• Due to a glitch in the old vBulletin software, some users were "banned" when they tried to change their passwords at the end of February. This does not apply after the site was converted to Xenforo. If you were affected by this, please us viua the Contact us link in the footer.

Did the occupied Channel Islands sufficiently resist?


FloatingVoterTralee

Well-known member
Joined
May 8, 2009
Messages
997
It's relatively well-known that the Channel Islands were the only areas of British territory to come under German occupation during WW2, but the question arises whether the islanders had the potential to resist the demands of the regime? Official responses to the occupation varied significant - the Bailiff of Guernsey, Ambrose Sherwill believed in peaceful relations between his administration and that of the Nazis, his Jersey counterpart, Alexander Coutanche kept a formal, legal distance, while the Seigneur of Sark was the most pugnacious, actively opposing many German demands. The small size of the islands has been cited as reason for the non-existence of a resistance movement, with sheltering of slave labourers and clandestine news circulation mentioned in defence of the islanders. But were the Channel Islanders effectively collaborating through inertia, or were they merely prudent in impossible circumstances?
 


Truth.ie

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 5, 2008
Messages
27,972
Sufficiently resist?
They didn't resist at all.
Germans even organised dance nights with the locals.
They were treated a helluva lot better than the Bengalis under Churchill btw.
 

IvoShandor

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2009
Messages
7,313
Twitter
yes
Every regime had to collaborate,the only question was..how much. It was not just up to the individual, all across Europe the authorities realized that attempts at resistance might bring reprisals down on the head of their people.
 
Last edited:

Lain2016

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 1, 2011
Messages
7,713
It's relatively well-known that the Channel Islands were the only areas of British territory to come under German occupation during WW2, but the question arises whether the islanders had the potential to resist the demands of the regime? Official responses to the occupation varied significant - the Bailiff of Guernsey, Ambrose Sherwill believed in peaceful relations between his administration and that of the Nazis, his Jersey counterpart, Alexander Coutanche kept a formal, legal distance, while the Seigneur of Sark was the most pugnacious, actively opposing many German demands. The small size of the islands has been cited as reason for the non-existence of a resistance movement, with sheltering of slave labourers and clandestine news circulation mentioned in defence of the islanders. But were the Channel Islanders effectively collaborating through inertia, or were they merely prudent in impossible circumstances?
There was very little resistance but this was normal, most of the occupied countries only really resisted when the end was in sight. Untill then there was almost complete cooperation.
 

Glenshane4

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
9,735
It's relatively well-known that the Channel Islands were the only areas of British territory to come under German occupation during WW2, but the question arises whether the islanders had the potential to resist the demands of the regime? Official responses to the occupation varied significant - the Bailiff of Guernsey, Ambrose Sherwill believed in peaceful relations between his administration and that of the Nazis, his Jersey counterpart, Alexander Coutanche kept a formal, legal distance, while the Seigneur of Sark was the most pugnacious, actively opposing many German demands. The small size of the islands has been cited as reason for the non-existence of a resistance movement, with sheltering of slave labourers and clandestine news circulation mentioned in defence of the islanders. But were the Channel Islanders effectively collaborating through inertia, or were they merely prudent in impossible circumstances?
Judge not and ye shall not be judged.
 

Lain2016

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 1, 2011
Messages
7,713
Every regime had to collaborate,the only question was..how much. It was not just up to the individual, all across Europe the authorities realized that attempts at resistance might bring reprisals down on the head of ther people.
And they went further than just unwilling cooperation, the police in several of the occupied countries actively assisted in rounding up the Nazis enemies: resistance fighters, Jews and other undesirables...its something all these countries try hard to forget...
 

Truth.ie

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 5, 2008
Messages
27,972
They did get brave after the Germans left, then they beat up some German soldiers' girlfriends.
 

Hitch 22

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 26, 2011
Messages
5,220
If there was resistance they had nowhere to hide. The Channel Islanders were not liberated until May 1945 because a battle to retake them was seen as not worth the bother. Churchill is reputed to have said about the German garrisons: "Let them rot." Both islanders and German occupation troops were in danger of starvation until some Red Cross supplies were allowed through.
Everywhere they went Nazis launched merciless reprisals against civilian populations when troops were killed and resistance fighters often gave up voluntarily to save their fellow countrymen (in the famous case of one of assassin of Reinhard Heydrich) or betrayed by others to save themselves in the case of countless collaborators across the European continent.
Once the invasion of Russia began and the Nazis began to experience defeats and their cities began to be bombed into rubble, few German soldiers would have wanted to be anywhere else except on some nice quiet islands out of harm's way.
 

nonpartyboy

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 24, 2006
Messages
6,853
These islands are basically within spitting distance of france, there was no resistance movement to speak of, the germans built some massive fortifications there, including an underground hospital with slave labour.

All they could do is get on with it i suppose, they would have no effect on the war whatsoever unless the germans had decided to built a rocket or jet engine factory there, so surely the job of the elected reps was to keep the islanders alive whatever way there could, including cooperating with the germans.
 

The Owl

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 11, 2011
Messages
2,967
It's relatively well-known that the Channel Islands were the only areas of British territory to come under German occupation during WW2, but the question arises whether the islanders had the potential to resist the demands of the regime? Official responses to the occupation varied significant - the Bailiff of Guernsey, Ambrose Sherwill believed in peaceful relations between his administration and that of the Nazis, his Jersey counterpart, Alexander Coutanche kept a formal, legal distance, while the Seigneur of Sark was the most pugnacious, actively opposing many German demands. The small size of the islands has been cited as reason for the non-existence of a resistance movement, with sheltering of slave labourers and clandestine news circulation mentioned in defence of the islanders. But were the Channel Islanders effectively collaborating through inertia, or were they merely prudent in impossible circumstances?
I think it very easy to judge the Channel Islands people when they were left stranded by the British Government and told to get on with it. They had the might of the German 3rd.Reich breathing down their necks. Most of the fighting fit men had already joined the British forces. The last ship from Jersey taking fleeing islanders to Britain was blown up when the harbour was bombed by the German Air Force, and the local people worked long and hard growing their own foodstuffs.

So there were love affairs between the invaded and invaders. But there was also a very brave underground in operation mostly run by teenagers, most of whom ended up in dreadful prisons in France. The slave labour force were helped out when possible, food being left in plots of land where the slaves were let roam to forage for their own food. The people, mostly women and children, did their best in appalling circumstances, and were subjected to nightmarish scenes everyday.

Don't judge these people. Rather, praise them for their fortitude in the face of the most evil force this world has known, so far.
 

Hitch 22

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 26, 2011
Messages
5,220
Which was a travesty, the whole society collaborated and the these girls paid a heavy price.
The whole population was abandoned to German occupation until the end of the war.
Most of the native men were fighting in British uniform so there were lots of very lonely women.
A handsome man was still a handsome man even if he was an enemy and he was wearing field grey and coal scuttle helmet.
After several years the barriers went down and people got to know them and the war would have existed in another world.

There's a great series called Island At War about a fictional channel island community that describes the experiences of the real islanders under occupation.

[video=youtube;ShrmDuE5FLY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShrmDuE5FLY[/video]
 
Last edited:

parentheses

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
13,855
In answer to the title of this thread it seems a bit facetious for us to be sitting in judgement on the Channel islanders in my opinion.

However I do recall reading somewhere that there were a few Irish people living on the Islands who were deported for resistance activities and if I recall correctly they may have died in captivity. No link for that.
 

Boy M5

Well-known member
Joined
May 20, 2010
Messages
21,729
In answer to the OP.

Yes.
 

onlyasking

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 19, 2008
Messages
5,735
It's relatively well-known that the Channel Islands were the only areas of British territory to come under German occupation during WW2, but the question arises whether the islanders had the potential to resist the demands of the regime? Official responses to the occupation varied significant - the Bailiff of Guernsey, Ambrose Sherwill believed in peaceful relations between his administration and that of the Nazis, his Jersey counterpart, Alexander Coutanche kept a formal, legal distance, while the Seigneur of Sark was the most pugnacious, actively opposing many German demands. The small size of the islands has been cited as reason for the non-existence of a resistance movement, with sheltering of slave labourers and clandestine news circulation mentioned in defence of the islanders. But were the Channel Islanders effectively collaborating through inertia, or were they merely prudent in impossible circumstances?
Be fair. They were only a few bleeding miles away from the continent.

I've been there, and I've seen the infrastructure the Nazis built (abseiled down it, as you do). They weren't fuking about.

Of course, there were Nazi collaborators there. The Nazis had collaborators everywhere. The Irish have a long tradition of collaborating with people from another land who would jail or torture their brothers, sisters, cousins etc. Some people will do anything, no matter how disgraceful, for a quiet life.

The Jersey Beans and the rest did no worse.
 

Mackers

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
5,526
I think they wrote a very strong letter to the editor of The Times.
 

Hitch 22

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 26, 2011
Messages
5,220
Collaboration in most of occupied Europe was a necessity and couldn't be avoided.
There still had to be law and order, services still had to be provided, school and hospitals still had to operate, trains still had to run, normal life had to continue when armed resistance was not possible. Only the most courageous and fanatical were prepared to keep resisting against the odds when capture, torture and execution were almost a certainty and innocent people were going to die by the hundred for every German soldier killed in an ambush.

[video=youtube;nM_A4Skusro]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM_A4Skusro[/video]
 
Last edited:

shrubage

Active member
Joined
May 14, 2011
Messages
110
The UK made a strategic decision not to defend the Channel Islands (and ordered the government of the Islands not to resist), and in the days running up to the German occupation there was time enough to allow every islander the chance to evacuate to the mainland UK if they wished.

One of the reasons that there was no active resistance was that anyone that wished to fight the Germans took the opportunity to leave the Island and join the regular British military.
 

Telemachus

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
6,565
Website
en.wikipedia.org
I wonder did Ulster resist UK occupation enough during the war.
 

New Threads

Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top