Cover image for Under the shadow of the swastika : the moral dilemmas of resistance and collaboration in Hitler's Europe
Under the shadow of the swastika : the moral dilemmas of resistance and collaboration in Hitler's Europe
Bennett, Rab, 1950-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : New York University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
ix, 318 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D744.4 .B35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This incisive study of the ethics of war is the only work to focus on the moral dilemmas of resistance and collaboration in Nazi-occupied Europe. Rab Bennett provides a comprehensive guide to the harrowing ethical choices that confronted ordinary citizens as they tried to survive the Nazi onslaught.

Bennett explores how the Resistance responded to German security policy that had at its foundation the doctrine of collective responsibility. He shows how Nazi tactics, including the systematic taking and killing of hostages, reprisal killings, and the destruction of entire villages, complicated the attempts of the Resistance to fight back. He also includes a detailed discussion of the controversial role of the Jewish police.

Under the Shadow of the Swastika analyzes morally questionable methods of resistance, such as torture, the mutilation and killing of German prisoners of war, and guerrilla warfare. By assessing their conduct in relation to the laws of war and the just war tradition, Bennett mounts a revisionist challenge to longstanding myths about the Resistance.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Bennett (Manchester Metropolitan Univ.) focuses on the Resistance to German occupation during WW II, but he does so in a new and important way. His purpose is to illuminate the ethical dilemmas that the Resistance faced, as, for example, whether to kill one of their comrades to eliminate the possibility that he or she might, under torture, reveal their secrets. Bennett shows that the mode of operation used by the Resistance was conditioned by the way the occupiers responded to assassinations and sabotage and other efforts to undermine their goals. Although the author deals with all of the areas occupied by the Germans, the French Resistance is clearly the one about which he knows the most and whose activities are most frequently cited to illustrate a point. He devotes two chapters to Jewish resistance/ collaboration in order to demonstrate that Jews were not led like sheep to slaughter. And he includes a chapter on the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) showing that its leaders and operatives had little understanding of the Resistance. This is a significant book, one that is likely to stimulate intense discussion. All levels. H. D. Andrews; emeritus, Towson University