Mayoral Collaboration under Nazi Occupation in Belgium, the by Nico Wouters

By Nico Wouters

This ebook explores the function of mayors in navigating the realities of residing and governing less than Nazi career. In Western Europe below Nazi career, mayors of villages and towns have been pressured into strategic cooperation with the occupier. Mayors needed to offer stable governance, mediate among occupier and populations, preserve own legitimacy, and construct neighborhood consensus. notwithstanding, as nationwide structures underwent authoritarian reform and collaborationists infiltrated administrations, neighborhood governments have been progressively changed into tools of Nazi regulate and repression. Nico Wouters makes use of wealthy new archival information to match the realities of neighborhood executive in 3 nations. taking a look at subject matters reminiscent of nutrition provide, public order and protection, compelled labour, the repression of resistance, the persecution of the Jews and post-war purges, this booklet redefines our wisdom of collaboration, resistance and lodging in the course of Nazi occupation.

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13 Both northern departments, placed in an artificial administrative ‘alliance’ with occupied Belgium, were in a markedly surreal political situation. 14 The region became a closed enclave. Communications with Brussels, Paris and Vichy were initially difficult. Vichy was not allowed to appoint a permanent representative in the region. Until after the summer of 1940, the Vichy authorities received only rare messages from the isolated region. 15 A week later, Pétain sacked Laval, the prime min- 36 N.

Although Belgian civil servants and authority figures were legally bound to stay, many followed the example of the local population and fled. In doing so they were violating Belgian law. The same happened in Nord/Pas-de-Calais, from which hundreds of thousands people fled in May 1940. 35 As in Belgium, collective memory of the German invasion in 1914 played a significant role. 36 This occurred alongside the communication ruptures between the departmental and central authorities. Inevitably, the departmental authorities had to assume the role of central government.

Technocratic, administrative regimes with legislative powers were considered much more useful (and controllable) instruments for German plans. As such, by the end of 1940, it was clear that in Belgium and the Netherlands the momentum for grand local political reform had ebbed. The essential question in both countries therefore concerned the nature of these peculiar ‘administrative regimes’, and the extent of their powers. Could such regimes hold the power to issue new legislation? For the Germans the answer was affirmative.

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