The Nazis' cultural policies, and specifically their efforts at loot artworks, were inextricably linked with World War II and the Holocaust. At the end of the war, arts officers appointed to the staffs of military commanders dealt with the vast quantities of cultural objects confiscated within Germany and brought in from other countries. These objects, found in thousands of hiding places and refuges, were secured under the most arduous conditions and gradually taken to collection points set up by each Allied Command within its zone of occupation. Despite endless international meetings, no coordinated Allied policy was ever developed to deal with these objects. The restitution policies of the Western Allied and the USSR were very different.
Ardelia Hall, a well-known art critic and art historian, served as monuments, fine arts, and archives adviser to the U.S. State Department and in occupied Europe. Hall's records document the recovery of cultural objects disperesed during the war and programs for the return of historic objects to their countries of origin. The files consist of correspondence, memoranda, and minutes of interdepartmental committees and international conferences relating to issues surrounding looted art.