skip to content
Shadow warriors of World War II : the daring women of the OSS and SOE Preview this item
ClosePreview this item

Shadow warriors of World War II : the daring women of the OSS and SOE

Author: Gordon Thomas; Greg Lewis
Publisher: Chicago, Illinois : Chicago Review Press, [2017]
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : English : First editionView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
World War II was the first time in history that women were trained as combatants and secret agents to be parachuted behind enemy lines. This was the war in which old gender rules changed, as intelligence agencies created specific training and roles for women. It was the war in which spy chiefs realized women's potential as couriers, wireless operators, spies, saboteurs, and even Resistance leaders. British prime  Read more...
Getting this item's online copy... Getting this item's online copy...

Find a copy in the library

Getting this item's location and availability... Getting this item's location and availability...

WorldCat

Find it in libraries globally
Worldwide libraries own this item

Details

Genre/Form: Biography
History
Biographies
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Thomas, Gordon, 1933- author.
Shadow warriors of World War II
Chicago, Illinois : Chicago Review Press Incorporated, [2016]
(DLC) 2016030063
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Gordon Thomas; Greg Lewis
ISBN: 9781613730867 1613730861
OCLC Number: 945358465
Description: xviii, 292 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: MOSP by all means possible --
The clouds of war --
The magician's airfield --
Slipping into the shadows --
Enigma in the suitcase --
Agents by moonlight --
Donovan's decision --
The Russians arrive --
Betrayed --
They serve alone --
Out of the shadows --
Afterward.
Responsibility: Gordon Thomas, Greg Lewis.

Abstract:

World War II was the first time in history that women were trained as combatants and secret agents to be parachuted behind enemy lines. This was the war in which old gender rules changed, as intelligence agencies created specific training and roles for women. It was the war in which spy chiefs realized women's potential as couriers, wireless operators, spies, saboteurs, and even Resistance leaders. British prime minister Winston Churchill had rung the changes when he gave the order in July 1940 to "set Europe ablaze." The unit charged to do this was the Special Operations Executive, or SOE, a different kind of intelligence agency. Churchill called them "members of my underground army who collaborate and fight in the shadows." They were spies and saboteurs trained as cryptographers, cartographers, analysts, and experts in recruiting, communication, and leadership to guide the resistance and partisans in the tense days of action in every theater of the European War. In the United States, six months after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the formation of the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS. The president's pen paved the way for American women to operate behind enemy lines along with the SOE. These agents ranged from girls barely out of high school to mature mothers, from working-class women to the daughters of aristocrats, from the plain to the beautiful, from the prim and proper to wild high-livers. Each of them was trained to blend in with the local population and even to disguise herself if necessary, by walking with a limp or wearing glasses. Burglars taught them how to pick locks and blow safes. Specialists showed them how to use rubber truncheons, tommy guns, Smith and Wesson automatics with silencers, and the killing knife with its polished and blackened blade. They were taught to throw grenades, jump from a fast-moving train, and plant a bomb on the hull of a ship. Those trained as wireless operators learned how to send secret messages and arrange for weapons to be dropped for the resistance fighters they would work with. All knew that torture and death were the price of failure. They were brave and resourceful women, ready to place themselves in harm's way in order to serve their country. They worked undercover and carried out their assigned missions, sometimes with high-tech gadgets but none that could replace their own intelligence and determination. Their average age was twenty-five. Their femininity could be a resource in itself; making the Germans less likely to search or arrest them if they were acting as message couriers or wireless operators. It also meant they were often in a position of making great self-sacrifice. For many, going on active service meant leaving babies and children at home. Many paid the ultimate price for their bravery. All have individual stories that deserve a special place in the history of British and American intelligence during the Second World War.--Adapted from introduction.
Retrieving notes about this item Retrieving notes about this item

Reviews

User-contributed reviews

Tags

Be the first.
Confirm this request

You may have already requested this item. Please select Ok if you would like to proceed with this request anyway.

Close Window

Please sign in to WorldCat 

Don't have an account? You can easily create a free account.