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During the German occupation of Britain's Channel Islands there were love affairs between island women and German soldiers betrayals and black marketeering individual act The Occupation of the Channel Islands has become something of a footnote in Britain s history of World War II a fact that might seem somewhat surprising You would think the invasion and occupation of sovereign British soil by the forces of Nazi Germany for the duration of the war would merit rather attention And yet it seems as though all parties the islanders the British government and the German occupying forces would rather forget it ever happened Right from the moment of Liberation the process of forgetting began there were no trials of Germans after the Liberation and no memorials for the dead no recognition of heroic acts And there s a reason for thatThe Occupation of the Channel Islands upsets the mythic history of Britain s war the belief that the British were different from the rest of the Continent that when Churchill said we would fight on the beaches and in the streets he and the rest of the population meant every word The problem with the Channel Islands is that they didn t fight not on the beaches not in the streets not in the fields or the landing groundsThe islanders settled down to a peaceful occupation remarkably uickly and the island governments reached an accommodation with the Germans that saw the occupiers working through the governmental structure already in place with the pre war official remaining in office and passing laws regulations announcements and orders on behalf of the Germans Many then and after considered it dangerously close to if not outright collaboration And the process of forgetting began very uickly whilst the government issued many calls for resistance across Europe whilst the King and Churchill mentioned other occupied areas of the Empire in messages and speeches the BBC broadcast messages and programmes devoted to exiles and occupied areas a tacit conspiracy of silence settled over any mention of the Channel Islands No one wanted to acknowledge that Hitler had already penetrated Britain s Island FortressAs a result of this desire to forget histories of the Channel Islands occupation have been few and far between Many islanders have been reluctant to talk and tracking down the predominantly Russian slave labourers from the SS camp on Alderney was well nigh impossible until the break up of the Soviet Union So this is one of the rare books on the Occupation that focuses on the men women and children who actually lived through the war under German rule I use the term German not Nazi as Madeline Bunting points out that very few of the Germans were actually Nazi party members and there was no Gestapo on the islands as opposed to a primarily military account of bunkers fortifications mine fields and attempted raids It s an excellent read ranging from legal accommodations and personal fraternisations to small acts of rebellion and sabotage those islanders deported to concentration camps the slave labour camps the experiences of the small number of resident Jews the hardships and deprivations and still the pleasures and opportunities of wartime Whilst it may be damning with faint praise given the aforementioned scarcity of books on this topic if I had to recommend one book on the Occupation it would be this one Marriage by Deception yet it seems as though all parties the islanders the British government and the German occupying forces would rather forget it ever happened Right from the moment of Liberation the process of forgetting began there were no trials of Germans after the Liberation and no memorials for the dead no recognition of heroic acts And there s a reason for thatThe Occupation of the Channel Islands upsets the mythic history of Britain s war the belief that the British were different from the rest of the Continent that when Churchill said we would fight on the beaches and in the streets he and the rest of the population meant every word The problem with the Channel Islands is that they didn t fight not on the beaches not in the streets not in the fields or the landing groundsThe islanders settled down to a peaceful occupation remarkably uickly and the island governments reached an accommodation with the Germans that saw the occupiers working through the governmental structure already in place with the pre war official remaining in office and passing laws regulations announcements and orders on behalf of the Germans Many then and after considered it dangerously close to if not outright collaboration And the process of forgetting began very uickly whilst the government issued many calls for resistance across Europe whilst the King and Churchill mentioned other occupied areas of the Empire in messages and speeches the BBC broadcast messages and programmes devoted to exiles and occupied areas a tacit conspiracy of silence settled over any mention of the Channel Islands No one wanted to acknowledge that Hitler had already penetrated Britain s Island FortressAs a result of this desire to forget histories of the Channel Islands occupation have been few and far between Many islanders have been reluctant to talk and tracking down the predominantly Russian slave labourers from the SS camp on Alderney was well nigh impossible until the break up of the Soviet Union So this is one of the rare books on the Occupation that focuses on the men women and children who actually lived through the war under German rule I use the term German not Nazi as Madeline Bunting points out that very few of the Germans were actually Nazi party members and there was no Gestapo on the islands as opposed to a primarily military account of bunkers fortifications mine fields and attempted raids It s an excellent read ranging from legal accommodations and personal fraternisations to small acts of rebellion and sabotage those islanders deported to concentration camps the slave labour camps the experiences of the small number of resident Jews the hardships and deprivations and still the pleasures and opportunities of wartime Whilst it may be damning with faint praise given the aforementioned scarcity of books on this topic if I had to recommend one book on the Occupation it would be this one

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The Model Occupation The Channel Islands Under German Rule 1940 1945

Igation did they have to the thousands of emaciated and ill treated slave laborers the Nazis brought among them to build an impregnable ring of defences around the island This is an excellent book very well written and researched that tells the story of the Channel Islands occupation by the Germans during World War II I learnt so much from reading it it s well worth a read and I can t recommend it enough

Madeleine Bunting ó 0 Summary

S of resistance and feats of courage and endurance Every islander was faced with uncomfortable choices where did patriotism end and self preservation begin What moral obl Mostly based on interviews with those who experienced the German occupation of the Channel Islands this book paints an interesting picture being critical of the Island authorities and especially of the sweep it under the carpet attitude of the British Government after the liberation than those from other histories and the latter day commemorations of the individual islands themselves might lead you to expect It seems that the Guernsey authorities were less likely to protest or be uncooperative with the Germans than Jersey and that on the whole these deeply conservative authorities were overly concerned with maintaining the status uo with as little disruption and provocation as possible Not much likelihood of Heydrich style assassination attempts here though infreuent small scale incursions from the mainland kept the occupiers on their toes The book tries to recount the unhappy fate of the few Jews many of them refugees from mainland Europe and caught in a limbo when the Phoney War of 193940 came to an abrupt end and the horrors of the forced labour camps on the otherwise deserted Island of Alderney There is a good description of the hardships and what must have been a strange sensation as the Islands were bypassed by D day and its aftermath suffering from supplies being cut off from the continent and having to wait until May 1945 for the long awaited Liberation Day It is also heartening to read of the many individual acts of courage and resistance that did take place and last but not least some of the humanity shown by a few of the ordinary soldiers of the occupation Human stories make for a riveting read Let Sleeping Dogs Lie you to expect It seems that the Guernsey authorities were less likely to protest or be uncooperative with the Germans than Jersey and that on the whole these deeply conservative authorities were overly concerned with maintaining the status uo with as little disruption and provocation as possible Not much likelihood of Heydrich style assassination attempts here though infreuent small scale incursions from the mainland kept the occupiers on their toes The book tries to recount the unhappy fate of the few Jews many of them refugees from mainland Europe and caught in a limbo when the Phoney War of 193940 came to an abrupt end and the horrors of the forced labour camps on the otherwise deserted Island of Alderney There is a good description of the hardships and what must have been a strange sensation as the Islands were bypassed by D day and its aftermath suffering from supplies being cut off from the continent and having to wait until May 1945 for the long awaited Liberation Day It is also heartening to read of the many individual acts of courage and resistance that did take place and last but not least some of the humanity shown by a few of the ordinary soldiers of the occupation Human stories make for a riveting read


7 thoughts on “The Model Occupation The Channel Islands Under German Rule 1940 1945

  1. says:

    The Occupation of the Channel Islands has become something of a footnote in Britain's history of World War II a fact that might seem somewhat surprising You would think the invasion and occupation of sovereign British soil by the forces of Nazi Germany for the duration of the war would merit rather attention And yet it seems as though all par

  2. says:

    Paperback 360 pp 2004Part of the book deals with the relationship between Jersey and Gurnsey which didn't seem to get along all that well There is also some notice of incest in the area A good portion of the book from that point deals with fraternization between the German soldiers and the women on the islands Th

  3. says:

    Fascinating read about an episode that I knew nothing about the German occupation of the Channel islands Guernsey Jersey Alderney etc The Germans were substantially laxer there than in other parts of occupied Europe though

  4. says:

    Mostly based on interviews with those who experienced the German occupation of the Channel Islands this book paints an inte

  5. says:

    This is an excellent book; very well written and researched that tells the story of the Channel Islands' occupation by the Germans during World War II I learnt so much from reading it it's well worth a read and I can't recommend it enough

  6. says:

    I had no idea the Channel Islands were occupied by the Germans in WWII After reading this book I can understand why Everyone wants to forget ab

  7. says:

    How would we deal with an occupation During WW2 the Channel Islands were the sole British territory occupied by Nazi Germany for the duration of hostilities They did not rebel did not resist and in some cases actively collaborated How would anyone deal with that exact situation Would we passively resist the massive occupyi