This study originated with an interest in the European origins of the Cold War. It soon became apparent however that if Europe was to be regarded as more than simply the passive object of ideological conflict and division imposed by the two postwar superpowers, in terms of which it is still too often exclusively discussed, then the social, political, and ideological struggles within occupied wartime Europe were crucial originating elements in the story. The political dimensions of European resistance therefore came into focus. From there, it was a small step to the issue of British participation in their affairs. The British were deeply involved in many aspects of European wartime resistance, and it was Churchill, not Stalin, who first called for Europe to be set ablaze with the flames of revolt. In some cases, the British were so involved that historical discussion about particular national movements was conducted almost solely in the context of the British role, and even where this was not the case the strategic, tactical, or political dimensions of resistance led almost inevitably back to the requirements of Allied and therefore British strategy and diplomacy. But how and why did Britain become involved, what were her motives and objectives, and what were the results? These were questions far more easily asked than answered, and it soon became apparent that for all the volumes of literature on the Second World War there was not one that sought to explore the question in any detail or even considered it of particular significance.
KeywordsResistance Movement Official History Military Objective Ideological Conflict British Policy
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