Germany and Austria - Introduction


London Victory Parade - June 1946
It was over Christmas 1958 that Jane and John decided that their next holiday would be a trip to Germany ! 
Now this is very, very strange !
Remember that the war had been over for only fourteen years.
The memories of those wartime years had been seared onto the minds of all who had taken part in that appalling conflict.
The belief that the Germans, (the Hun) were the enemy had been made very clear by the awful propaganda that had come from the First World War.

Remember Belgium
'Rape of Belgium'
The 'Rape of Belgium' is a wartime propaganda term describing the 1914 German invasion of Belgium. The term initially had a figurative meaning, referring to the violation of Belgian neutrality, but embellished reports of German atrocities soon gave it a literal significance, describing a series of supposed German war crimes in the opening months of the War (4 August through September 1914).
The neutrality of Belgium had been guaranteed by the Treaty of London (1839), which had been signed by Prussia. 
The Treaty of London was confirmed in 1871, and at the Hague Conference in 1907by the German Empire, which largely inherited and reaffirmed Prussia’s diplomatic obligations. 

Deutsch Reichskanzler
Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg
The German Schlieffen Plan, however, required that German armed forces violate Belgium’s neutrality in order to outflank the French Army, concentrated in eastern France. The German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg dismissed the treaty of 1839 as a "scrap of paper".

In the Second World War there had been similar propaganda, culminating in the reports of the SS 'death camps' and the 'Holocaust'.

Adolf Hitler
To put things in a more personal context, Jane Crawford held the belief that the War (Second World War) was an event that had ended her hopes of happiness and fulfilment.
It seems that she was convinced that Herr Hitler had actually planned and executed the war with the express purpose of ruining her life.
This, of course, says a lot more about Jane's psychology that it does about Adolf's.
The mechanics of this odd assertion by Jane Crawford are as follows.
If there had been no war, then John would not have been away for so many years, and Jane would not have met the American officer, and Jane would not have become pregnant, and Joe would not have had to arrange an abortion, and Jane would have been able to have had her own children, and John would have been able to be a real father, and Jane would not have had to live through the terrible guilt, which she felt every single day.
So Jane hated Adolf, and the Germans who helped him fight the war.
So - why decide to go to Germany - of all places ?
Well, there may have been a reason - but that can only be revealed a little later on in the story.

So where did this all begin - this strange connection with Germany and Austria ?

Peter and Jane Crawford
Inwood Park
Well - we have to go back to a cloudy, rainy day in January 1958, when Jane Crawford and Peter Crawford (see left in 1955) made their way along the Hanworth Road to the local travel agents.
There Jane booked a holiday to Bavaria.
Now this was odd.
Firstly because travel abroad was relatively rare in the 1950s, mainly because of the rigid currency controls which only allowed individuals to take relatively small sums of money out of the United Kingdom.
And secondly it must remembered that the Second World War had only ended in 1945, and Germany was not a particularly popular destination at that time.


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'Peter - the early years'