Thought I do an additional post about the Special Operations Executive b/c how damn awesome this WWII organization was :3
The Half-Assed Hollywood Effort:
Hopefully you didn’t see the movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen but did read the comics, which feature a band of legendary fictional characters such as Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man and Dr. Jeckyll/Mr. Hyde, all coming together from separate fictional universes to save the world.
The Badass True Story:
What if we told you that there was a secret military unit during World War II which featured this guy:
And this guy:
…who operated out of Sherlock Holmes’ headquarters and saved the world from nuclear annihilation at the hands of the Nazis?
Meet the Special Operations Executive, also dubbed the “Baker Street Irregulars,” “Churchill’s Secret Army,” and the “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.” The Special Operations Executive was a super-secret branch of the UK military personally tasked by Winston Churchill to “set Europe ablaze.”
On the crew were James Bond-creator Ian Fleming (who would base Bond on his own experiences), as well as members who would be Fleming’s inspirations for M, Q, Miss Moneypenny and the sultry Vesper Lynd. They were joined by the future Dracula/Saruman/Dooku Christopher Lee. They were stationed at Baker Street. Yep, the place where the fictional Sherlock Holmes solved his mysteries.
These “Baker Street Irregulars” were Churchill’s go-to guys and girls for “ungentlemanly” warfare. If there was a bridge that needed busting or an Axis officer who needed seducing, you’d better believe the SOE had all the cloaks and daggers necessary to make sure Colonel Arschloch spent his last moments of WWII getting murdered in his bed anywhere from the English Channel to Southeast Asia.
The Ministry’s greatest achievement, and perhaps the single finest act of sabotage in all of WWII, was Operation Gunnerside: a crossover between the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare and their cousins in the Norwegian Resistance. Their mission: train a crack commando unit of former-Vikings to join SOE on a secret mission to destroy a heavy water plant in Norway before the Nazis could build an atomic bomb with it. It’s thanks to these unknown bastards of WWII that Hitler didn’t have any nuclear-tipped V-2 rockets to turn the last months of the war into something akin to Judgment Day.
Celebrity Badass #2: Christopher Lee and the Special Operations Executive
As the guy who played Dracula, Count Dooku and Saruman, Christopher Lee is undoubtedly the horror movie god of the 20th century. At 6 feet 4, he’s fear in human form, yet he’s probably old enough to have fathered your grandfather.
And your father.
The Badass: Christopher Lee was once a member of Britain’s Special Operations Executive, aka the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Welfare.
The group was an A-Team-esque crack commando unit tasked by Winston Churchill himself to “set Europe ablaze.” The team included Christopher Lee, Ian Fleming and no freaking joke, the entire James Bond universe. The full extent of Lee’s “ungentlemanly” actions remain classified to this day, and perhaps for good reason.
As cool as it must be to have more than 260 films under your belt, a Guinness World Record for Tallest Leading Actor and proficiency in seven languages, not to mention a freaking knighthood, Christopher Lee’s greatest real-life accomplishment is probably the metal album featuring himself as his great-great-ancestor Charlemagne … which he recorded at age 87.
P.S: While shooting Saruman’s death scene, Peter Jackson was trying to coach Christopher Lee on how to sound when he was stabbed. Lee assured him, he knew EXACTLY how a man sounded when he was stabbed in the back, mentioning his WW2 Service before changing the subject.
Celebrity Badass: Audrey Hepburn and the Dutch Resistance
Audrey Hepburn is remembered by the world over for her beauty, elegance and damn-near mastery of the fine art of class. She was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador before it was popular, a true humanitarian and one of the greatest actresses of all time. Also, she looked like this.
The Badass: Hepburn worked for the Dutch Resistance by transporting secret messages in her ballet slippers.
While a ballerina in Nazi-occupied Europe, young Ms. Audrey Kathleen Ruston was actually an agent for the Dutch Resistance and she performed in a series of secret ballets called “black performances” to raise money for the rebels and their underground war against Hitler.
His only weakness was ballet. And maybe Russia helped a bit.
In one instance, she was actually rounded up by the Germans and forced into a truck, but narrowly escaped when the Nazis pulled over. Another time, she volunteered to rendezvous with a British paratrooper hiding in the forests of Arnhem. Her cover: Go on a stroll through the woods “innocently picking wildflowers,” which she used to successfully bribe a German soldier with who later questioned her.
That’s right, young Audrey Hepburn outfoxed the fucking Wehrmacht through cuteness.
Today, teenagers are sold a culture. Those who resist are sold a counter-culture by the same people behind the culture. “Rebellion” is something you can buy off the rack. And buying in makes you no more unique than the people you’re trying to be different from.
You know what actual rebellion is…
Haha. I literally had this exact same conversation in my philosophy class today after discussing some readings on Marx…
Just finished watching ep 8 of Downton Abbey S2. Oh mai god, so many emotions running through me right now - I smiled, I laughed, I swore, I cried, I shouted, came very close to picking up my laptop and wanting to hurl it across the room, and let it take the brunt of my emotions. I can’t even remember the last time a show’s got to me like this, I just can’t.
On that note: CURSE YOU JULIAN FELLOWES, CURSE YOU CURSE YOUUUU. He should really go work on Days of Our Lives or something…
*seethes in fury and then bursts into tears*
But thank goodness for the Christmas special next month - Oh god, if I had to wait another year for more Downton Abbey I honestly think I would cry.