CANARIS by Heinz Hhne
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CANARIS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this fast-paced and exciting biography, Heinz H"hne (Order of the Death's Head, The General was a Spy, etc.) presents a greatly revised portrait of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of military intelligence--the Abwehr--for most of World War II. Previous accounts have pictured the Abwehr chief as a mysterious genius, a leader of the resistance against Hitler, who was executed for his leading role in the July 20, 1944, plot to kill Hitler. H"hne's exhaustive research into unpublished documents, memoirs, and memoranda, reveals this version of Canaris' career to be nothing more than a myth. In truth, Canaris, an ambitious naval officer with a flair for espionage and decidedly anti-democratic sympathies, felt early on a real affinity for Hitler, a closeness decisively fostered, according to H"hne, by their equal facility at dissimulation: in short, they fooled each other! And when Canaris did finally see through the F(infinity)hrer it was not, alas, on humanitarian grounds, but because, like other soldiers, he saw Hitler's war plans as the road to disaster. In fact, as presented here, Canaris' peace feelers to the Allies, his tacit approval of resistance work, resulted as much from his own private desire to survive as from any patriotic feelings for Germany: when, in 1944, he faced trial because of his connections with the attempted assassination, he claimed that he had only gone along with the resistance in an effort to trap its leaders. H"hne also demolishes Canaris' famed skills as a spymaster--pessimistic about Germany, weakened by Gestapo inroads into his power, and preoccupied with his own plans for survival, the Admiral allowed the Abwehr to decline to the point where its inefficiency became ""an integral component"" of Allied strategy. In sum, the legendary Canaris emerges in H"hne's account as a man quite typical of his times, ""a representative of thought- and behavior-patterns of an entire military caste,"" and as easily deceived as any other German in the world of the Third Reich. Intriguing.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1979
Publisher: Doubleday