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Hitler's Nest of Vipers (ePub)

The Rise Of The Abwehr

Military > Frontline eBooks > Frontline: WWII WWII > Espionage & the SOE WWII > Hitler & the Third Reich

By Nigel West
Frontline Books
File Size: 6.1 MB (.epub)
Pages: 376
Illustrations: 16 mono
ISBN: 9781399086387
Published: 30th September 2022


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Modern historians have consistently condemned the Abwehr, Germany’s military intelligence service, and its SS equivalent, the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), as incompetent and even corrupt organizations. However, newly declassified MI5, CIA and US Counterintelligence Corps files shed a very different light on the structure, control and capabilities of the German intelligence machine in Europe, South America, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

It is usually stated that, under Admiral Canaris, the Abwehr neglected its main functions, its attention being focused more on trying to bring down Hitler. Yet Canaris greatly expanded the Abwehr from 150 personnel into a vast world-wide organisation which achieved many notable successes against the Allies. Equally, the SD’s tentacles spread across the Occupied territories as the German forces invaded country after country across Europe.

In this in-depth study of the Abwehr’s rise to power, 1935 to 1943, its activities in Russia, the Baltic States, Ukraine, Japan, China, Manchuko and Mongolia are examined, as well as those in Thailand, French Indo-China, the Dutch East Indies, the Philippines, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, and the Arab nations. In this period, the Abwehr built a complex network of individual agents with transmitters operating from commercial, diplomatic and consular premises. Before, and in the early stages of the war, it later became apparent, the Abwehr was controlling a number of agents in Britain. Indeed, it was only after the war that the scale of the Abwehr’s activities became known, the organisation having of around 20,000 members.

For the first time, the Abwehr’s development and the true extent of its operations have been laid bare, through official files and even of restored documents previously redacted. The long list of operations and activities of the Abwehr around the world includes the efforts of an agent in the USA who was arrested after a bizarre attempt to obtain a quantity of blank American passports by impersonating a senior State Department official, Edward Weston, an Under-Secretary of State. Also, former U.S. Marine, Kurt Jahnke, who was recruited to collect information about the American munitions production and send it on to Germany. These are just two of the numerous and absorbing accounts in this all-embracing study.

"...presents an excellent and concise narrative of the Abwehr's global intelligence network. West draws from hundreds of firsthand debriefing and summary reports including disclosed sources not previously available to scholars."

American Intelligence Journal

Review as featured in

Highlight: '...makes for a fascinating read.'

The Armourer

Always a detailed and comprehensive writer this book is no different, and will be an important book for anyone interested in the intelligence services.

Read the Full Review Here

The History Fella

It seems that there were several attempts to obtain information about the allies throughout the twentieth century, and Nigel West, who normally writes about the spy network, turns his attention to this information gathering exercise. Fascinating.

Books Monthly

This is a critically superior source of information about Hitler’s military intelligence service.


About Nigel West

NIGEL WEST is an intelligence expert and critically-acclaimed author. Such is his depth of knowledge in these fields that The Sunday Times noted that, ‘His information is often so precise that many people believe he is the unofficial historian of the secret services. His books are peppered with deliberate clues to potential front-page stories.’ In 1989 Nigel was voted ‘The Experts’ Expert’ by The Observer.

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