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Hitler's Spy Chief: The Wilhelm Canaris Mystery (Cassell Military Paperbacks) Paperback – International Edition, April 1, 2007
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Briefly, Canaris started out during the early years of Hitler as a Nazi - at least in the sense of an anti-Bolshevik, German patriot who wanted to see Germany returned to its ante bellum role in the world - but after a surprisingly short period of exposure to Hitler and his coterie, Canaris realized that the Nazis were uncivilized barbarians who would bring ruin to Germany. According too Basset, we can discern from Canaris' activities a two-track policy: the first being to help Germany win the war and the second being to blunt the barbarities of Nazi rule. As to the first, Canaris ran an effective intelligence operation that thoroughly compromised British intelligence. As to the second, Canaris gave orders to the Abwehr that it was not to be involved in atrocities.
Bassett details how Canaris was also the background figure in various plots by German generals to arrest or depose Hitler. The earliest of these plots was actually derailed by Chamberlain's surprise trip to Munich, which allowed Hitler to avoid the necessity of conquering Czechoslovakia, the initiation of which was the pre-set signal for the arrest of Hitler. Canaris was also involved in the von Stauffenberg plot, the failure of which led to the cashiering of Canaris and the roll-up of the Abwehr into the SD.Read more ›
The other day I was ready the memoirs of Vittorio Mussolini, a book he wrote while in exile in Buenos Aires which was printed in Italy in 1952. Vittorio MUssolini was the elder son's of il Duce.
He mention that while in Munich with his father, at the end of 1943, after the liberation of Mussolini by Skorzeny, he asked his father why Germany did not invaded Great Britain in 1940.
The answer of his father was that he was discussing the same point with Hitler a few days earlier and Hitler told him that it was due to a mistake made by Canais about the real strengh of the British Army. He gave him a report showing their strenght 3 times higher of what was in reality. Because of that he did cancel the operation Sea Lion, which knowing now the truth was certian he would have suceeded.
It seems that not only Spain should built a statue to Canaris, but also Great Britain.
Bassett begins with a glimpse of Canaris' youth, and quickly moves into very strong and informative chapters on his start with the German Imperial Navy prior to and during World War I. His adventures in South America and then Spain are fascinating, and make clear Canaris' patriotism, intelligence, and resourcefulness. Germany's collapse in 1918 affected him deeply, and he became fervently anti-communist and somewhat reactionary. Bassett's writing on the interwar period is excelent, highlighting the fascinating world of arms trading and multinational business against the backdrop of illegal German rearmament in the wake of Versailles. Canaris' networking skills were invariably at work on behalf of the German military, whether cooperating with the British, the Russians, or the Spanish; his personal preferences seemed to play no part, he had no private agenda to speak of. The biography so far is of a promising soldier and intelligence man. By the time Hitler was appointed Chancellor, and Canaris was eventually made chief of military intelligence, he was a loyal and obedient Nazi. Only two years later he was working behind the scenes to bring the government of Nazi Germany down. What changed?
Bassett's position seems to be that Canaris was appalled was the immoral/illegal conduct of Hitler and his henchmen, although he himself did not appear to waver when pursuing illegal activities during the interwar period, not excluding political assassination.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written from the historical perspective. It can be dry a times.Published 5 days ago by Thomas F. Anderson
A little wordy and makes for a little slow read. Does provide insight into the makings of WW2.Published 9 days ago by MBA
Excellent account of a ww II intelligence in Germany and biography of the leader, Wilhelm Canaris and summary of results during the war.Published 19 days ago by Kindle Customer william hoock
An interesting story of a most interesting and complicated man. Despite the author's efforts Canaris' tale is unclear, his motivations cloudy and his loyalties suspect. Read morePublished 1 month ago by sandy sutton
This is an incredible piece of highly detailed history by Richard Bassett. To fully appreciate this work takes some strict attention to the intricate detail on the part of the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by William M. Lucia
This is truly a sleeper. A lot of historians are not that familiar with Canaris.Published 5 months ago by carl sofia
Terrific behind the scenes exposition of spy work. The view is facinating in every respect. Canaria working for Germany, while at the same time dealing with Britain makes this book... Read morePublished 5 months ago by mayer l. winograd
Not very well written, disjointed and mostly speculation. I'd honestly probably look for a different book on the subject.Published 6 months ago by Boardgameblogger