The literature describing social conditions during the post–World War II Allied occupation of Germany has been divided between seemingly irreconcilable assertions of prolonged criminal chaos and narratives of strict martial rule that precluded crime. In The Art of Occupation, Thomas J. Kehoe takes a different view on this history, addressing this divergence through an extensive, interdisciplinary analysis of the interaction between military government and social order.
Focusing on the American Zone and using previously unexamined American and German military reports, court records, and case files, Kehoe assesses crime rates and the psychology surrounding criminality. He thereby offers the first comprehensive exploration of criminality, policing, and both German and American fears around the realities of conquest and potential resistance, social and societal integrity, national futures, and a looming threat from communism in an emergent Cold War. The Art of Occupation is the fullest study of crime and governance during the five years from the first Allied incursions into Germany from the West in September 1944 through the end of the military occupation in 1949. It is an important contribution to American and German social, military, and police histories, as well as historical criminology.