The Special Operations Executive in Greece
Few wartime organizations in Britain can have subsequently been the target of such abuse as the Special Operations Executive (SOE), which has been criticized not only on the grounds of general ineffectiveness, incompetence and waste1 but also for its supposed political bias. In this last respect, the SOE has been vigorously attacked from both right and left. In a review of Julian Amery’s Approach March (London, 1973), Hugh Fraser has written that ‘at the best times in my opinion SOE was a bad organisation frequently lacking a strong or political or even honourable direction. SOE was particularly inane in the Balkans, positively assisting the adventurer Enver Hoxha to seize impregnable Albania for communism and, had it not been for Churchill and Macmillan’s personal intervention, permitting a communist takeover in Greece’.2 A diametrically opposed view had been advanced by The Times Literary Supplement’s anonymous reviewer (Basil Davidson) of F.W.D. Deakin’s account of his wartime experiences in Yugoslavia, The Embattled Mountain (London, 1971). Davidson has suggested that the ‘nabobs of SOE London’, most of whom were bankers or businessmen, suppressed intelligence of the Partisans’ activities in Yugoslavia ‘in the interests of restoring the status quo ante bellum’.3 Now it is conceivable that either one or the other of these conflicting views may be correct, but scarcely both.
KeywordsMiddle East Resistance Movement Greek Government Guerrilla Warfare British Authority
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