After the unconditional surrender of the Third Reich in May 1945, Germany no longer existed as a sovereign, independent nation. It was occupied by the four Allied powers: France, Great Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union. When it came to the postwar European recovery, the biggest obstacle was that the economy in Germany, the dominant continental economic power before the Second World War, was at an almost complete standstill. This not only had severe consequences for Germany itself, but also had strong economic repercussions for surrounding countries, especially the Netherlands. As Germany had been the former’s most important trading partner since the middle of the nineteenth century, it was clear that the Netherlands would be unable to recover economically without a healthy Germany. However, Allied policy, especially that of the British and the Americans, made this impossible for years. This article therefore focuses on the early postwar Dutch-German trade relations and the consequences of Allied policy. While much has been written about the occupation of Germany, far less attention has been paid to the results of this policy on neighbouring countries. Moreover, the main claim of this article is that it was not Marshall Aid which was responsible for the quick and remarkable Dutch economic growth as of 1949, but the opening of the German market for Dutch exports that same year.
© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston