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The double-cross system in the war of 1939 to 1945, Hardcover – 1972

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 203 pages
  • Publisher: Australian National University Press (1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0708104592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0708104590
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,204,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 12, 1998
Format: Hardcover
If you have any interest in World War II spying, you need to hunt down a copy of this book. Written during the fall of 1945, this account of how England's collection of double agents fed false information to the German Abwehr is based directly on the document files of the Twenty Committee (the organization that "ran" the double agents), and is by one of the officers from that group.
This book was originally written as an internal report, but fortunately Sir John (as he later became) kept a copy and was finally able to get it published.
Surprisingly readable for an official report, this book is worth the effort of finding it.
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Format: Hardcover
This 1972 book explains how the British Secret Service actively ran and controlled Germany's spies during WW II. All German agents who were sent to Great Britain were captured; they either worked for the British Secret Service or were executed. This activity involved the cooperation of many branches of government (p.viii). This cooperation was the one essential condition for success. The examples given by this book could be a manual of operations. Page xii gives the purposes of the Twenty Committee. Other books were written before, but this is the best document on the system. This book was published to offset the bad publicity suffered in the fifties and sixties (p.xvi). Page 49 says the German spies dropped by parachute were "an easy prey", and could not make radio contact "because of defects in the instruments themselves". I think this implies the British had a mole in the Abwehr who cleverly sabotaged their radios.

One of the reasons for this system was "to get evidence of enemy plans and intentions from the questions asked by them" (p.58). Chapter 5 gives many examples, such as the American Questionnaire which asked detailed questions about Hawaii and Pearl Harbor in August 1941 (p.80). Page 85 tells of Plan Midas, a successful money laundering operation where Nazi money paid for British counter-espionage! Chapter 8 notes that sending information back to Germany via double agents meant that the enemy would not send in other agents (p.108).

Deception was best assured by preventing dangerous information from being passed on, not by passing misinformation (p.110). They passed on facts which lead the enemy to deduce false intentions. Page 116 tells of the German agent who stayed in Lisbon and created stories of his visits to England.
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This is the classic description of how to run a counter-espionage program. Actually written as an end-of-war report between July and September 1945, it is brutally honest and exceptionally insightful. This is a must have for anyone interested in intelligence work.
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Format: Hardcover
The Double-Cross System

This 1972 book explains how the British Secret Service actively ran and controlled Germany's spies during WW II. All German agents who were sent to Great Britain were captured; they either worked for the British Secret Service or were executed. This activity involved the cooperation of many branches of government (p.viii). This cooperation was the one essential condition for success. The examples given by this book could be a manual of operations. Page xii gives the purposes of the Twenty Committee. Other books were written before, but this is the best document on the system. This book was published to offset the bad publicity suffered in the fifties and sixties (p.xvi). Page 49 says the German spies dropped by parachute were "an easy prey", and could not make radio contact "because of defects in the instruments themselves". I think this implies the British had a mole in the Abwehr who cleverly sabotaged their radios.

One of the reasons for this system was "to get evidence of enemy plans and intentions from the questions asked by them" (p.58). Chapter 5 gives many examples, such as the American Questionnaire which asked detailed questions about Hawaii and Pearl Harbor in August 1941 (p.80). Page 85 tells of Plan Midas, a successful money laundering operation where Nazi money paid for British counter-espionage! Chapter 8 notes that sending information back to Germany via double agents meant that the enemy would not send in other agents (p.108).

Deception was best assured by preventing dangerous information from being passed on, not by passing misinformation (p.110). They passed on facts which lead the enemy to deduce false intentions.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
The Double-Cross System

This 1972 book explains how the British Secret Service actively ran and controlled Germany's spies during WW II. All German agents who were sent to Great Britain were captured; they either worked for the British Secret Service or were executed. This activity involved the cooperation of many branches of government (p.viii). This cooperation was the one essential condition for success. The examples given by this book could be a manual of operations. Page xii gives the purposes of the Twenty Committee. Other books were written before, but this is the best document on the system. This book was published to offset the bad publicity suffered in the fifties and sixties (p.xvi). Page 49 says the German spies dropped by parachute were "an easy prey", and could not make radio contact "because of defects in the instruments themselves". I think this implies the British had a mole in the Abwehr who cleverly sabotaged their radios.

One of the reasons for this system was "to get evidence of enemy plans and intentions from the questions asked by them" (p.58). Chapter 5 gives many examples, such as the American Questionnaire which asked detailed questions about Hawaii and Pearl Harbor in August 1941 (p.80). Page 85 tells of Plan Midas, a successful money laundering operation where Nazi money paid for British counter-espionage! Chapter 8 notes that sending information back to Germany via double agents meant that the enemy would not send in other agents (p.108).

Deception was best assured by preventing dangerous information from being passed on, not by passing misinformation (p.110). They passed on facts which lead the enemy to deduce false intentions.
Read more ›
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