University of Hertfordshire


  • 906533

    Accepted author manuscript, 223 KB, PDF document

  • Helen Boak
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Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Hertfordshire
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2013


At the end of his book on the Second World War Antony Beevor tells the story of a German farmer’s wife who was arrested in Paris in June 1945. She had illegally boarded a train carrying French workers back from Germany so that she could be reunited with the French prisoner of war who had worked on her farm and with whom she had fallen in love.1 Beevor uses her as an example of the unforeseen impact the war had on individuals and does not explore how this case can be used to cast light on the Nazis’ failure not only to prevent relationships between German women and foreign workers or prisoners of war, but also to impose their racial ideas on all Germans. This paper will examine how the regime dealt with German women’s relationships with foreign men, to explore how the Nazis tried and, at times, failed to learn from the experiences on the home front in the First World War. Although it is very clear to see the Nazis’ racism in their war-time policies regarding German women’s relationships with foreigners, it is remarkable how similar attitudes are among the population at large in the two war periods, and how, in essence, Nazi attempts to inculcate their racist beliefs in all the German people failed. [opening paragraph]


This is the English-language version of a paper I was invited to give at an international conference entitled ‘From Voronezh to Stalingrad’, sponsored by the Department of Law and Humanities, Voronezh State Agricultural University, the Moscow Military History Institute and the Administration of the Voronezh Region in Russia. The paper was presented on 5 June 2012 in the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Victory Park, Moscow and on 6 June 2013 at the State Agricultural University in Voronezh. It is being published in Russian in a collection of the conference proceedings edited by Professor Sergey I. Filonenko.

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