October 11, 2002
Prologue Examines Black Market In Postwar Berlin In Fall Issue
Washington, DC. . . . Within months of the Allied defeat of the Third Reich in Germany in 1945, the black market for goodsfrom cigarettes and liquor to watches and cameraswas thriving in the divided city of Berlin. And it was proving to be profitable for American soldiers, according to a new article in the Fall 2002 issue of Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration.
"In the ten years after World War II, Europe relied, to a great measure, on goods and services produced and sold in the underground economy," writes Kevin Conley Ruffner, a historian with the Central Intelligence Agency, in "The Black Market in Postwar Berlin: Colonel Miller and an Army Scandal." He added: "While every European country suffered through various forms of the black market, Germany and Austria, and more critically, Berlin and Vienna, became the epicenters of this temporary economy."
And in Berlin, Ruffner writes, U.S. Army commanders were reluctant to get into the matter, and Miller's efforts for official investigations to uncover illegal activities and official complicity repeatedly ran into roadblocks.
The Fall 2002 Prologue also features an article, "Remember Me," on six historical documents that are not paper or parchment, but needlework made by young girls. These "samplers" are from Revolutionary War pension files and were sent in to the government to document births and marriages in pension applications. "Seeing their samplers takes the viewer to a time vastly different from our own," writes Jennifer Davis Heaps of the Archives staff.
Other articles in this issue include one on the use of nuns as nurses in the Spanish-American War; a photo feature on Andersonville prison during the Civil War; a retrospective look at the Cuban Missile Crisis 40 years ago this month; and "Genealogy Notes", summarizing military records in the holdings of the National Archives.
"A Classroom Called NARA" examines the National Archives nationwide education programs, from sporadic programs and magazine articles in the 1970s to teacher workshops and "The Digital Classroom" on the World Wide Web.
In his regular column, Archivist of the United States John Carlin discusses the importance of the US Constitution, which is part of NARA's holdings. "It is our responsibility to keep alive its ideals and the intentions and aspirations the American who came before us had for our country," Carlin writes.
For more than 30 years, Prologue has shared with readers the rich resources and programs of the National Archives, its regional archives, and the Presidential libraries. In every issue, there are thought provoking and entertaining articlesbased on research in the National Archives' magnificent holdingswritten by noted historians, archivists, and experts recognized in their fields. The Washington Post said, "Prologue . . . can be regarded quite literally as an invitation for further study. It is also consistently absorbing reading."
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