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11-08-2015, 18:55

The Resistance in Western Europe

The resistance in Western Europe was equipped and organized by the British. Norway lay outside the sphere of large-scale military operations, but an underground resistance was founded and directed by military personnel. It undertook sabotage operations, of which the most spectacular was the destruction of the German 'heavy water' factory. The Danish resistance remained largely inactive until 1943, alter which it organized strikes, but the whole of the population of Denmark remained loyal to the legitimate government. In Holland the resistance operated a vast relief system for victims of the occupation. It created an intel ligence network which the Abwehr, the special intelligence and counter-espionage service in the Wehrmacht, failed for a long time to detect. The Belgians organized an escape network similar to that ol the first World War. They also executed espionage and sabotage operations. In France the underground movement wras more complex. France had been divided into Zones of different status, while general disenchantment with the political parties of the Third Republic encouraged the formation of new groups. The resistance movements which grew with the help of a large underground press, generally became progressively more unified and more active. The first 'services' were set up through the efforts of Jean Moulin, and included newrs agencies, parachute drops, secret armies, and social welfare and educational programmes. These 'movements' combined with the labour unions and the reemerging political parties to form the National Council of Resistance. The Council adopted General de Gaulle's leadership, first from London and later from Algiers. By the time the Vichy government collapsed at the end of the war the resistance had effectively established a French government. It directed a full-scale clandestine resistance movement and consolidated traditional streams of public opinion. It also mustered a fullscale internal army, the French Forces of the Interior, which hid out in the 'maquis' while preparing to liberate the nation and to reform its institutions and its economic structures. 12

 

 

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