‘Comparing Occupations’ podcast

Beyond Enemy Lines is a European Research Council project, set up to look at culture in the occupation of Germany. We wanted to think in particular about the way that the British and American occupiers attempted to mobilise culture as a way to transform the German mentality, turning the Germans into peace-loving people.  We brought together a team of researchers to do this, meeting in Berlin and then London.

During this period, as we got to know more about Germany, we became more curious about how the German experience related to other experiences of occupation. Did the allies occupy Italy and Japan in similar ways? We also became troubled by the way that the German occupation was often held up as the ‘good occupation’. We decided that we’d like to know more about how the different British and American occupations compared to each other.  Was there always a process comparable to the denazification of Germany and was it always accompanied by an emphasis of the need for collective guilt? Was there always an interest in culture – both in importing the culture of the occupiers and in transforming the culture of the occupied? How did what we knew as fraternization work in these different countries – and did the occupations always result in black markets, in prostitution – in messier forms of cultural exchange? How quickly were the occupied states allowed to exist as independent political entities, with political parties and elections? How did they resume control of their own press, police force, infrastructure?

So in July 2016 we gathered in Venice, and invited experts on Japan, Italy and Iraq to join us. Here you can hear excerpts of our conversations.

Contributors include Richard Bessell, Stephen Brockmann, Rochelle Davis, Jennifer Fay, Lara Feigel, Robert Gordon, Ted Hodgkinson, Hiroshi Kitamura, Emily Oliver, Ben Schofield, Werner Sollors.