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This book explores the role of mayors in navigating the realities of living and governing under Nazi occupation. In Western Europe under Nazi occupation, mayors of villages and cities were forced into strategic cooperation with the occupier. Mayors had to provide good governance, mediate between occupier and populations, maintain personal legitimacy, and build local consensus. However, as national systems underwent authoritarian reform and collaborationists infiltrated administrations, local governments were gradually turned into instruments of Nazi control and repression. Nico Wouters uses rich new archival data to compare the realities of local government in three countries. Looking at topics such as food supply, public order and safety, forced labour, the repression of resistance, the persecution of the Jews and post-war purges, this book redefines our knowledge of collaboration, resistance and accommodation during Nazi occupation.
Introduction.- 1. Local Democracies.- 2. Adaptation (1940).- 3. Infiltration (1940-41).- 4. The Limits of Nazification.- 5. The Limits of Good Governance.- 6. Systems of Repression.- 7. Disintegration.- 8. Transition.- Conclusion.
"Nico Wouters's Mayoral Collaboration offers a comprehensive account of mayoral activities in Belgium, the French Nord-Pas-de-Calais, and the Netherlands during the Second World War. His work is well-researched and offers an interesting interpretation about the resilience of democratic culture in the face of totalitarian repression. Specialists in the field and interested generalists should read it." (Keith Rathbone, H-France Review, Vol. 19 (161), 2019)
"One closes this book with admiration for the enormous amount of information Nico Wouters accumulated, and hopes that his next publication will draw the attention not only of the specialists but also of the interested public." (István Deák, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Vol. 33 (1), 2019)
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