Underground Resistance Movements in Occupied Europe: Did they change anything?

Sep 2010
9,988
Bahrain
Did the fact that underground resistance movements have any impact in the outcome of the Second World War?
Would the war have still gone as it had ?:eek:

Most a times, they seem insignificant, can anyone also provide some information of successful revolts against the Axis powers :D
 

DreamWeaver

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
10,445
Wales
Interesting question, nothing to add Im afraid, not my area. But my WW2 knowledagbe friend told me that alot of the French Resistance only really kicked off in 1944 when things are looking very sour for the Germans, any one know if thats the case at all?
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,135
Navan, Ireland
Found this book in a 2nd hand book shop and is quite interesting, goes through the resistence movements in Europe in WWII.
If I remember correctly he was of the opinion that they were very brave and it varied from one country to another but in the big picture changed little.
 

Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,512
South of the barcodes
Yes. The Norwegians managed to destroy German heavy water shipments, their coast watchers helped the RAF decimate german coastal shipping and destroy the Bismark and Tirpitz and they managed small scale free areas.

The Belgians and Dutch obviously couldnt manage much, the landscape was against them so they stuck to intelligence gathering.

France. Their help in gaining intelligence for D-Day and delaying German re-inforcements to the beaches was vital, their sabotage of German industrial targets and the action of local resistants in liberating Paris was useful, the setting up of free areas in the mountains had mixed success.
As long as they kept them small as sanctuaries for draft dodgers and small resistance groups they did fine, when they got larger and began to think of liberating whole regions then the Germans tended to crack down and destroy them.
So as long as they knew their limits they did fine.
They were also useful for returning shot down allied airmen.

Italy, difficult to compare since by the time the Italian state broke up and ex-army and communists began a resistance the war was coming to an end but they certainly weakened the Republic of Salo, liberated a few areas and gave the Italians back an image of fighting on the right side against Fascism.
 
Jun 2011
1,253
The Forest
The French definitely played a crucial part in the espionage. They would routinely sabotage German radio signals and were able to relay some important info to the allies. Besides the french and norwegians however, it seemed pretty limiting. The gestapo were very keen and able to crack down on many such attempts.
 

Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,512
South of the barcodes
Crete, Greece, Yugoslavia on the other hand were very effective at fighting back, setting up liberated areas and holding them I'm not sure what long term good it did since both Greece and Yugolsavia also ended up with notable Nationalist/Communist civil wars.

Thats only the western Allied supported ones of course, Ukrainian and Polish restance forces had their own problems and outcomes.
 
Jun 2011
1,253
The Forest
Nemowork- any idea why Sweden and Denmark were so submissive and didn't make any useful attempts to subvert the powers of German occupation? The wehrmacht relied on the railway in Sweden especially, but I know of no plots to lessen its effectiveness.
 

srb7677

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
2,379
Plymouth,UK
The Yugoslav partisans certainly changed the political future of Yugoslavia.

When Yugoslavia was overrun by the Germans in April 1941, the King and his Royalist government fled into exile to be supported initially by the British. Yugoslav, mostly Serbian, Royalist partisans loyal to the exile government, known as Cetniks, soon organised themselves. But, especially after the German invasion of the USSR in June 1941, rival Communist partisans under Josip Broz Tito, went into action as rivals to the Cetniks.

Whilst the Cetniks mostly husbanded their strength until the Germans had been weakened, the Communists aggressively attacked the Germans in guerilla operations from the start. They thus became a more attractive proposition for those Yugoslavs who wanted to fight the Germans and their numbers grew more quickly than those of the Cetniks.

Attempts were made for the Cetniks and Communists to agree to cooperate against the Germans, but these failed. Both saw each other as implacable enemies as far as the future of Yugoslavia was concerned and they soon began fighting each other. Whilst the Communists continued their operations against the Germans, the Cetniks increasingly joined forces with the Germans to fight them, more concerned with trying to eliminate a future threat than fight the present occupiers.

Eventually, these developments led to the Allies withdrawing their support for the Cetniks and throwing their full weight into supporting Tito`s Communists, who went from strength to strenth while the Cetniks declined. The Communists were actually able to liberate large areas from German control and begin to set up the apparatus of government in those areas.

Late in the war as the German position in southeast Europe collapsed in the face of Soviet attacks and the Germans began to withdraw northwards from southern Yugoslavia, the Communist partisans were now the overwhelming opposition and able to take control, with the backing of both the Soviets and the western Allies. As ever more of the country was liberated, it was liberated by the Communists, and inevitably after the war Yugoslavia became a communist state dominated by Tito and his followers.

Were it not for Tito`s Communist partisans, and the bad choices of the Cetniks, it is unlikely that Yugoslavia would have developed into a communist state, and it may well have broken up into seperate national entities much sooner.
 
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DreamWeaver

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
10,445
Wales
Nemowork- any idea why Sweden and Denmark were so submissive and didn't make any useful attempts to subvert the powers of German occupation? The wehrmacht relied on the railway in Sweden especially, but I know of no plots to lessen its effectiveness.
Sweden.....you mean Norway surely?
 
Nov 2010
7,890
Border of GA and AL
The Yugoslav partisans certainly changed the political future of Yugoslvia.

When Yugoslavia was overrun by the Germans in April 1941, the King and his Royalist government fled into exile to be supported initially by the British. Yugoslav, mostly Serbian, Royalist partisans loyal to the exile government, known at Cetniks, soon organised themselves. But, especially after the German invasion of the USSR in June 1941, rival Communist partisans under Josip Broz Tito, went into action as rivals to the Cetniks.

Whilst the Cetniks mostly husbanded their strength until the Germans had been weakened, the Communists aggressively attacked the Germans in guerilla operations from the start. They thus became a more attractive proposition for those Yugoslavs who wanted to fight the Germans and their numbers grew more quickly than those of the Cetniks.

Attempts were made for the Cetniks and Communists to agree to cooperate against the Germans, but these failed. Both saw each other as implacable enemies as far as the future of Yugoslavia was concerned and they soon began fighting each other. Whilst the Communists continued their operations against the Germans, the Cetniks increasingly joined forces with the Germans to fight them, more concerned with trying to eliminate a future threat than fight the present occupiers.

Eventually, these developments led to the Allies withdrawing their support for the Cetniks and throwing their full weight into supporting Tito`s Communists, who went from strength to strenth while the Cetniks declined. The Communists were actually able to liberate large areas from German control and begin to set up the apparatus of government in those areas.

Late in the war as the German position in southeast Europe collapsed in the face of Soviet attacks and the Germans began to withdraw northwards from southern Yugoslavia, the Communist partisans were now the overwhelming opposition and able to take control, with the backing of both the Soviets and the western Allies. As ever more of the country was liberated, it was liberated by the Communists, and inevitably after the war Yugoslavia became a communist state dominated by Tito and his followers.

Were it not for Tito`s Communist partisans, and the bad choices of the Cetniks, it is unlikely that Yugoslavia would have developed into a communist state, and it may well have broken up into seperate national entities much sooner.
A very good example. Chinese partisans deserve a mention. Holding down millions of Japanese soldiers in China and away from the Pacific certainly helped the Americans even if it wasn't for their benefit.