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Resistance: The Underground War in Europe, 1939-1945

Resistance: The Underground War in Europe, 1939-1945 by Halik Kochanski

As seen:

  • Wolfson History Prize 2023 Shortlist

By Halik Kochanski

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Across the whole of Nazi-ruled Europe the experience of occupation was sharply varied. Some countries – such as Denmark – were within tight limits allowed to run themselves. Others – such as France – were constrained not only by military occupation but by open collaboration. In a historical moment when Nazi victory seemed permanent and irreversible, the question ‘why resist?’ was therefore augmented by ‘who was the enemy?’.

Resistance is an extraordinarily powerful, humane and haunting account of how and why all across Nazi-occupied Europe some people decided to resist the Third Reich. This could range from open partisan warfare in the occupied Soviet Union to dangerous acts of defiance in the Netherlands or Norway. Some of these resistance movements were entirely home-grown, others supported by the Allies.

Like no other book, Resistance shows the reader just how difficult such actions were. How could small bands of individuals undertake tasks which could lead not just to their own deaths but those of their families and their entire communities?

Filled with powerful and often little-known stories, Halik Kochanski’s major new book is a fascinating examination of the convoluted challenges faced by those prepared to resist the Germans, ordinary people who carried out exceptional acts of defiance and resistance.

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