HITLER'S SECRET WAR IN SOUTH AMERICA, 1939-1945: German Military Espionage and Allied Counterespionage in Brazil by Stanley E. Hilton

HITLER'S SECRET WAR IN SOUTH AMERICA, 1939-1945: German Military Espionage and Allied Counterespionage in Brazil

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A scholarly history of German WW II attempts to establish viable intelligence networks in Latin America, especially Brazil--adding a wealth of detail, derived from previously untapped Brazilian police sources, to the accounts of Ladislas Farago (The Game of the Foxes, 1971) and William Stevenson (A Man Called Intrepid, 1976). Hitler regarded Brazil under the dictator Vargas as a potential German ally; and that possibility--plus the country's strategic position, vast raw materials, and large German community--made it a prime target for German intelligence efforts. The Abwehr, characteristically, saturated the country with relatively unskilled agents to produce large volumes of intelligence quickly. But here, as elsewhere, the policy failed: the German networks produced mainly data on shipping and naval movements; the spies--expatriate German businessmen or known Axis sympathizers, for the most part--were not only easy to spot, they were constantly at odds. Brazilian security forces were hampered, however, both by a lack of resources and high-level pro-Nazi sentiment. Roosevelt and the British, fearful that Brazil might become the staging ground for a Nazi invasion of the Western hemisphere, launched a sweeping counterespionage campaign, coordinated by the British Security Coordination Office in New York and the nascent American intelligence effort in Washington. Most crucial in their success was the decrypting of Abwehr radio traffic, but the campaign importantly upgraded the capabilities of the Latin American intelligence agencies as well. Also involved, notoriously, were the double-agentry of Ivan Popov (""Tricycle""), the model for James Bond; Hans Kotze, or ""Springbok""; and other vivid personalities. The net result was the virtual destruction of German efforts by the end of 1942. A solid, if small-scale addition to the growing flood of WW II intelligence literature.

Pub Date: March 26th, 1981
Publisher: Louisiana State Univ. Press