Foe to Friend: The British Army in Germany since 1945

Thu 17 Sep

Thursday, 17 September 2020

3.00pm - 4.00pm

Panel Discussion | In Venue & Online

Foe to Friend: The British Army in Germany since 1945

Charting the British Army’s time in Germany from the end of the Second World War to the present day, this panel discussion will explore how the relationship has evolved over time.

This event has finished, but you can watch it again online at any time until Sunday, 11 October 2020.

Price: FREE
British and German amphibious capabilities celebrate 40 years of partnership on the River Elbe, 2017


Conquerors. Occupiers. Allies. Friends. The British Army’s relationship with Germany since 1945 has certainly been complex. From the end of the Second World War to 2019, the Army was based there in large numbers. From occupying a defeated and destroyed country, to standing on the front line in the Cold War, to using it as a base to deploy across the world, Britain’s reasons for being in Germany changed. But for 75 years, more than a million British service personnel – and their families – called it home.

What has Germany meant to the Army? And what did it mean to Germany for the Army to be there? Chaired by Caroline Wyatt, noted foreign and war correspondent for the BBC, an expert panel of historians, soldiers and diplomats from both Britain and Germany will come together to discuss the relationship with a country that has been for a time the worst of enemies, but for far longer the best of friends to the British Army. They will also look to what the relationship may be between Britain and Europe as a whole in an uncertain future of Brexit, budget cuts and new strategic directions.

Dr Peter Johnston is Head of Collections Research and Academic Access at the National Army Museum. As the Museum’s senior military historian, Peter is responsible for managing and curating exhibitions, developing research strategies, working with partners in academia and the Army. Peter’s specialisms range across British military history from 1815 to the present day, but he has a particular interest in, and has published on, the post-1945 British Army, the lives of UK veterans and military culture, and propaganda in times of conflict.

General Sir Richard Shirreff graduated from Oxford University before being commissioned into the British Army from Sandhurst. In his 37-year career, he commanded soldiers on operations at every level, including combat in the Gulf War and Iraq, together with other operations in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Bosnia. He commanded Nato’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps and his final post before withdrawing from the Army was Nato’s 4 Star Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR).

Brigadier General Michael Oberneyer is the Defence Attaché at the German Embassy in London. He joined the Bundeswehr in 1983, and quickly built extensive expertise in nuclear, biological and chemical warfare, which saw him command the Multinational CBRN Battalion NRF 4 of Nato’s Response Forces in Kuwait in 2003. He has held staff roles in Potsdam, in Berlin, in Bonn, and important liaison staff roles with the Americans at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, with the EU in Brussels, and at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons.

Professor Brendan Simms is Professor of the History of European International Relations and Director of the Centre for Geopolitics at the University of Cambridge. He is an expert in British and German history in its international context.

A copy of Dr Peter Johnson’s book British Forces in Germany: The Lived Experience can be purchased as part of a book and ticket offer for this event. Alternatively, copies will be available for purchase at the National Army Museum on the day of the event or via a link on the virtual event page.

Date & time

Thursday, 17 September 2020
3.00pm - 4.00pm


Foyle Centre
National Army Museum
Royal Hospital Road
London SW3 4HT


Online: FREE

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