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Title: Winning the peace : the British in occupied Germany, 1945-1948
Author: Knowles, Christopher
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 5428
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines the contribution made by twelve important and influential individuals to the development of a policy of physical and economic reconstruction, political renewal and personal reconciliation in the British Zone of occupied Germany in the first three years after the end of the Second World War. The selected individuals all possessed power, authority and influence, at different levels of the hierarchy, and collectively represent the view of the ‘governing elite’ of the occupation, including some of its internal differences. They have been categorised in three groups of four: those at the top of the hierarchy, the three Military Governors and one of their senior generals; four senior civilian diplomats and administrators responsible for promoting democracy in Germany; and four young officers with no adult experience but war, who held responsible and influential positions despite their youth. A biographical approach is a novel methodology for studying the British occupation of Germany. It highlights the diversity of aims and personal backgrounds and in so doing can explain some of the apparent contradictions in occupation policy. Personal influences were especially important in a period of transition from war to peace, when official policy guidelines appeared unclear or inappropriate and organisational structures created for the occupation were short-lived and changed rapidly. A wide range of sources has been used including memoirs and autobiographies, official documents, personal papers and oral history interviews. Although sources were created at different times for different purposes, most accounts were found to be remarkably consistent, both internally and with each other. Subjective accounts have been placed in their historical context in order to understand individuals’ perceptions, motivations and personal interests, together with the limitations and constraints on their scope for action.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available