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SPECIAL OPERATIONS EXECUTIVE, 1940-1946:
SUBVERSION AND SABOTAGE DURING WORLD WAR II
Series Two: SOE Operations in the Balkans

Part 1: Yugoslavia, 1939-1945 (HS 5/868-969)

Recent events in the former Yugoslavia have brought much greater attention to this troubled region. The SOE files contain much material on the problems of different nationalities, ethnic and political affiliations.

Yugoslavian terrain was particularly suitable for resistance activity and various partisan armies harried the German forces of occupation mercilessly from April 1941 onwards. SOE efforts to support partisan forces are documented here.

Initially SOE support was given to Colonel Draza Mihailvoic who led one of the largest groups of resisters. The SOE mission (MACMIS) determined that support should be switched to Josip Broz, the Croat Labour leader better known as Tito, who was the other major resistance organiser, leading over 10,000 partisans by 1942. 

The files are full of local reports compiled by SOE officers, political and strategic assessments, details of operations, propaganda, details on Mihailovic and the Chetniks, as well as extensive papers on Tito's Partisans.

By the spring of 1944 the Allies aimed to attack enemy communications, undertake economic sabotage, and cripple industries and sources of raw materials of importance to the enemy. Researchers can assess how successful the Allies were in this policy and examine the post-war repercussions of SOE activity in the region.

SOE images

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