Refugees and expellees in post-war Germany

Author: Ian Connor

At the end of the Second World War, some 12 million German refugees and expellees fled or were expelled from their homelands in Eastern and Central Europe into what remained of the former Reich. The task of integrating these dispossessed refugees and expellees in post-war Germany was one of the most daunting challenges facing the Allied occupying authorities after 1945. The early post-war years witnessed the publication of many works on the refugee problem in the German Federal Republic (FRG). This book explores the origins of the refugee problem and shows that the flight and expulsion of the refugees and expellees from their homelands from 1944 onwards was a direct consequence of National Socialist policies. It outlines the appalling conditions under which the expulsions were carried out. The book then examines the immensity of the refugee problem in the Western Occupation Zones in economic and social terms. An analysis of the relations between the refugee and native populations in the Western Occupation Zones of Germany in the period 1945-1950 follows. The book also focuses on the attitude of the political parties towards the refugees and expellees in the early post-war years and analyses the newcomers' voting behaviour up to 1950. It argues that while economic and political integration had been largely accomplished by the late 1960s, social integration turned out to be a more protracted process. Finally, the book examines political radicalisation: despite disturbances in refugee camps in 1948-1949 and the emergence of expellee trek associations in 1951-1952.

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