In this project, the German occupation administration of the First and the Second World War in Belgium will be studied from within, as an internally coherent structure embedded in society. By using a perspective of intertemporal comparison, it tries to reveal similarities, continuities and differences between both administrations. Thus, it aims at providing insights into the history of military occupation as a specific form of politics. The starting point is that occupation administrations are transnational political organizations: they operate outside the political and social context of the authorities to which they are responsible. Therefore, they have to acquire legitimity both in the eyes of the political authorities of their home-country as in those of the population of the occupied country. This project tries to trace those processes of legitimization by focusing on the social composition and cohesion of those occupation administrations, and on their interaction with the population of the occupied country. It is situated at the crossroads of political, social and cultural history, but it uses insights from organizational sociology and cultural anthropology. Methodologically, a combination of prosopography, network analysis and discourse analysis will be brought to work.