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In 1940, with the words “and now set Europe ablaze”, Winston Churchill set his seal on the formation of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the top-secret sabotage organisation. The intention was that then organisation should support the resistance movements in the occupied territories as part of Britain’s struggle for survival against Hitler’s Germany.
For many years after the war the SOE archives were inaccessible, but the files concerning the organisations activities in Denmark have recently been opened. The author has researched the material that has become available and, for the first time, it has been possible to give a comprehensive account of the SOE’s role in the Danish resistance during the years 1940-1945.
The new material gives an extraordinary insight into the attempts to align the Danish Resistance Movement with overall Allied strategy and the extent to which the British sought to support and direct the resistance struggle.
No Small Achievement follows the laborious build-up of the Danish Section within the SOE and its many disappointing attempts to achieve a foothold in a country that was not disposed towards resistance. Success was achieved in 1943, when it finally became possible to establish an effective organisation in the field. The book also casts new light on British objectives with regard to post-war Denmark and it charts the SOE through to its demise in 1946.
Dr. phil. Knud J.V. Jespersen who was born in 1942, has published a number of works on European and Danish history. He is Professor of History at the University of Southern Denmark and Danish Historiographer Royal. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University and a Visiting Professor at Yale University.
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