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Hitler's Trojan Horse (Hardback)

The Fall of the Abwehr, 1943–1945

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

By Nigel West
Frontline Books
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9781399076036
Published: 18th November 2022



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As the Second World War progressed and defeat for Hitler’s Third Reich in all theatres became ever more certain, the tight Abwehr network, built so effectively by its head, Admiral Canaris, began to unravel. High-level defections to the Allies and bitter disputes with the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) added to a collapse in morale. Most notably was the increasing opposition within the officer ranks of the Army to Hitler fermented by Canaris and his deputy Generalmajor Hans Oster.

The final years of the Abwehr were marked by the Abwehr’s efforts to undermine the regime, which came to a bloody conclusion following the Valkyrie assassination attempt of 20 July 1944. This saw the arrest of many Abwehr officials and the execution of Canaris and Oster.

In this penetrating study of the final years of the Abwehr, Nigel West, a world-renowned specialist in the field, pieces together the gradual decline in the organisation’s role and importance with Hitler and his acolytes paying little heed to reports that were increasingly cautionary.

Among the many previously undisclosed stories are details gleaned from recently opened files which tell of a hitherto unknown spy-swap. This was the exchange of Berthold Shulze-Holthus, a German spy detained in Iran, for Ferdinand Rodriguez, a British radio operator captured in France. This was the only such exchange that took place during the whole of the Second World War – though the fact that the swap took place at all suggests that a previously unsuspected degree of communication existed between the Allies and Nazi Germany.

Perhaps most tantalizingly of all, is the new night light thrown upon the role the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, had, in league with the Abwehr, in the Valkyrie bombing which almost killed Hitler.

"Nigel West has presented the most complete account of the Abwehr to date. It will serve as a valuable reference work."

Studies in Intelligence

In World War II, the Abwehr was one of two German intelligence organisations, but their story has never been fully told. Nigel West’s Hitler’s Trojan Horse attempts to fill that gap.

Read the Full Review Here

Beating Tsundoku

It is a well-researched, well-written, and engaging book that provides a valuable new perspective on one of the most important intelligence organisations of the war.

Read the Full Review Here

The History Fella

Review as featured in

The Armourer

A good historical read regarding how the German intelligence organization was destroyed during the last years of the war through ineptitude, backstabbing and in-fighting. The author provides good facts and first hand accounts to give the reader the whole story. A good read.

NetGalley, Ron Baumer

An illuminating history book that highlights the fractions within the German high command of the Second World War. It was not cohesive as many assume, and even the dictatorial powers of Hitler were not enough to stem the tide of falling morale, defection, and plotting. West explores deep into the historical sources available to trace the increasing opposition of the Abwehr to Hitler's government and military command structure as the war reached its conclusion. Documents detailing assassination attempts, defections, and even a prisoner swap are laid out in the open, as West systematically dismantles old conclusions and assumptions about the Abwehr. This will likely remain the standard text on the Abwehr for many years to come.

NetGalley, Spencer Wright

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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