Paul Sanders

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Paul Sanders, MA (Paris IV), DEA (Sciences Po Paris), PhD (Cambridge), FRHistS (born 23 September 1967 in Banbury, UK), is an Anglo-German historian and leadership scholar. He is a full-time professor in the department of economics, culture and international affairs at NEOMA Businss School, Reims (France). His teaching interest lies in the area of leadership, ethics and international affairs, and he is a commentator on Russian and European affairs.[1] His research addresses the topic of leadership ethics, in particular the problem of dirty hands. He is currently engaged in a study of duress leadership which uses historical cases ranging from British bombing policy in World War II, the dilemmas of occupation,[2][3] the Holocaust in Hungary,[4] and the Algerian War. In 2013 his realist critique of the idealist underpinnings of international CSR won an Emerald Literati Outstanding Paper Award.[5] In parallel, Sanders has established a track record as the leading historian on the German occupation of the Channel Islands in World War II.[6] Following in the wake of Madeleine Bunting's Model Occupation (1995), his first book, The Ultimate Sacrifice (1998), provided a corrective to a debate that over-emphasised the factor 'collaboration' (to the detriment of other narratives).[7] The study suggested that defying the occupier was not the feat of an insignificant minority, but involved much larger numbers. In 2004 the Jersey Heritage Trust commissioned Sanders to write a new official history of the Occupation,[8] a project that gave vital impulses to a growing literature in the field.[9] A special copy of the book was presented to HM the Queen, on 9 May 2005.[10] In 2010 Sanders advised Downing Street regarding the inclusion of three Channel Islanders in the 'British Heroes of the Holocaust' award.[11] He has appeared as an expert in John Nettles' The Channel Islands at War (2010) [12] and Tony Robinson's Walking through History (2014).[13] The Ultimate Sacrifice also featured the first authoritative account of the story of Louisa Gould, a Jerseywoman who hid a Russian forced worker, and who was deported to Ravensbrück, where she was gassed in February 1945.[14] This story was adapted by screenwriter Jenny Lecoat and turned into a feature film, Another Mother's Son (2016).[15]


  • Protest, Defiance and Resistance in the Channel Islands, 1940–1945, Bloomsbury, 2014 (co-authored).
  • The British Channel Islands under German Occupation 1940–1945, Jersey Heritage Trust/Société Jersiaise, 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 Heritage Trust, 2004 (2nd ed.), 200 p.

Leadership ethics and duress[edit]

This research considers leadership under duress in the context of a crisis situation. It draws conclusions on ethical leadership in the light of novel concepts such as 'gray zones', 'dirty hands', legitimacy and 'effective corruption'. Its relevance to current global affairs, and in particular international business, is owed to the fact that globalisation increases grey zones, and with it the likelihood of 'dirty hands' reflexes, and that the management panacea of CSR is incapable of providing a coherent response to this new emerging ethical challenge.[5] Comparative historical case studies can provide evidence of how the solution of extreme duress and dirty hands dilemmas can be 'optimised' through relevant leadership, thereby avoiding below average moral outcomes. One such case in point is the Nazi occupation of Europe in World War II.

The dilemma of the occupied was that they had a natural interest in seeing law and order maintained (rather than growing anomie and anarchy), but that, on the other hand, this 'good government' benefitted not only the civilian population, but also the Nazi occupier. Many relied on the rules-based legal frameworks that governed relations between the occupier and the occupied as a way out of the dilemma, but this was unwise, as 'rules' offered no safeguards against the 'slippery slope' of collaboration and the subsequent implosion of moral integrity. The solution was rather more a question of negotiating an invisible middle ground, and it required a moral compass rather than rules following.[16]

The margin of freedom of the occupied was an important factor in optimising outcomes. These margins were widest in those occupied countries where German rule was indirect, such as Vichy France, Denmark and the Channel Islands. In these countries national governments remained in place, deploying initiative and issuing instructions to local administrations, which could be subject to interpretation. The decision makers and implementers who fared best in steering a middle ground were those who could draw on a measure of Machiavellian virtù; i.e. those who had the ability to seize opportunities, use cunning and outwit antagonists. They combined a unique mix of clairvoyance, ruthlessness, communication acumen and ego one discovers in many successful crisis leaders. At the same time these leaders had the responsibility to keep their communities out of harm's way (Walzer, 2004). This obligation is not limited to assuring bare physical survival; it also includes the obligation of preventing a Hobbesian regression that might tip the scales of community life in a self-destructive direction. This points towards the crucial leadership task of maintaining social cohesion. Genuine leaders consolidate group trust and, if necessary, build a new consensus.[16]

The situation in the Channel Islands may serve as an example. The civilian authorities had to take stock of the interests of the two local constituencies: those opposed to anything susceptible to even irritating the Germans (and amenable to giving in to their demands); and the substantial minority who felt that relying on British prestige to take a firm stance was advisable. The latter anticipated, rightly, that catering to German whims led to spirals of preemptive obedience. This could create a vicious circle of self-reinforcing collaboration, turn denunciation into a public virtue and provide the Nazis with a self-policing environment. The inevitable result would be the destruction of public trust and the emergence of a mutual surveillance society.[16][17] The key to avoiding such a scenario was to arbitrate between the two constituencies. In doing so leaders could not afford to be too explicit; they had to discreetly point the way; they had to leave no ambiguity about legitimacy; and they had to take good care of not manoeuvring themselves into catch-22s. The implicit social contract adopted in the island of Jersey, one of the two main self-governing entities of the British Channel Islands, was well-suited to this. It was opportunistic ('live and let live'); armed or militant resistance was never encouraged; but neither was there much effort to proactively frustrate each and every move aimed against occupation government. While open provocation was tabou, islanders were granted the freedom to decide for themselves as far as other forms of contestation were concerned. The signal given to the people was that those who got into trouble with the Germans could not rely on assistance from officials. However, the overall orientation was to neither encourage nor discourage passive resistance. This disposition took into account the growing despondence among the patriotically minded, who might have reverted to desperate means, if they were not given a lid to let off steam.[18][19]

Western Russia Narratives[edit]

In an article published in 2013 and titled ‘Under Western Eyes’, Sanders investigates how meta-narrative shapes Western perception of Russia.[20] Geopolitical competition, culture or the 'value gap' are often considered the underlying causes of tension between Russia and the West. Less attention has been attributed to cognitive barriers on both sides. How important perception is also for the Western understanding of contemporary Russia can be gauged from media or academic narratives, many of which are anachronistic or self-fulfilling ('New Cold War'). The pinnacle of this asymmetric perception was the 2008 Georgia War. Once the widely shared assumption of unilateral Russian aggression was put to the test, it emerged that initial assessments had lacked the necessary balance.[21] Narratives are a social science loan from literary theory, they represent "compelling story lines which can explain events convincingly and from which inferences can be drawn".[22] They are not necessarily analytical or evidence-based, can be more or less virtual, and correspond to a "'telescoping' of logic and temporality".[23] Narratives rely on deliberate gaps and fashion collective blind spots,[24] and they have an important function in the formation and formulation of collective identity.[25] They also help structure responses to unfolding events.[22] This link to identity formation explains the persistence and power of narratives.

Looking at the post-Soviet context Stephen Cohen described the principal Western master narrative of the Russian 1990s as the confrontation of "liberals" (supported by the West) and Soviet "reactionaries" or reform opponents. The central tenet of this master narrative was (and is) "democratization". Accordingly, President Yeltsin's liberal policies as well as the efforts of Western governments, NGOs and international organisations were allegedly motivated by a concern for "promoting freedom.".[26] This narrative omits that the illiberal seeds of 'managed democracy' were laid in Yeltsin's Russia. Also, the most plausible chronology for a worsening of relations is 2003–04 (and not 2000), in the wake of the YUKOS affair. Only then did Western opinion start to interpret Putin's ascent to power in 2000 as the "return of the old guard" and the beginning of a "New Cold War".

Asymmetric vision of Russia is nothing new. In fact, the Western meta-narrative of relations with Russia is a 'super-story' of engagement driven by the ideological notions of liberty, freedom and, recently, democratisation. It emerged in the early 19th century and, since, has alternated between an Orientalist search for a Russian civilisational 'black box',[27] and missionary visions oscillating between two poles: a determination to recreate Russia in the Western image; or the 'abandonment' of Russia, on the basis of 'essentialist incompatibility'.[28] This means that the meta-narrative does not move in a straight functional line, but unfolds in cyclical movements that vary between indifference, engagement and disengagement. During the Cold War era this discourse was enriched by the new scientific narratives of 'path dependency' and 'patrimonialism', of which Richard Pipes is the most significant proponent. The recent 'New Cold War' strain belongs into this tradition.

Both 'path dependency' and 'patrimonialism' are superseded. Not only do they downgrade the importance of basic environmental and geopolitical factors. They also trivalise the present situation, reducing it to a simplistic dichotomy between 'dictatorship' or 'democracy'. The current deadlock of Russian society points to a profounder dilemma, which is itself the result of a specific type of historical development: while Russia needs change, too much change – and nobody knows where the threshold is – may lead to the disintegration of Russia (witness the 1990s). To adequately frame this dilemma one requires an alternative meta-narrative. This exists within the debate on the impact of physical geography on economic development. If the old Western meta-narrative ended the 'story' with the platitude that Russia is handicapped by her history,[29] then a new geopolitical narrative reduces history (and politics) to a function of geography. This argument is sustained by the triple constraint of climate, distance and reliance on overland transport. Termed the 'Cost of the cold', this factor severely impacts Russian costs of production; in a way that even many raw materials extractions in Russia are not profitable under free market conditions.[30] Faced with 'illiberal geography', a liberal economic regime therefore appears quite dispensable; the traditional interventionist and allocative role of the Russian state, on the other hand, emerges as quite indispensable.[31]

The very visible hand of the state is also needed in another sense: Russian reliance on raw materials and energy exports is not sustainable, as the sources of supply went on-stream during the Soviet period. Current-day Russia is living off this substance: once the supply dries up, the shortfall may not be replaced, as the prohibitive start-up investments required for new development projects make these uncompetitive under market conditions. For Russia to be sustainable, it must grow organically, clustering in strategic pockets; first, however, it needs to contract, and this includes the de-urbanisation of parts of Siberia where human settlement is unsustainable under market conditions.[32] While, liberalism is something a downsized Russia could live with quite well, the structurally distorted and unsustainable Russia of today is dependent on state intervention. The catch (or tragedy) is that this contention holds despite the massive levels of predation by Russian bureaucrats. The solution is also the problem.

Historiographical work[edit]

The Channel Islands Occupation, 1940–45[edit]

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).[33] This study had focused on defiance and resistance in the Nazi-occupied Channel Island of Jersey, exploring the fate of 21 wartime residents deported to prisons and Nazi concentration camps for various offences. The Ultimate Sacrifice created a paradigm shift, for in the years preceding its publication the Channel Islands had been the object of adverse publicity in the UK media and academia. This had amounted to collective blanket claims against Channel Islanders for their supposedly collaborationist wartime record. The tactic used by previous authors and journalists to justify their over-focus on collaboration was to minimise (or altogether blank out) insular opposition to the Occupation, and The Ultimate Sacrifice redressed the balance. Sanders did not rely on oral evidence, but pursued the paper trail left by the Jersey 21 in archives across Europe. The book is dedicated to Joe Mière and Peter Hassall, two occupation survivors who made important contributions to documenting the book. The book's findings were the basis of the honouring of Channel Islanders Louisa Gould, Harold Le Druillenec and Ivy Forster with a posthumous 'British Heroes of the Holocaust' award, in 2010.[11]

The author's implicit aim in The British Channel Islands under German Occupation 1940–1945 was to investigate why the Channel Islands occupation remains a misunderstood, controversial, and, ultimately, repressed episode of British history.[34] The key to unravelling the continuing uneasiness does not lie in the notion of 'islanders trying to dodge their historical responsibility', but in narratives and memory. The genuine nexus of the issue is not 'collaboration', but the subalternity of Channel Islanders, combined with the emotionally charged and identity-constituting memory of the Occupation (plus its associated narrative). In fact, the reception of the Channel Islands occupation is a 'seismic zone' where three 'tectonic plates' of mutually exclusive narratives clash: the Leitkultur of UK war memory (the 'Churchillian paradigm'); European 'Vichy syndrome'; and the 'paradoxical' memory of the Channel Islands ('vanquished victor')[19]

The thematic focus of the work is collaboration, resistance, survival culture, economic life and relations between Germans and islanders. Other chapters feature novel approaches to the much-discussed fate of the forced workers as well as to the circumstances of the islands' small Jewish population (this builds on the groundwork of Freddie Cohen and David Fraser). The book also provides the first in-depth account of British post-war policy towards island collaboration – a foreboding of the subsequent clash of Channel Islands occupation memory and British war memory.[35]

The focus of this work has now moved to the question why resistance in the islands is still an area of contestation.[36] The Nazi occupation in World War 2 is acknowledged as a defining juncture and an important identity building experience throughout contemporary Europe. Civilian disobedience, defiance and resistance is what ‘saves’ European societies from an otherwise checkered record of collaboration on the part of their economic, political, cultural and religious elites. Opposition took pride of place as a legitimising device in the postwar order and has become an indelible part of the collective consciousness. Among previously occupied territories the Channel Islands are the odd one out. Collective identity construction in the islands still relies on the notion of ‘orderly and correct relations’ with the Nazis, while talk of ‘resistance’ earns raised eyebrows. Unsurprisingly, the general attitude to the many witnesses of conscience who existed in the islands remains ambiguous. The stance is justified through the supposedly benign character of the occupation: opposition – so goes the argument – was not only unnecessary, but it also exposed the wider population to the risk of reprisals. Accordingly, it could only have been the handiwork of a delusional or irresponsible minority. Recent studies on atrocities against Jews, forced workers or islanders on the wrong side of occupation law have put this argument into perspective. If it is untenable, or even immoral, to maintain that the German occupation was ‘business as usual’, what is it, then, that prevents genuine acts of heroism from receiving the recognition they deserve, almost seven decades after the end of the Second World War? [37] A tentative answer would be that British common law was not equipped to deal with the double quandary of enemy occupation. 'Doing the right thing' under these circumstances required an ability to navigate a median course between the Scylla of compliance with the occupier; and the Charybdis of patriotism calling for 'something to be done'. Law made no provision at all for the latter disposition, effectively 'stranding' resisters in a legal no-man’s land. The islands' unwritten constitutions magnify this effect, as they maintain the nonsensical fiction of a continuity of British law, despite Nazi rule. Finally, failed attempts to rehabilitate resistance in the postwar period casts a pungent light on the constitutional relationship between the islands and the UK. This is apparent in the handling of a Privy Council appeal lodged by several former members of the Guernsey police force in the early 1950s.[17]

The black market in France during the Occupation, 1940–44[edit]

In his PhD work on the wartime black market (published under the title Histoire du marché noir 1940–46, 2001) Sanders stressed the importance of the subject to a correct understanding of the social, economic and political stakes of the occupation.[38][39][40] It is these wider implications that led French historian Dominique Veillon (CNRS) to credit the book with leaving a "lasting mark".[41] Sanders' thesis allows for a re-examination of German occupation policy, while also highlighting 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 black market 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 co-operation. German failure in this area was due to lack of co-ordination, institutional chaos, economic dilettantism, endemic corruption and reckless resource competition – all of which have their origin in the structure of the Nazi regime. 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: countermanding food restrictions became something of a national pastime. This further punctured Vichy's will-power (and legitimacy) in enforcing thorough economic control over agricultural production.[42][43][44][45]


  1. ^ CV,
  2. ^ Managing Under Duress: Ethical Leadership, Social Capital and the Civilian Administration of the British Channel Islands During the Nazi Occupation, 1940–1945, Journal of business ethics, Aug. 2010
  3. ^ Legitimacy, social capital, and dirty hands: a three-constituent approach to ethics and leadership under duress, Leadership and the Humanities, March 2015
  4. ^ 'The ‘strange Mr Kastner’ – Leadership ethics in Holocaust-era Hungary, in the light of grey zones and dirty hands', Leadership, Sage journals, Feb. 2016
  5. ^ a b Is CSR cognizant of the conflictuality of globalisation?
  6. ^ Review of The British Channel Islands under German Occupation 1940–45, by Ryan Holte, H-Net, December 2008
  7. ^ Holocaust Memorial Day and Channel Islands Occupation Memorial
  8. ^ BBC, 'No collaboration choice says book', 6 May 2005
  9. ^ The British Channel Islands under German Occupation 1940-1945
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b Ceremony honouring British Heroes of the Holocaust, 10 Downing Street, 9 mars 2010
  12. ^ Youtube, Visit Jersey, The Channel Islands at War
  13. ^ Channel 4, Walking through History, Episode: Nazi Occupation - Channel Islands
  14. ^ The Ultimate Sacrifice, 2004 edition, pages 65-85
  15. ^ Variety, November 2015
  16. ^ a b c Sanders, 'Officials and Their Resistance', in Carr et al., Protest, Defiance and Resistance in the Channel Islands, 1940–1945, Bloomsbury, 2014, 243ff
  17. ^ a b 'Legitimacy, social capital and ‘dirty hands’ – A three-constituent approach to ethical leadership under duress', International Studying Leadership Conference, December 2013, Rome, Italy
  18. ^ |Managing Under Duress: Ethical Leadership, Social Capital and the Civilian Administration of the British Channel Islands During the Nazi Occupation, 1940–1945, in Journal of Business Ethics, June 2010, Volume 93, Supplement 1, pp 113-129
  19. ^ a b |UK war memory and Channel Islands occupation memory, in: Travers and Matthews (ed.) Islands and Britishness, 2012, 24-39
  20. ^ ‘'Under Western Eyes. How meta-narrative shapes our perception of Russia – and why it is time for a qualitative shift'’, Transit Online, June 2013
  21. ^ BBC Newsnight, "What really happened in South Ossetia?", 28 Oct 2008
  22. ^ a b Lawrence Freedman, The Transformation of Strategic Affairs, Oxford: Routledge, 2006, 22
  23. ^ Roland Barthes, ‘’Image, Music, Text’’, New York: Hill & Wang, 1977, 79-124
  24. ^ Konrad H. Jarausch, „Die Krise der nationalen Meistererzählungen,“ in Konrad H. Jarausch, and Martin Sabrow, eds., Die Historische Meisterzählung – Deutungslinien der Deutschen Nationalgeschichte nach 1945, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2002, 140-162
  25. ^ J. Arquilla, and D. Ronfeldt, eds., Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime and Militancy, Santa Monica: RAND, 2001)
  26. ^ Stephen Cohen, Failed Crusade: America and the tragedy of post-Communist Russia, New York, 2001
  27. ^ Adolphe de Custine, La Russie en 1839 [1843], (new edition, Arles: Actes Sud, 2005)
  28. ^ David Foglesong, The American Mission and the Evil Empire, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007
  29. ^ Richard Pipes, Russia under the Old Regime (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1974
  30. ^ Allen C. Lynch, How Russia Is Not Ruled: Reflections on Russian Political Development, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005
  31. ^ Ibid., 238
  32. ^ Clifford Gaddy, and Fiona Hill, The Siberian Curse: How Communist Planners Left Russia out in the Cold (Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2003
  33. ^ The Ultimate Sacrifice, 2004 edition
  34. ^ The British Channel Islands under German Occupation, Product description,
  35. ^ The British Channel Islands under German Occupation 1940-1945
  36. ^ UK war memory and Channel Islands occupation memory, in: Travers and Matthews (ed.) Islands and Britishness, 2012, 24-39
  37. ^ Protest, Defiance and Resistance in the Channel Islands, 1940–1945, Bloomsbury, 2014 (co-authored)
  38. ^ Cambridge UL
  39. ^ German black market operations in France and in Belgium, 1940-1944, PhD dissertation, Cambridge History Faculty, 2000
  40. ^ Histoire du marché noir 1940–46, Editions Perrin, Paris, 2001
  41. ^ Review of Histoire du marche noir, 1940–1946 by Dominique Veillon, Vingtième Siècle, 76, Oct.- Dec. 2002, 168–169
  42. ^ Economic draining – German black market operations in France, 1940–1944', Global Crime, vol. 9 (1&2), Feb. 2008
  43. ^ Review of Histoire du marche noir, 1940–1946 by Hervé Le Bot, 2002, 229–232
  44. ^ 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
  45. ^ Economic choice in dark times – The Vichy economy by Kenneth Mouré

External links[edit]