A remarkable tale of espionage and intrigue—the true story of Hitler’s intelligence chief and his role in the conspiracy to assassinate the Führer.
Admiral Wilhelm Canaris was appointed by Adolf Hitler to head the Abwehr (the German secret service) eighteen months after the Nazis came to power. But Canaris turned against the Fu¨hrer and the Nazi regime, believing that Hitler would start a war Germany could not win. In 1938 he was involved in an attempted coup, undermined by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.
In 1940 he sabotaged the German plan to invade England, and fed General Franco vital information that helped him keep Spain out of the war. For years he played a dangerous double game, desperately trying to keep one step ahead of the Gestapo. The SS chief, Heinrich Himmler, became suspicious of Canaris and by 1944, when Abwehr personnel were involved in the attempted assassination of Hitler, he had the evidence to arrest Canaris himself. Canaris was executed a few weeks before the end of the war.
In a riveting true story of intrigue and espionage, Richard Bassett reveals how Admiral Canaris’s secret work against the German leadership changed the course of World War II.
A WWI hero, Adm. Wilhelm Canaris specialized in intelligence, remained in the tiny, postwar German navy, and became Hitler s director of military intelligence in 1935. Unlike the typical thuggish Nazi, he was urbane and sophisticated, and former London Times correspondent Bassett presents an intensely researched and admiring biography. Canaris, certain Hitler was leading Germany to disaster, turned against Hitler in 1938, attempting repeatedly to sabotage the fuehrer s military efforts. During the Munich crisis, Canaris and other plotters promised to overthrow Hitler provided Britain threatened war over Hitler s invasion of Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain s appeasement wrecked the scheme. In 1940, Canaris s advice encouraged Franco to deny the Wehrmacht passage through Spain to capture Gibraltar. After France s defeat, he dampened interest in a cross-channel invasion with exaggerated estimates of British defenses In 1944 an increasingly suspicious Hitler dismissed him. Although not part of the failed July 20, 1944, assassination attempt, Canaris was arrested and later executed.. A likable Nazi official seems a contradiction, but Canaris qualifies, and Bassett delivers a fascinating account of his courageous, frustrated, and ultimately tragic life.
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Hitler's Spy Chief
Amazing, intriguing information / research on Canaris, his character, and the benefit to British and American war efforts from behind Nazi lines. An absolute must read.