The Life and Death of Hitler's Spymaster
• The first major Canaris biography for thirty years • A fascinating story of intrigue within the Nazi high command • Contains new research which sheds fresh light on one of the most mysterious figures within the Nazi regime Even today Wilhelm Canaris is the principal mystery man of the Nazi regime - a man that historians cannot easily classify; a man who rarely showed his hand, who talked little and preferred to listen. Few who knew him ever understood his intentions or plans. We do know that he was the great protector of the German opposition to Hitler - but at the same time, he was the one who prepared all the major expansion plans for Hitler and the Third Reich. While he protected and motivated those who were eager to bring down Hitler, at the same time he was hunting them as conspirators - one of the many contradictions he was forced to live with in order to stay in control of the Nazi spy network. This superbly researched new biography follows Canaris's career from the age of seventeen when he joined the German Imperial Navy; by the outbreak of World War I he was serving onboard SMS Dresden as intelligence officer. Her sinking and the subsequent capture of her crew inspired C S Forester's novel Brown on Resolution. From 1934 to 1944 he led the Abwehr department at the Reichswehr Ministry and those years of intrigue are brilliantly evoked by Mueller. Relieved of his post by Hitler in February 1944, he was later implicated in the plots of the resistance movement and was tried for treason at Flossenbuerg concentration camp on 7 February 1945. He was found guilty and executed by hanging two months later. This highly readable biography tells the story of an apparently old-fashioned naval officer, drawn into the web of the Nazi regime and forced to balance the contradiction of his position with his beliefs; inevitably, these last brought about his downfall.
Though little known, the name of the judge Roland Freisler is inextricably linked to the judiciary in Nazi Germany. As well as serving as the State Secretary of the Reich Ministry of Justice, he was the notorious president of the ‘People’s Court’, a man directly responsible for more than 2,200 death sentences; with almost no exceptions, cases in the ‘People’s Court’ had predetermined guilty verdicts. It was Freisler, for example, who tried three activists of the White Rose resistance movement in February 1943. Along with Christoph Probst, Sophie and Hans Scholl were arrested for their…By Helmut Ortner, Susan M Haynes-Huber
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