Special Operations Executive: A New Instrument of War

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Mark Seaman
Routledge, 2006 - History - 239 pages
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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.

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