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Reconstructing the City in Occupied Germany: Planning and Rebuilding in the British Zone, 1945-1949

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posted on 14.12.2011, 10:41 by Julie Ann Deeming
This thesis investigates the reconstruction of German cities under British occupation between 1945 and 1949. During this period of political instability, economic crisis, material want and social rupture, German politicians, planners and city inhabitants slowly began to rebuild their cities and their lives and in the process transformed cities of rubble into viable, modern living spaces. The thesis argues that the British occupation had a much greater influence over this process of German urban reconstruction than is generally perceived. In support of this argument three key arenas of British Control Commission policy are analysed: housing, the revival of the building industries, and town and country planning. The core of the thesis is a comparative study of two reconstructing cities in the British Zone, Cologne and Kiel, and considers the influence of their history, geographical location, place within their wider regional network and existing urban resource base on the direction of their reconstruction. By analysing examples of negotiations over urban planning and reconstruction, the author examines how dominant discourses in Britain shaped the approach of British occupiers to the German city. Furthermore, the author considers how British policies were contested and negotiated by German planners and municipal governments, as they struggled to find new, viable economic bases and identities for their devastated cities. Finally, the research considers how occupation, memory and history interact in the construction of city identities, and exposes how these identities take physical form and become crucial stakes in determining the future of particular areas, neighbourhoods and districts. The thesis concludes that postwar developments in German cities can only be understood through a detailed study of the interaction between occupation policies and German designed plans for reconstruction.



Schott, Dieter; Szejnmann, Chris

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University of Leicester

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Funding received from the Economic and Social Research Council;Some images have been removed owing to copyright restrictions. For the full version of the thesis please consult the print copy available at the David Wilson Library, University of Leicester.



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