Wednesday 20 November 18:00 - 21:00

Council Room
Strand, London

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Book Launch - Secret Alliances


The Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War invite Tony Insall to launch his latest book.

Europe, 1940. Nazi forces sweep across the continent, with a British invasion likely only weeks away. Never before has a resistance movement been so crucial to the war effort.Here, historian Tony Insall reveals how some of the most striking– but little-known – achievements of the Norwegian resistance were the detailed reports produced by SIS agents living in the dangerous conditions of the country’s desolate wilderness. Their coast-watching intelligence highlighted the movements of warships threatening Allied convoys, and led to counter-strikes which damaged or sank many German ships – most notably the Tirpitz in November 1944.A definitive appraisal of Anglo-Norwegian WWII cooperation, Secret Alliances provides remarkable insights into the uniquely close political relationship that afforded powerful assistance for a successful resistance movement.

Using previously unpublished archival material from London, Oslo and Moscow, Insall explores how SIS and SOE developed productive links with their Norwegian counterparts – and examines the crucial intelligence from the Security Service and Bletchley Park code breakers who supported their sabotage operations.Offering dramatic details on operations such as gunnerside – which targeted the heavy water plant in Vemork in order to foil the Nazis’ plans to build an atomic bomb– Secret Alliances is an authoritative new perspective on some of the most remarkable exploits of the Second World War.

Dr Tony Insall worked for more than thirty years in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and served in Nigeria, Hong Kong,China and Malaysia, before spending five years in Norway. He was also an associate editor of FCO Historians and has published several books and articles on Norwegian history. He is a senior visiting fellow in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He lives near Guildford in Surrey.


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