Introduction: Special Operations Executive - New Approaches and Perspectives



Wylie N (2005) Introduction: Special Operations Executive - New Approaches and Perspectives. Intelligence and National Security, 20 (1), pp. 1-13.

First paragraph: Readers of this journal might ask why there is a need to dedicate an entire issue to the study of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the organization famously tasked by Churchill to ‘set Europe ablaze’ by means of sabotage and subversion. The answer would partly lie, I suggest, in the influence exercised by SOE in the history of ‘special’, or covert operations, over the last 60 years and in its role in shaping our understanding of this phenomenon. Despite falling out of favour in the final years of the Cold War, there has been something of a renaissance in the use of covert operations in international politics in recent years, not least those undertaken as part of the present ‘war on terror’. The vocabulary might be slightly different – with ‘regime change’ being the most popular of the current buzz-words – but the objectives, and even some of the techniques, have a distinctly older pedigree. An appreciation of SOE’s fortunes over the course of the Second World War has never been as relevant as it is today.

Intelligence and National Security: Volume 20, Issue 1

FundersUniversity of Nottingham
Publication date31/12/2005
Publication date online24/05/2006

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Professor Neville Wylie

Professor Neville Wylie

Deputy Principal