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Channel Islands at War Paperback – 31 Mar 2005
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During World War 2, although the German plans for the wholesale invasion of Great Britain - Operation Sealion - came to naught, one small part of the King's realm was occupied by hostile forces - the Channel Islands. Almost 60 years since these islands were occupied and more than 50 years since they were liberated, the history of the wartime occupation of the Jersey, Guernsey et al is still full of controversy. How far did the islanders co-operate with the occupying forces? What was the nature of the various camps established? How did the Germans run the islands? What was the level of resistance like? There have, inevitably, been a number of publications produced over the past 50 years, including a number that have appeared in recent years that have used previously unreleased documentation. The controversy, however, still rolls on.One area that has, however, received relatively little coverage is the German perception of the occupation and Channel Islands at War is designed to fill this gap, providing the reader with a comprehensive portrait of life in the Channel Islands between 1940, when the Germans arrived, and 1945 and their surrender, much of it from the standpoint of the occupying forces. Drawing upon first-hand reminiscences and a superb selection of historic photographs drawn from a large number of sources, the book is a graphic portrait of one of the more controversial aspects of recent British history. In addition to providing a fascinating account of the period, the book also includes details about surviving relics from the Nazi occupation. Almost 60 years after the German surrender, the issue of the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands is still one that arouses controversy both locally, within the Channel Islands, and more widely through military historians.When first published in 1999, Channel Islands at War was widely praised as an important contribution to the history of this controversial period; this new paperback edition - published to coincide with the 60th anniversary of liberation later in 2005 - makes available again this fascinating account of a troubled era.
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These 4 islands of less than 100,000 people, were occupied by the Germans for 5 years during World War II. The Germans invaded in the summer of 1940, and were there until 1945. Through those years they were occupied and fortified. Though the occupation was fairly pacific, the "hunger winter" of 1944-45 took its toll. The islands were also to see much activity by German civilian bureaucrats, and Organization Todt (OT).
The original troops earmarked for invasion were there only for a short time, when they were pulled out, to be replaced by other older less battle worthy. With the original troops to be sent to the Eastern Front. The original commandant Major Dr. Lanz would himself too die on the Russian front. All the island troops were known as the "Canada" troops, for most German soldiers felt that should the islands be retaken by the Allies, the occupying German troops would end their days in a Canadian POW camp.
These islands came to direct German notice due their proximity to France during the air war of 1940. They were to be used as part of Operation Sea Lion, the German invasion of Britain that never occured. Adolf Hitler always held great and continuing interest in these 4 islands, intending their use as a place for rest and relaxtion for the German peoples after the war ended.
The subtitle of this volume is "A German Perspective" and as such uses many photographs taken by the German occupiers themselves. There are maps and photographs in abundance.
As stated in my review of the softcover, "Channel Islands," my interest was piqued by the fictional writings of Jack Higgins. He has included bits and pieces in some of his novels, plus he is reported to reside on one of them. So, if you are somewhat like me, you may find this book, or the softcover, of riveting interest.