As a documentary history, this volume illustrates the evolution of civil affairs policy and practice in the Mediterranean and European Theaters of Operations during World War II. It deal s with U.S. Army and Anglo-American planning and operations in the sphere of relations with civilians in certain liberated and conquered countries in Europe during the war, prior to the invasion of Germany. Although the Army had not considered civil affairs preparation essential prior to World War II, during the war it created the Civil Affairs Division at the War Department level to coordinate all civil affairs planning and training. For the first time, extensive recruiting and training programs were organized, and G-5 (civil affairs and military government) staff sections were added at the theater army, corps, and division levels. Not only did soldiers become the administrators of civilian life for the Army's immediate needs, they also became the executors, and sometimes the proposers, of national and international political policy. This broader role was the result of the inability of the Allies to agree on specific political aims until after active hostilities were over, if then.
In this policy void, U.S. and British military authorities were often responsible for the gradual transition to a postwar national and international order with only general guidelines from higher authorities. The materials presented in Part I, concerned with the preparatory and organizational stage, suggest that the President's decision to entrust the civil affairs responsibility to the Army was because civilian authorities were unready to undertake the mission. Documents in Part II show the difficulties of fitting civilian institutions into the context of battle and a military framework, thus indicating additional rationale for leaving military authorities in exclusive control. Part III reveals that, despite this experience, Allied authorities planning for the liberated countries of northwest Europe still proposed to delegate civil affairs to indigenous civilian authorities, insofar as was possible. Operations are dealt with in Part IV, which show that conditions during and immediately following hostilities made it necessary for the Allies to render these authorities substantial assistance in the area of civil affairs.
The compilation of documents appear to make it clear that the issue of military-versus-civilian administration was far less important than the issue of military values versus civil-political values, and it was in the latter area that the most serious difficulties arose. KEY TOPICS: 1. Arguments over civilian or military control of civil affairs (Ch. I) 2. Civilian civil affairs activities in French North Africa and gradual military involvement (Ch. II) 3. Creation of a military organization to undertake civil affairs activities (Chs. III-VI) 4. Military government/civil affairs operations in Italy (Chs. VII-XXI) 5. Planning for civil affairs operations in Europe (Chs. XXII-XXIV) 6. Military government/civil affairs operations in western Europe (Chs. XXV-XXXII)