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11-08-2015, 18:54

The Allies and the Resistance

Sometimes the clandestine resistance movements managed to capture enemy weapons. After the Italians surrendered, the' Yugoslav partisans acquired the Italian occupying forces' equip ment. But the resistance more often depended on the Allies to supply arms. Career soldiers in every country remained sceptical about the "little war'. The British, especially Churchill, appreciated its importance. They created a Special Operations Executive (S.O.E.) to supply equipment. Each of the exiled governments which had been granted asylum in London, including the French National Committee, looked after its own nationals. The news that the Free French Movement had defended Bir-Hakeim against Rommel's Afrika Korps did much to buoy the spirits of the Resistance in occupied French. On the other hand, the British confined their sponsorship of the clandestine war to harassment of the enemy in multiple engagements. Although the Americans organized a nub of resistance against the Japanese in the Philippines, and after 1 943 they provided most of the equipment for the European resistance, they found it difficult to adapt to resistance methods ofwarfare. Since the Red Army and the partisans were fighting side-by-side on home ground, they could be organized under a single command. Soviet Russia could also rely on support in every country; the communist parties were loyal to Russia and had a great deal more experience in clandestine operations than most of their fellow citizens. A number of national communist chiefs, notably Thorez from France and Togliatti from Italy, spent the entire war in Russia. Allied policies towards the resistance were identical in one respect. They supported resistance movements when to do so favoured their own interests. When it did not, they fought against them.