"Peifer has performed a great service in showing readers how the new navies of East and West Germany emerged from the wreck of the Nazi-dominated Kriegsmarine." - James F. Tent, University of Alabama, BirminghamVom Verlag:
A comparative study of the dissolution, transition and new foundation of naval forces in Germany after World War II, this book examines how post-war experiences such as captivity, war crimes persecution and the de-Nazification process set parameters for establishing East and West German navies. Douglas Peifer refutes previous interpretations that the end of the Third Reich in 1945 and German admission into NATO and the Warsaw Pact in 1955-56 marked complete breaks in German military history. By shifting the focus from Washington, London and Moscow to Bremerhaven, Hamburg and Rostock, he provides a corrective, experiential view of Germany's rearmament and remilitarization. Peifer's comparative approach, which pits East against West and the Kriegsmarine against the two post-war navies, is intended as a new approach for maritime history. Using primary archival material and interviews with some of the founding figures of the East and West German navies, Peifer tells the complicated story of the numerous decentralized and often parallel agencies operating under Soviet and Western supervision. These semi-official unites took up navy-like functions in the late 1940s: disposal of mines, supervision of maritime borders, fishery protection and, eventually, espionage and counter-espionage. Covering an 11-year period, Peifer shows how the US, Great Britain and the Soviet Union shifted tactics from dismantling the vestiges of the Kriegsmarine to sponsoring new German naval organizations, how the process differed in the two new Germanies, and to what extent Kriegsmarine veterans and concepts shaped the new naval forces.
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