Secret Alliances: Special Operations and Intelligence in Norway 1940-1945 - The British Perspective

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A lecture by Dr Tony Insall, Senior Visiting Fellow, Department of War Studies, King’s College London, on Anglo-Norwegian co-operation during World War Two.

After the events of World War Two, General Eisenhower commented that there had never before been a war where resistance forces were so closely harnessed to the military effort. Drawing on material from his latest book, Secret Alliances, Dr Insall will demonstrate how effective they were in Norway. Some of the most striking – but little known – achievements of the Norwegian resistance were simple reports produced by SIS agents living in the most dangerous conditions in the country’s desolate wilderness. Their coast-watching intelligence highlighted the movements of Nazi warships threatening Allied convoys and led to counter-strikes which damaged or sank many German ships, most notably the Tirpitz in November 1944.


In his presentation, Dr Insall will provide a definitive reappraisal of Anglo-Norwegian co-operation during World War Two, with detailed insights into the uniquely close political relationship which formed the backbone of the successful and wide-ranging resistance movement. Using previously unpublished archival material from London, Oslo and Moscow, Dr Insall will describe how SIS and SOE developed productive links with their Norwegian counterparts – and also examine the crucial intelligence from the Security Service and Bletchley Park codebreakers who supported their sabotage operations.

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, FCO Historians, and has published several books and a series of articles mainly on Norwegian and Scandinavian 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. 

Signed copies of the Dr Insall’s latest book entitled, ‘Secret Alliances: Special Operations and Intelligence in Norway 1940-1945 - The British Perspective (Biteback Publishing: October 2019) will be on sale.

This event is open to all RUSI members. To become a member, please click here.

Refreshments will be served from 1215.

To attend this event, please register online using the "Register Now" button above. If you have any queries, please contact Annalinda Riley at or call +44 (0)20 7747 2600.

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