What Comes After War? The Problem of Reconstruction by Kirk W. Goodlet

Four weeks ago I successfully defended my PhD dissertation. Over the last several years, I had been rapt with exploring the history of post-war reconstruction in northwest Europe, particularly in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands, and the many challenges civilians of this region faced both during and after the Second World War. These included civil-military issues, institutional problems, as well as socio-economic problems that hindered recovery once the war came to an end. What I found most interesting was that the weeks leading up to my defence were filled with media bytes about Israel’s renewed offensive against Hamas-controlled Gaza. The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and Israeli Air Force (IAF) were killing civilians by the score, but they were also targeting known Hamas militants who had orchestrated attacks on Israel. I couldn’t help but draw some parallels between the civilians I had been so concerned about over the course of researching and writing my dissertation, and the people of Gaza who were caught in the crossfire and subject to the awesome power of Israeli air superiority.

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