Wehrmacht patrolling occupied Denmark WWII
When the Second World War began US soldiers were deployed all over European theaters of operation. Not the least of these was England. While sinewy, young American males were now sauntering about British pubs, English males were deployed all over the world occupying the empire that the sun never set upon. The saying went “The trouble with the Americans is that they are over paid, over sexed and over here!” would we have thought there would be any difference really throughout history.
Intimate relations between armies on the move and locals exists in a spectrum that begins with prostitutes that have followed armies since recorded history on one end, and continues to the genuine love that develops between a local and an occupier. My very own father met my Mom when he was a soldier in occupied Europe and she was a refugee.
So too, German soldiers in occupied and defeated France in World War II benefited from the attentions of local women, despite that fact they were unwelcome interlopers. In France in particular, the hatred of the Germans was enough to make dating a French woman dangerous, yet it happened like the birds and the bees.
In Denmark, the German occupation was less lethal than other Nazi targets. Germany invaded and less than two hours later the Danes surrendered.
German troops in Denmark had it easy compared to their comrades around the globe. So there was a lot of time for German soldiers to fraternize, take walks in the park, participate in theater and local activities and so forth. That said, nature played its role and many a romance was born between handsome Wehrmacht soldiers and local Danish women.
What is truly amazing about Germans in occupied countries was that the Deutschmark was worth more on foreign markets, and so ordinary German soldiers could buy plenty of Dutch goods and ship them home. Coffee, chocolate, clothing, purses, suitcases, radios, watches, furs shoes and medicines in remarkable quantities. Many Germans in the army and near the action in civilian roles made good use of the opportunities and made robust black market monies moving luxury items from around Europe into their home towns. It was industrial level under the table dealing.
Germans who detested the French people nonetheless adored French culture and French cultural assets. Often German officers would dress in civilian attire and tour the French countryside seeing the coastal villages, visiting famous churches, and Frankish and Celtic archeological attractions. Of course many a German residence found itself laden with French treasures sold in the war.
Culture is one thing. But business is business.