A Comparison of SOE and OSS

  • M. R. D. Foot
Part of the RUSI Defence Studies book series (RUSIDS)


To compare different bodies of brave men at work is always tricky; these pages will not attempt anything of the sort. Instead, they will try to open up points of interest in the organization and purposes of SOE and OSS. Each was a secret service, formed primarily to help deal with the menace of Nazi Germany, and licensed — by word of mouth, not on paper — to copy the Nazis’ dirty tricks in doing so. In SOE’s formative stage, just before it was created, Hugh Dalton sent an important letter to Lord Halifax the Foreign Secretary, part of which he quoted in his autobiography. In it he postulated the need for a ‘democratic international’, which could ‘use many different methods, including industrial and military sabotage, labour agitation and strikes, continuous propaganda, terrorist acts against traitors and German leaders, boycotts and riots’ among its weapons.1


Occupied Territory Pearl Harbor German Leader Secret Service Labour Agitation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    See M. R. D. Foot, SOE in France (1966) p. 8, a fuller extract — from an SOE file — of the letter of 2 July 1940 part quoted inGoogle Scholar
  2. AAA Dalton, Fateful Years (1957) p. 368.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    J. Garlin̄ski, Poland, SOE and the Allies (1969) p. 238.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    See David E. Walker, Adventure in Diamonds (1955) and Chidson’s obituary in The Times, 4 Oct. 1957.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Marc Leproux, Nous, les terroristes (Monte Carlo, 1947) i, pp. 278ff.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    See M. R. D. Foot and J. H. Langley, MI9 (1979), ch. viii and appendix ii.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    L. de Jong, Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de tweede Wereldoorlog (The Hague, Staatsuitgeverij, (1969) ii, pp. 80–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 9.
    (Sir) W. S. Churchill, The Second World War (London, 1949) ii, p. 192.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    David Stafford, Britain and European Resistance 1940–1945 (1980) p. 36.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Anthony Read and David Fisher, Colonel Z (Oct. 1984) pp. 171–80.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    Pierre Lorain, Secret Warfare (1984) pp. 44–5.Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    See the eulogy of Grand in Bickham Sweet-Escott, Baker Street Irregular (1965) 20–1, p. 35.Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    See Stephen Roskill, Hankey, Man of Secrets (1974) iii, pp. 447–8.Google Scholar
  14. 16.
    See Sefton Delmer, Black Boomerang (1962),Google Scholar
  15. D. H. McLachlan, Room 39 (1968)Google Scholar
  16. and Ellic Howe, Black Game (1981).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    H. Montgomery Hyde, The Quiet Canadian (1962) p. vi.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    M. R. D. Foot, SOE: an Outline History (1984) p. 172.Google Scholar
  19. 20.
    Charles Cruickshank, SOE in the Far East (1983) pp. 211–20;Google Scholar
  20. Geoffrey Parker, Black Scalpel (1968) pp. 69–76; Matt. vi. 3.Google Scholar
  21. 22.
    Philip Williams, Hugh Gaitskell (1979) pp. 102, 811.Google Scholar
  22. 23.
    Bradley F. Smith, The Shadow Warriors (1983).Google Scholar
  23. 24.
    Rudyard Kipling, Works (Bombay edn, 1938) pp. xxviii, 14.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal United Services Institute 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. R. D. Foot

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations