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The Special Operations Executive and Yugoslavia 1941-1945

The Special Operations Executive and Yugoslavia 1941-1945
The Special Operations Executive and Yugoslavia 1941-1945
This study explores the role of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in wartime Yugoslavia, and the influence SOE had on the outcome of events in that country. It traces SOE's development from its early days as a small-scale, semi-amateur organization practising sabotage and subversion, to the later days of the war, when, greatly enlarged, it dealt withfull-scale guerrilla warfare. The work is mainly concerned with the political, rather than the military, side of SOE operations. It includes the relationship with the British policy makers,
particularly the Foreign Office and the military authorities, and questions how much influence SOE had in forming their policy. It also analyzes SOE's relationships with the Yugoslav guerrilla movements, the exiled Yugoslav government, other British secret organizations, and SOE's American counterpart. The work covers the rivalries and conflicting purposes of all these bodies, and looks at how the conflicts - not least those within SOE itself - influenced the direction of SOE activity in Yugoslavia. The central question is whether SOE's involvement with the Yugoslav resistance movements made any appreciable contribution to the war against the Axis powers. By supporting first
the royalist resistance, and, when they proved unsatisfactory, switching to the communist partisans, the British expected to gain military advantage from the increased level of guerrilla activity in Yugoslavia. My thesis is that, because this activity was designed to allay potential political conflict with Britain's Soviet ally, rather than to be of benefit to Yugoslavia itself, the long-term aims of the two opposing resistance movements were not fully taken into account. The conclusion that I have reached is that, far from any significant military advantage being gained, SOE's active involvement in Yugoslavia merely exacerbated the civil war that was just beginning when the first SOE mission arrived in the country. with the Yugoslav guerrilla movements, the exiled Yugoslav government, other British secret organizations, and SOE's American counterpart. The work covers the rivalries and conflicting purposes of all these bodies, and looks at how the conflicts - not least those within SOE itself
- influenced the direction of SOE activity in Yugoslavia.
The central question is whether SOE's involvement with the Yugoslav resistance movements made any appreciable contribution to the war against the Axis powers. By supporting first the royalist resistance, and, when they proved unsatisfactory, switching to the communist partisans, the British expected to gain military advantage from the increased level of guerrilla activity in Yugoslavia. My thesis is that, because this activity was designed to allay potential political conflict with Britain's Soviet ally, rather than to be of benefit to Yugoslavia itself, the long-term aims of the two opposing resistance movements were not fully taken into account.
The conclusion that I have reached is that, far from any significant military advantage being gained, SOE's active involvement in Yugoslavia merely exacerbated the civil war that was just beginning when the first SOE mission arrived in the country.
University of Southampton
Williams, Heather
8a9e428b-1430-463d-8cab-1cb8f3d61bd0
Williams, Heather
8a9e428b-1430-463d-8cab-1cb8f3d61bd0

Williams, Heather (1994) The Special Operations Executive and Yugoslavia 1941-1945. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 291pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This study explores the role of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in wartime Yugoslavia, and the influence SOE had on the outcome of events in that country. It traces SOE's development from its early days as a small-scale, semi-amateur organization practising sabotage and subversion, to the later days of the war, when, greatly enlarged, it dealt withfull-scale guerrilla warfare. The work is mainly concerned with the political, rather than the military, side of SOE operations. It includes the relationship with the British policy makers,
particularly the Foreign Office and the military authorities, and questions how much influence SOE had in forming their policy. It also analyzes SOE's relationships with the Yugoslav guerrilla movements, the exiled Yugoslav government, other British secret organizations, and SOE's American counterpart. The work covers the rivalries and conflicting purposes of all these bodies, and looks at how the conflicts - not least those within SOE itself - influenced the direction of SOE activity in Yugoslavia. The central question is whether SOE's involvement with the Yugoslav resistance movements made any appreciable contribution to the war against the Axis powers. By supporting first
the royalist resistance, and, when they proved unsatisfactory, switching to the communist partisans, the British expected to gain military advantage from the increased level of guerrilla activity in Yugoslavia. My thesis is that, because this activity was designed to allay potential political conflict with Britain's Soviet ally, rather than to be of benefit to Yugoslavia itself, the long-term aims of the two opposing resistance movements were not fully taken into account. The conclusion that I have reached is that, far from any significant military advantage being gained, SOE's active involvement in Yugoslavia merely exacerbated the civil war that was just beginning when the first SOE mission arrived in the country. with the Yugoslav guerrilla movements, the exiled Yugoslav government, other British secret organizations, and SOE's American counterpart. The work covers the rivalries and conflicting purposes of all these bodies, and looks at how the conflicts - not least those within SOE itself
- influenced the direction of SOE activity in Yugoslavia.
The central question is whether SOE's involvement with the Yugoslav resistance movements made any appreciable contribution to the war against the Axis powers. By supporting first the royalist resistance, and, when they proved unsatisfactory, switching to the communist partisans, the British expected to gain military advantage from the increased level of guerrilla activity in Yugoslavia. My thesis is that, because this activity was designed to allay potential political conflict with Britain's Soviet ally, rather than to be of benefit to Yugoslavia itself, the long-term aims of the two opposing resistance movements were not fully taken into account.
The conclusion that I have reached is that, far from any significant military advantage being gained, SOE's active involvement in Yugoslavia merely exacerbated the civil war that was just beginning when the first SOE mission arrived in the country.

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Published date: 1 January 1994

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 426649
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/426649
PURE UUID: b6f0ee46-f897-4edf-964a-e5545e7c1811

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Date deposited: 07 Dec 2018 18:16
Last modified: 13 Aug 2019 16:30

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Author: Heather Williams

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