National socialism and dissent among the ethnic Germans of Slovakia and Croatia, 1938-1945 / Christof Nikolaus Morrissey.
The velvet revolutions of 1989-1991 that rearranged Europe's political map also altered the landscape of its historiography, creating new interest in "ethnic cleansing," particularly of Germans from the east and southeast following World War II. Since notions of "collective guilt" have always been implicit in the expulsion debate, historians might have been expected to shift their attention to the experiences of these Germans under Nazism in the years before 1945, Surprisingly, Christof Morrissey's study on the Germans of Slovakia and Croatia represents one of the earliest attempts to analyze ethnic German diasporas under Nazism using current understandings of how the dictatorship functioned in ordinary people's lives and drawing on post-1989 research into the Nazi racial empire.Histories of ethnic Germans under National Socialism traditionally fall into one of two categories. The majority, often written by "expellee" authors, focus exclusively on one German "ethnic group," defined by the international boundaries of the day. Most others approach the subject from the vantage point of Berlin's foreign and "Germandom" policies, only rarely considering views from within the diasporas. Anthropological or social-historical studies, for example of German migration to the Danube basin, sometimes transcend such conceptual limitations but usually only touch on Nazism as the tragic closing chapter of a much longer history. Morrissey breaks these molds. His study of Germans in two of the Reich's "client states" considers their experiences in the context both of Reich policies and their Slavic "host countries." He examines how ethnic German experiences varied, not only between states but between regions and social groups. In doing so, Morrissey lends a voice to a wide range of actors who represent dissenting (and consenting) viewpoints and testify to considerable diversity within the German populations.Employing the concepts "dissent" and "fields of conflict" defined by religion, political ideology, class, and ethnic identity, Morrissey identifies and explores "fault lines" within ethnic German populations to reconstruct how different groups and individuals responded to National Socialism. In addition to outlining particulars of ethnic German experiences in Slovakia and Croatia, he illuminates the general nature of Nazism in the diasporas.Morrissey draws on organizational, regional, and state archives in Germany, Slovakia, and Croatia. He makes extensive use of archival material previously unexplored in Western historiography, while integrating memoirs and expellee histories as both primary and secondary sources. National Socialism and Dissent among the Ethnic Germans of Slovakia and Croatia, 1938-1945 contributes to the growing scholarship on individual and group behavior under National Socialism, the emerging body of work on ethnic Germans in the Nazi racial empire, and the literature on interethnic relations.
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