German Counterintelligence and Political Policing in the Occupied Territories (1914-1918)

Workshop co-funded by the Arbeitskreis Militärgeschichte e.V., the Chair for Militärgeschichte/Kulturgeschichte der Gewalt at Potsdam University and the Laboratoire de Recherche Historique at Université Catholique de Louvain
Marc Hansen
Donnerstag, 20. Juni 2019
Sonntag, 31. März 2019

During World War One, the occupation and administration of foreign territories developed as a task hitherto unknown to European militaries in form, scope and duration.

Due to the operational development between 1914 to 1918, occupation became a task for the German army in particular. In the occupied territories, soldiers encountered civilians of the enemy warring powers and vice versa. The zones of occupation became areas for rest and recreation for the forces and an economic reservoir to be exploited in a totalizing conflict. Military oppression, some (limited) forms of resistance and collaboration and covert operations by the Allied military and intelligence services turned the territories occupied by the German armies into a space where the enforcement of the laws of war was challenged regularly and in various and sometimes violent ways.

Recent scholarship has highlighted the emergence of a particular “Culture of the Occupied” (James E. Connolly), at least in Northern France. The workshop seizes this suggestion. It examines the interdependency of internal and external security but moves the focus from the occupied towards the occupiers. The conveners invite contributions that circle around the following topics:

•   How was German counterintelligence and political police organized and legally founded during World War One?

•   Could the armed forces and the police build on prewar institutions and concepts?

•   How did counterintelligence and political policing develop over time?

•   Was the practice of security influenced by cultural, material, and strategic differences across the fronts (Western Front, Eastern Front, Balkans)?

Case studies and biographic approaches are also welcome. 

Please send in a proposal with a short bio-bibliographical information to Emmanuel Debruyne ( and Markus Pöhlmann (

The conveners will assume expenses up to 250,00 € p.p. (travel and accommodation). Overseas applications are encouraged to apply for travel grants at their home institutions.

Conference languages are German and English.

Conference Venue: tba (Universität Potsdam)



Prof. Emmanuel Debruyne

Normal 0 21 false false false DE X-NONE X-NONE Université catholique de Louvain


Dr. habil. Markus Pöhlmann

Universität Potsdam