The Three German Navies
Dissolution, Transition, and New Beginnings, 1945-1960
AUTHOR: Peifer, Douglas C.
PUBLISHER: University Press of Florida
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A comparative study of the dissolution, transition, and new foundation of naval forces in Germany after World War II, this book examines how postwar experiences such as captivity, war crimes prosecution, and the de-nazification process set the parameters for establishing the 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 postwar navies, makes this book a first in the field of maritime history.
Using primary archival material and interviews with some of the founding figures of the East and West German navies, Peifer tells clearly the complicated story of the numerous decentralized and often parallel agencies operating under Soviet and Western supervision. These semi-official units took up navy-like functions in the late 1940s: disposal of mines, supervision of maritime borders, fishery protection, and eventually espionage and counterespionage. Covering an 11-year period, Peifer shows how the United States, 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.
PUBLICATION DATE: 12/14/2002