© The Boston Globe 2001. Used by permission.
The Secret History of World War II
PART VI: THE RESISTANCE
by Mark Fritz / Globe Staff / August 26, 2001
Page 3 of 11
Continued from page 2
Dulles was soon parachuting his own people -- often expatriates recruited from occupied countries -- behind enemy lines equipped with radio transmitters, cash, and weapons. Dulles also wrested from his own colleagues control of OSS Detachment F, which operated in the choice Savoie region of rural, southeastern France, near both Swiss and Italian borders, a landscape of misty lakes nestled by snow-capped mountains.
"It teemed for more than four years with patriots and collaborators, with Allied and Nazi agents, with strange and mysterious characters that slipped back and forth through the insufficient border patrol," US Navy Lieutenant W. L. Wiley, the detachment's executive officer, wrote in a 1945 report.
"The Germans were never able, despite tremendous efforts in men and equipment, to destroy the organization of Savoie."
Wiley wrote that the Savoie resistance was critical to unifying the underground in France because of its proximity to neutral Switzerland, which was used as a relay base to transmit messages to sundry guerrilla groups, from Charles de Gaulle's nationalists to the rapidly expanding French Communists.
Hundreds of pages of records show how Dulles used the resistance stronghold for passing agents back and forth through Switzerland, for infiltrating the Partisan groups themselves, and for running OSS propaganda campaigns.
Dulles recruited dozens of German and Italian soldiers to infiltrate their old armies and police agencies, stir unrest, and assassinate German commanders. Operation Parma, for example, called for a group of Italian agents to infiltrate a Nazi spy school in northern Italy, then raid the school, kidnap the Nazi commander, retrieve all the documents, and, the records say, "Leave behind a note saying, 'DEATH TO ALL GERMANS.' "
The newly released records also include a rare Reich's eye view of the underground, courtesy of ace Allied spy Fritz Kolbe, a functionary in the German Foreign Office who was in charge of routing communiques among the Third Reich's upper echelon.
A report from German-occupied France showed "terrorist" attacks in November 1943 way up from the previous November. Rail sabotage alone zoomed from 24 to nearly 300, and "murder" from 15 to nearly 200. Despite hundreds of arrests, the Germans complained that the French courts were slow to impose death sentences, prompting the Vichy stooge government to appoint a "traveling court" of hanging judges and to give big promotions to pro-Nazis in French police departments.
Kolbe's dispatches also reflected Josip Tito's progress in the Balkans, including his success in eluding an offensive designed to cripple him. "Hitler was told that the campaign just concluded would round up three divisions of Tito's forces, but they made their escape."
By the end of 1943, Tito had conquered most of Montenegro and cut off crucial roads through Albania. "This has caused grave economic conditions in Nazi-occupied regions," the report said.
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