In thinking about the reconstruction of Iraq, many have looked for insight to the American experiences in rebuilding Germany and Japan after World War II.
As the saying goes, history does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.
Picking their way through the rubble, officials early in the Truman administration had little clue about the eventual outcome of their experiments ... They saw little choice but to grope forward as best they could, responding to immediate problems and fast-moving events while trying to keep their eyes steady on a grand long-term vision.
Knowing how the story ended, it is difficult for us to escape the tyranny of hindsight and see those earlier cases as they appeared to contemporary observers -- in their full uncertainty, as history in the making rather than data to be mined for present-day polemics.
Foreign Affairs is pleased, therefore, to be able to open a window directly onto occupied Germany seven months after V-E Day, taking readers back in media res.
CFR reaches into the treasure chest for a true gem.