Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Erich Haberer

Advisor Role

Dissertation Supervisor


This dissertation is a document based administrative study of the British occupation of Germany, 1945–49, and its impact on specific areas of the lives of German women who were living in the British zone. The study examines the effect of British occupation policy on the regulation of marriage, prostitution and venereal disease, and German women’s organizations. British occupation strategies were unique; although the British worked with the Americans on many levels they maintained separate policy approaches. The British brought their own social perspectives and systems to Germany and attempted to impose them on German social and civil procedures. German women were often the targets of the re-ordering of German society and were viewed and treated as the embodiment of the failure of Germany. They were widely persecuted as prostitutes and the carriers of disease for example. Thus gender roles, victory/defeat and nationality can be seen to intersect in specific and traditional ways. British women involved in the occupation also endeavoured to impose systems of traditional British gender roles through distinctive approaches to women’s voluntary organizations. The traditional model of social activism of middle-class British women, such as Townswomen’s Guilds, were singularly offered to German women as the proper way to exercise power within society. Despite the British effort to re-model German women in a British image, German women contested these definitions and categories in many ways. The British were forced to adapt their methods and policies in the face of this opposition.

Convocation Year