The literature describing social conditions during the post–World War II Allied occupation of Germany has been divided between seemingly irreconcilable assertions of prolonged criminal chaos and narratives of strict martial rule that precluded crime. In the The Art of Occupation, Thomas J. Kehoe takes a different view on this history, addressing this divergence through an extensive, interdisciplinary analysis of the interaction between military government and social order.
Focusing on the American Zone and using previously unexamined American and German military reports, court records, and case files, Kehoe assesses crime rates and the psychology surrounding criminality. He thereby offers the first comprehensive exploration of criminality, policing, and both German and American fears around the realities of conquest and potential resistance, social and societal integrity, national futures, and a looming threat from communism in an emergent Cold War. The Art of Occupation is the fullest study of crime and governance during the five years from the first Allied incursions into Germany from the West in September 1944 through the end of the military occupation in 1949. It is an important contribution to American and German social, military, and police histories, as well as historical criminology.
“In clear and readable prose, Kehoe sets out to prove that perceptions of widespread social disorder and crime, especially at the beginning of the U.S. occupation of post–World War II Germany, had no grounding in reality. His outstanding exploitation of archival military government court records supports his juxtaposition of perceptions and rumors about the nature, frequency, and severity of crimes and their reality.”
Bianka J. Adams, author of From Crusade to Hazard: The Denazification of Bremen, Germany
“Kehoe convincingly describes the nature of postwar crime and disorder in the U.S. zone and adds nuance to our understanding of the crucial early period of American occupation. His argument in favor of the continuity in authoritarian policing between the Third Reich and the occupation was equally persuasive and original.”
Jay Lockenour, author of Soldiers as Citizens: Former Wehrmacht Officers in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1945–1955