The German Penetration of SOE

Title:                      The German Penetration of SOE

Author:                 Jean Overton Fuller

Fuller, Jean Overton (1975). The German Penetration of SOE: France 1941-1944. London: William Kimber

LCCN:    75331729

D810.S7 F83


Date Updated:  February 14, 2017

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

It is the thesis of the author that warnings were received in London about the arrests of agents but were discounted; it was incompetence rather than perfidy that caused SOE in London to continue operations under German control. This work is based on the author’s study of the overall pattern of operating and what she called the chain reaction of arrests of agents that occurred. Among the agents whose arrests were reported to London but were not correctly interpreted there she lists Prosper. She also examines the fate of Prosper’s network (among others), which went by his name. One reviewer thought this book exposed German successes in France against the British, which were not as widely known as were those in Holland in the North Pole operation. That reviewer was not quite correct, because much has been written of the successes and failures of SOE and other operations in France; it would be closer to fact to say that the French cases did not provide the concentrated drama of the Dutch fiasco. Criticisms of SOE’s French operations in the late 1950s resulted in the British government’s decision to select Foot to write SOE in France.[2] Although the French troubles caused bitter feelings and political acrimony, the response never came close to equaling the furor over the Dutch case. Fuller’s conclusion that incompetence rather than perfidy was responsible for the French disasters precludes any new cause célèbre. Foot, on the other hand, concluded that “Prosper’s downfall, tragic as its consequences were, was brought on in spite of their bravery by the agents’ own incompetence and insecurity.” Fuller alerts us to the possibility that this may not have been the full story and that errors in London need to be considered in any final accounting.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[3]

A compilation of past works, with new information added.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 203-204

[2] Foot, M.R.D. (1966). SOE In France: An Account of The Work of British Special Operations Executive in France 1940-1944. London:H.M. Stationery Off

[3] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p. 200


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3 Responses to The German Penetration of SOE

  1. Pingback: Noah’s Ark | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  2. Pingback: Born For Sacrifice | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  3. Pingback: SOE—The British Special Operations Executive, Chapter 17 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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