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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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VI. Summary and Conclusion: The German Occupation Regime in Belgium 1940-1944 249

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Chapter Six Summary and Conclusion: The German Occupation Regime in Belgium 1940-1944 In this chapter I intend to evaluate the structure, policies and actions of the German administration in Belgium during the second occupation, and to address the broader questions raised in the introduction. In conclusion, I will apply to the German occupation of Belgium my basic assessment of German occupation policies in the Netherlands expressed in my book The Dutch under German Occupation. In this evaluation the distinction between the Military Command and its most important "hybrid" organization, the German Security Police and SD must be discussed once more. The ambiguities of that relationship have been presented in sufficient detail to make it clear that the German police was, and at the same time was not, an integral part of the Military Command, and that discussions of the character, intentions and methods of the Military Command in large measure do not apply fully to the police. While we need to make that differentiation in order to be able to define what was somewhat special about the von Falkenhausen-Reeder admin- istration, the distinction is also subject to criticism because from the point of view of the people in the occupied territory, particularly the Jews, the Military Command and the police were both components of the same German apparatus of oppression, terror and annihilation. There is no way of escaping this ambiguity because any simplified view would do an injustice to the complexity of the situation as it evolved from 1940...

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