetoing and blocking the sovereign status of either/both Germanies, hence they could not enjoy full diplomatic recognition. UK and USA had held out over Germany, having been forced to concede de facto recognition of Soviet-installed puppet governments in Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe (and nearly in Austria & Greece as well).
The peace treaty with Japan was signed Sept 8, 1951. The formal peace treaty with Germany was signed Sept 12, 1990, part of the re-unification process. Up to then, neither the Western allies nor the Soviets would recognize the "other Germany", so a treaty with "Germany" was impossible. The war ended, de facto, with the surrender of German forces in May 1945, but that was a military surrender, not a treaty of peace. Russia detained hundreds of thousands of German POW's as late as 1952, claiming that there was no peace treaty (the Geneva convention allows POW's to be kept until the war is over, which the Soviets said meant until a peace treaty was signed). This allowed them to use POW's as slave labor to help rebuild the country. Poetic justice, perhaps, but hard on the POW's, many of whom died, and their families.
I once had a neighbor who was captured in Berlin. He wasn't released from the gulag until 1955. Between '52 and '55 there was a massive letter writing campaign by the people of West Germany, as well as diplomatic processes to release POW's to the West.
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