Paul Sanders

Paul (William) Sanders (born 23 September 1967, in Banbury, UK) is an Anglo-German historian. He studied history and business administration at the universities of Regensburg, Berlin (FU), Lyon, Paris, at Sciences Po Paris, and at the Helsinki School of Economics. In 2000 he completed his doctoral studies at Cambridge University, with a thesis on black market operations in Nazi-occupied France and Belgium, written under the supervision of Jonathan Steinberg and Robert Tombs. In 2000-02 he was a CEP (OSI) lecturer at the European Humanities University and an academic advisor to the OSCE advisory and monitoring group under Hans-Georg Wieck, in Minsk, Belarus. Later he was deputy director of the Central Registry of Information on Looted Cultural Property 1933–1945 in London and a tutor at Oxford University. In 2004-05 he was commissioned to write a new official history of the German occupation of the Channel Islands by the Jersey Heritage Trust. A specially bound copy of this book was presented to HM the Queen on the occasion of her Liberation 60 visit to the Channel Islands, on 9 May 2005.

Since 2006 Sanders is a professor at the Burgundy School of Business (École Supérieure de Commerce Dijon Bourgogne), where he teaches marketing and international relations. His current research focus has shifted to business and politics in Russia, while he continues to pursue an interest in illegal economies. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a founding member of the Franco-German Forum.


* "The British Channel Islands under German Occupation 1940-1945", Jersey Heritage Trust, 2005, XXVIII, 288 p.
* "Histoire du marché noir 1940-46", Editions Perrin, Paris, 2001, 365 p.
* "The Ultimate Sacrifice. The Jersey Twenty and their 'Offences against the Occupying Authorities"', 1940-1945, Jersey Museums Service, 2004 (2nd ed.), 188 p.

Russia-EU economic cooperation

Sanders considers EU-Russia economic cooperation "a blessing in disguise" that prevented an escalation of conflict between Russia and the West during the August 2008 South Ossetia conflict. Media, political and academic discourse in the West has it that EU dependence on Russian energy supplies is the Achilles heal of European energy security, and will sooner or later lead to inevitable Russian "blackmail". This is the interpretation given to the gas disputes with Ukraine and Belarus in 2005 and 2006. While the argument is not entirely without foundation - Europe needs to diversify or modify its energy policy - it is simplistic as it does not take into account the two-way dynamics of EU-Russia economic cooperation. For Russia relies as much on Europe as a client and investor – and Europe still remains the only serious option for Russia in both areas - as Europe relies on Russia in terms of reliable energy supply and investment opportunities. In this sense both economies are highly complementary, even symbiotic. Both sides know this and yet the temperature mounted dangerously high during the recent South Ossetia conflict. That worse was avoided testifies to another attribute of the EU-Russia economic relationship, namely its capacity of strengthening pragmatic forces. Sanders argues that economic cooperation between Russia and Europe got the better of "New Cold War" discourse produced on both sides by government, media and academic circles. The new economic ties had a defusing effect on a crisis that could have turned much nastier. Considering that some pundits, such as Paul Krugman in the New York Times of 14 August 2008, went as far as proffering statements on the alleged similarities of the situation with August 1914 - when a budding globalisation was stopped in its tracks - the South Ossetia conflict was a litmus test as to how stable and durable Russian-European economic ties have actually become. The results, as shown by the EU-Russia agreement of 8 September, suggest that the notion of mutual benefit was capable of trumping old political and media reflexes, on both sides.

The Channel Islands occupation

In "The British Channel Islands under German Occupation 1940–1945" (2005) Sanders offers an authoritative thematic study covering all aspects of the period, including economics and ethics. The book followed upon a previous publication on the occupation of Jersey, titled "The Ultimate Sacrifice" (1998). This study had focused on the underrated and belittled subject of defiance and resistance in the Channel Islands, by exploring in detail the cases of 22 wartime residents deported to prisons and concentration camps. Particularly important features of this first book were its role in creating a paradigm shift as well as the scope of Sanders' archival collection and interviewing efforts across Europe. It should be noted that "The Ultimate Sacrifice" was written before the declassification of the archives of the International Tracing Service in Arolsen, in 2006, which now greatly facilitates research on individual prisoners and deportees during the Second World War. The book is dedicated to Joe Mière and Peter Hassall, two occupation survivors who made important contributions to documenting the book.

The author's implicit aim in "The British Channel Islands under German Occupation 1940–1945" is to investigate why the Channel Islands occupation remains such a misunderstood, controversial, and, ultimately, repressed episode of British history. The work's focus is on collaboration, resistance, survival culture and relations between Germans and islanders. Other chapters feature novel approaches to the much-discussed fate of slave and forced workers as well as - building on the groundwork of Freddie Cohen and David Fraser - to the circumstances of the islands' Jewish population. The book also presents an in-depth account of British post-war policy towards island collaboration - a foreboding of the continuing clash of Channel Islands occupation memory and British war memory.

Professor Tony Kushner, director of the Parkes Institute at Southampton University, described the book in the following terms:

"This book represents an extraordinary achievement. It addresses a controversial past but, through scholarly sophistication, moves beyond the polemic that has so often been associated with the history of the Channel Islands during the Second World War. In no way apologetic or defensive, it manages to convey the acute dilemmas facing Channel Islanders and shows the range and complexity of their responses. It does justice to their unique situation whilst placing the occupation in a comparative framework within and beyond the Second World War. Based on detailed archive work in many different countries it also utilises written and oral testimony to produce a humane and immensely readable narrative that covers all aspects of this remarkable story."

The black market in occupied France and Belgium

In his work on the wartime black market Sanders stresses the importance of the subject to a correct understanding of the social, economic and political stakes of the occupation. It is these wider implications that led French historian Dominique Veillon (CNRS) to credit "Histoire du marché noir 1940-46" (2001) as a book that would leave a "lasting mark". Sanders' thesis allows for a re-examination of German occupation policy, while also highlighting topics as varied as civilian survival strategies, wealth distribution and the changing occupier-occupied relationship. The author's particular (but not sole) focus is on the German occupier: in France, the latter spent at least 15% of all financial resources available through the Vichy occupation levy on the illegal market. This purchasing started from the onset of occupation. Until December 1941 German economic agencies bought 'anything, at any price'. The uncoordinated bidding led to a black market bubble, the effects of which spilled over into the official markets. Spring 1942 brought the centralisation of German purchasing and during the ensuing second phase (until spring 1943) the occupier still bought 'anything', but no longer at 'any price'. Although this stabilised prices, it also encouraged illegal production, with raw materials diverted from official industry allocations. During this second period 50-60% of all Vichy occupation payments were spent on the black market, at a strategic juncture of the war when such extravagance was no longer justifiable. This undermined German finances in France and became a liability to exploitation and collaboration. The third phase of black market exploitation, from summer 1943 to the end of the occupation, was the most rational. During this period the Germans restricted purchasing to genuinely indispensable strategic raw materials. This built on the effective implementation of a German black market purchasing ban in spring 1943, the support of the Vichy government and French industrial leaders for economic collaboration, business concentrations and closures, market monitoring and resource management methods. As a result, the illegal market in the industrial economy was largely brought under control. Sanders argues that the same degree of economic mobilisation could have been achieved one or even two years earlier, had the Germans abstained from unilateral black market purchasing and instead heeded Vichy calls for closer cooperation. German failure in this area was due to lack of coordination, institutional chaos, economic dilettantism, endemic corruption and reckless resource competition - all of which have their origin in the structure of the Nazi system. While the Germans were relatively successful in their exploitation of French and Belgian industrial resources, illegal food markets demonstrated the limits of coercion. As the nutritional value of official civilian rations remained below subsistence level, the French continued to evade all control efforts and depended on the illegal market for their survival. Thus countermanding food restrictions became something of a national pastime. This further compounded Vichy's lack of will (and authority) in enforcing thorough economic control over agricultural production.

External links

* [ Webpage of Paul Sanders, ESC Bourgogne]

* ["The British Channel Islands under German Occupation 1940-45"]

* "The Ultimate Sacrifice"

* BBC News, Review of "The British Channel Islands under German Occupation 1940-45", 'No collaboration choice says book', 6 May 2005

* Isabella Matauschek, Web-Rezension zu "Holocaust Memorial Day and Channel Islands Occupation Memorial", H-Soz-u-Kult, 29 January 2005

* Review of "Histoire du marche noir, 1940-1946" by Dominique Veillon, "Vingtième Siècle", 76, Oct.- Dec. 2002, 168-169

* Review of "Histoire du marché noir 1940-46",, 'Plongée dans la guerre secrète du marché noir', 2 March 2002

* Review of "The Occupation, the French State, and Business", Olivier Dard, Jean-Claude Daumas, and François Marcot (edd.) by Donald Reid, "Business History Review", Harvard Business School, Spring 2002

* "Economic choice in dark times - The Vichy economy" by Kenneth Mouré, University of California at Santa Barbara

* Paul Sanders, 'Economic draining - German black market operations in France, 1940-1944', "Global Crime", vol. 9 (1&2), Feb. 2008

* Paul Sanders, 'Wie notwendig ist eine Kehrtwende im europäischen Russlandbild?', Jan. 2008 version: 'Plaidoyer pour un nouveau partenariat Europe-Russie',

* Paul Sanders, 'Large-Scale Retailing in Russia - The Outlook for Foreign Groups', "Le Courrier des pays de l'Est", n° 1063, Sept.-Oct. 2007

* Paul Sanders, 'Torheit und Pragmatik', 25 Sept. 2008

* Paul Krugman, "The Great Illusion", New York Times, 14 August 2008

* Central Registry of Information on Looted Cultural Property 1933-1945

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