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Download Britain and European Resistance, 1940–1945: A survey of the by David Stafford PDF

By David Stafford

This ebook is the 1st common learn of SOE operations in Europe to were written utilizing the wartime files now on hand. even though SOE records stay closed, the writer has used quite a lot of different assets to provide what's more likely to stay for it slow the single comparative research of Britain’s direct actual hyperlinks with resistance in occupied Europe, that's set firmly within the wider strategic and diplomatic context of the battle.

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Additional info for Britain and European Resistance, 1940–1945: A survey of the Special Operations Executive, with Documents

Sample text

In 1939 Section D prepared plans'for the destruction of German ore supplies in Oxelsund, but all were vetoed by the Foreign Office. Finally in March 1940, it was agreed that they could proceed. Unfortunately the British agent in charge of the operation was shortly thereafter arrested by the Swedish authorities, and within a month it was too late anyway; in April 1940 the Germans occupied Norway and Denmark and further action The OriginsofS0£,1939-1940 23 became for the time being impossible. Indeed the German victories of May and June 1940 broke practically all of the contacts made by Section D in northern and western Europe.

The shock of the June defeats led to demands for the removal from office of the 'guilty men' responsible for or associated with Britain's prewar policy of appeasement. These were, almost by definition, Conservatives. Dunkirk and all it symbolised pushed the state of feeling in Britain sharply to the left. As a recent historian of Britain's domestic politics from 1939 to 1945 has noted, Dunkirk gave the first clear impetus to the consideration offuture social and economic reconstruction. What indeed is striking is how early in the war planning began for postwar Britain.

Apart from the whole question of supporting left-wing elements in Europe and the problems associated with SOE recruitment, the discussion showed how foreign policy towards Vichy France cut right across the desire •to set Europe ablaze'. The result in fact was that until Germany occupied Vichy France in November 1942 SOE was forbidden to carry out any major acts of sabotage there. Here, from an early stage, was a limitation on SOE's scope at which its Charter had only vaguely hinted, and whose dimensions only gradually emerged.

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