Dr Bastiaan Willems

Lecturer in the History of War in 20th Century Europe

Research Overview

My research combines themes of war, genocide, and forced migration, and particularly focuses on the Nazi era. My doctoral research examined the German retreat onto its own territory following years of brutalised fighting on the Eastern Front, and asked if the Wehrmacht’s behavioural patterns, taught during the fighting in the Soviet Union, could also be observed during the final battles in Germany. This led to my first monograph, Violence in Defeat: The Wehrmacht on German Soil, 1944-1945 (Cambridge University Press, 2021). At the same time, I looked at the flight and expulsion of East Prussians from their province in the years 1944-1948, which, beyond a number of articles, has led to the co-edited volume (with Michal Palacz) A Transnational History of Forced Migrants in Europe: Unwilling Nomads in the Age of the Two World Wars (Bloomsbury Academic, 2022). I am associate editor of the Journal of Slavic Military Studies and served as historical consultant.

  • Centre for War and Diplomacy