By Simon Kitson
From 1940 to 1942, French mystery brokers arrested greater than thousand spies operating for the Germans and accomplished a number of dozen of them—all regardless of the Vichy government’s declared collaboration with the 3rd Reich. A formerly untold bankruptcy within the historical past of global conflict II, this duplicitous task is the gripping topic of the search for Nazi Spies, a tautly narrated chronicle of the Vichy regime’s makes an attempt to keep up sovereignty whereas helping its Nazi occupiers.
Simon Kitson informs this extraordinary tale with findings from his investigation—the first via any historian—of hundreds of thousands of Vichy files seized in flip through the Nazis and the Soviets and lower back to France in basic terms within the Nineties. His pioneering detective paintings uncovers a complicated paradox: a French govt that was once weeding out left-wing activists and supporters of Charles de Gaulle’s loose French forces was once additionally operating to undermine the impression of German spies who have been pursuing an analogous Gaullists and resisters. In mild of this obvious contradiction, Kitson doesn't deny that Vichy France used to be dedicated to helping the Nazi reason, yet illuminates the advanced agendas that characterised the collaboration and indicates the way it was once attainable to be either anti-German and anti-Gaullist.
Combining nuanced conclusions with dramatic bills of the lives of spies on each side, the search for Nazi Spies provides an immense new measurement to our knowing of the French drawback less than German career and the shadowy international of global battle II espionage.
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Extra info for The Hunt for Nazi Spies: Fighting Espionage in Vichy France
North Africa was not only dear to the French but it was also important to the Allies, and therefore to German intelligence. The British used the passage through the Mediterranean to ensure communication with their colonies. Gibraltar and the Suez Canal were of vital interest to the British, and military campaigns in Egypt and Libya were their most important theaters of operation at that point in the war. 28 Thus French North Africa gave German intelligence services reason and opportunity to spy on the Allies.
But the Germans were aware that the population’s initial docility was likely to be brief. Any individual suspected of anti-German propaganda was to be watched. 15 Agents were also expected to ﬁnd the locations of illegal meetings and places that were used for Gaullist recruitment. 16 In addition, the secret services were responsible for ensuring the security of German administrations. Agents were sometimes sent into the southern nonoccupied territories and the colonies to investigate individuals applying for jobs in German services in the northern, occupied zone.
24 Thus Weygand’s North African ﬁef was increasingly visited by numerous German agents after Laval’s ﬁring; they sought information on Weygand’s activities, but also aimed to punish him. It seems that the Abwehr was probably behind a mutiny of a regiment of Algerian soldiers within the French army. On Saturday 25 January 1941, the members of this regiment massacred their French oﬃcers and seized weapons. They advanced toward the city of Algiers where they opened ﬁre on the European population. Investigations after the incident highlighted how the inequalities of army treatment of native soldiers compared to French soldiers had been used to stir up resentment.
The Hunt for Nazi Spies: Fighting Espionage in Vichy France by Simon Kitson