Constructing Allied Humanitarian Policy
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Constructing Allied Humanitarian Policy book
Nazi Germany's conquest and occupation of Europe fundamentally altered the lives of civilians and generated a series of humanitarian crises across the continent. The fighting forced millions to flee their homelands, often with nothing more than they could carry. For many of those left behind, the defeat of their country also meant the destruction of their homes, families, and civic society as Hitler's minions implemented brutal occupation policies designed to support the German war machine and fulfil the Fiihrer's vision of racial utopia. Holocaust scholars have poignantly documented how occupation policies provided the Nazis with conditions favourable to their campaign to define, concentrate, and exterminate the Jews of Europe. Indeed, Hitler's decision to implement the Final Solution created the most horrible humanitarian crisis of the war. Although variations in the level of brutality occurred, Nazi occupation policies also created another large-scale humanitarian crisis: the possibility of the body of Europe being destroyed not by armies, but by famine and malnutrition. The Nazi policy of ravaging conquered territories wreaked havoc with local food supplies, a situation compounded by the introduction of rationing and the rise of black markets. Across Europe, civilians living under Nazi rule either experienced or faced the prospect of famine. While far from being the murderous horror of the Holocaust, the European hunger crisis posed a serious threat to the long-term health of Europe. I
Europe to prevent famine and malnutrition. Meeting these demands required the Allies to assume responsibility for the general welfare of the people of occupied Europe, and more concretely, it compelled them to intervene directly in Nazi-occupied territory. The problem for the Allies was how to balance humanitarian considerations with strategic and political priorities.