Catalogue ref: HS 7/55
Listen to this document
This source is part of a series of lectures used to train SOE agents. This "opening address" sets out the aims and methods of the Special Operations Executive.
SOE was designed to try and take the war to the Germans at a time when Britain was unable to attack Germany in any other way, except by bombing.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was anxious in the early 1940s that Germany was able to use the resources and manpower of the lands it had conquered for its war effort. He was also aware that there were resistance movements in the countries that Germany had occupied. The aim of the SOE was to try and disrupt Germany's use of its conquered lands and to help resistance movements.
SOE was formed in the summer of 1940 by a direct order of Churchill. It was under the control of Hugh Dalton, Minister of Economic Warfare.
When SOE was first set up there was a good deal of tension between it and the existing intelligence services, MI5 and MI6. MI6 generally operated spies abroad and preferred a low-key approach that it felt was better at collecting information. By contrast, SOE's approach was more disruptive to enemy operations. Some in MI6 felt this would endanger MI6 operations by making the Germans more aware of the danger of enemy agents.
SOE had two main departments. SO1 dealt with propaganda while SO2 dealt with active operations.
Use this outline to plan your poster.