I am PhD candidate studying European and American History at Texas A&M University. My dissertation examines the American occupation of Germany after the Second World War from an environmental perspective and argues that issues of environmental management provided Germans a space to contest the occupation and assert sovereignty long before they held any real power. To investigate the roles of the environment and land management, I focus on the American occupation of Bavaria, the largest and most rural Land in the American Zone, and explore debates around nature, wildlife, agriculture, and hunting. Each of these three topics held, and hold, a strong place in German culture and law, often dating back hundreds of years, and provided Germans with pre-war traditions, laws, and ideas that they could reinvent to fit within the rhetoric of the occupation and use to challenge the occupiers’ own policies. By tracing each of these themes over the duration of the occupation, they provide insights into the implementation and evolution of American occupation policy on the ground, demonstrate that the reorientation of Germany was a process of negotiation, and reveal how Germans ensured that their laws and traditions survived the transitions from occupation to semi-sovereignty.
The views and opinions expressed on this website (douglasibell.com) remain my own.