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Look Inside Liberators

The Allies and Belgian Society, 1944–1945


Part of Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare

  • Date Published: June 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521735575

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About the Authors
  • In the autumn of 1944, Belgium was liberated at lightning speed. Yet Allied troops continued to dominate much of Belgian society until late 1945. Peter Schrijvers' revisionist account reveals that during that time, strong currents of discontent began to build beneath the waves of gratitude and admiration. Chronic shortages of food and coal, rampant venereal disease, and deteriorating discipline led the Belgian population to lament 'from the liberators, oh Lord, liberate us'. Despite all this, however, the countries and cultures that the Anglo-American troops represented still exerted substantial attraction and influence, causing them to have a lingering impact on Belgian society in ways that would set the tone for the remainder of the turbulent twentieth century. Using newly discovered material from the Belgian state security archives as well as testimonies of the liberated, this book vividly reconstructs the largely unknown history of Belgium's liberation era.

    • A major contribution to our understanding of military occupation and the ending of wars
    • Provides a fresh perspective on the liberation of Europe as a modern liberation
    • Will appeal to scholars and students of twentieth-century European and American history, military history, the Second World War, war and society and military occupation
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… a different and revealing view … an important key to a better understanding of postwar Belgium.' La Libre Belgique

    'As powerful as it is nuanced.' De Morgen

    'Schrijvers brings to life the sights, sounds, and in particular the smells and tastes of the past … an excellent book.' The Times Literary Supplement

    'A riveting and important book.' American Historical Review

    'A pioneering work.' Vingtième Siècle

    'Highly recommended.' Military Review

    'Enjoyable reading. A perspective rarely seen.' The International History Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521735575
    • length: 358 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.57kg
    • contains: 26 b/w illus. 2 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Big Void:
    1. The sun sets
    2. Shadow fighters
    Part II. Liberation!:
    3. Embracing the new
    4. Exorcising the old
    Part III. Liberators:
    5. Waves of admiration
    6. Currents of discontent
    Epilogue: A tide of change
    Cries for normalcy
    Whispers of change.

  • Author

    Peter Schrijvers, University of New South Wales, Sydney
    Peter Schrijvers is Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. He is the author of The Crash of Ruin: American Combat Soldiers in Europe during World War II (1998), The GI War against Japan: American Soldiers in Asia and the Pacific during World War II (2002) and The Unknown Dead: Civilians in the Battle of the Bulge (2005).

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