Transfers from Czechoslovakia and Poland, 1946–1947
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.
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