During and after World War II, the Allies sought to recover and restore the gold, foreign currency, art, cultural objects, and other wealth plundered by the Nazis. Yet despite a concerted effort by the war_s victors, there are large quantities of Nazi-looted assets that have never been found, including at least 100,000 works of art and an undetermined amount of non-monetary gold. Sheikdoms) and Yemen represent an area of great strategic interest to the U.S. The State Department central files document the controversial British presence and U.S. efforts to replace Britain as _protector_ in the Gulf region, and other historic issues. Among these are oil production and revenues, domestic unrest, threat of Arab nationalism. These Office Files within the State Department records at the National Archives is an absolutely vital point for anyone researching cultural property issues.
Part 2 focuses on the recovery and restitution of artworks missing from Germany and other nations in the aftermath of World War II. Materials in this collection date from 1923 to 1988 and include correspondence, court documents, memoranda, news articles, reports, transcripts, legislation, and minutes of interdepartmental committee meetings pertaining to looted art.
Shortly after the war, the Allies implemented policies for the return of confiscated cultural property to their countries of origin. The Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives branch of the U.S. Office of Military Government organized efforts to find stolen national treasures and to protect Europe's cultural heritage from damage and loss. Files of Ardelia R. Hall, an art historian and Monuments and Fine Arts adviser, include materials on restitution proposals by the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas (Reel 1, Frame 0001); inventory of jewelry and silver taken from Grand Duke Carl August of Saxony-Weimar and Eisenach (Reel 1, Frame 0133); and the return of the Mainz Psalter to Dresden (Reel 1, Frame 0390).
The collection primarily documents the return of looted art to Germany, including the negotiations and litigation that led to the return of items to legitimate owners. Many missing art treasures surfaced in the United States, usually when individuals attempted to sell the items. The artworks included paintings by Albrecht Durer, rare postage stamps, gold medals, and historic coins. During the denazification of Germany immediately after World War II, the U.S. Army confiscated approximately 8,000 pieces of war art used as Nazi propaganda with the plan to neutralize any potential for German warmongering in the future. The United States returned some war art to the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) in the 1950s. In 1986, the United States and the Federal Republic signed an agreement for the return of approximately 6,200 pieces of art.