Twentieth century Europe has frequently been divided by the politics of citizenship in war and peace. When societies were forcibly unified against an external enemy, when they were reconfigured in phases of post-war reconstruction, or when they were redefined in the face of ideological adversaries, conflicts over citizenship provide us with an analytical lens into the dynamics of such historical transitions. This panel explores some of the functions that citizenship has served from the mid-century onwards. It focuses on Germany from the Second World War to the era of national division and pays special attention to reconfigurations of citizenship in the context of Dutch-German encounters and the influx of Germans from former Eastern territories. Kim Wünschmann asks how concepts of citizenship and ethno-national belonging structured German and Dutch policies towards foreign civilians during the Second World War. After the war, the practice of classifying individuals as ‘enemy aliens’ left many legacies in the redrafting of national borders. Marieke Oprel investigates Dutch policies of ethno-national categorisation of German ‘enemy citizens’. The immediate post-war moment also redefined German citizenship. Pertti Ahonen examines both the reclassification efforts of the occupation forces and (re-)emerging German administrative authorities and grassroots perspectives of ordinary people on ‘expellees’. Once the immediate post-war moment was overcome, Germans were divided along ideological lines. Sebastian Gehrig explores the politics of citizenship between the two German states as part of wider international struggles over the relationship of citizenship and nationality as constitutive elements of national sovereignty. Taken together, the panel takes citizenship as a lens into the internal divisions of societies and the redrafting of boundaries between societies along ethnic, religious, social, and ideological lines from the Second World War into the Cold War.
Kim Wünschmann (München)
Divided War Societies: German and Dutch policies towards enemy aliens in the Second World War
At the example of repressive measures towards civilians who found themselves under the rule of the opposing power during World War II, this paper explores the complex process of defining and treating foreign nationals as ‘enemy aliens’. It will probe into concepts of citizenship as a criterion of divided societies and show that seemingly straightforward definitions of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ – ‘citizens’ versus ‘aliens’ – remained complicated when it came to structuring policies and navigating international humanitarian law.
Marieke Oprel (Amsterdam)
Enemy or Alien? Classifying German citizens in Dutch (de-)enemisation policies in the aftermath of the Second World War
The categorisation and classification of German enemy citizens in the Netherlands in the aftermath of World War II are central in this paper, which evolves around the question how notions of citizenship can function as a mechanism of both in- and exclusion. First is discussed how ‘citizenship’ as a collective category determined an individual’s status and treatment as an ‘enemy’. Then ‘acts of citizenship’ are examined, which could result in ’de-enemisation’. Dismantling the stereotypes of ‘right-fully behaving Dutch’ and ‘guilty Germans’, this paper sheds light on changing definitions of ‘friend’ and ‘foe’, and of ‘loyalty’ and ‘belonging’.
Pertti Ahonen (Jyväskylä)
Ambiguities in the Post-war Moment: Ethno-National categorizations and the question of citizenship among ethnic German expellees in occupied Germany, ca. 1945-1947
My paper explores definitions of citizenship and ethno-national belonging in the immediate post-WWII moment in occupied Germany. It focuses on the considerable ambiguity and complexity that surrounded the ethno-national categorization of so-called ethnic German expellees. The analysis proceeds on two levels: the occupation forces and (re-)emerging German administrative authorities on the one hand and the ‘grassroots’ perspectives of ‘ordinary’ Volksdeutsche and other Germans on the other. How and on what grounds were ethno-national dividing lines drawn? How did those lines evolve and why? What was the wider significance of these processes?
Sebastian Gehrig (London)
What makes a Citizen? German citizenship in times of ideological division
Ethno-national notions of German citizenship came under pressure after 1949. At the European front line of the Cold War, the two German states had to contend with a quickly changing world in which no blueprints for the citizenship administration of a divided nation existed. This paper explores the politics of citizenship between the two German states during the 1960s and 70s. Underneath this conflict shaped by the particular conditions of German division, the issue of dividing German citizenship formed part of wider international struggles over the relationship of citizenship and nationality as constitutive elements of national sovereignty.
Dieter Gosewinkel (Berlin)