Thresholds of Peace: Four Hundred Thousand German Prisoners and the People of Britain 1944-1948

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9780241898628: Thresholds of Peace: Four Hundred Thousand German Prisoners and the People of Britain 1944-1948
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Here at last is an important book that moves on from the long fascination with the last war [WW II]. Matthew Barry Sullivan follows through the experience of the 400,000 German prisoners of war who were held in Britain for up to three years after final defeat. His book begins with a composite picture of the moment of surrender and ends with their return home. With the aid of diaries and contemporary documents, personal conversations and a wide correspondence, the author has built up a vivid historical mosaic: of captured generals and commandants, of soldiers and the farmers they worked for, of Nazis and Quakers, of Hitler Youth and their 're-educators'. There are some surprising glimpses of the attitudes and the fate of the Waffen-SS in captivity. Above all it was the ordinary citizen, including a number of remarkable women, who best found the way to help the men with a patch on their backs through the bitterness of defeat and ostracism. We see the German trying to find the means of personal, social and political renewal; we see the British with varying success trying to guide or assist this process, with a Swedish pastor, Jewish refugees and a Scottish schoolmaster playing leading roles. The book tells of the binding of the wounds of war, of reconciliation between enemies, and of the myriad individual acts through which true peace is made. It is the story of perhaps the most intimate episode in the history of Anglo-German relations, and one which throws much light on the way the West Germany of today began to purge the past and recover its free institutions and national dignity.

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Sullivan, Matthew Barry
Published by H. Hamilton (1979)
ISBN 10: 0241898625 ISBN 13: 9780241898628
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Matthew Barry Sullivan
Published by H. Hamilton (1979)
ISBN 10: 0241898625 ISBN 13: 9780241898628
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