Resistance in Europe did not spring out of a vacuum, but was actively built up by the Allies. One of the necessary conditions for such a build-up was a political or military objective. In the Channel Islands such objectives did not exist, as the islands were not an operational zone, nor were they ever seriously intended to become an operational zone. Home Of?ce of?cial Charles Markbreiter made the point clear enough in a correspondence with Brigadier French in April 1944, saying that ‘(i)n the Channel Islands […] there has never been any question of active or passive resistance to the enemy as a policy designed to help us’.
This should not come as a surprise. On the Continent, German retaliation to acts of resistance inspired by Britain – by shooting or deporting 100 people – was unlikely to ever alter British determination. In such cases public opinion in Britain could be soothed by blaming any escalation on Nazi blood thirst. The matter was entirely different if the victims were Channel Islanders. In such an event public opinion could have very easily tied the government’s hands. They could have no interest in being blackmailed over the fate of British citizens, for having stirred up resistance that was of no direct use to the war effort. Fundamentally, the best British interest was for things to remain as calm as possible in the islands.
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