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Sketch of "Operation Marriage"

Sketch of "Operation Marriage"
Source: Landeszentrale NRW

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A mysterious plan

Top Secret! Codeword bulletOperation Marriage. Participants: the British, the Rhinelanders and the Westphalians. Commencement: 6 June 1946. Outcome: NRW is founded.

As the bulletoccupying power, the British appoint North Rhine-Westphalia's first leader. They choose bulletRudolf Amelunxen as state premier, or Ministerpräsident. Indeed, they also determine the composition of the first cabinet of the new Land, which Amelunxen presents on 29 August 1946. No easy task for a foreign ruler!

This new entity requires that the many various political, religious and regional interests be reconciled, and a NRW government must be capable of responding to people's hopes for better things to come. After all, the war has left Germany's industry and infrastructure in ruins, and in NRW, too, everything must be rebuilt from scratch. Food and basic commodities are in short supply.

To make things worse, the first post-war winter is bitterly cold, and fuel is scarce. In NRW people are stealing (bullet"fringsen") coal to survive.

Dirk Bitzer

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Following the capitulation of the Third Reich, Germany is to be politically rebuilt with new regional divisions. On 6 June 1946 the British decide that Rhinelanders and Westphalians must come together. The territorial merger is called "Operation Marriage"!  bullet go on