channel islands german ww2 occupation

A German control tower and observation post with radar in St Ouen, Jersey during the German occupation of the Channel Islands, pictured in 1945 (Picture: TopFoto/PA). Many local people saw the Germans as normal men who had found themselves in uniform. It is also a day of remembrance for those who bravely fought and lost their lives to serve an Island that thousands are proud to call home. When the slave workers escaped, locals would often let them hide in their homes. They imposed a curfew, made everyone carry identity cards, banned the sale of spirits and later banned radios. It gives a good overview in different sections from invasion to liberation. Before the war, the island had been massively reliant on importing and exporting with the mainland. German armed forces ruled the Channel Islands from June 1940 until May 1945. Some of them were actively looking for opportunities to form friendly relationships with the locals and to prove that they weren’t the kind of monsters that they had been painted as by Allied propaganda. When the Germans became aware that there were British soldiers on the island, they set an ultimatum: the soldiers were to hand themselves in by a certain date and they would be sent to a prisoner of war camp to live out the remainder of the war in safety. People didn’t always get off so lightly. People were always pushing the boundaries of what they could get away with. Today, it is a tranquil paradise with waters often mistaken for the likes of the Caribbean. Listen on the podcast: Military historian Peter Caddick-Adams responds to listener queries and popular search enquiries about D-Day. How Thomas Becket’s feud with Henry II led to murder, 2020 round-up: we choose our top HistoryExtra podcasts of the year, The great misconceptions of the Second World War, Killing Hitler’s hangman: the dramatic story of Reinhard Heydrich’s assassination, Laurence Rees on the perpetrators of the Holocaust: “What they told us was, at the time, they felt it was the right thing to do”. The five-year German occupation came to an end on 16 May 1945 and the first day the islanders were able to return to their island on December 15 is known as Homecoming Day, an event still celebrated in Alderney with an annual Bank Holiday. Read 29 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Throughout Europe there had been a massive campaign, partly encouraged by the BBC, to encourage people to chalk up V-signs on buildings. The Jersey Channel Islands Occupation Society's collection of Occupation ephemera, photographs, etc. But Colin Smith argues that we should not jump to conclusions-the Islands were unlike any other part of occ The Islands of Guernsey are what’s known as an ‘archipelago’ – a collection of islands located on the English Channel between England and France. Actors Glen Powell and Lily James in ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ (2018), which portrayals life in the Channel Islands following the German occupation of WW2. The official website for BBC History Magazine, BBC History Revealed and BBC World Histories Magazine, Save over 50% on a BBC History Magazine or BBC History Revealed gift subscription, Occupied by the Germans between 1940 and 1945, the Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to have been seized by the Nazi regime. They managed to do a certain amount of trading with France – the Germans actually allowed that – but after D-Day [the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944], they were cut off and began to starve. The dwindling numbers of islanders present then and alive today have, without exception, vivid memories of the final events of their occupation by German troops. Just a fortnight earlier Whitehall had ordered the Channel Islands to be demilitarised and had carried out elaborate voluntary evacuation plans. A. A. He considered the Channel Islands to be his ‘stepping stone’ to the British Isles. The Channel Islands were the only part of Britain to have been occupied by German forces in World War II. It took a long time for these two sides of society to make peace with those different experiences. It was one thing to be polite to someone, but it was a massive taboo to actually be in a relationship with ‘the enemy’. If you subscribe to BBC History Magazine Print or Digital Editions then you can unlock 10 years’ worth of archived history material fully searchable by Topic, Location, Period and Person. You previously said that the islanders’ relationship with the Germans was … During the German occupation of the Channel Islands, there was limited resistance. All five Islands quickly found themselves under German rule, each serving their own purpose for what became known as ‘Hitler’s Island Madness’ as the Channel Islands became the most fortified place in the world. Alderney celebrates ‘Homecoming Day’ on December 15th as an alternative to Guernsey’s Liberation Day celebrations in May, as the Island required a huge amount of clearing and it operated as a communal farm while order was restored. A. For 75 years, Liberation Day has and will continue to be celebrated on 9th May, while Sark Island celebrates theirs on the 10th. I was quite shocked to hear how angry people can get about this subject even all these years later. Years before WWII took hold, the famous French writer Victor Hugo – writer of Les Misérables – called Guernsey home for 15 years in the 1800s and the Island is well-known for its Neolithic remains, ancient dolmens, tales of folklore, cultural traditions, Roman influences, Napoleonic fortifications and so much more. The German Occupation of Guernsey, Channel Islands Visit Guernsey May 8, 2019 The biggest impact on the Islands during the 20th century was when … was deposited at the Jersey Archive in September 2001. With Saskia Reeves, Owen Teale, Julia Ford, Clare Holman. During the German Occupation of WW2, almost half of Guernsey residents were evacuated, but many families chose to stay. A. Rumours had spread through the islands about the ship’s arrival, and emotions were running high as islanders shouted with gratitude and cried with relief once it entered the harbour. A. But a couple of Jews did die as a result of the occupation and the impossible new German laws – for example, one man’s shop was forcibly closed and he committed suicide, and another had a mental breakdown. While there were a few real Nazis – individuals committed to national socialism and Hitler – the majority of Germans on the island were just ordinary soldiers who wanted to go back to their homes and families. Little did they know this would be for almost five years. Explore unique wartime history and see the traces the five-year-long occupation left behind, from concrete defences, bunkers and fortifications to a network of underground tunnels. It gives islanders a chance to rejoice in their freedom and reflect on those who had to endure everything that the Occupation brought with it. This was exemplified in an instance relatively early on, in 1940, when two local Guernsey lads who had signed up to the British Army returned to the island on a reconnaissance mission. When the tide is right, you can walk over and explore the abundance of flora and fauna, a Benedictine Priory from the 12th century and a crystal clear Venus Pool. Others remained undiscovered or in hiding. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. The substantial German garrison and small size oif the islands meant that resistance was impossible. There was one woman, for example, who was working for a pro-Nazi Swiss chef. It was extremely difficult for everyone. German planes bombed the harbour in Guernsey’s capital parish of St Peter Port after mistaking a group of tomato lorries for a convoy of troop carriers and, after 48 hours, German troops began to land and their flag was raised. 9th May is a Bank Holiday on the Islands of Guernsey, and Guernsey’s capital town of St Peter Port comes alive with thousands of people attending parades, firework displays, live music, entertainment and activities for everyone to enjoy. So if the Germans had invaded Britain, I think people would have been able to fight back in a way that just wasn’t possible on the Channel Islands. On 8th May 1945, Churchill announced the end of the war in Europe, and the Islands of Guernsey were freed on the following day. Head over to www.visitguernsey.com/heritage75 to browse through the Heritage75 programme and join the Islands of Guernsey in 2020 for a year that is not to be missed! VE Day. I think it helped that the people in charge of the occupation were these German aristocrats who, if anything, were quite suspicious of Hitler and his fascist ideology. From 1st April right through until the end of October, 75+ heritage themed events will take place in Guernsey, Herm, Sark, Alderney and Lihou. Author of The British Channel Islands Under German Occupation 1940-45 A fifth of all the defence works in the so-called Atlantic Wall - a defensive line stretching from the Baltic to the Spanish Frontier - were built on the Channel Islands. The Channel Islands were the only part of the Britain Isles to be occupied by German forces in WW2. Islanders all had different experiences of the war as some sadly lost their lives and loved ones, while others formed civil relationships and found new ways to live with their enemies. In this section you will find: Guernsey Occupied - this is a past exhibition about the occupation in general. ‘Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight tonight. Jack Higgins has lived in Jersey for over 30 years, in which time he has taken a special interest in the German Occupation of the Channel Islands. In Jersey the arrival of the invader was equally un-dramatic. 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