The Perils of Peace: The Public Health Crisis in Occupied Germany
At the end of the war in 1945 Germany was a country with no government, little functioning infrastructure, millions of refugees and homeless people, and huge foreign armies living largely off the land. Large parts of the country were covered in rubble with no clean drinking water, electricity, or gas. Hospitals overflowed with patients but were short of beds, medicines, and medical personnel. In these conditions the potential for epidemics and public health disasters was severe. In The Perils of Peace Jessica Reinisch considers how the four occupiers - Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States - attempted to keep their own troops and the ex-enemy population alive. While the war was still being fought, German public health was a secondary consideration for them: an unaffordable and undeserved luxury. But once fighting ceased and the occupation began, it rapidly turned into an urgent priority. Public health was then recognized as an indispensable component of creating order, keeping the population governable, and facilitating the reconstruction of German society. But they faced a number of problems in the process. Which Germans could be trusted to work with the occupiers and how were they to be identified? Who could be tolerated because of a lack of alternatives? How, if at all, could former Nazis be reformed and reintegrated into German society? What was the purpose of the occupation in the first place? This is the first carefully researched comparison of the four occupation zones which looks at the occupation through the prism of public health, an essential service fundamentally shaped by political and economic criteria, and which in turn was to determine the success or failure of the occupation.
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4.0 International licence Allied appointed argued Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 Berlin British and American British zone central civilian COlAB Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 communists Control Commission copy Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives denazification Deutsche Deutschland diseases distributed economic émigrés enquiries concerning epidemic exile Foreign Office France Free German French occupation French zone German doctors German émigrés German health German medical German population Germany’s Gesundheitspolitik Gesundheitswesen groups Health Department health service June Klesse Konitzer london Magistrat medical officers medicine mil Gov military government Nazi Nazism NsDAP nutrition occupation zones open access publication otherwise noted party personnel plans political post-war problems public health Public Health Branch reconstruction Rudolf Virchow Sauerbruch scope sept sHAEF shortages socialist Soviet authorities Soviet Union Soviet zone sowjetischen staff tion troops Virchow Zetkin zone’s