Occupied Germany

Discussion in 'Postwar' started by Charley Fortnum, Nov 24, 2018.

  1. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I originally stumbled across the blog by the author of this thesis years ago while reading about Brian Horrocks. He has since produced a final document and, indeed, turned it into a full-length book.

    Below is a link to the full-document of his thesis. It is a biographically based analysis of the British role in the early occupation. Many figures will be familiar to members here from their service during the war years.

    Winning the peace: the British in occupied Germany, 1945-1948.

    Link (slow loading):


    The twelve principal individuals discussed in the thesis are:

    Field-Marshal Bernard Montgomery, 1887-1976

    Military Governor and Commander-in-Chief, 22 May 1945 – 1 May 1946

    General Brian Robertson, 1896-1974

    Deputy Military Governor and Chief of Staff to Montgomery, July 1945 – May 1946
    Deputy Military Governor to Sholto Douglas, May 1946 – November 1947
    Military Governor and Commander-in-Chief, November 1947 – September 1949
    High Commissioner to the Federal Republic of Germany, September 1949 – June 1950

    Major-General Alec Bishop, 1897-1984

    Head of PR/ISC (Public Relations and Information Services Control), June 1945 – June 1946
    Deputy Chief of Staff to Brian Robertson, June 1946 – 1948
    Regional Commissioner for North Rhine-Westphalia, 1948 – December 1950

    Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sholto Douglas, 1893-1969

    Commander-in-Chief, BAFO (British Air Forces of Occupation), August 1945 – January 1946 Military Governor and Commander-in-Chief, May 1946 – November 1947

    Harold Ingrams, 1897-1973

    Head of ALG (Administration and Local Government) branch, July 1945 – August 1946

    Austen Albu, 1903-1994

    Head of German Political Department, Political Division, February 1946 – May 1946 Deputy Chairman, Governmental Sub-Commission, May 1946 – November 1947

    Allan Flanders, 1910-1973

    Head of German Political Department, Political Division, May 1946 – December 1947

    Vaughan Berry, 1891-1979

    Regional Commissioner for Westphalia, May 1946 – October 1946
    Regional Commissioner for Hamburg, October 1946 – May 1949
    British representative, International Authority of the Ruhr, June 1949 – September 1950

    John Chaloner, 1924-2007

    Officer, Westminster Dragoons, British army of occupation, May 1945 – July 1945
    Press Officer, Information Control, Lüneburg, Osnabrück, Hanover, July 1945 – early 1947

    Michael Howard, 1926-
    [Has since died].

    Interesting obit here: https://www.heraldscotland.com/opin...er-who-hunted-nazi-scientists-and-documents/]

    Major Audio Interview here:
    Howard, Michael Henry Samuel (Oral history)

    Newly commissioned officer, Rifle Brigade, February 1946 – April 1946 Intelligence Officer, T-Force, April 1946 – December 1947

    Michael Palliser, 1922-2012

    Officer, Coldstream Guards, British army of occupation, May 1945 – January 1947

    Jan Thexton, 1920-2008

    NCO, Middlesex Yeomanry (signals), British army of occupation, May 1945 – May 1946 Control Commission Reparations Branch, Mandatory Requirements Office, Liaison officer at the British Embassy, 1946 – 1966
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
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  2. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    A first class account of the executive management task of the recovery and transformation of Germany from the defeat of a totalitarian state to a democratic one,from those administrating the British zone.It appears that the Germans did not wish for the British election system of FPTP as proposed by the British authorities.

    A good reference to the non fraternisation policy and the breaking of it is included.Apparently 10000 of the British occupation forces married German womenfolk in the three years to 1948.

    Also worth consulting is the HMSO official account of the occupation of the Rhineland by the British from 1918-1929....The Occupation of the Rhineland 1928-29 by Brigadier General James Edmonds. A comprehensive publication,it records the entry into the German Rhineland of the various military units together with those units of the occupation.
    Lindele likes this.
  3. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I've heard/read lots of anecdotes, but I never realised the figure was so high. That suggests to me that there wasn't much stigma (at least on one side) attached to such unions. One wonders of what scale the difficulties were once they returned to Britain.

    It also reinforces what I've so often read of: as soon as he's out of frying pan and fire, the British Tommy tends to be soft-hearted. And, of course, a good number of British occupying troops did not fight during the war and (depending on where they were from had heard about more suffering than they had experienced first-hand), which would reduce the virulence of any lingering animosity.
    Lindele likes this.
  4. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I think that those British troops who had experience of Belsen and the like had a somewhat sterner attitude towards the German population and that includes some of the senior officers.

    This attitude more than agrees with the comments of Ken Morse who was George Stevens's cameraman for the liberation documentary "D Day to Berlin" where the unit covered many concentration camps being liberated and were constantly diverted to record evidence at the camps as they were liberated.Ken Morse's comments reflected what he witnessed at concentration camps and were directed at German children with an attitude of insensitivity.

    As regards fraternisation,the attitude to the German womenfolk appears to have not been all that different from the Soviets.The document reveals the extent to circumvent the rules,recognising the orders but achieving relationships with German womenfolk.When the rules were relaxed,the army authorities introduced clauses into the formal permission to marry,the main one being that the serviceman was posted back to Blighty for 6 months which those wishing to cement relationships saw as a method of cooling passions.One senior officer, showing his colonial attitude remarked that marrying German women was akin to marrying "wogs".

    As regards Soviet officers,it has been recorded that they were not adverse to taking German womanfolk as mistresses and referred to these ladies as "battlefield wives".There may be information available of these relationships which went further but I am not aware of it,although there must have been some intermarrying of Soviet troops with German women during the GDR period.
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    In the very small village where our family lived there was one other family whose father had served in same regiment as mine had and who'd also married a German woman. He'd been POW since 1940 and their marriage was immediately post-war, while my parents only met decades after. As far as I'm aware the experiences were more or less the same: ignorance, abuse and threats from people who had no personal connection whatsoever to 1939-45. Growing up, I knew of another man from Dad's regiment who'd also married a German woman.
    So, such circumstances weren't that unusual, even if back then I tended to think they were. However, they did make for a rather peculiar upbringing: being the child of a British soldier who'd fought in the war while at the same time being denounced as a Nazi. Acceptance and friendship came from other veterans of the war who lived in the village. (I wouldn't change my experiences, it helped develop a certain amount of insight into human behaviour, but I would say that - as with travelling abroad during the Troubles with a NI accent - in many respects the very openness of prejudices made them far easier to deal with.)

    The post-hostilities role of a battalion laid out in a transcript here
    War Diary: 5th Battalion COLDSTREAM GUARDS, Jan - Oct 1945
  6. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    A good number of British occupying troops did not fight during the war. Very true. In fact, a Guernsey boy internedfrom 1942 in ILAG Vb Biberach until 1945, was among the British Rhineland forces and visited the former POW camp a few years ago
    A happy end indeed.


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