Governments in Exile, 1939-1945

Leadership from London and Resistance at Home


Eliezer Yapou
about the author

August 1998

The exile of eight European governments during the Second World War is an extraordinary saga of separate struggles for national survival. In the year between Hitler’s offensives in the West in May 1940 and his invasion of Russia in June 1941, these governments reached England at a time when Britain stood alone against the assault of the Nazi and Fascist powers. What came into being was an unprecedented alliance of governments at war who maintained their sovereignty on foreign soil and together faced the threat of world domination by a cruel tyranny. This book tells their story as a whole for the first time, drawing on documentary sources, some of which have been made available only in recent years.

Table of Contents


CHAPTER 1:  CZECHOSLOVAKIA – From Putney to Prague

Beneš ’s Second ExileAn Appeal to the World CommunityA National Committee and an Army are ConstitutedInternal DissensionsA Provisional Government RecognizedOn an Equal FootingSoviet RecognitionRepudiation and MunichBreaks with the Sudeten GermansThe Czechoslovak Communists – Beneš Pursues a Czechoslovak-Soviet TreatyThe "Self-Denying Ordinance"Liberation Tribulations

CHAPTER 2:  POLAND – The Polish Eagle

In Hospitable London, National Unity and Two PoliciesThe July CrisisChurchill and SikorskiThe Polish Army RebuiltDe Gaulle and SikorskiPolish Aspiration to "Bloc" Leadership"The Committee of Foreign Ministers"Eden and SikorskiNegotiations with MaiskyThe Polish-Soviet Treaty ContestedStalin and SkiorskiThe Anders Army Leaves RussiaThe "Polish Underground State"The Soviets Refuse to CooperateThe British-Soviet TreatyThe Polish Frontier Issue By-PassedBeneš and SikorskiRise and Fall of the Polish-Czechoslovak Confederation PlanPolish Absence from Teheran"Riga Line" versus "Curzon Line"The Red Army Enters PolandMikolajczyk’s Government ResignsThe Tragedy of the Warsaw UprisingLack of Advance CoordinationThe Helplessness of the Big ThreeThe Underground Army Abandoned to Its Fate"Government of National Protest" versus the Warsaw "Government of National Unity"

CHAPTER 3:  NORWAY – Neutral into Ally

Dejection in the Norwegian CampThe Mowinckel Plan FailsHaakon Overcomes HesitationsThe Norwegian "Vichy" FailsFrom Koht to LieNeutrality RenouncedThe Swedish DilemmaEvolution in Swedish PolicySweden CooperatesMoscow RespondsA Charter for Liberation

CHAPTER 4:  BELGIUM – Disintegration and Resurrection

The DownfallThe Royal Issue: The Parting of WaysBerchtesgadenTrial and ErrorKing Leopold is Warned and DeportedOpportunism versus Legitimacy"Two-Men" and "Four-Men" GovernmentsThe Royal Issue DeferredThe "Palace Policy"Food, Gold, UraniumBeneluxLight at Last

CHAPTER 5:  LUXEMBOURG – The Smallest Ally

Assurances from Powerful NeighboursDisarray in FranceConfusion in LisbonThe British Option

CHAPTER 6:  THE NETHERLANDS – Under the Banner of the Queen of Orange

Doubt and VacillationDe Geer’s Desertion – The Alliance TriumphsIn Quest of a Far Eastern AllianceIndonesia: Success and FailureSimultaneous Relations with Moscow and the Vatican: A Rare CombinationProtestants and CatholicsFacing the "Big Three" ConceptThe German Neighbour: Territorial Compensation?Bewilderment at HomeUnder the Cloak of SecrecyThe Dilemmas of Liberation

CHAPTER 7:  GREECE – From National Unity to Civil War

Into ExileThe Shadow of MetaxasTerritorial ClaimsUnrest in the Armed ForcesSix Colonels and the GuerrillasThe "National Bands" AgreementThe Guerrillas’ Emissaries Return Empty-HandedThe Dilemma of Conflicting PoliciesInside Occupied Athens: Archbishop Damaskinos ActsThe Communists Set Up a Provisional Government CommitteeThe Mutinies in EgyptPapandreou Takes OverThe Pan-Hellenic Congress Adopts the "Lebanon Charter"The Papandreou Government Returns to War-Torn AthensThe King Yields on the Regency Issue

CHAPTER 8:  YUGOSLAVIA – Between Četniks and Partisans

A Multinational Concept Survives Simović is Eliminated The Officers Purged The Communications Battle Ninčić is Dropped Jovanović’s Government of Disagreement Britain and the Yugoslav Guerrillas Civil War – The Četniks and Partisans Retreat Mihailović’s Inactivity is Confirmed Mihailović is Recalcitrant A British Ultimatum to Mihailović –Contacts with Tito The Partisans and the Wehrmacht Meet Deakin and Maclean Meet Tito The Jajce Bombshell Churchill Enters the Scene The Big Three Diverge Tito and Stalin Roosevelt between Mihailović and Tito The Big Three Cooperate King Peter and His British Guardians Through Foreign Office Eyes King Peter’s Cairo Interlude Churchill "Presumes" King Peter’s Assent The Subašić-Tito Deal




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