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Pushed into Pragmatism: British Approaches to Science in Post-War Occupied Germany

Hall, Charlie (2019) Pushed into Pragmatism: British Approaches to Science in Post-War Occupied Germany. The International History Review, 41 (3). pp. 559-580. ISSN 0707-5332. (doi:10.1080/07075332.2017.1420673) (KAR id:73051)

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One of the most important dilemmas facing the British authorities when they occupied their zone of Germany at the end of the Second World War was what to do with German science. The contributions made by scientists and engineers to the Nazi war machine, in fields such as rocketry and submarines, meant that German science was both revered and feared, and was therefore closely linked to concerns about a post-war military resurgence in Germany. This article aims to chart the changing approaches which the British occupation officials adopted towards German science in this period. While the initial intention was to prevent Germany from ever waging war again, through demilitarisation, denazification and dismantling, the focus changed as British enmity shifted from a former adversary, Germany, to a former ally, the Soviet Union. Policy reflected this shift as technology transfer and the reconstruction of domestic German science won greater favour. This article aims to show that, in the face of growing hostility from the USSR and in the deeply suspicious climate of the early Cold War, Britain was forced to abandon its moral mission towards German science and adopt a far more pragmatic strategy instead.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/07075332.2017.1420673
Uncontrolled keywords: British occupation, post-war Germany, science policies, Cold War, reconstruction
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Charlie Hall
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2019 15:12 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:03 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Hall, Charlie:
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