Resistance Movements in World War II
During World War two the main fighting was between the ally and axis armies but there was also a third force. Europe’s secret army the resistance movements where scattered all over Europe gathering intelligence, saving prisoners, sabotaging rail roads and factories and killing Germans. Both French and Russian resistance movements where able to weaken and demoralize the Axis armies in very powerful ways giving the Ally’s huge advantages without lots of life lost. Being part of the resistance movements was risky and if caught faced certain death but if it had not been for them the result of the war my have been severally altered. Although the resistance may have been small and seemed irrelevant, the outcome of World War II was significantly directed by the physical actions and demoralizing effects which the resistance had on the Axis forces.
At first glance the resistance movements seemed to be trivial as they were unorganized bandits causing just enough chaos to get the attention of the German army but the results of their actions didn’t seem to slow the Germans. From 1939 – 1941 all the resistance really did was collect intelligence for the allies as they were much to small and would have been easily destroyed. Much of this disorder was due to a large ideological difference between communist and non-communist groups who refused to work together. This started a massive rivalry and drew their focus away from the greater cause towards each other (Trueman “Resistance”). Even within the two sides there was lots of separation thus the impact each group brought was very little as they were no match for the German army. On the eastern front it got as terrible as Serbian nationalist fighting Communist partisans instead of fighting the Germans (“Resistance”). With all the attention on each other the German army easily defeated what little resistance that was there. The main problem when the resistance was unorganized was they were simply too small individually and need a strength in numbers tactic which they did later learn due to the help of the British Special operations Executives “soe”.
Even though much of their early actions were small and little physical destruction was being done to the German force much of the intelligence that they collect would be key for later war efforts. Throughout the whole war the French resistance ran many recon missions where they would spy on enemy bases or steal German plans. They would then hand them over to the allies so that counter attacks could be made with the fewest loses (“Resistance”). This was key for the ally forces as now they ran lower risks on missions and could find the German weak spots and push them back and also prepare on the defensive so that they could not be caught off guard. In return for intelligence the British supplied the Resistance movements with agents and equipment so that they could continue to run their operations successfully. The Resistance biggest success in relaying intelligence back to the Ally forces was the D-Day invasion. As their intelligence allowed the ally armies to attack at just the right time and place so that the largest amphibious assault could take place against all previous odds. In the days alone leading up to D-Day a total of 3000 written and 700 wireless intelligence reports where handed over to the Allies telling them just where all the German defenses were so they could find the perfect spot of attack (Trueman “French”). Without these reports which the French resistance sent over the Generals of the Ally forces would have blindly sent there men at the German forces and could have easily never made it to land stopping the entire campaign its self. The resistance may have been small and unorganized but when Europe needed them most they delivered enough intelligence to save the lives of many soldiers who then could cripple the German…