What is resistance and what did it meant in Nazi-occupied Europe? What prompted some civilians to resist, while others tried to accommodate or actively collaborate with the occupiers? How have postwar societies remembered their resistance movements and their collaborators? This course explores the responses of European populations to the Nazi order during World War II using a wide array of sources including primary documents, leaflets, newspapers, and films produced by the resistance and its enemies-militiamen, collaborationists, and puppet governments. The course will examine the political, social, and intellectual contexts that gave rise to resistance and collaboration; scrutinize the ethical dilemmas the subject populations faced and discuss the range of resistance activities strategies and the motivations of their participants, depending on local occupation policy, nationality, ideological commitment, and gender. To account for differences in occupation policies and local responses, we will look at select cases in Western, Central, Eastern, and Mediterranean Europe.
Through in-class activities, debates, and discussions, this course will help students to examine how irregular warfare was experienced from the perspectives of combatants, states and civilians and understand the impact of warfare and political mobilization on the cultural, political and social identities of the participants and the civilian population. More generally, the course intends to foster critical reading and critical thinking skills, encourage respectful and informed debate, promote understanding of divergent experiences and points of view, and develop links between academic knowledge and real-world problems. In this respect the course will be also valuable to people considering pursuing a career in conflict resolution, the NGO sector and international peacebuilding and peacekeeping organizations.
Einführungsliteratur: Istvan Deak, Europe on Trial: The Story of Collaboration, Resistance, and Retribution during World War II (London, 2019).