In international conflicts it the task of diplomacy to find or negotiate peace agreements. Monitoring of the evolution and progress is part of the deal. For societies internally it is equally important to find peace again. Totalitarian regimes are characterized by terror and intimidation of its own citizens. This holds true today as much as in the past. Finding peace, however, necessitates to prosecute criminals and this irrespective of their previous or current status in society. The American authorities after the 2nd world war have held more than ten thousand prisoners due to their commanding functions in the NS-time. After 3 years of imprisonment and attempts of so-called re-education the evaluation of the results were of very modest success. Most prisoners would find excuses rather than admit to their participation in the killing machine of the Nazi throughout Europe and over more than a decade.
The study by Christa Horn (1992) “Die Internierungs- und Arbeitslager in Bayern 1945-1952” comes to the same sobering conclusion (p. 127 extract below). This bears the danger that the totalitarian ideology continues to have supporters and even the transmission to other generations might be attempted. This highlights the importance of reconciliation in the lengthy process of finding peace. It far from easy to resolve who is guilty and of what. The Americans started the process before handing over responsibility to the regional judicial system. More than 75 years after 1945 we still have to name and insist on the criminal behavior of the totalitarian regime with millions of party officials and even more followers. Finding peace is a protracted process if not a struggle that involves 3 and maybe 4 generations by now.