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The German Occupation of Belgium 1940-1944

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Werner Warmbrunn

The study of German occupation policies during the Second World War and of the relation of the people in the occupied territories to these policies provides valuable insight into the political dynamics of World War II. This book describes the structure and activities of the German military administration in Belgium 1940-1944 against the background of the previous occupation of the country during the Second World War, and in comparison with German policies in neighboring Holland. It provides the reader with a precise description and analysis of German policies, draws comparisons between military and civilian (party) occupation regimes, and examines the moral issues faced by German commanders without sympathy for Nazi ideology and actions based on that ideology.

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Table of Contents

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Foreword by Jose Gotovitch.................................................... 1x Preface and Acknowledgements............................................. XI Introduction.............................................................................. 1 I Before the Occupation..................................................... 5 The Land and the People ............................................... . 5 Institutions and Society.................................................... 6 The Monarchy.................................................................. 13 Politics and Government 1918-1940 .............................. 17 Th "L Q . " e anguage uest1on .............................................. . Foreign Policy .................................................................. . The Invasion and its Aftermath ..................................... . 24 34 43 II Survey of the Main Periods of the Occupation ............. 53 III The Establishment of the New Administration............. 63 National-Socialist Government and German Designs on Belgium.................................................... 63 The Establishment and Organization of the Military Command...................................................... 68 General von Falkenhausen and his Staff....................... 77 The Reports ofthe Military Administration: Intentionality and Reliability..................................... 93 The Struggle Over the Introduction of a Civilian Administration (Reichskommissariat) ............. 96 The Germans and the Belgian Administration ............. 104 The Germans and the Administration of Law ............... 114 VI Table of Contents IV German Political Activities .............................................. 125 General Policies ................................................................ 125 Policy Toward King Leopold .......................................... 127 Nationality Policies (Volkstumspolitik) ............................... 130 The Germans and the Mass Media ................................. 136 Police and Security Measures .......................................... 141 The Persecution of the Jews ............................................ 149 Labor, Welfare and Culture ............................................ 172 The Germans and Belgian Prisoners ofWar ................. 186 V The Economic Exploitation of Belgium ......................... 191 General Observations ....................................................... 191 Reconstruction and Transportation ............................... 193 Stages of Exploitation ....................................................... 198 Agriculture and Food ....................................................... 214 Labor and the Labor Draft .............................................. 225 The Management of Finances, Wages and Prices ......... 238 External Trade .................................................................. 247 VI Summary and Conclusion: The German Occupation Regime in Belgium 1940-1944 ................................. 249 The German Administration: Personalities, Policies and Political Effectiveness ............................. 251 Economic Exploitation ..................................................... 259 The Moral Issue ................................................................ 263 Final Conclusion ............................................................... 266 Glossary ..................................................................................... 269...

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