Expelling the Germans: British Opinion and Post-1945 Population Transfer in Context

By: Matthew Frank

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Expelling the Germans focuses on how Britain perceived the mass movement of German populations from Poland and Czechoslovakia at the end of the Second World War. Drawing on a wide range of British archival material, Matthew Frank examines why the British came to regard the forcible removal of Germans as a necessity, and evaluates the public and official responses in Britain once mass expulsion became a reality in 1945. Central to this study is the concept of 'population transfer': the contemporary idea that awkward minority problems could be solved rationally and constructively by removing the population concerned in an orderly and gradual manner, while avoiding unnecessary human suffering and economic disruption. Dr Frank demonstrates that while most British observers accepted the principle of population transfer, most were also consistently uneasy with the results of putting that principle into practice. This clash of 'principle' with 'practice' reveals much not only about the limitations of Britain's role but also the hierarchy of British priorities in immediate post-war Europe.
Publication Date:
06 / 03 / 2008

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