Orderly and Humane
Social Science

Orderly and Humane

The Expulsion of the Germans after the Second World War

  • R. M. Douglas


Orderly and Humane is an outstanding and well-written work that fills a significant gap in books written in English about this large subject and the very period of its compass. It ought to be in every serious American library and should be required reading for scholars interested in the history of the end of the Second World War and the years thereafter in Europe.”—John Lukacs, author of The Future of  History and Five Days in London, May 1940

“R.M. Douglas has written a fair-minded, deeply researched and courageous book that carefully demystifies the claims and accusations surrounding the awful history of the expulsion of the ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe. A first-rate work, Orderly and Humane compels us to admit that the postwar expulsions were not simply a regrettable accident but a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing on a breathtaking scale that decisively shaped postwar Europe’s history.”—William I. Hitchcock, author of The Bitter Road to Freedom: The Human Consequences of Allied Victory in World War II Europe 

“The tragedy of the post-World War II ethnic German refugees and expellees has been told before but no account is based on so many original documents from so many countries as Douglas’s eminently readable work.”—Istvan Deak, Columbia University

“This important, powerful, and moving book should be on the desk of every international policymaker as well as every historian of twentieth-century Europe. Characterized by assured scholarship, cool objectivity, and convincing detail, it is also a passionate plea for tolerance and fairness in a multicultural world.”—Richard J. Evans, The New Republic

"This is an important book, deserving of the widest readership."—Max Hastings, Sunday Times

"The expulsion of Germans is understandably a politically-charged topic. Until recently it has been taboo to examine the depths of German suffering after 1945, because of the suffering they themselves had caused. Drawing on meticulous research, Douglas thoughtfully explains the context for this policy, before showing convincingly that its rationale was flawed."—Hester Vaizey, The Independent

“[T]he most thorough study available of the largest expulsion of a people in human history . . . [a] scrupulous reconstruction . . . authoritative;”—Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic

“Doug­las, a historian at Colgate, offers the most thorough study available of the largest expulsion of a people in human history and by far the most horrific instance in post-war Europe of what is now called ethnic cleansing: the forcible transfer of at least 12 million ethnic Germans, mostly women and children from Eastern and Central Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War. The result is an authoritative analysis of an episode that, contrary to McCormick's prediction, has utterly failed to penetrate the popular historical memory..” —Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic, Named one of the Books of the Year 2012

"Douglas provides a fascinating glimpse of the backstage of the Nazi war effort, as hundreds of thousands were shifted from Poland and the Baltic states as part of a forced Germanisation policy that sheer lack of preparation doomed to failure." —Benedicte Williams, Budapest Times

"Well-researched and dispassionately written… Those who want to understand the tensions in modern Europe, not least in central Europe, ought to read this book."—Gisela Stuart, The Housing Magazine

“This is a deeply valuable contribution to the literature and will be the classroom standard for a long time to come.”—Journal of Modern History