The Legacy of Nazi Occupation

Patriotic Memory and National Recovery in Western Europe, 1945–1965

The Legacy of Nazi Occupation

This book offers a comparative analysis of how postwar society dealt with the disruptive legacy of Nazi occupation in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. It examines the postwar trajectories of resistance fighters, labor conscripts employed in Nazi Germany and victims of Nazi persecution and genocide. Their experiences were often incompatible with the patriotic narratives, aimed at restoring national pride and with the international context, requiring reconciliation with West Germany. In the conflict between memories of the war and the contingencies of the postwar political agenda lies a key to understanding European history since 1945.


"Drawing extensively on archival records, [Lagrou] underlines the divergence between ambiguous experiences of occupation and the univocal post-war patriotic narratives." Reference & Research Book News

"...remarkably well-researched and rigorously comparative book about the way resisters, deportees, and forced laborers were or were not incorporated into the political landscape of postwar France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Lagrou is to be congradulated for this excellent contribution to the social history of the Second World War." The Journal of Military History

"...well worth reading..." Journal of Modern History

"This is a kind of closely contextualized comparative history...that historians will admire, not least for its capacity to accommodate unpredictable and even anomalous findings. Overall, the great merit of the book is that it will encourage scholars who specialize in the history of a single country to think about their subject with new and broader questions in mind. In that respect, it is a splendid vindication of the comparative method." The International History Review

"...meticulous in its research and thoughtful in its conclusions." Choice

"As a lean and sinewy study of the consequences of Nazi occupation, this book is spendid." American Historical Review

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