Conditions & Politics in Occupied Western Europe, 1940-1945

Posted by Nicholas Wyant, Head, Social Sciences
 Painting of a train crash

Due to the strain put on communication and diplomacy between European countries during World War Two the Foreign Office could not rely on embassies or traditional means of diplomacy for information. As a result they had to rely on neutral countries that bordered occupied nations or resistance movements within occupied countries to inform them of condition both life and politics in occupied Europe. Conditions & Politics in Occupied Western Europe, 1940-1945 is a collection of British Foreign Office records made available through the National Archives. Documents within the collection include newspaper articles, intelligence reports, political intelligence summaries, press surveys, reports on the economic and social conditions as well as estimates of the political situation in occupied countries.

The documents in this collection provide insight into how citizens and governments reacted to German invasion as well as the subsequent battle between resistance towards and collaboration with Germany. Here we are given an inside look into the way a government gathered information and as to how they viewed occupied countries during an important moment in history. Though most of the documents are primary sources they tend to read like essays. This is a great resource for researching cultural and political history in 20th century Europe. 


-Tim Berge