Abstract

This article explores the relationship between the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) and the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in the Italian campaign during World War II. Drawing on recently declassified records, the article analyzes three issues that prevented satisfactory coordination between the two agencies and the impact those issues had on the effectiveness of the Allied military support given to the partisan movements: (1) the U.S. government’s determination to maintain the independence of its agencies; (2) the inability of the Armed Forces Headquarters to impose its will on the reluctant subordinate levels of command; and (3) the relatively low priority given to the Italian resistance at the beginning of the campaign. The article contributes to recent studies on OSS and SOE liaisons and sheds additional light on an important turning point in the history of their relations.

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