2004
Volume 127, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163

Abstract

Abstract

This article explores the inner world of the German army of occupation in the Netherlands. To this end it discusses the strengths and weaknesses of German letters as historical sources. letters have important advantages over retrospective accounts such as veteran interviews. In some cases they reveal otherwise hardly accessible spheres of experience: they record instant processes of sensemaking, early emotions, and shifting frames of normalcy. This study deals with a limited sample of letters, and elaborates questions of identity construction, time/place orientation, and the nature of encounters between Germans and Dutch. Confronted with a supposedly fellow Germanic world, German soldiers recorded feelings of curiosity as well as superiority. However, their writings also reflect much wider European mental maps, in which ‘Dutch’ events always remained foreign and peripheral, even when soldiers served in the Netherlands for a long time.

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2014-09-01
2021-12-02
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  • Article Type: Editorial
Keyword(s): experience; fieldpost; the Netherlands; Wehrmacht soldiers; World War II
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