The sense of optimism led to a surprisingly wide diversity in architecture, urban planning and landscape design. The application of new techniques and materials led to exceptional experiments. Moreover, many buildings were provided with monumental art, architects and artists working closely together. The reconstruction of the Netherlands in the years 1945-1965 was a huge feat. This publication gives an overview of the buildings in the re-emerging Netherlands and examines the signifi cance of this heritage of the reconstruction for current tasks of transformation and rezoning.
After World War II, Dutch psychiatrists and other mental health care professionals articulated ideals of democratic citizenship. Framed in terms of self-development, citizenship took on a broad meaning, not just in terms of political rights and obligations, but also in the context of material, social, psychological and moral conditions that individuals should meet in order to develop themselves and be able to act according to those rights and obligations in a responsible way. In the post-war period of reconstruction (1945-65), as well as between 1965 and 1985, the link between mental health and ideals of citizenship was coloured by the public memory of World War II and the German occupation, albeit in completely different, even opposite ways. The memory of the war, and especially the public consideration of its victims, changed drastically in the mid-1960s, and the mental health sector played a crucial role in bringing this change about. The widespread attention to the mental effects of the war that surfaced in the late 1960s after a period of 20 years of public silence should be seen against the backdrop of the combination of democratization and the emancipation of emotions.
The abrupt withdrawal of American Lend-Lease support to Britain on 2 September 1945 dealt a severe blow to the plans of the new government. It was only with the completion of the Anglo-American loan by the United States to Great Britain on 15 July 1946 that some measure of economic stability was restored. However, the loan was made primarily to support British overseas expenditure in the immediate post-war years and not to implement the Labour government's policies for domestic welfare reforms and the nationalisation of key industries. Although the loan was agreed on reasonable terms, its conditions included what proved to be damaging fiscal conditions for sterling. From 1946 to 1948, the UK introduced bread rationing, which it had never done during the war.
The economy had been devastated. Roughly a quarter of the Soviet Union's capital resources were destroyed, and industrial and agricultural output in 1945 fell far short of pre-war levels. To help rebuild the country, the Soviet government obtained limited credits from Britain and Sweden; it refused assistance offered by the United States under the Marshall Plan. Instead, the Soviet Union coerced Soviet-occupied Central and Eastern Europe to supply machinery and raw materials. Germany and former Nazi satellites made reparations to the Soviet Union. The reconstruction programme emphasised heavy industry to the detriment of agriculture and consumer goods. By 1953, steel production was twice its 1940 level, but the production of many consumer goods and foodstuffs was lower than it had been in the late 1920s.
US policy in post-war Germany from April 1945 until July 1947 had been that no help should be given to the Germans in rebuilding their nation, save for the minimum required to mitigate starvation. The Allies' immediate post-war "industrial disarmament" plan for Germany had been to destroy Germany's capability to wage war by complete or partial de-industrialization. The first industrial plan for Germany, signed in 1946, required the destruction of 1,500 manufacturing plants to lower German heavy industry output to roughly 50% of its 1938 level. Dismantling of West German industry ended in 1951. By 1950, equipment had been removed from 706 manufacturing plants, and steel production capacity had been reduced by 6.7 million tons. After lobbying by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Generals Lucius D. Clay and George Marshall, the Truman administration accepted that economic recovery in Europe could not go forward without the reconstruction of the German industrial base on which it had previously been dependent. In July 1947, President Truman rescinded on "national security grounds" the directive that had ordered the US occupation forces to "take no steps looking toward the economic rehabilitation of Germany." A new directive recognised that "[a]n orderly, prosperous Europe requires the economic contributions of a stable and productive Germany." From mid-1946 onwards Germany received US government aid through the GARIOA programme. From 1948 onwards West Germany also became a minor beneficiary of the Marshall Plan. Volunteer organisations had initially been forbidden to send food, but in early 1946 the Council of Relief Agencies Licensed to Operate in Germany was founded. The prohibition against sending CARE Packages to individuals in Germany was rescinded on 5 June 1946.
In 1945-46, the British mobilised released German prisoners of war to assist in gathering the harvest (Operation Barleycorn) and to work in the Ruhr coal mines (Operation Coalscuttle). But this only provided limited assistance. For most Germans, life in the immediate post-war years was one of rationing, shortages and poverty.
Reconstruction is the term used to denote the redevelopment of the Netherlands after the destruction of World War Two. In architecture and urban design it chiefly covers the period from 1945 to about 1968, and Rotterdam is the ultimate City of Reconstruction. Nowhere is that more visible than in the city centre. The bombing of 14 May 1940 destroyed the heart of the city, but other cities such as Middelburg, Arnhem, Nijmegen and Den Helder were also hit badly. Rotterdam tackled its reconstruction in the most rigorous and consistent manner and applied new ideas concerning functional planning. Rotterdam had never been renowned for its urban beauty, which is why so much of the city was cleared to create a tabula rasa for a new, better, more beautiful world.
There is consensus in the more recent historiography of post-war Europe that the foundations of economic life remained strong. Across Western Europe, the casualties of war were more than offset by natural population growth and post-war mass migration. Despite the scale of material damage, industrial equipment and plants survived the war remarkably intact. Even in Germany and Italy, the two main targets of Allied strategic bombing, industrial fixed capital grew by 20% and 30%, respectively, between 1936 and 1945. Power-generating capacity was also enlarged and needed little repair.
These dislocating forces were primarily responsible for the disappointing productivity performance of German industry and also for the falling behind of the East German economy in the post-war years (Ritschl and Vonyó 2014). East Germany inherited highly specialised industrial districts, which were now cut off from both their major suppliers of intermediary inputs and their largest market. What followed was an exodus of both skilled labour and thousands of small and medium-sized firms. Economic reconstruction in West Germany lasted throughout the 1950s and propelled the Wirtschaftswunder (Vonyó 2018), while the damage the division on Germany had caused in the East was irreparable.
Reconstruction was a driving force behind the growth miracles of post-war Europe, including the other defeated powers, Austria and Italy, as well as Greece and Spain, both ravaged by civil war. The role of reconstruction growth in the early post-war period was confirmed econometrically by Dumke (1990) and Temin (2002), but more recent investigations demonstrated that its impact did not vanish until the end of the golden age (Vonyó 2008, 2017).
These novel findings also revealed that the falling behind of Eastern Europe in the post-war era was not so much the consequence of socialism as the result of comparatively modest levels of investment and weak reconstruction dynamics (Vonyó 2017). Both, in turn, can be best explained by the differential impact of the war and the post-war settlement on population growth, which deprived Eastern Europe of the flexible labour supply that has long been recognised as instrumental in western reconstruction and structural modernisation (Kindleberger 1967).
Millions more fled west, either running from the advancing Soviet troops or defecting when the communist parties rose to power in the Eastern regions. The expulsion of ethnic Germans from Central and Eastern Europe after 1945 and forced population exchanges enhanced this exodus. In accordance with Article XIII of the Potsdam Agreement, 15 million Germans were driven from their historical settlements east of the rivers Oder and Neisse, of which approximately 9 million had lived in the eastern provinces of Prussia in 1939. One million were deported to the Soviet Union, with another 700,000 forcefully resettled from the European to the Asian territories of the USSR and 13 million expelled to post-war Germany and Austria. Two million were killed or went missing in the course of these deportations (Vonyó 2018).
In nearly all cases, post-war recovery involves extensive reconstruction either out of pragmatic necessity, defiance against aggressors, or maintenance of continuity with a pre-conflict time. For example, following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, construction schedules were accelerated in order to restore the building fully before the one-year anniversary as an act of defiant, patriotic resolve.(3) The degree of post-conflict reconstruction executed also varies widely and often takes place without regard to the integrity of original materials or, in the event of a tabula rasa approach, can involve the negation of a pre-conflict structure altogether. Take, for example, the 19th-century teakwood Royal Palace in Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma), which burned during fighting between British and Japanese forces in 1945, only to be rebuilt in concrete and corrugated iron by the national government. Both of these approaches stand at odds with the traditional, narrowly defined Western concept of "authenticity," which emphasizes material originality and a direct association with an author or particular time of origin, thus eschewing replicas, reproductions, and copies.(4) 2b1af7f3a8