The Allied Occupation of Germany Revisited: New Research on the Western Zones of Occupation, 1945-49

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Date / time: 29 September - 30 September, All day

German Historical Institute, London

A two-day conference on the Allied Occupation of Germany Revisited: New Research on the Western Zones of Occupation, 1945-1949

Organisers: Dr Christopher Knowles (King’s College London), Dr Camilo Erlichman (Edinburgh/Cologne)

Additional information may be found at the conference website

The Allied occupation of Western Germany after the Second World War has long constituted a classic component in academic histories of post-war Germany. After having been the subject of sustained scholarly attention in the 1970s and 1980s, the subject has subsequently faced a decline in academic interest.

This two-day conference is intended to showcase new research and provide a forum for the presentation of innovative approaches to the history of the three western zones of occupation. It also aims to stimulate dialogue between historians of the different zones of occupation and so bring together hitherto almost entirely segregated historiographies.

The conference aims to address:

  • Ideologies and strategies of rule: analyses of ruling philosophies, wider sets of beliefs invested in the occupation, and quotidian power techniques deployed by the occupiers to enforce their interests in Germany and maintain their rule on the ground.
  • Interactions between the occupiers and the occupied: examinations of personal relationships between the occupiers and the occupied, popular responses towards the occupation, and practical instances of ‘cooperation’, ‘accommodation’, ‘collaboration’, ‘friction’, and ‘conflict’.
  • The legacies of the occupation period: new interpretations on the social outcomes of the occupation, including work that examines the impact of the occupation period on different German social classes, elites, social and political associations, religious institutions, and on gender relations.
  • Inter-zonal comparisons: work that approaches the aspects above by exploring similarities and differences between the practices of the occupiers in the different zones of occupation.
  • The occupation of Germany in context: comparative and transnational approaches to the Allied occupation of Germany leading to a reconsideration of the place of the occupation in the history of western Germany and Europe more widely. This may include useful comparisons between the occupation of Germany and other occupations in Europe during the 1940s and wider global comparisons with instances of foreign rule past and present.

We are planning to publish a selection of the contributions, so speakers should be willing to submit a draft manuscript two months after the conference, drawing on the feedback they received during the group discussion of their paper.

Any enquiries should be directed to the conference organisers via e-mail.

The conference is supported by the Institute of Contemporary British History at King’s College London, the German Historical Institute London, the German History Society, the Society for the Study of French History, and the Beyond Enemy Lines project at King’s College London, funded by the European Research Council.