General Lucius D. Clay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (1947)
On March 15, 1947, General McNarney's former deputy, Lucius Dubignon Clay (foreground), was appointed to succeed him as supreme commander of U.S. forces in Europe and military governor of the American zone. In general, Clay's goal was less to execute the rigid directive JCS 1067 than to proceed in a manner that was constructive and guided by improving material conditions on the ground. This is clear in Secretary of State James F. Byrne's "Speech of Hope" (September 6, 1946), which was based chiefly on one of Clay's memos. The Soviets responded to the increasingly separate policies in the western zones of Germany, culminating in the currency reform, with the Berlin Blockade (June 1948 – May 1949). Clay, who was an expert on logistics, organized and coordinated the Berlin Airlift. His work not only ensured that supplies reached the city, but pointed the way toward future German-American cooperation. His outwardly reserved but nonetheless trusting collaboration with German politicians in founding the state of West Germany won him a reputation as an American "founding father" of the Federal Republic. For Clay's grave in the West Point military academy's cemetery, the citizens of West Berlin donated a simple gravestone with the inscription: "We thank the preserver of our freedom." Photo by Hanns Hubmann.
© Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz