Fighters across frontiers

Transnational resistance in Europe, 1936-48

Edited by Robert Gildea and Ismee Tames

Fighters across frontiers


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-5123-0
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: November 2020
  • BIC Category: European history: medieval period, middle ages, HISTORY / Holocaust, European Politics, HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century, HISTORY / Military / World War II, HISTORY / Europe / General, Humanities / The Holocaust, Spanish Civil War, Humanities / Second World War, Humanities / European history


This landmark book, the product of years of research by a team of two dozen historians, reveals that resistance to occupation by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy during the Second World War was not narrowly delineated by country but startlingly international. Tens of thousands of fighters across Europe resisted 'transnationally', travelling to join networks far from their homes. These 'foreigners' were often communists and Jews who were already being persecuted and on the move. Others were expatriate business people, escaped POWs, forced labourers or deserters. Their experiences would prove personally transformative and greatly affected the course of the conflict. From the International Brigades in Spain to the onset of the Cold War and the foundation of the state of Israel, they played a significant part in a period of upheaval and change during the long Second World War.


'This book shows the value of transnational histories and collaborative scholarship. With shattering clarity, it reveals trends, themes and experiences that had previously been obscured. Powerfully argued and meticulously researched, it changes the way we think about resistances in the past, while also providing new ways to think about the present.'
Joanna Bourke, Professor of History, Birkbeck, University of London

'This remarkable book blazes a trail in our understanding of resistance in and around the Second World War. By altering our perspective and revealing previously unseen connections, it transforms a familiar object into something striking and novel. No one will be able to look at the history of resistance in the same way after reading this.'
Matthew Cobb, author of The Resistance: The French Fight Against the Nazis

'Transcends traditional approaches to anti-fascist resistance in mid-twentieth-century Europe by highlighting its international aspects: exploring instances of resisters crossing borders and of foreigners participating in "national" resistance movements.'
Bob Moore, Professor Emeritus of Twentieth-Century European History, University of Sheffield

'With this collection of work, the publisher and the authors have presented an extremely important study for the transnational resistance.'
ZfG (Berlin)

'Editors Gildea (Oxford Univ., UK) and Tames (Utrecht Univ., the Netherlands) brought together 23 historians in this comprehensive study of transnational resistance and escape. Using approaches that deconstruct national perspectives, they examine resistance movements in a Europe "divided by war and occupation but connected by lines of escape and resistance" (p. 2). The analysis centers on WW II but begins with the Spanish Civil War and continues into the era of Jewish reconstruction and the first years of the Cold War. Part of what makes Fighters across Frontiers so innovative is that each of the 10 chapters, which are organized chronologically and thematically, features a lead author working with multiple scholars to build a holistic transnational analysis of that chapter's focus. Organizing concepts for the early chapters include the International Brigades and anti-fascist fighters in Spain, later moving into such topics as French resistance and the French Foreign Legion, Jewish resistance networks, escape routes, urban uprisings, and guerilla fighters in the Balkans. The result is an in-depth examination that tests the boundaries of readers' understanding of transnationalism, incorporating considerations for identity, exile, and memory.'
--M. L. Scott, United States Air Force Academy
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and faculty.

'[...] this volume is a landmark for the field. It is the outcome of an impressive research endeavour that, in the spirit of its object of study, is truly transnational, involving colleagues from a number of countries who have amassed a remarkable amount of empirical evidence. [...] Undoubtedly, Fighters across Frontiers will become a pathfinder for exciting new research.'
European History Quarterly, Arturo Zoffmann Rodriguez


Introduction - Robert Gildea and Ismee Tames
1 'For your freedom and ours!' Transnational experiences in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-9 - Samuël Kruizinga with Christina Diac, Enrico Acciai, Franziska Zaugg, Ginta Ieva Bikse, Olga Manojlovic Pintar and Yaacov Falkov
2 The 'Spanish matrix': transnational catalyst of Europe's anti-Nazi resistance - Yaacov Falkov and Mercedes Yusta-Rodrigo with Olga Manojlovic Pintar, Diego Gaspar Celaya, Cristina Diac and Jason Chandrinos
3 Camps as crucibles of transnational resistance - Robert Gildea with Jorge Marco, Milovan Pisarri, Enrico Acciai, Bojan Aleksov, Yaacov Falkov, Diego Gaspar Celaya and Cristina Diac
4 From regular armies to irregular resistance (and back) - Zdenko Marsálek and Diego Gaspar Celaya
5 Inherently transnational: escape lines - Megan Koreman, Diego Gaspar Celaya and Lennert Savenije
6 Transnational perspectives on Jews in the Resistance - Renée Poznanski, Bojan Aleksov and Robert Gildea
7 SOE and transnational Resistance - Roderick Bailey
8 Transnational guerrillas in the 'shatter zones' of the Balkans and Eastern Front - Franziska Zaugg and Yaacov Falkov with Enrico Acciai, Jason Chandrinos, Olga Manoilovic Pintar, Srdjan Milosevic and Milovan Pisarri
9 Transnational uprisings: Warsaw, Paris, Slovakia - Laurent Douzou, Yaacov Falkov and Vít Smetana
10 Afterlives and memories - Robert Gildea and Olga Manojlovic Pintar with Mercedes Yusta, Jorge Marco, Diego Gaspar, Roderick Bailey, Jason Chandrinos, Cristina Diac, Zdenko Marsálek, Franziska Zaugg, Bojan Aleksov, Yaacov Falkov and Megan Koreman
Conclusion - Ismee Tames and Robert Gildea


Robert Gildea is Professor of Modern History at Worcester College at the University of Oxford

Ismee Tames is Arq Professor History of Resistance in Times of War and Persecution at Utrecht University, and Programme Leader for War and Society at the NIOD Insitute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam

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