Established in 1948 by the United States Displaced Persons (DP) Act, the Displaced Persons Commission was responsible for overseeing the process of settling DPs into their new lives in the United States. The DP Commission facilitated the resettlement of DPs in conjunction with voluntary agencies. The commission helped to secure work opportunities, sponsors, and housing for DPs before they ever entered the US. In addition, state DP commissions tackled regionally-specific issues related to resettlement. Over the course of four years, the federal and state commissions and their partners resettled roughly 400,000 DPs in the US. A nearly four-hundred page report, called the "The DP Story," summarizes the activities of the DP Commission, which operated from 1948 to 1952.
The designation "Displaced Persons" first emerged from the humanitarian crises caused by World War II and the Holocaust, but by the time the DP Commission finished its work in 1952, the Cold War had emerged as another factor driving resettlement. As early as 1948, rising tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States had made the US more likely to admit DPs fleeing political persecution under Communist governments.1
The report notes that the DP Commission expected that 1952 would mark the end of the "DP Story." However, the commission also acknowledged that Cold War tensions and continued global upheaval meant that humanitarian relief and refugee issues would remain features of US policymaking for decades to come.