The Underground War in Europe, 1939-1945



'The best book about the subject I have ever read' Max Hastings, Sunday Times

A sweeping history of occupation and resistance in war-torn Europe, from the acclaimed author of The Eagle Unbowed

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.

'A superb, myth-busting survey of the many ways in which the subjugated peoples of Europe tried to fight back' Saul David, Daily Telegraph


  • The best book about the resistance I have ever read. It addresses the story with scholarly objectivity and an absolute lack of sentimentality ... it is marvellous to read a study of such breadth and depth, which reaches balanced judgments.
    Max Hastings, Sunday Times

About the author

Halik Kochanski

Halik Kochanski is a British historian. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and member of the British Commission for Military History, she taught history at several universities and is the author of The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War.
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