M.R.D. (Michael Richard Daniell) Foot

M.R.D. Foot died 18 Feb. 2012. Telegraph (London), 20 Feb. 2012.

Foot, M.R.D. "1940-44 and the Secret Services." Franco-British Studies 2 (Autumn 1986): 17-26.


Foot, M.R.D. "Britischer Geheimdienste und deutscher Widerstand 1939-1945" [The British Secret Service and German Resistance]. In Großbritannien und der deutsche Widerstand 1933-1944, eds. Klaus J. Müller and David Dilks, 161-168. Paderborn and Munich: Schöningh, 1994.

[UK/WWII/Overviews; WWII/Eur/Germany/Resistance]

Foot, M.R.D. "A Comparison of SOE and OSS." In British and American Approaches to Intelligence, ed. K.G. Robertson, 153-165. London : Macmillan, 1987.


Foot, M.R.D. "The Death of General Sikorski." Intelligence and National Security 21, no. 3 (Jun. 2006): 457-458.

A brief article to argue that the crash of Sikorski's plane off Gibralter in July 1943 was an accident, not an effort by MI6 to get rid of an annoyance.

[OtherCountries/Poland/WWII; UK/WWII/Overviews]

Foot, M.R.D. Memories of an SOE Historian. Barnsley, UK: Pen and Sword, 2008.

Clark comment: Although Foot's memoirs are about the author himself, not SOE, they are being placed with the SOE materials because his work on that organization is sufficiently central to his life to make it into the title of those memoirs. Carr, Spectator, 28 Jan. 2009, says the author's "chapter on the world of the wartime secret services is illuminating and important, if densely written." However, "his accounts of his private life ... are not always compelling reading."


Foot, M.R.D. "Reflections on S.O.E.".  Manchester Literary & Philosophical Society Memoirs & Proceedings 111 (1969): 87-96. [Capet]


Foot, M.R.D. "Research Note: The Dutch Affair." Intelligence and National Security 20, no. 2 (Jun. 2005): 341-343.

The author does his best to put an end to speculation that London, for its own purposes, betrayed the more than 40 agents that SOE dropped into the lap of the German security forces in the Netherlands in 1942-1943. Foot prepared the official history that encompasses this episode [SOE in the Low Countries (2001)], and he is adamant that incompetence, not perfidy, brought on this debacle.

Jo Wolters, "Remarks Concerning a Research Note on The Dutch Affair," Intelligence and National Security 21, no. 3 (Jun. 2006): 459-466, takes issue with Foot's (and the official) position. Wolters argues for "a 'purposeful policy' by some British authority, other than Dutch Section SOE, bearing on the deployment of Dutch agents like 'shock troops'.... Such a policy ... was [aimed at] keeping as many German troops as possible in the West in 1942 to relieve the Russian front."

[UK/WWII/Services/SOE; WWII/Eur/Res/Dutch]

Foot, M.R.D. Resistance: European Resistance to Nazism, 1940-1945. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1977. London: Methuen, 1978.

Pforzheimer says that, because of the scope undertaken, this book is afflicted with "some degree of superficiality and absence of detail"; but it "serves as a primer ... to the subject..., including the roles of SOE and OSS." There are some factual errors in the country-by-country surveys. Constantinides notes the inclusion of "important facts, incidents, and anecdotes," even given the superficiality of the work. "A very useful bibliography can be found in the footnotes."


Foot, M.R.D. Six Faces of Courage. London: Methuen, 1978.

Foot, M.R.D. SOE: An Outline History of the Special Operations Executive 1940-46. London: BBC, 1984. London: Mandarin, 1990. [pb] The Special Operations Executive, 1940-1945. Frederick. MD: University Press of America, 1986.

Foot, M.R.D. SOE in France: An Account of the Work of the British Special Operations Executive in France, 1940-1944. London: HMSO, 1968. Frederick, MD: University Publications of America, 1984. 3d ed. London:  Frank Cass, 2004. Des Anglais dans la Résistance: Le service secret d’action britannique SOE en France, 1940-1944. Paris : Tallandier, 2008.

Foot, M.R.D.

1. SOE in the Low Countries. London: HMSO, 2001.

One of the World War II events that continues to draw speculation is SOE's disaster in the Netherlands in 1942-1943. Over 40 agents were dropped into the lap of the German security forces. Speculation that London betrayed those individuals for its own purposes refuses to go away. In a "Research Note: The Dutch Affair," Intelligence and National Security 20, no. 2 (Jun. 2005): 341-343, M.R.D. Foot does his best to put an end to such speculation. SOE in the Low Countries is the official history that encompasses this episode, and Foot is adamant that incompetence, not perfidy, brought on this debacle.

2. "SOE in the Low Countries." In Special Operations Executive: A New Instrument of War, ed. Mark Seaman, 83-90. London: Routledge, 2006.

[UK/WWII/Services/SOE; WWII/Eur/Netherlands & OtherCountries/Belgium]

Foot, M.R.D. "Special Operations/2." In The Fourth Dimension of Warfare, vol. 1: Intelligence, Subversion, Resistance, ed. Michael Elliott-Bateman, 35-47. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1970.


Foot, M.R.D. "Spies, Codebreakers and Secret Agents." In The Great World War, 1914-1945, vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice, eds. Peter H. Liddle, Peter Bourne, and Ian R. Whitehead, 355-368. London: HarperCollins, 2001.


Foot, M.R.D. "Was SOE Any Good?" Journal of Contemporary History 16, no. 1 (1981): 167-181.


Foot, M.R.D. "What Use Are Secret Services?" In In the Name of Intelligence: Essays in Honor of Walter Pforzheimer, eds. Hayden B. Peake and Samuel Halpern, 277-282. Washington, DC: NIBC Press, 1994.


Foot, M. R. D. "What Use Was SOE?" RUSI Journal 148 (Feb. 2003): 76-83.


Foot, M.R.D., ed. Holland at War against Hitler: Anglo-Dutch Relations 1940-1945. London: Frank Cass, 1990.

[UK/WWII/Overviews; WWII/Eur/Res/Dutch]

Foot, M.R.D., and James M. Langley. MI9: The British Secret Service that Fostered Escape and Evasion, 1939-1945, and Its American Counterpart. London: Bodley Head, 1979. Boston: Little, Brown, 1980.

Pforzheimer notes that the U.S. edition is slightly expanded from the 1979 original "to give some material on the American MIS-X, the counterpart of the British escape and evasion organization, MI 9." Constantinides calls MI9 "the best and most detailed picture of the organization and staff aspects of Allied E&E."


Foot, M.R.D., selector. Secret Lives: Lifting the Lid on Worlds of Secret Intelligence. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Peake, Studies 47.1 (2003), finds that this work is comprised of some 90 entries selected from the Dictionary of National Biography of individuals who lived between 1400 and 2000 and who were involved in secret service in some way. "The collection is a useful adjunct to the intelligence literature." For Bath, NIPQ 19.4, Foot's "entries are short and fact-filled, but highly readable.... A great book for reference and for leisure time browsing."

Alvarez, H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews, Aug.2003 [http://www.h-net.org], comments that "the alleged merits and attractions of the DNB [Dictionary of National Biography] are lost on this reviewer. If the present selections are a fair indication, the entries seem no more or less pedestrian than those found in most reference volumes.... [T]he entries (some originally published more than a hundred years ago) can hardly be expected to provide much in the way of fresh insight or new information concerning their subjects."


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