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German Access to British Secrets in World War II

by Richard Wires

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 1999
ISBN: 0-275-96456-6
Publisher: Praeger

A thrilling plunge into the world of the legendary WWII spy code-named “Cicero,” a shadowy figure whose mysteries have challenged the best efforts of expert intelligence officers, historians, and journalists. Wires (Emeritus, Ball State Univ.), who served with the Counter-Intelligence Corps in southern Germany, corrects discrepancies in previous accounts and fictionalizations (e.g., the 1952 film Five Fingers) of the Cicero affair. Neutral Turkey was a center of intrigue and espionage caught between three giant powers, Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union, and the western Allies during the fateful years 1943-44. The British Ambassador to Turkey, following Churchill’s strategy, tried to seduce the Turks into entering the war in order to mount a massive, coordinated attack against Hitler’s eastern flank, but the nervous Turks feared being overrun by the two great dictator-led armies. The British diplomat, Sir Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen, had the careless habit of bringing home top-secret documents from the embassy in Ankara for study. His trusted valet, Elyess Bazna, a former convict, had the run of the house when Sir Hughe was not home. The valet made duplicate keys and photographed documents, selling the films to a high German official. Wires supplements this oft-told story with other adventures and other questions: Did the spy got away, or was he caught? How did the skeptical German high command, thinking the spy data was a British deception, plan for D-Day after noting the word “Overlord,” code for the Allied invasion of Normandy during the critical winter of 1943-44? The Cicero operation, often called the most successful spying episode of WWII, helped the Germans gain insights on British proposals for Turkey and plans for winning the war. A great true spy adventure full of dramatic suspense. Wires has done exhaustive research in discovering what is known today, despite the web of lies and false clues of a master spy operating in the guise of a faithful servant.