Britain and European Resistance 1940-1945: A survey of the Special Operations Executive, with documents

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Britain and European Resistance 1940-1945: A survey of the Special Operations Executive, with documents

English | February 10, 2021 | ISBN: N/A | ASIN: B08WHTRD6F | 400 Pages | EPUB | 0.44 MB

In June 1940, Britain was driven from the continent by Germany, and France was forced to capitulate.

Practically all of Europe was occupied by the Nazis, and in Britain fears of invasion and fifth-column activity were rife. Even if these challenges were overcome, and Britain could avoid occupation, how would she hope to win the war?

One of the answers was to mobilise the potential resistance in occupied Europe and harness it to Britain’s strategy. Hence, in July 1940, the War Cabinet set up the secretSpecial Operations Executive (SOE), whose task it was to foster and support sabotage and subversion in Europe.

At first, SOE struggled to survive against the hostility or scepticism of more established bodies including the Foreign Office, the regular services, and the Secret Intelligence Service. It had to build the necessary underground networks in Europe from scratch and depended heavily on the willingness and the ability of Europeans to actively resist the Nazis. The SOE was constantly threatened by German attempts to penetrate or destroy its networks, but gradually overcame these obstacles to become more linked to Britain’s strategic requirements.

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Britain and European Resistance 1940-1945 is the first general survey of SOE operations in Europe to have been written using the wartime documents now available. Although SOE archives remain closed, the author has used a wide range of other sources to produce what is likely to remain for some time the only comparative study of Britain’s direct physical links with resistance in occupied Europe, which is set firmly in the wider strategic and diplomatic context of the war.

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