Special Operations Executive: A New Instrument of War, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Special Operations Executive

A New Instrument of War, 1st Edition

Edited by Mark Seaman


256 pages

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pub: 2005-12-01
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This unique book presents an accurate and reliable assessment of the Special Operations Executive (SOE). It brings together leading authors to examine the organization from a range of key angles.

This study shows how historians have built on the first international conference on the SOE at the Imperial War Museum in 1998. The release of many records then allowed historians to develop the first authoritative analyses of the organization’s activities and several of its agents and staff officers were able to participate. Since this groundbreaking conference, fresh research has continued and its original papers are here amended to take account of the full range of SOE documents that have been released to the National Archives. The fascinating stories they tell range from overviews of work in a single country to particular operations and the impact of key personalities.

SOE was a remarkably innovative organization. It played a significant part in the Allied victory while its theories of clandestine warfare and specialised equipment had a major impact upon the post-war world. SOE proved that war need not be fought by conventional methods and by soldiers in uniform. The organization laid much of the groundwork for the development of irregular warfare that characterized the second half of the twentieth century and that is still here, more potent than ever, at the beginning of the twenty-first.

This book will be of great interest to students of World War II history, intelligence studies and special operations, as well as general readers with an interest in SOE and World War II.

Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors



1.‘A New Instrument of War’; The Origins of the Special Operations Executive, Mark Seaman

2.Weapons and Equipment of the Special Operations Executive, Paul Cornish

3.SOE and Sea Communications, Brooks Richards

4.Churchill and SOE, David Stafford

5.Hugh Dalton, Poland and SOE, 1940-1942, Terry Charman

6.SOE and Milorg – ‘Thieves on the same market’, Ivar Kraglund

7.SOE in the Low Countries, M. R. D. Foot

8.SOE in Italy, Christopher Woods

9.Resistance from Abroad: Anglo-Soviet efforts to co-ordinate Yugoslav resistance, 1941-1942, Mark Wheeler

10.SOE in Romania, Maurice Pearton

11.SOE in Afghanistan, Bradley F. Smith

12.Don Stott’s ‘Adventures’ in Athens, October-November 1943, Richard Clogg

13.SOE and the Neutrals, Neville Wylie

14.SOE in Albania – The ‘conspiracy theory’ re-assessed, Roderick Bailey

15.SOE and Denmark, Knud V. Jespersen

16.Hitler’s Irish hideout; A case study of SOE’s black propaganda battles, Eunan O’Halpin

17.‘Of historical interest only’ – The origins and vicissitudes of the SOE Archive, Duncan Stuart


About the Series

Studies in Intelligence

The growing interest in intelligence activities and the opening of hitherto closed archives since the end of the Cold War has stimulated this series of scholarly monographs, wartime memoirs and edited collections. With contributions from leading academics and prominent members of the intelligence community, this series has quickly become the leading forum for the academic study of intelligence.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Intelligence