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In War's Wake: Europe's Displaced Persons in the Postwar Order
     

In War's Wake: Europe's Displaced Persons in the Postwar Order

by Gerard Daniel Cohen
 

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The end of the Second World War in Europe gave way to a gigantic refugee crisis. Thoroughly prepared by Allied military planners, the swift repatriation of millions of former forced laborers, concentration camp inmates and prisoners of war nearly brought this dramatic episode top a close. Yet in September 1945, the number of displaced persons placed under the

Overview

The end of the Second World War in Europe gave way to a gigantic refugee crisis. Thoroughly prepared by Allied military planners, the swift repatriation of millions of former forced laborers, concentration camp inmates and prisoners of war nearly brought this dramatic episode top a close. Yet in September 1945, the number of displaced persons placed under the guardianship of Allied armies and relief agencies in occupied Germany amounted to 1.5 million. A costly burden for the occupying powers, the Jewish, Polish, Ukrainian, Yugoslav and Baltic DPs unwilling to return to their countries of origin presented a complex international problem. Massed in refugee camps stretched from Northern Germany to Sicily, the DPs had become long-term asylum seekers.

Based on the records of the International Refugee Organization, this book describes how the European DP crisis impinged on the shape of the postwar order. The DP question directly affected the outbreak of the Cold War; the transformation of the "West" into a new geopolitical entity; the conduct of political purges and retribution; the ideology and methods of modern humanitarian interventions; the appearance of international agencies and non-governmental organizations; the emergence of an international human rights system; the organization of migration movements and the redistribution of "surplus populations"; the advent of Jewish nationhood; and postwar categorizations of political and humanitarian refugees.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The prime purpose of this excellent book is not to provide a more inclusive and integrative social history but to do something far more ambitious: namely, to write an international history that places the DP issue in the context of the emerging Cold War, and as a factor in international justice and political retribution, the emergence of the human rights movement, the rise of United Nations humanitarianism, the governance of international migration, and the advent of Jewish statehood .[It] makes clear is how important that period was in shaping contemporary views of refugees and their plight." --Bob Moore, American Historical Review

"An insightful study of the European refugee problem created by WW II and then nurtured by the Cold War...Recommended." --CHOICE

"In War's Wake brilliantly demonstratesELthat refugee flows possess a logic of their own and are by their very nature complementary."- Holly Case, The Nation

"As Gerard Daniel Cohen persuasively argues, Allied recognition of the DPs' objections to returning, and the prevailing sense of a profound difference between the 'democratic' Allies and the Soviet bloc, were important factors in the development of the Cold War." - Sheila Fitzpatrick, London Review of Books

"Written in spare prose, and on the basis of extraordinary research, In War's Wake shows how fruitful it is to blend international and social history, by bringing back into view the forgotten crucible of mass statelessness in which crucial legacies were made for contemporary humanitarianism and human rights alike."-Samuel Moyn, Columbia University, author of The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History

"In War's Wake tells the story of the unprecedented humanitarian effort on behalf of millions of Europeans displaced by the Second World War. The postwar refugee crisis, Cohen demonstrates, gave rise to new conceptions of human rights, asylum and refugee policies, population policies, Cold War conflicts, and the emergence of the State of Israel. This provocative, well-written study is a landmark contribution to the history of human rights and to the political history of twentieth-century Europe."-Tara Zahra, author of The Lost Children: Reconstructing Europe's Families after World War II

"Based on thorough research in the archives of numerous institutions, Cohen's study of the millions of individuals left without a country after the Second World War shows how the European refugee problem was addressed by the leaders of the emerging free world, members of international organizations, legal scholars, and human rights activists. As Cohen demonstrates, the DP crisis facilitated a shift from minority rights to individual human rights and brought the issue of statelessness to the center of international politics. Enmeshed with the Cold War, this episode crucially secured the rights of individuals to a nationality and to a safe place of refuge, but also shaped new patterns of humanitarianism and international migration in the postwar era. In War's Wake is a masterpiece"-Patrick Weil, Université de Paris 1

"On the basis of meticulous research, Daniel Cohen makes important connections between the policies that emerged to manage Europe's displaced persons in 'war's wake' and the development of international humanitarian aid and population control programs, the onset of the Cold War, and the origins of the state of Israel. In the process, he shows that the very category of 'DP' shifted in response to the practical and political dimensions of resettlement."-Mary D. Lewis, author of The Boundaries of the Republic: Migrant Rights and the Limits of Universalism in France, 1918-1940

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195399684
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
11/01/2011
Series:
Oxford Studies in International History Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
248
Sales rank:
1,000,629
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Associate Professor of History, Rice University

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