OSS and SOE Operations in the Balkans


J - Z

Johnston, Stowers. Agents Extraordinary. London: Robert Hale, 1975.

This work deals with Maj. Frank Thompson, an SOE officer captured in uniform with a force of Bulgarian communist partisans and executed by royal Bulgarian soldiers in 1944.

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.

Jones, William [MAJ]. Twelve Months with Tito's Partisans. London: Bedford, 1946.

Woolbert, FA (Oct. 1946): "A Canadian in the R.A.F. reports on his adventures with the Jugoslav Partisans in Croatia during 1943 and 1944."

Judt, Tony, ed. Resistance and Revolution in Mediterranean Europe, 1939-1948. London: Routledge, 1989.

Hunt, I&NS 6.3, notes that the "theme of this scholarly work is the part played by the Communist parties of southern Europe in the resistance to German occupation" in World War II and its immediate aftermath. The book consists of an introduction ("a spectacular piece of writing"), a chapter on the Comintern, and chapters on France, Italy, Yugoslavia, and Greece.

Kurapovna, Marcia Christoff. Shadows on the Mountains: The Allies, the Resistance, and the Rivalries that Doomed WWII Yugoslavia. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2010.

Peake, Studies 54.4 (Dec. 2010), and Intelligencer 18.2 (Winter-Spring 2011), discerns two threads in this work. One concerns "[t]he struggle to rescue and deliver [Allied] airmen to safety while supporting the Yugoslav resistance." The other "is a description of the complex political situation within which the Allies had to function as pro-democracy Chetniks and Tito-led communist Partisans fought each other as much as they fought Germans."

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."

Lees, Michael. The Rape of Serbia: The British Role in Tito's Grab for Power. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990.

Surveillant 1.3: Lees was a "British liaison officer who, in 1943, was dropped into Yugoslavia to help resistance fighters led by General Draza Mihailovic. He witnessed the abandonment of Allied support for Mihailovic."

Lindsay, Franklin. Beacons in the Night: With the OSS and Tito's Partisans in Wartime Yugoslavia. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1993. 1996. [pb]

According to Fontaine, FILS 12.5, Lindsey "served in wartime Slovenia" and here gives us an "excellent war memoir." His "account is fresh, and often lively" with a "gritty feel." This is an "excellent source book on OSS training and procedures." The author "saw the corruption in the partisan movement even before it achieved power."

Lewis, IJI&C 7.2, comments that "[e]vocative prose and attention to detail are the hallmarks" of Lindsay's memoir. He "provides an important chronicle of the intelligence techniques employed by the Allies." His "discussion of ciphers, danger signals, and the one-time pad are of particular interest.... Lindsay's conclusions and the lessons to be derived from his experience are timeless." This is an "important counterbalance to the British viewpoint" in Deakin's The Embattled Mountain and Maclean's Eastern Approaches. Surveillant 3.4/5 recommends this book as "[t]imely and beautifully told."

For Kruh, Cryptologia 18.2, Beacons in the Night "is a thrilling account of sabotage operations behind enemy lines." Kruh's comment that the author's "experiences and observations on the ethnic and religious hatreds in the region are an introduction to the tragedy there today" was written in 1994.

Maclean, Fitzroy. Eastern Approaches. London: Jonathan Cape, 1949. London: Four Square Books, 1965. [pb]

For a biography of Maclean, see McLynn, Fitzroy Maclean (1992). However, Surveillant 2.6 says this biography "contains little on his intelligence experiences."

Martin, David.

1. "Churchill's Yugoslav Blunder: Precursor to the Yugoslav Tragedy." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 5, no. 4 (Winter 1991-1992): 417-431.

2. The Web of Disinformation: Churchill's Yugoslav Blunder. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1990.

Surveillant 1.3 notes that Martin documents "what he calls an immense Allied blunder" (abandoning Mihailovic for Tito), using "secret British files that were only recent declassified." FA 70.2 (Mar.-Apr. 1991) cautions that "the crucial SOE records remain sealed," and reminds that "Martin is an advocate, not a neutral investigator"; as an advocate, "the facts he has been seeking are those that support his case."

McLynn, Frank. Fitzroy Maclean. London: John Murray, 1992

According to Surveillant 2.6, this biography "contains little on [Maclean's] intelligence experiences." Clive, I&NS 9.1, refers to the book as an "authoritative biography." Maclean's "service in Yugoslavia with SOE ... is the centrepiece of the book." Maclean's "accomplishments will surely long outlive his critics."

Milazzo, Matteo J. The Chetnik Movement and the Yugoslav Resistance. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins, 1975.

Woolley, History: Reviews of New Books 3.9 (1975), finds that "[r]ather than offer new interpretations," the author "extends what we already knew.... Unfortunately the general appeal of the book will be somewhat limited by its specialized nature. A considerable knowledge of Yugoslavia's history and wartime experience is assumed."

Minshall, Merlin. Guilt-Edged. London: Bachman & Turner, 1975.

Constantinides notes that Minshall served in British naval intelligence during World War II, participated in SOE's failed mission to block the Danube River, and headed the British naval mission to Tito. "His version of ... the Danube mission is uncritical of his own behavior and thus suspect." In addition, there are some "errors of historical fact that show he is not well versed on details of intelligence history."

Ritchie, Sebastian. Our Man in Yugoslavia. The Story of a Secret Service Operative. London: Frank Cass, 2004.

According to Subelj, JIH 6.1 (Summer 2006), the subject of this book, Owen Reed, was the author's grandfather. While working for the BBC in Cairo, Reed "was recruited by SIS ... as a field officer for infiltration into Yugoslavia." He "had little knowledge of Yugoslavia and spoke no Serbo-Croat," but in 1943 he "was dispatched to Croatia with a radio operator and interpreter." Eventually, he would carry out several separate missions in Yugoslavia. "The book is very interesting,... with much information and a very good index."

Rootham, Jasper. Misfire: The Chronicle of a British Mission to Mikhailovich, 1943-1944. London: Chatto & Windus, 1946.

For Monkfish, via, "[t]his is a fantastically honest book from a man who was with Mihailovic in the mountains of Serbia. He just tells his story as he witnessed it without adding comment or judgements."

Stafford, David. "SOE and British Involvement in the Belgrade Coup d'Etat of March 1941." Slavic Review 36, no. 3 (1977): 399-419.

Staric, Jerca Vodusek. "The Concurrence of Allied and Yugoslav Intelligence Aims and Activities." Journal of Intelligence History 5, no. 1 (Summer 2005). []

From Abstract: "The author provides insights into the power struggle between several participants and shows how internal and external policies were influenced by wide ranging agreements."

Trew, Simon. Britain, Mihailovic and the Chetniks, 1941-42. London: Macmillan, 1998.

Wheeler, I&NS 14.2, notes that this work only covers the period from September 1941 to December 1942. The author seeks to give Mihailovic "the benefit of every doubt"; but, nonetheless, he "has been indefatigable in his pursuit of sources," which means that he sheds "more light" in his end-notes than in his text.

Wheeler, Mark C. Britain and the War for Yugoslavia, 1940-43. New York: Columbia University Press, 1980.

Williams, Heather. Parachutes, Patriots, and Partisans: The Special Operations Executive in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2003. London: Hurst, 2003.

From publisher: "Based on impressive research and new evidence," this history of SOE in Yugoslavia "argues that SOE actions achieved little military advantage for the Allies and exacerbated the developing civil war." She also examines "how rivalries among" the various players "influenced the future of Yugoslavia."

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