The Struggle for the Files: The Western Allies and the Return of German Archives After the Second World War

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Cambridge University Press, Feb 29, 2012 - History - 427 pages
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When American and British troops swept through the German Reich in the spring of 1945, they confiscated a broad range of government papers and archives. These records were subsequently used in war crimes trials and published under Allied auspices to document the German road to war. In 1949, the West Germans asked for their return, considering the request one of the benchmarks of their new state sovereignty. This book traces the tangled history of the captured German records and the extended negotiations for their return into German custody. Based on meticulous research in British, American, and German archives, The Struggle for the Files highlights an overlooked aspect of early West German diplomacy and international relations. All participants were aware that the files constituted historical material essential to write German history and at stake was nothing less than the power to interpret the recent German past.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 The Confiscation of German Documents 19441949
13
2 The First German Calls for Restitution
99
3 The Positions of the United States and Britain
169
4 Negotiation Marathon
219
The Captured Documents and the Writing of History
293
Conclusion
375
Bibliography
385
Index
417
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Astrid M. Eckert is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Emory University. Eckert's dissertation on the history of the captured German records, which forms the basis of this book, won the Hedwig Hintze Prize from the German Historical Association and the Friedrich Meinecke Award from the History Department of Free University Berlin. Her work has been supported by grants from the Fulbright Foundation, the German National Academic Foundation, the Fox International Fellowships at Yale, and the American Academy Berlin. She has published articles in Central European History, Studies in Contemporary History and Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte.

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