OSS and SOE Operations in the Balkans


Amery, Julian.

1. Approach March: A Venture in Autobiography. London: Hutchinson, 1973.

Constantinides says that Amery has provided "an important and interesting contribution to our knowledge of British covert and resistance operations." This is "one of the better books on SOE and particularly on British operations in the Balkans."

2. Sons of the Eagle: A Study in Guerrilla War. London: Macmillan, 1948.

According to Pforzheimer, this is the "story of Albanian Resistance movements during World War II by a British SOE officer who worked with some of them."

Bailey, Roderick.

1. "OSS-SOE Relations, Albania 1943-44." Intelligence and National Security 15, no. 2 (Summer 2000): 20-35.

From Abstract: "[T]he Balkan files of Britain's Special Operations Executive confirm that SOE ... sought to resist excessive interference by the American Office of Strategic Services just as OSS sought greater involvement. Yet care must be taken not exaggerate the scope of this friction and the geographical area affected.... Contrary to the claims of the official OSS historian, SOE was not responsible for the limited involvement and achievements of OSS in the mountains and forests of Albania."

2. The Wildest Province: SOE in the Land of the Eagle. London: Jonathan Cape, 2008. London: Vintage, 2009. [pb]

From publisher: The author "draws on interviews with survivors, long-hidden diaries and recently declassified files to tell the full story" of SOE in Albania. "Through the experiences of individual SOE officers, including Anthony Quayle ... and Julian Amery,... he reveals the grim realities of life in the field. He looks, too, at the dilemmas faced and created as the British sought to decide which guerrillas to arm."

Bailey, Ronald H. Partisans and Guerrillas. Time Life World War II, Vol. 12. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1978. Rev. ed. London: Time-Life UK, 1979. "Picture essays accompany a chronicle of the Axis conquest of the Balkans and the struggles of partisan troops and guerrillas to undermine and overthrow Hitler's forces."

Barker, Elizabeth. British Policy in South-East Europe in the Second World War. London: Barnes & Noble, 1976.

Constantinides: "British policy and activities, including much on SOE and resistance operations, are put in perspective and given a balanced account."

Fischer, Bernd J. "Resistance in Albania during the Second World War: Partisans, Nationalists and the SOE." East European Quarterly 25, no. 1 (1991): 21-47.

Bethell, Nicholas. Betrayed! New York: Random House, 1978. The Great Betrayal: The Untold Story of Kim Philby's Greatest Coup. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1985. Betrayed. New York: Times Books, 1985.

Hood, IJI&C 1.3, finds Betrayed to be"an excellent text on the vast and probably insurmountable difficulties involved in covert armed subversion in peacetime." One of Philby's assignments while in Washington as SIS representative "was to serve as 'commander' of the British/American committee that would coordinate the joint effort" to overthrow the Albanian government.

Brewer, Robert T. "Albania: New Aspects, Old Documents." East European Quarterly 26, no. 1 (Mar. 1992): 31-54.

Burke, Michael. Outrageous Good Fortune. Boston: Little, Brown, 1984.

Burke served in OSS in World War II and later was part of the CIA's covert operation against Albania in the early 1950s. His OSS adventures were made into a movie, "Cloak and Dagger," with Gary Cooper playing Burke. In later life, Burke was president and chairman of the board of the New York Yankees. O'Toole, Encyclopedia, pp. 84-85.

Davies, Edmund F. "Trotsky" [Brigadier]. Illyrian Venture: The Story of the British Military Mission to Enemy-Occupied Albania 1943-44. London: Bodley Head, 1952.

Hibbert, Reginald [Sir]. Albania's National Liberation Struggle: The Bitter Victory. London: Pinter, 1991.

Baldwin, I&NS 7.4, notes that Hibbert served with SOE in Albania for 11 months, beginning in December 1943. The author includes "some magnitude of error" in the outline he provides for early Albanian history, and citations in the work indicate that he "is clearly not keeping up with ... new and different sources." At times, "Hibbert can be disconcertingly self-contradictory," and his book "cannot be read in isolation." For Bailey, I&NS 15.2, fn. 5, this work gives "the most thorough account of SOE's Albanian operations yet available."

Jones, Matthew. "'Kipling and All That': American Perceptions of SOE and British Imperial Intrigue in the Balkans, 1943-1945." In The Politics and Strategy of Clandestine War: Special Operations Executive, 1940-1946, ed. Neville Wylie, 90-108. London : Routledge, 2007.

Kemp, Peter. No Colours or Crest. London: Cassell, 1958. London: Panther Books, 1960. [pb]

Covers the author's WWII experiences with SOE in Albania and Poland. See M.R.D. Foot, "Obituary: Peter Kemp," The Independent (4 Nov. 1993).

Leary, William M. Fueling the Fires of Resistance: Army Air Forces Special Operations in the Balkans during World War II. Washington, DC: Air Force History and Museums Program, 1995. []

"In this study, Professor William Leary examines what might fairly be considered one of the most important early experiences in the history of Air Force special operations."

Lineberry, Cate. The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines. Boston: Little, Brown, 2013.

To Peake, Studies 58.1 (Mar. 2014), this "is a well-told story of wartime cooperation and heroism," as Albanian partisans, SOE, and OSS worked to get the medics and nurses, whose plane had crashed in Albania, back to safety.

Lucas, Peter. The OSS in World War II Albania: Covert Operations and Collaboration with Communist Partisans. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2007.

From publisher: This work "describes how the OSS aided the Communist-led Partisans in an attempt to weaken the Nazi cause in Albania and neighboring Italy.... Firsthand interviews with still-living participants and extensive onsite research make this book a unique resource." Pinck, OSS Society Newsletter (Spring 2007), notes that the author focuses "on the adventures of a small number of young OSS representatives, many of whom were of Albanian descent."

Quayle, Anthony [Sir]. A Time to Speak. London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1990. New York: Time Warner Paperbacks, 1992. [pb]

From publisher: "This autobiography, which [Quayle] finished just before he died, is an account of his childhood and growing-up, of a romantic love story, tales of wartime adventures and his life in the British theatre." Quayle "served ... in an espionage role in Albania. Anthony was a genuine spy, organising resistance behind enemy lines.... His army service was distinguished and in his memoirs 'A time to speak' he has many intriguing stories including a meeting with Winston Churchill."

Smiley, David. Albanian Assignment. London: Chatto & Windus, 1984.

Telegraph (London), 9 Jan 2009: "Colonel David Smiley, who died on January 9 aged 92, was one of the most celebrated cloak-and-dagger agents of the Second World War, serving behind enemy lines in Albania, Greece, Abyssinia and Japanese-controlled eastern Thailand. After the war he organised secret operations against the Russians and their allies in Albania and Poland, among other places. Later,... he commanded the Sultan of Oman's armed forces in a highly successful counter-insurgency.... [H]e [then] organised -- with ... MI6 -- royalist guerrilla resistance against a Soviet-backed Nasserite regime in Yemen."

According to Street, Library Journal (1985), via, "[t]his engrossing memoir recounts British intelligence agent Smiley's two missions in 1943 and 1944 to Albanian resistance fighters. First with communist partisans and then with nationalist and monarchist groups, he helped organize and arm the Albanians against Italian and German occupation forces."

Tilman, H.W. When Men and Mountains Meet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 1946.

From publisher: "Exploration in the Assam Himalaya, and also Tilman's wartime experiences with Albanian and Italian partisans."

Return to OSS Balkans Table of Contents

Return to UK SOE Table of Contents

Return to WWII Europe Table of Contents