Pollock, James K. (James Kerr), 1898-1968

Alternative names

Hide Profile

Professor of political science at University of Michigan, special adviser to U.S. Military Government in Germany, 1945-1848, special adviser to U.S. High Commissioner in Germany in 1950, member of Hoover Commission on the Re-Organization of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, 1947-1949, and participant in the Michigan Constitutional Convention of 1961-1962.

From the description of James Kerr Pollock papers, 1920-1968. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 80055237

From the description of James Kerr Pollock papers, 1920-1968. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34423592

James K. Pollock was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania, on May 25, 1898. He began his academic association with the University of Michigan as a student from 1916 to 1921. He received his A.B. degree in 1920 followed by the M.A. in 1921. While working on his Ph.D. degree at Harvard University, 1921-1925, he taught at Geneva College in Pennsylvania and at Ohio State University. In 1925 he accepted an instructorship in political science at the University of Michigan. He was promoted to full professor in 1934, served as departmental chairman, 1947-61, and occupied the Murfin chair from 1948 until his retirement in 1968. Although involved in many non-academic activities as well, Professor Pollock always considered himself primarily a teacher. Upon his retirement as departmental chairman, he insisted upon spending his remaining years on the faculty teaching undergraduates. In recognition of his achievements, the University of Michigan gave him its Distinguished Faculty Award in 1959.

Professor Pollock's work at the University of Michigan was only one facet of a varied career, however. His interest in political parties, campaigns, and elections, both in America and in Europe, was not just academic. Over the years, his expertise in these subjects led both the state of Michigan and the U.S. government to request his advice on various occasions.

In 1935 Professor Pollock accepted a request to head the newly created Michigan Civil Service Study Commission, which investigated the problem of political "spoils" and devised methods of creating an adequate personnel agency and improving working conditions for civil servants. Michigan enacted a basic civil service law in 1937, and strengthened it in 1940 despite attacks by the beneficiaries of the spoils system. In the course of the struggle, Pollock was instrumental in helping to found the Michigan Merit System Association, designed to improve and protect civil service in Michigan. He maintained an active interest in the system throughout his life, and for his work he has been termed "the father of Michigan's civil service."

However, it was Pollock's interest in foreign political systems, particularly in those of Germany, which was to dominate his career. His interest began in the 1920s, and in 1928 a grant from the Social Science Research Council financed a trip to Europe which resulted in studies of parties and elections in Great Britain, France, Ireland, and Germany. Professor Pollock's interest became increasingly focused on Germany, and as a result of his work on German elections, the Plebiscite Commission of the League of Nations chose him as the American observer at the Saar plebiscite in 1935, in which the Saarlanders voted to reunite with Germany.

Professor Pollock's status as an expert on German affairs led the U.S. government to tap him for wartime activities. He lectured at the Provost Marshal General's School at Fort Custer in 1942-43, and participated in both the Judge Advocate General's School and the Civil Affairs Training School at Michigan from 1943 to 1945. In addition, from 1941 to 1943 Pollock gave weekly news analyses and speeches on various Detroit radio stations. Throughout the war, Professor Pollock wrote prolifically on the topic of Germany, the question of her responsibility and guilt, and the problem of how a defeated Germany was to be treated following the war. Although Pollock strongly condemned the Nazis and did not hesitate to insist that the Germans themselves were responsible for Hitler, he rejected the ideas, current among many in the U.S., that all Germans were Nazis and that Germany should be destroyed territorially after her defeat. Pollock believed that a postwar democratic state in Germany was possible, but insisted it could only be built by the Germans themselves. To this end, he offered various concrete proposals regarding the occupation of Germany, all of them involving the direct participation of non-Nazi Germans in the government at an early stage, and geared toward the most rapid reconstruction possible.

The constructive nature of Professor Pollock's approach no doubt had much to do with the U.S. government's request in 1945 that he serve as special adviser to General Lucius D. Clay, deputy governor of the American zone in Germany. Clay faced enormous problems resulting from lack of coordination and communication between the zones, as well as from lack of local government within the American zone. Pollock's assignment was to develop a political and governmental framework for the zone. This was done by dividing the zone into four Lander or states, each with a Minister-President at its head, supported by a skeletal bureaucracy. To coordinate and supervise these state governments, the American Military Government established a Regional Government Coordinating Office (RGCO) at Stuttgart, with Pollock as its director. In addition, a German counterpart called the Landerrat or Council of States was established, consisting of the Minister-Presidents, their supporting personnel and a central secretariat. The Landerrat met regularly in Stuttgart and, with American counseling, established patterns for regional and local government, helped to recreate systems of justice and security, and made preparations for drafting constitutions for future self-government. Pollock deliberately remained in the background, encouraging the Landerrat to be as self-sufficient as possible, with the result that a much more rapid political revival occurred than in the other zones.

Professor Pollock returned to Ann Arbor in September 1946, but went back to Germany in 1947 and 1948 on observatory missions for the Office of Military Government in Germany, United States Zone. In 1950, following the unification of the non-Soviet zones of occupation and the enactment of the Basic Law of 1949, the cornerstone of the Federal Republic, he conducted a fact-finding mission for the United States High Commissioner for Germany. Professor Pollock was formally honored by both the U.S. and German governments for his work with the Landerrat. In 1946 President Truman conferred upon him the U.S. government's highest civilian award, the Medal of Merit, and in 1956 and 1959, respectively, the German government awarded him the Grand Cross Order of Merit and the Knight Commander's Cross.

During the postwar years, Professor Pollock was active in a number of organizations (particularly the Franz Lieber Foundation) which promoted better understanding between Germans and Americans, and which were dedicated to keeping the cause of a unified Germany in the public eye of this country. In addition, Pollock expanded his duties in the Political Science department at the university, and became involved with the American Political Science Association and the International Political Science Association, serving as president of the former in 1950 and of the latter from 1955 to 1958.

In 1947, Pollock was appointed a member of the Committee on the Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government, better known as the Hoover Commission, which had just been created by Congress. Its purpose was to attempt to bring the machinery of the executive branch of the federal government back within the control of the president, increasing its efficiency and its responsiveness at the same time. Pollock served on the committee until 1949, and remained concerned with these problems throughout the 1950s. The final report of the Hoover Commission made a request for a "continuing agency" to deal with the problems in this area, and in 1959, after several intermediate commissions, the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations was created by act of Congress. Pollock served as vice-chairman of the Commission from 1959 to 1961. Professor Pollock's interest during the 1950s in the relationship between federal and state governments also led to his one attempt at elective office; he was elected as a delegate of the Republican party to the Michigan Constitutional Convention in 1961.

Professor Pollock retired as departmental chairman in 1961, and retired from the University of Michigan in 1968. Unfortunately, his desire to pursue further such various topics such as the reform of state government, the reorganization of the federal executive and the problems of governments abroad was cut short by his death a few months later, on October 4, 1968.

From the guide to the James K. Pollock papers, 1920-1968, (Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Michigan Historical Collections. Frank Murphy oral history project, 1963-1968. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Michael A. Gorman papers, 1920-1958 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Jesse Siddall Reeves Papers, 1853-1942, 1901-1942 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn George Murphy papers, 1911-1961 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Arthur H. Vandenberg papers, 1884-1974, 1915-1951 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Fitzgerald, Frank D. (Frank Dwight), 1885-1939. Frank Dwight Fitzgerald papers, 1928-1944. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Pollock, James K. (James Kerr), 1898-1968. [Pamphlets and reprints]. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Arthur W. Stace papers, 1927-1950 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Pollock, James K. (James Kerr), 1898-1968. James Kerr Pollock papers, 1920-1968. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf University of Michigan. School of Public Policy. School of Public Policy (University of Michigan) records, 1917 and 1934-1993. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Green, Fred W. (Fred Warren), 1872-1936. Fred Warren Green papers, 1881-1939. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Michigan. Civil Service Study Commission. Michigan Civil Service Study Commission records, 1935-1942. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Alexander G. Ruthven Papers, 1901-1961, 1906-1951 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Frank Murphy papers, 1908-1949 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn George William Cushing papers and sound recordings, 1942-1955 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Gorman, Michael A. (Michael Arthur), 1892-1958. Michael Arthur Gorman papers, 1920-1958. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Kennedy family. Kennedy family papers, 1904-1969. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Martin, John Butlin, 1909-. John Butlin Martin papers, 1948-1965. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy (University of Michigan) records, 1917-2010, 1950-2002 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Artiaga, Santiago, 1878-1962. Santiago Artiaga papers, 1914-1957. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn John Mason Brown papers, 1922-1967. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Read Bain papers, 1893-1972 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Engel, Albert J. (Albert Joseph), 1888-1959. Albert Joseph Engel papers, 1885-1960. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Van Wagoner, Murray Delos, 1898-. Murray Delos Van Wagoner papers, 1921-1949. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Michigan Civil Service Study Commission records, 1935-1941 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn John Butlin Martin papers, 1948-1965 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Joseph Ralston Hayden Papers, 1854-1975 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Stace, Arthur W. (Arthur William), 1875-1950. Arthur W. Stace papers, 1927-1950. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Frank Dwight Fitzgerald papers, 1928-1944, 1930-1939 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Fred W. Green papers, 1881-1939 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn William Brownrigg papers, 1919-1967 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf James K. Pollock papers, 1920-1968 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Marston Bates Papers, 1913-1974 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Pollock, James K. (James Kerr), 1898-1968. James Kerr Pollock papers, 1920-1968. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Oswald Garrison Villard papers, 1872-1949. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Howard Cyrus Lawrence Papers, 1916-1966 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Michigan. Constitutional Convention (1961-1962). Committee on Legislative Organization. Records of Committee on Legislative Organization, 1961-1962. State Archive of Michigan
referencedIn Claude Halstead Van Tyne papers, 1885-1930 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Frank Murphy Oral History Project, 1963-1968 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn University of Michigan. Dept. of Political Science. Dept. of Political Science (University of Michigan) student papers, 1939-1962. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Owen J. Cleary Papers, 1944-1959 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Santiago Artiaga papers, 1914-1957 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Shirley Wheeler Smith Papers, 1881-1959 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Murray D. Van Wagoner Papers, 1921-1949 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Cushing, George William, 1888-1968. George Cushing sound recordings, 1942-1955. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Albert Joseph Engel Papers, 1885-1960 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Brownrigg, William, 1893-1969. William Brownrigg papers, 1919-1967. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Kennedy family papers, 1860s-1982 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Acheson, Dean, 1893-1971. person
associatedWith Ackley, Gardner. person
associatedWith Adams, James P. (James Pickwell), 1895-1969. person
associatedWith Adams, Randolph Greenfield, 1892-1951. person
associatedWith Adenauer, Konrad, 1876-1967. person
associatedWith Adolf Hitler person
associatedWith American Political Science Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Artiaga, Santiago, 1878-1962. person
associatedWith Bain, Read, 1892- person
associatedWith Bates, Marston, 1906-1974 person
associatedWith Beard, Charles A. (Charles Austin), 1874-1948. person
associatedWith Bentley, Alvin M. (Alvin Morell), 1918-1969. person
associatedWith Brandt, Willy, 1913-1992. person
associatedWith Bricker, John W. (John William), 1893-1986. person
associatedWith Bromage, Arthur W. (Arthur Watson), 1904-1979. person
correspondedWith Brown, John Mason, 1900-1969 person
associatedWith Brown, Prentiss M. (Prentiss Marsh), 1889-1973. person
associatedWith Brownrigg, William, 1893-1969. person
associatedWith Bunche, Ralph J. (Ralph Johnson), 1904-1971. person
associatedWith Clay, Lucius D. (Lucius DuBignon), 1897-1978. person
associatedWith Cleary, Owen J., 1900-1960 person
associatedWith Comstock, William Alfred, 1877-1949. person
associatedWith Conant, James Bryant, 1893-1978. person
associatedWith Connable, Alfred B. (Alfred Barnes), 1904- person
associatedWith Couzens, James, 1872-1936. person
associatedWith Cudlip, William B., 1904-1988. person
associatedWith Cushing, George William, 1888-1968. person
associatedWith Dana, Samuel Trask, 1883-1978. person
associatedWith DeFoe, Murl Holcomb, 1879- person
associatedWith Dewey, Thomas E. (Thomas Edmund), 1902-1971. person
associatedWith Dickinson, Luren Dudley, 1859-1943. person
associatedWith Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969. person
associatedWith Eldersveld, Samuel James. person
associatedWith Engel, Albert J. (Albert Joseph), 1888-1959. person
associatedWith Erhard, Ludwig. person
associatedWith Erhard, Ludwig. person
associatedWith Farley, James A. (James Aloysius), 1888-1976. person
associatedWith Ferguson, Homer, 1889-1982. person
associatedWith Fitzgerald, Frank D. (Frank Dwight), 1885-1939. person
associatedWith Fitzgerald, Frank Dwight, 1885-1939 person
associatedWith Ford, Gerald R., 1913-2006. person
associatedWith Forrestal, James, 1892-1949. person
associatedWith Gale, Esson M. (Esson McDowell), 1884-1964. person
associatedWith Gallup, George, 1901-1984. person
associatedWith Goebel, Paul Gordon, 1901- person
associatedWith Gorman, Michael A. (Michael Arthur), 1892-1958. person
associatedWith Green, Fred W. (Fred Warren), 1872-1936. person
associatedWith Grewe, Wilhelm Georg, 1911- person
associatedWith Haber, William, 1899-1988. person
associatedWith Harding, Warren G. (Warren Gamaliel), 1865-1923. person
associatedWith Hart, Philip A. (Philip Aloysius), 1912-1976. person
associatedWith Hatcher, Harlan, 1898-1998. person
associatedWith Hayden, Joseph Ralston, 1887-1945. person
associatedWith Herbert, J. Joseph, 1894-1956. person
associatedWith Hill, Norman Hingston, 1887-1971. person
associatedWith Hiss, Alger. person
associatedWith Hiss, Alger. person
associatedWith Holcombe, Arthur N. (Arthur Norman), 1884-1977. person
associatedWith Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964. person
associatedWith Humphrey, Hubert H. (Hubert Horatio), 1911-1978. person
associatedWith Jackson, Robert Houghwout, 1892-1954. person
associatedWith Judd, Dorothy. person
associatedWith Judd, Dorothy Leonard. person
associatedWith Kefauver, Estes, 1903-1963. person
associatedWith Kelly, Harry F. (Harry Francis), 1895-1971. person
associatedWith Kennedy family. family
associatedWith Kennedy family. family
associatedWith Kennedy, James Alexander, 1897-1969. person
associatedWith Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963 person
associatedWith Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963. person
associatedWith Kiesinger, Kurt Georg, 1904-1988. person
associatedWith Knox, Frank, 1874-1944. person
associatedWith Kraus, Edward Henry, 1875-1973. person
associatedWith La Guardia, Fiorello H. (Fiorello Henry), 1882-1947 person
associatedWith Lawrence, Howard Cyrus, 1890-1961 person
associatedWith Lippmann, Walter, 1889-1974. person
associatedWith Litchfield, Edward H. (Edward Harold), 1914-1968. person
associatedWith Lodge, Henry Cabot, 1902-1985. person
associatedWith Marshall, S. L. A. (Samuel Lyman Atwood), 1900-1977. person
associatedWith Martin, John Butlin, 1909- person
associatedWith McClellan, John L. (John Little), 1896-1977. person
associatedWith McNamara, Robert S., 1916-2009. person
associatedWith Meader, George, 1907- person
associatedWith Michener, Earl Cory, 1876-1957. person
associatedWith Michigan. Civil Service Study Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan. Civil Service Study Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan. Constitution. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan. Constitutional Convention (1961-1962) corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan. Constitutional Convention (1961-1962). Committee on Legislative Organization. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan Historical Collections. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan Merit System Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan Merit System Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan Merit System Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Milliken, William G., 1922- person
associatedWith Moley, Raymond, 1886-1975. person
associatedWith Moley, Raymond L., 1886- person
associatedWith Moody, Blair, 1902-1954. person
associatedWith Murphy, Frank, 1890-1949. person
associatedWith Murphy, George, 1897-1961 person
associatedWith Murphy, Robert D. (Robert Daniel), 1894-1978. person
associatedWith Muskie, Edmund S., 1914-1996. person
associatedWith Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994. person
associatedWith Nye, Gerald P. (Gerald Prentice), 1892-1971. person
associatedWith Reeves, Jesse Siddall, 1872-1942. person
associatedWith Republican Party (Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Romney, George W., 1907-1995. person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945. person
associatedWith Rusk, Dean, 1909-1994. person
associatedWith Ruthven, Alexander Grant, 1882-1971. person
associatedWith Smith, Shirley Wheeler, 1875-1959 person
associatedWith Stace, Arthur W. (Arthur William), 1875-1950. person
associatedWith Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972. person
associatedWith United States. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government (1947-1949) corporateBody
associatedWith Univeristy of Michigan. Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Dept. of Political Science. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Dept. of Political Science. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Dept. of Political Science. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Dept. of Political Science. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. School of Public Policy. corporateBody
associatedWith Vandenberg, Arthur H. (Arthur Hendrick), 1884-1951. person
associatedWith Van Tyne, Claude Halstead, 1869-1930 person
associatedWith Van Wagoner, Murray Delos, 1898- person
correspondedWith Villard, Oswald Garrison, 1872-1949 person
associatedWith Williams, G. Mennen, 1911-1988. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Michigan
United States
Germany (West)
Germany
Germany
Saarland (Germany)
Michigan
Saar River Valley (France and Germany)
United States
Germany
Subject
World War, 1939-1945
Political science
Reconstruction (1939-1951)
Civil service
Reconstruction (1939-1951)--Germany
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1898-05-25

Death 1968-10-04

Americans

English

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6st7s7j

Ark ID: w6st7s7j

SNAC ID: 51334719