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Expelling the GermansBritish Opinion and Post-1945 Population Transfer in Context$
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Matthew Frank

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199233649

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199233649.001.0001

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‘Useless Mouths’

‘Useless Mouths’

Transfers from Czechoslovakia and Poland, 1946–1947

(p.227) 7 ‘Useless Mouths’
Expelling the Germans

Matthew Frank (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines British involvement in the organized movement of German populations in 1946 when the British zone received upwards of 1.5 million Germans from Poland under ‘Operation Swallow’. This experience of population transfer in practice was an unhappy one, made all the more so by the unfavourable comparisons drawn with transfers from Czechoslovakia, and it confirmed many of the earlier misgivings about undertakings of this nature and on this scale. The essentially political motivations for continuing to accept Germans from Poland despite chronic overcrowding in the British zone are discussed, as are the reasons for the more positive appraisal of Czechoslovak policy. The final section of the chapter is a micro-study of the role played by British liaison teams in Poland during ‘Operation Swallow’, and illustrates some of the complications arising from third-party involvement in mass population transfers.

Keywords:   British zone, Operation Swallow, population transfer, liaison teams, overcrowding

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