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Fighting Nazi Occupation (Hardback)

British Resistance 1939-1945

Military P&S History > British History WWII > Espionage & the SOE

By Malcolm Atkin
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 216
Illustrations: 60
ISBN: 9781473833777
Published: 16th September 2015



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A major reassessment of the plans to organise guerrilla warfare and longer-term resistance in the case of a Nazi invasion of Britain. It tells the story of competition by the Secret Intelligence Service (M16) and War Office to organise irregular warfare in the country and the result is a new vision of the murky and machiavellian world of wartime British intelligence. The study includes new insights into the, much misunderstood, War Office Auxiliary Units and the wider role of the Home Guard in secret warfare. This is also the first substantial publication of one of the Second World War’s last, and best-kept, secrets - the existence of an ultra-secret resistance network organised by SIS and continuing in operation for most of the war. Malcolm Atkin’s conclusions will cause controversy among military historians and will change our understanding of preparations made in Britain for Nazi occupation in the Second World War.

This detailed yet accessible historical study documents Britain’s resistance to Nazi occupation, with special focus on the creation of secret organizations known as The Auxiliary Units, as well as the conflict between Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service and the War Office and their debates over arming citizens and guerilla warfare. Going against current scholarly opinion, the author argues that The Auxiliary Units were intended as a short-term guerrilla force, and further argues that the Special Duties Branch of The Auxiliary Units was intended to spy on the British public. The book relies on primary source documents and includes b&w historical photos, documents, and posters.


When Winston Churchill made his "we will never surrender" speech he spoke of fighting in many spheres of operation. What he knew but most people didn't, was the network of underground defences - literal and metaphorical - already in place. Many subterranean bolt holes still remain which were to be hiding places for guerrilla warfare. Everyone knows about the Home Guard but what about the other Secret Intelligence Services (SIS and M16)? You can read about them in Fighting Nazi Occupation

This England, Summer 2016

'This book adds extra dimensions to a topic which has been increasingly publicised in recent years.'

Worcester News

As mentioned in

The Shuttle (Kidderminster)
 Malcolm Atkin

About Malcolm Atkin

Malcolm Atkin is a former head of the Historic Environment and Archaeology Service for Worcestershire. After becoming a leading authority on the English Civil War, he has more recently made a special study of home defence and the development of British intelligence during the Second World War. His many publications include Cromwell's Crowning Mercy: The Battle of Worcester, The Civil War in Evesham: A Storm of Fire and Leaden Hail, Worcestershire under Arms, Worcester 1651, Fighting Nazi Occupation: British Resistance 1939-1945, Myth and Reality: The Second World War Auxiliary Units, Section D for Destruction: Forerunner of SOE, To the Last Man: The Home Guard in War and Popular Culture and Pioneers of Irregular Warfare: Secrets of the Military Intelligence Research Department in the Second World War.

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