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The German Occupation of Belgium 1940-1944


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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Preface and Acknowledgements xi


Preface and Acknowledgements January 1992 This book has been in the making since the autumn of 1967. The principal reason for its slow gestation has been the demand on my time arising from my primary commitment to teaching and to the business of Pitzer College. Another reason has been my reliance on primary archival sources in the rela- tive absence of secondary scholarly publications, especially during the first decade of my research. As the attentive reader will notice, the final product shows some of the strengths and weaknesses of a study which has evolved over a long period and which has been revised numerous times over the years. In 1967 I chose the second occupation of Belgium as my topic primarily because at that point in time, relatively close to the end of the war and to highly charged domestic controver- sies over questions of collaboration and resistance, it was diffi- cult for Belgian historians working in an extremely politicized country to write objectively about the occupation without fear that future career opportunities might be affected by what they had to say. Therefore it seemed advisable, in my view and that of some of my European colleagues whom I consulted, for an outsider familiar with the languages needed for such research to undertake the effort to provide an unprejudiced picture ofthe occupation. In the decades since 1967 a new generation of younger Belgian scholars has arrived who are less emotionally involved than their elders in the political issues of the...

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