WORLD WAR II

Europe

The Resistance Movement

Netherlands

One of the World War II events that continues to draw speculation is SOE's disaster in the Netherlands in 1942-1943. Over 40 agents were dropped into the lap of the German security forces. Speculation that London betrayed those individuals for its own purposes refuses to go away. In a "Research Note: The Dutch Affair," Intelligence and National Security 20, no. 2 (Jun. 2005): 341-343, M.R.D. Foot does his best to put an end to such speculation. Foot prepared the official history that encompasses this episode [SOE in the Low Countries (2001)], and he is adamant that incompetence, not perfidy, brought on this debacle.

Ausems, André.

1. "The 'Bureau Inlichtingen' (Intelligence Service) of the Netherlands Government in London, November 1942-May 1945: An Overview of Its Mission, Agents and Undercover Radio Traffic." Military Affairs 45, no. 3 (Oct. 1981): 127-132.

2. "The Netherlands Military Intelligence Summaries 1939-1940 and the Defeat in the Blitzkrieg of May 1940." Military Affairs 50, no. 4 (Oct. 1986): 190-199.

Bentley, Stewart W. [MAJ/USA] "Of Market-Garden and Melanie: The Dutch Resistance and the OSS." Studies in Intelligence 41, no. 5 (Spring 1998): 105-118.

Noting that the "Dutch Resistance command and control hierarchy was decentralized and compartmented," Bentley reviews the main Resistance organizations in Holland. The OSS mission in Holland, codenamed "Melanie," began operating in Eindhoven in September 1944. It quickly established a "reporting network [that] began yielding excellent information almost immediately."

Dröge, Philip. Beroep Meesterspion: Het Geheime Leven von Prinz Bernhard. Amsterdam: Vassallucci, 2002.

Scott-Smith, I&NS 19.1, comments that the "main value" of this biography of Prince Bernhard "is that it gathers together the material, most of it already published in various other works, concerning Bernhard's noteworthy relationship with various intelligence services, including the Abwehr, MI6, and CIA." The author made "a serious effort to gather new material" but "is unable to offer much more than extra details to stories already in the public domain."

Dourlein, Pieter. Inside North Pole: A Secret Agent's Story. London: Kimber, 1953. 1957. [pb] New York: Time-Life Books, 1989.

The author was one of the SOE-trained Dutch victims caught in the Abwehr's Englandspiel, or radio game.

Foot, M.R.D.

1. "Research Note: The Dutch Affair." Intelligence and National Security 20, no. 2 (Jun. 2005): 341-343.

The author does his best to put an end to speculation that London, for its own purposes, betrayed the more than 40 agents that SOE dropped into the lap of the German security forces in the Netherlands in 1942-1943. Foot prepared the official history that encompasses this episode [SOE in the Low Countries (2001)], and he is adamant that incompetence, not perfidy, brought on this debacle.

Jo Wolters, "Remarks Concerning a Research Note on The Dutch Affair," Intelligence and National Security 21, no. 3 (Jun. 2006): 459-466, takes issue with Foot's (and the official) position. Wolters argues for "a 'purposeful policy' by some British authority, other than Dutch Section SOE, bearing on the deployment of Dutch agents like 'shock troops'.... Such a policy ... was [aimed at] keeping as many German troops as possible in the West in 1942 to relieve the Russian front."

2. SOE in the Low Countries. London: HMSO, 2001.

One of the World War II events that continues to draw speculation is SOE's disaster in the Netherlands in 1942-1943. Over 40 agents were dropped into the lap of the German security forces. Speculation that London betrayed those individuals for its own purposes refuses to go away. In a "Research Note: The Dutch Affair," Intelligence and National Security 20, no. 2 (Jun. 2005): 341-343, M.R.D. Foot does his best to put an end to such speculation. SOE in the Low Countries is the official history that encompasses this episode, and Foot is adamant that incompetence, not perfidy, brought on this debacle.

3. "SOE in the Low Countries." In Special Operations Executive: A New Instrument of War, ed. Mark Seaman, 83-90. London: Routledge, 2006.

4. ed. Holland at War against Hitler: Anglo-Dutch Relations 1940-1945. London: Frank Cass, 1990.

Friedhoff, Herman. Requiem for the Resistance. London: Bloomsbury, 1988.

Foot, I&NS 4.3, notes that the author was 19 when the German occupation of the Netherlands began, and "became mildly expert at moving people across the border into Belgium.... [He] explains, with a mass of precise detail, exactly what occupation was like for the Dutch." Nonetheless, "his sense of tact" leads him to present a number of his main characters "under pseudonyms, with their attributes misdescribed."

Giskes, Herman J. London Calling North Pole. London: Kimber, 1953. New York: British Book Centre, 1953. New York: Bantam, 1982. [pb]

Pforzheimer notes that the author headed the Abwehr's counterintelligence branch in Holland. He tells here the story of a German radio-playback and deception operation based on the capture of a Dutch officer parachuted by SOE into Holland. The operation ran undetected for two years and was used to capture 54 other agents and arms and materials dropped for the Dutch Resistance. For Constantinides, Giskes' version "of the means and imagination employed to win this intelligence victory still stands as the accurate and intriguing account from the German side."

Hers, J. F. Ph. "The Rise of the Dutch Resistance: A Memoir." Intelligence and National Security 7, no. 4 (Oct. 1992): 454-472.

The author discusses the social, religious, and ideological roots that underlay the formation of the Wilton-Feyenoord Geuzen resistance group, which began to take nascent shape as early as 1938. The sabotage work at the Wilton-Feyenoord shipyard after the German occupation of the Netherlands, and the price extracted by the Germans, is detailed.

Irwin, Will [LTCOL/USA (Ret.)]. Abundance of Valor: Resistance, Survival, and Liberation, 1944-45. New York: Presidio, 2010.

In this telling of the Operation Market Garden disaster the focus is on the three Jedburgh teams "dropped farthest behind enemy lines in support of the Allied operation. Of the nine men who made up those three teams, three were killed in action, three were wounded, and two were captured.... This is the true story of how these courageous men prepared for the mission, how they fought, how some of them died, and how two men survived different but equally harrowing ordeals to make their way back to friendly territory." (xviii) Peake, Studies 55.4 (Dec. 2011), finds Abundance of Valor to be a "well documented book."

Martens, Allard (pseud.). The Silent War: Glimpses of the Dutch Underground and Views on the Battle of Arnhem. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1961.

McDevitt, Bette. "Teenage Resistance Heroine Tiny Mulder." World War II (Nov. 2003). [http://www.historynet.com/wwii/bltinymulder/]

"Young Tiny Mulder used her language skills, wits and a large dose of courage to keep Allied airmen shot down over Holland out of German hands."

Moore, Bob, ed. Resistance in Western Europe. Oxford and New York: Berg, 2000,.

Foot, I&NS 16.1, finds this work to be a "useful summary of the state of research into resistance to Nazism" in Belgium, the Channel Islands, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Norway. The author has written the introductory and concluding chapters. He sides with those who argue that the "resistance was not of a great deal of use."

Pinto, Oreste.

1. Friend or Foe? New York: Putnam 1954. New York: Popular Library, 1954. [pb]

Kirkus Review, 15 Feb. 1953: "Pinto, a Dutch counterintelligence chief in England, examines ... the evidence in a few [counterintelligence] cases which held -- for him -- the widest margin for error and ended with a question mark.... The precision -- and patience -- which eventually expose men of doubtful affiliations and activities -- this has the fascination of its authentic material."

2. Spy-Catcher. London: Werner Laurie, 1952. New York: Harper & Row, 1952. New York: Berkley, 1952. [pb]

The author was a Dutch counterintelligence officer who worked with MI5 during World War II. His specialty was interrogating refugees from German-occupied Europe to sift out the German spies. Constantinides writes that Pinto's reputation as a counterintelligence expert has suffered because of the accusations he leveled against Dutch resistance leader Christiaan Lindemans, known as King Kong. Most of this book, however, "is a short handbook on military counterintelligence, with interrogation and interrogation techniques as the centerpieces." Reviewers at the time called it "superior, factual, and objective."

Wolters, Jo.

1. Dossier Nordpol: Het Englandspiel onder de loep [The Nordpol Case: The Englandspiel under the Microscope]. Amsterdam: Boom, 2003.

Moore, I&NS 19.1, notes that "the German capture and execution of at least 42 agents dropped into the occupied Netherlands by SOE between 1941 and 1943 represents perhaps the greatest British espionage disaster, at least in human terms, of World War II.... The central thesis of this book is that the Engelandspiel was really a deception carried out by the Double Cross or Twenty Committee, designed to convince the Germans that there was a 'Plan for Holland' to organise an underground army in preparation for an invasion."

2. "Remarks Concerning a Research Note on The Dutch Affair," Intelligence and National Security 21, no. 3 (Jun. 2006): 459-466.

The reference in the title of this article is to M.R.D. Foot, "Research Note: The Dutch Affair," Intelligence and National Security 20, no. 2 (Jun. 2005): 341-343. Wolters takes issue with Foot's (and the official) position that SOE's dropping of more than 40 agents into the lap of the German security forces in the Netherlands in 1942-1943 involved incompetence, not perfidy. Wolters argues for "a 'purposeful policy' by some British authority, other than Dutch Section SOE, bearing on the deployment of Dutch agents like 'shock troops'.... Such a policy ... was [aimed at] keeping as many German troops as possible in the West in 1942 to relieve the Russian front."

Return to WWII Resistance in Europe Table of Contents

Return to Other Countries - Netherlands