Important Role of former Nazis in Eastern Germany." 

November 21, 1950
Central Files Decimal Number 762B.00

Patriotes aux Armes!: The Underground Resistance in France, Belgium, Holland, and Italy, 1939-1945

Date Range: 1939-1945
Content: 21,348 pages
Source Library: McMaster University


Resistance movements during World War II occurred in every occupied country by a variety of means, ranging from non-cooperation, disinformation, and propaganda to hiding crashed pilots and even to outright warfare and the recapturing of towns. Resistance movements were sometimes referred to as “the underground.” Among the most notable resistance movements were the French Forces of the Interior, the Italian CLN, the Belgian Resistance, and the Dutch Resistance.

After the first shock following the Blitzkrieg, people slowly started to organize, both locally and on a larger scale, especially when Jews and other groups were deported and used for the Arbeitseinsatz (forced labor for the Germans). Organization was dangerous, so much resistance was done by individuals. The possibilities depended much on the terrain; where there were large tracts of uninhabited land, especially hills and forests, resistance was more easily organized undetected. In countries like the much more densely populated Netherlands, the Biesbosch wilderness was used to go into hiding. In northern Italy, both the Alps and the Apennines offered shelter to partisan brigades, though many groups operated directly inside the major cities.

There were many different types of resistance groups, ranging in activity from humanitarian aid to armed resistance. Resistance usually arose spontaneously, but was encouraged and helped mainly from London and Moscow. Resistance movements undertook many activities including: 

  • Non-violent activities, including work stoppages and strikes and demonstrations
  • Armed raids, uprisings and guerrilla warfare
  • Espionage
  • Illegal press
  • Helping Allied military personnel caught behind Axis lines
  • Propaganda activities and illegal press efforts to counter Nazi propaganda

Propaganga activties, in particular, are highlighted extensively in Patriotes aux Armes!: The Underground Resistance in France, Belgium, Holland, and Italy, 1939-1945.  This collection includes a range of primary source documents that provide a wealth of information necessary for research in European Studies, World War II Studies, Military History, International Affairs, Political Studies, Conflict Studies, and French Studies:

  • Newspapers and periodicals
  • Broadsides
  • Leaflets
  • Books and pamphlets
  • And more

Patriotes aux Armes!: The Underground Resistance in France, Belgium, Holland, and Italy, 1939-1945 provides many dissertation and research opportunities, including:

  • Psychological warfare
  • Propaganda
  • European Resistance movements during WWII
  • Jewish Resistance in France
  • And more

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