The Special Operations Executive: The Most Daring Agents of WWII with Dr. Finn Ballard

The Special Operations Executive: The Most Daring Agents of WWII with Dr. Finn Ballard


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.
Description

In this Conversation, we’ll examine the lesser-known story of the bravery and fortitude of Churchill’s Secret Army, the members of the British wartime agency known as the Special Operations Executive (SOE). Established in 1940, the SOE would conduct espionage and sabotage with a bid to undermining the Third Reich. 

Under director of operations Brigadier Colin Gubbins, the SOE parachuted into occupied Europe, travelled to Yugoslavia to assist the ‘Chetnik’ resistance, trained the assassins who would go on to kill Hitler’s henchman Reinhard Heydrich, armed the French resistance, and an awful lot more. We will discuss the nerves of steel of the SOE’s top operatives, including Violette Szabo who parachuted into France to sabotage German lines of communication during the D-Day landings; Nancy Wake,  "The White Mouse", who helped downed Allied airmen evade capture by the Germans and bicycled through war-torn Europe as a message courier; and the one-legged American spy Virginia "Artemis" Hall, central to the SOE’s network in France and regarded by the Gestapo as the most dangerous Allied agent. 

Led by an expert on Third Reich and WWII history, Dr. Finn Ballard, this Conversation will illuminate the schemes - and occasional absurdities - of the 'Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.' Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of WWII espionage and particularly of the courage of the SOE's female agents. 

This Conversation is a perfect companion to Finn's other Conversation: The Women Who Fought WWII!
About Your Expert

Finn grew up in Northern Ireland before moving to England to study and later teach in the department of Film and Literature at the University of Warwick. He completed his doctoral study on German folklore and popular cinema in 2012, and has published extensively in the fields of Film Studies and Gender Studies. Since 2008, he has been living and guiding in Berlin. He now works as a historical advisor for television and film productions set in Berlin, particularly during the Weimar era or Third Reich. He is a journalist for the 'Siegessauele', Europe's foremost Queer magazine, and organises events at Berlin's English-language bookstore 'Another Country'.

Audience

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

Duration

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 14 reviews
93%
(13)
7%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
B
Bonnie Gale (Briarcliff Manor, US)
Another excellent lecture from Finn Ballard

Another fascinating lecture from Dr. Ballard.

K
Karen Ekman-Baur (Ehningen, DE)
Daring Agents of the SOE during WWII

As aIways, Finn presented a probing and weII-organized view of his subject. This was a fascinating overview of intelligence activities during WWII focusing on the UK's Special Operations Executive. I was already familiar with the SOE, but it was interesting to have names and faces attached. The story of each of the people mentioned in this presentation could be the basis for a gripping novel!

J
J (Vancouver, CA)
The individuals who made such a difference

Finn brought to light so many people we have never heard of who made such a enormous contribution and self-sacrifice for us during WWII

N
Nancy (New York, US)
The (short) life of British Spies

Another marvelous lecture by Dr. Ballard who provides a list of the agents, what they did in the war, and how their life ended.

R
Ronald Wilensky (Palo Alto, US)
Lecture gives fascinating background information

The detailed information about the daring and heroic agents of the SOE was new to me. I had known about the role the SOE played in WWII, but I didn't know much about the actual agents. Dr. Ballard's brief biographies and descriptions of their heroic activities were fascinating and highly informative. His presentation was concise and clear.

Customer Reviews

Based on 14 reviews
93%
(13)
7%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
B
Bonnie Gale (Briarcliff Manor, US)
Another excellent lecture from Finn Ballard

Another fascinating lecture from Dr. Ballard.

K
Karen Ekman-Baur (Ehningen, DE)
Daring Agents of the SOE during WWII

As aIways, Finn presented a probing and weII-organized view of his subject. This was a fascinating overview of intelligence activities during WWII focusing on the UK's Special Operations Executive. I was already familiar with the SOE, but it was interesting to have names and faces attached. The story of each of the people mentioned in this presentation could be the basis for a gripping novel!

J
J (Vancouver, CA)
The individuals who made such a difference

Finn brought to light so many people we have never heard of who made such a enormous contribution and self-sacrifice for us during WWII

N
Nancy (New York, US)
The (short) life of British Spies

Another marvelous lecture by Dr. Ballard who provides a list of the agents, what they did in the war, and how their life ended.

R
Ronald Wilensky (Palo Alto, US)
Lecture gives fascinating background information

The detailed information about the daring and heroic agents of the SOE was new to me. I had known about the role the SOE played in WWII, but I didn't know much about the actual agents. Dr. Ballard's brief biographies and descriptions of their heroic activities were fascinating and highly informative. His presentation was concise and clear.