This was made up of volunteers who refused to accept the defeat of their country and who carried out clandestine activities in the name of national liberty and human dignity. Resistance took many varied forms in Europe, especially in the occupied countries and it also existed in Germany. Among civilians it might take the form of administrative sabotage, strikes and demonstrations, for example those of the Belgian miners who, from 1943, refused to work for the Germans. It might lead to the setting up of information gathering networks to report to the Allies. The Red Orchestra for example informed Moscow of Nazi intentions.

Armed resistance was much more complicated. They organised information gathering networks, escape routes (for example for the Danish Jews who were evacuated to Sweden in 1943) and of course armed direct action - assassination attempts attacks, sabotage, guerrilla warfare). The members of these groups lived in hiding in the countryside or maquis. It is impossible to draw up a portrait of a European resistant. The reasons that led people to resist differed from one person to another, firstly there was the desire to fight against fascism and Nazism which included those on the right in politics as well as those on the left, those that were religious and those that were not. People in the Resistance came from all walks of life and all classes.  There were also those with a personal motive especially among the young. In France there was also a desire to escape the Obligatory Labour Service which led many young people, often untrained, to join the maquis.

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