British Politics Toward Axis Reprisals in Occupied Greece: Whithall vs SOE

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This article has two purposes. First, by means of archival and interview research it
contributes an original empirical investigation of British wartime policy on an issue
that has been neglected in the literature. The article sheds light on the way in which the difficult moral issue of reprisals was handled in Whitehall. Second, it seeks to compare four different interpretations of the way in which this policy developed. These models are drawn from fundamentally divergent accounts of how states make policy. The article uncovers a dominant realist paradigm in Whitehall whose influence is reflected in the explanatory power of the models of bureaucratic politics and symbolic politics. At the same time Special Operations Executive (SOE) officers sought to inject a sense of moral obligation into policy by acting as policy entrepreneurs. However, structural factors were ultimately crucial in shaping British policy. The conclusion identifies the implications of this approach for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-28
Number of pages17
JournalContemporary British History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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