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Foreign Rule in Western Europe

Towards a Comparative History of Military Occupations, 1940-1949

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Published on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 by João Fernandes

Summary

Military occupations were a crucial part of the collective experience of Western European societies during the mid-20th century. Occupations conducted by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and the Western Allies varied in terms of their goals, methods, and most significantly in their use of violence. In many respects, however, these ideologically different regimes of occupation also shared a range of common features. In contrast to the ruthless occupation policies in the East, these regimes sought to find a viable mode of interaction with both local social intermediaries and the broader population, and thus generally attempted to stabilize their rule by pacifying occupied societies. Many of the quotidian ruling techniques and practices deployed for this purpose produced a set of related socio-political legacies across Western European societies which found their distinctive expression during the subsequent decades.

Announcement

Presentation

The workshop is divided into three panels which reflect these research questions. A first panel will develop methodological and programmatic ideas on how one might write a comparative history of occupations during the 1940s. A second panel explores ruling strategies and social interactions under military occupation. Papers in this section will discuss the specificity and comparability of a national case and then locate its place within the broader historical landscape of occupations. The third panel, finally, will look at the long-term legacies and outcomes of the mid-20th century occupations and assess in how far post-war Western European societies might be interpreted as ‘post-occupation’ societies. In doing so, the section will explore the changes wrought by occupations upon the socio-political and cultural texture of European states as well as address the fundamental question of who emerged as the social 'winners' and 'losers' of this period. All invited speakers are currently involved in research projects on military occupations and will present novel findings from their ongoing work. The workshop language will be English.

All are welcome. There is no charge for attendance, but please register by 16 January 2015. Registrations and queries should be addressed to Camilo Erlichman (c.erlichman[at]sms.ed.ac.uk), Juliano de Assis Mendonça (juliano[at]mendonca.de) or Byron Schirbock (b.schirbock[at]uni-koeln.de).

Argument

Military occupations were a crucial part of the collective experience of Western European societies during the mid-20th century. Occupations conducted by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and the Western Allies varied in terms of their goals, methods, and most significantly in their use of violence. In many respects, however, these ideologically different regimes of occupation also shared a range of common features. In contrast to the ruthless occupation policies in the East, these regimes sought to find a viable mode of interaction with both local social intermediaries and the broader population, and thus generally attempted to stabilize their rule by pacifying occupied societies. Many of the quotidian ruling techniques and practices deployed for this purpose produced a set of related socio-political legacies across Western European societies which found their distinctive expression during the subsequent decades.

Despite their functional commonalities, however, occupations have hitherto been mostly explored from a national perspective and have only occasionally been placed within a comparative framework. This workshop takes as its point of departure the structural similarities of military occupations during the 1940s and their collective impact upon post-war European societies. It seeks to provide a forum for discussing the merits and problems as well as the future research agenda of a comparative European history of military occupations. 

Program 

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Panel I: Methodological and Programmatic Ideas

  • 14.30 Camilo Erlichman (Edinburgh/Cologne): Welcome Address: Comparing Military Occupations in Western Europe
  • 14.50 Tatjana Tönsmeyer (Wuppertal/Essen): Keynote Lecture: Occupation and Occupied Societies – Conceptual Approaches towards a Comparative History of Occupation
  • 15.40 Habbo Knoch (Cologne): Comment

15.50 Discussion 

16.15 Coffee break

Panel II: Ruling Strategies and Social Interactions under Military Occupation

  • 16.30 Byron Schirbock (Cologne): The German Occupation of France 1940-1944: Everyday Life, Encounters, and Mutual Perceptions
  • 17.10 Carlo Gentile (Cologne): Experiences of Violence: Wehrmacht, SS and German Police in Western Europe and the War Against Civilians

17.50 Coffee break

  • 18.00 Julia Wambach (Berkeley/Berlin): Vichy in Baden-Baden? - The French Occupation of Germany after 1945
  • 18.40 Camilo Erlichman (Edinburgh/Cologne): “The Whisper behind the Throne”: Authority, Visibility, and the Complexities of Indirect Rule in the British Zone of Germany, 1945-1949

19.20 End of day one

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Panel III: Long-term Legacies and Outcomes of Occupations

  • 9.30  Krijn Thijs (Amsterdam): Unifying Europe. Wehrmacht Veterans Re-Visiting the Netherlands after 1945
  • 10.10 Peter Romijn (Amsterdam/Jena): From Collaboration to Reconstruction: Functional Continuities in post-1945 Western Europe

10.50 Coffee break 

  • 11.10 Jost Dülffer (Cologne): Comment

11.40 Discussion

12.30 End of the workshop

Places

  • Philosophikum, Anna-von-Schürmann-Raum (356a) - Albertus-Magnus-Platz
    Cologne, Federal Republic of Germany (50923)

Date(s)

  • Saturday, January 17, 2015
  • Sunday, January 18, 2015

Attached files

Keywords

  • occupation, legacies, Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, methodology, society

Contact(s)

  • Byron Schirbock
    courriel : b [dot] schirbock [at] uni-koeln [dot] de
  • Camilo Erlichman
    courriel : c [dot] erlichman [at] uva [dot] nl
  • Juliano de Assis Mendonça
    courriel : juliano [at] mendonca [dot] de

Information source

  • Byron Schirbock
    courriel : b [dot] schirbock [at] uni-koeln [dot] de

To cite this announcement

« Foreign Rule in Western Europe », Study days, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, December 17, 2014, https://calenda.org/311237

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