Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > World History Forum > European History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

European History European History Forum - Western and Eastern Europe including the British Isles, Scandinavia, Russia


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old August 5th, 2014, 03:18 PM   #1

HistoryFreak1912's Avatar
History Freak since 1999.
 
Joined: Apr 2009
From: Alabama, USA
Posts: 4,399
Blog Entries: 20
Britain during World War II (a few questions)


Hey, just have a few, quick specific questions about Britain during World War II. It's for a book I'm planning out about espionage and spying, and though I will do further research in the future, as demanded for historic fiction; I wanted to ask a few questions first. Feel free to direct me to further readings/videos/leave your own thoughts to this if you wish. Now, on with the questions:

#1- Did Britain ever have any issues with Nazi spies? If so, how did Britain sniff them out and deal with them? What were the intended goals of the Nazi spies? Were they working for the Nazis directly, or was that only the higher ups who wore the armband and the SS?

#2- Tangent to above: were there those in Britain who were sympathizers to the Nazis (like how a few prominent Americans were sympathizers to the Nazis, apparently)? What did they do? How did Britain deal with them?

#3- I vaguely remember hearing a character from a Miss Marple TV episode mention this. Apparently in Britain, it became illegal to harbor German soldiers as it was seen as aiding the enemy. What happened to those who were found and caught? Did Britain ever have suspicions for the average German citizen who happened to be living in Britain, or did they just leave them alone?

That's all I have for now. Thanks for any responses.

Last edited by HistoryFreak1912; August 5th, 2014 at 03:22 PM.
HistoryFreak1912 is offline  
Remove Ads
Old August 5th, 2014, 03:29 PM   #2

OpanaPointer's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Dec 2010
From: Near St. Louis.
Posts: 11,643

Double-Cross System - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
OpanaPointer is offline  
Old August 5th, 2014, 05:45 PM   #3
Historian
 
Joined: Mar 2013
From: Kirkcaldy, Scotland
Posts: 2,919

In 1941 a Nazi spy landed from a U-Boat off the Aberdeen shire coast. He was not terribly clever because a railway employee noticed his wet trouser turnups which he regardec as being very suspicious so he alerted the police in Edinburgh that the guy had caught a train to Edinburgh's Waverey Station.
The counter espionage people decided not to arrest him right away but stake out the station and see what he did on arrival.
Eventually, when he went into a telephone booth in the Waverley Station the police led by future Chief Constable of Lothias & Border police-Willie Merrliees-pounced on him .Merrilees disarmed him when he drew out his Luger pistol and he was later shot as a spy in London.
Note-in the early 1960's BBC TV had a show called ''Spycathcher '' starring an actor called Bernard Archer who played real life British spycatcher called Oreste Pinto.
Each week a true case from Pinto's book called ''SPYCATCHER'' was feastured .
Pinto was a leading interogator of people like Mynheer Dronker -a Dutchman sent by the Nazis to spy in Britain. Pinto's ruthless interregation blew Mynheer Dronker's cover and he too was shot in London.
Pinto's book with all the cases of Nazi spys trying to enter Britain under cover that he -Pinto- blew Ilast saw in the 1960's in a ''Fontana'' paperback edition.
However, later researcher's have claimed that some of Pinto's claims were fanciiful.
For example , into claimed cedit for unmasking the Dutch traitor called King Kong who Pinto claimed gave the Nazis advance warning of the September 1944 airborne assault at Arnhem.
Most modern scholars reject that this story was true..
The most celebrated Nazi spy was Eddie Chapman -the only British counterspy to be awarded the Iron Cross for ''services'' to the Reich''
A skilled safe cracker, Chapman was in jail in the Channel Islands in 1940 when the Nazis arrived.
A plausible rogue, Eddie Chapman conned the Abwehr into sending him into Britain by parachute as a spy and saboteur, where he went straight to the British authorities and they accepted his offe to send phoney reports and stage phoney acts of sabotage to make it look like Chaman was sucessfully working for Nazi intelligence in Britain.
You can read about this in Chapman's autobiographical ''THE EDDIE CHAPMAN STORY'' WHICH WAS TURNED INTO A FILM IN 1967 CALLED ''TRIPLE CROSS'' and which starred Canadian actor, Christopher Plummer as Chapman and German actor Gert Froebe .
But Nazi spies were not successful in Great Britain between 1940-45 as the fact that the BBC tv could make and broadcast over several months in the 1960's a complete Tv series ''Spycatcher'' which featured- each week- a different real life Nazi would -be spy intercepted/interrogated, then shot after being broken down by Colonel Oreste Pinto's interrogations.
Another error in Oreste Pinto's ''Spycatcher '' book was that while he describes the interception and arrest of the Nazi spy in Edinburgh's Waverley station in 1941 , he wrongly calls policeman Willie Merrilees -who disarmed and arrested he spy''McNeill''.
German spies had fatal weakness for Edinburgh Scotland's capital city. The first German First World War spy to be executed for spying in Britain also came to Ednburgh in 1914. and set himself up in Edinburgh's s****iest hotel then called ''THE NORTH BRITISH'' BUT TODAY CALLED THE BALMORAL'' at the east end of Princes Street beside the Waverley station
He was a German naval officer turned spy who used the fact that he had lived in Canada for a spell as cover for his spying But he too was eventually caught and executed by the British in 1914.
Pendennis is offline  
Old August 5th, 2014, 06:13 PM   #4
Historian
 
Joined: Mar 2013
From: Kirkcaldy, Scotland
Posts: 2,919

Britain had its own would be Fuehrer a former Labour Party star called Sir Oswald Mosely who founded pre war the British Union of Facists in the 1930's who wore Black shirts like the Nazi S.S. and beat up anyone who tried to disrupt their meetings and Nazi style rallies. like the one in Olympia in London in 1934 here hecklers were beatup bloddily then ejected by Mosley's Fascist thugs.
Mosley was arrested and detained under Section 18 B of DORA=THE DEFENCE OF THE REALM ACT and imprisoned as were other Nazi sympathisers and Fascist sympathisers among Britain's Italian community..
Winston Churchill famously gave the order ''COLLAR THE LOT!' but this meant in practice that many Austrian and German Jews who had fled to Britain from the Nazis were also scooped up under DORA's Section 18 B and interned in places like the Isle of Man .
Although many were later released to do valuable war work listening in to Nazi radio broadcasts etc.
But this policy under section 18 B of DORA had a tragic aspect when Italians who had been detained in Britain after Mussolini declared war on Britain in June 1940 were packed off to Canada in the liner called 'ANDORA STAR'' which was torpedoed in mid Atlantic by a German U-Boat with heavy loss of life.
Similarly, British aristocratic Lord Readesdale's screwball daughter Unity Mitford went to Nazi Germany fell in love with Hitler then tried to shoot herself when Adolf declined her kind offer to sire a child with her.
She survived and was brought back to Britain where one of her sisters who was as dedicated a Communist as Unity was a Nazi, helped care for her.
Pendennis is offline  
Old August 5th, 2014, 06:59 PM   #5

Nemowork's Avatar
Teflon Soul
 
Joined: Jan 2011
From: South of the barcodes
Posts: 7,880

Quote:
Originally Posted by HistoryFreak1912 View Post
Hey, just have a few, quick specific questions about Britain during World War II. It's for a book I'm planning out about espionage and spying, and though I will do further research in the future, as demanded for historic fiction; I wanted to ask a few questions first. Feel free to direct me to further readings/videos/leave your own thoughts to this if you wish. Now, on with the questions:

#1- Did Britain ever have any issues with Nazi spies? If so, how did Britain sniff them out and deal with them? What were the intended goals of the Nazi spies? Were they working for the Nazis directly, or was that only the higher ups who wore the armband and the SS?

#2- Tangent to above: were there those in Britain who were sympathizers to the Nazis (like how a few prominent Americans were sympathizers to the Nazis, apparently)? What did they do? How did Britain deal with them?

#3- I vaguely remember hearing a character from a Miss Marple TV episode mention this. Apparently in Britain, it became illegal to harbor German soldiers as it was seen as aiding the enemy. What happened to those who were found and caught? Did Britain ever have suspicions for the average German citizen who happened to be living in Britain, or did they just leave them alone?

That's all I have for now. Thanks for any responses.
The average German citizengot suspected of being a spy and rounded up then sent off to a harmless internment camp where they couldnt do any damage, usually in Canada or Australia.

Since the obvious place to hide if you were a nazi who didnt want to be suspected of being a nazi spy was as one of the many jewish refugees flowing in from Germany so they got slung on a boat and interred too.

If you were relatively sure they were genuinely jewish then they were interned on the Isle of Wight, which is usually described as the one enforced ghetto in europe the jews were upset to leave.

Once people had been filtered from internment they could return to britain, join the army initially in the pioneer corps which is traditionally where we stuck the slow learners, disciplinary cases and odd-bods we trusted more with a shovel than a rifle and then onwards to regular service.

Genuine nazi spies worked for the abwehr, military intelligence early in the war but after one of those interminable internal argument the nazis indulged in Admiral Canaris ended up in a concentration camp (Flosenburg) and executed and the intelligence work was taken over by the SD, the espionage section of the SS.

Both groups were relatively easily subdued by the British intelligence services who had more experience and played a far dirtier game although the Germans in Belgium and the low countries did have some impressive successes doing the same thing to us.
Nemowork is offline  
Old August 6th, 2014, 12:25 AM   #6

funakison's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Oct 2012
From: Between a rock and a hard place
Posts: 5,298
Blog Entries: 1

German military intelligence were under control of Abwehr headed by Admiral Canaris, who was a leading anti Nazi and chief plotter against Hitler. It was Canaris who persuaded Franco not to side with Hitler. The use of Jews as overseas operatives in the knowledge that they would defect was quite deliberate. Bletchley Park`s cracking of the enigma code only added to the staggering inefficiency of German intelligence.





[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abwehr]Abwehr - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
funakison is online now  
Old August 6th, 2014, 05:27 AM   #7

HistoryFreak1912's Avatar
History Freak since 1999.
 
Joined: Apr 2009
From: Alabama, USA
Posts: 4,399
Blog Entries: 20

Thanks for the responses everyone. Looks like Britain had a good handle on things. Of course, they had to considering the threat they were dealing with. The internment camps is a new one, I didn't know they had that. Were they like the internment camps in America, or was it only for those citizens who actually were suspected of being spies? The links and recommendations look interesting, will give them a read.

Regarding Unity Mitford. Wow, um...I imagine her family wasn't at all pleased with her? Or at least the British government when they found out?

So from what I'm reading, they isolated Germans suspected of being spies into safe internment camps in Australia and Canada. The Isle of Wight is where they put the Jewish for protection (I wager?) A German spy who didn't want to be found out would, logically, lay low and don't do anything to arouse the suspicion of the British. What was their goal, exactly? Find any weakness in the enemy and report them to a senior officer?

It may have been answered and I missed it, but what would have happened to a British citizen if he/she were found to be harboring a German spy/or a German suspected of being a spy? Or, in a worst case scenario for these two, they were found to actually be falling in love with each other?

Last edited by HistoryFreak1912; August 6th, 2014 at 05:31 AM.
HistoryFreak1912 is offline  
Old August 6th, 2014, 07:27 AM   #8

Haesten's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 2,315

Isle of Man was the main internment camp.

"In one Isle of Man camp over 80 per cent of the internees were Jewish refugees."

BBC - WW2 People's War - Timeline

The Dunera Boys

BBC News - The Dunera Boys - 70 years on after notorious voyage

Jack King.

John Bingham, 7th Baron Clanmorris - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Haesten is offline  
Old August 6th, 2014, 08:16 AM   #9

Nemowork's Avatar
Teflon Soul
 
Joined: Jan 2011
From: South of the barcodes
Posts: 7,880

Oops your right Isle of Man, not wight because Wight is on the south coast and too close to ze Germans and and of course there were all those agas about swastikas and their similarity to the Manz triskel.
Nemowork is offline  
Old August 6th, 2014, 08:17 AM   #10
Suspended indefinitely
 
Joined: May 2014
From: USA
Posts: 400

As an antidote to over-romanticizing and over-hype of the efficacy of the spying business, I would recommend:

The Second Oldest Profession: Spies and Spying in the 20th Century (1986)

It does cover the WW2 period, and it questions a lot of the assumptions, including the over-hyped success of the Ultra. In case of Ultra, he doesn't deny that at certain cases, it might have helped, but he questions a lot of the hype, including its true efficacy - i.e. sometimes the whole decoding process took so long that by the time it was finished, the events moved on - e.g. battles in the Eastern front.

Not to mention, the Germans were not that stupid and at times knew their communications were compromised, so deliberately kept it going to feed disinfo. IIRC, it also gives a brief mention on the German side of the story - the Forschungsamt.

Its main critique is that by the nature of secrecy, at every instance of failures, the only answer to fixing it was increasing the budgets and bloating these agencies even further - it was a convenient cover for most intelligence chiefs as it was hard to verify their claims. The problem persists to these days, and as the book shows, since the earliest days, most of these agencies have gone beyond their original mandates.


It is a great read on the histories and the personalities involved (including some of their childish fantasies), and in case of Britain, the beginnings of the famous double-agents like Kim Philby are also covered.

The paranoia of moles, including investigations in some cases even suspecting the head of the agencies themselves are rather amusing reads - it is pretty unreal, and you really have to wonder what value they truly bring in. In many cases, just going thru. open publications, newspaper articles, trade journals etc.. were good enough to get a feel of the 'other side' (infact some agents did precisely this to send in their reports while drawing their salaries).

Most reformers in those times and even today only argue maintaing some skeleton staff for 'tactical intelligence', and have a strict firewall between intelligence gathering vs policy decisions.

IMO, John le Carre's novels probably gave a more realistic feel of the murky world of spies than Ian Fleming.

Last edited by pitris; August 6th, 2014 at 08:44 AM. Reason: typo fixes
pitris is offline  
Reply

  Historum > World History Forum > European History

Tags
britain, questions, specific, war



Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Would the world have been better off if Britain sided with Germany in World War One? KnightlyKnave European History 8 February 21st, 2014 05:41 AM
Questions about pre-war (world 2) France Clendor War and Military History 7 May 1st, 2012 05:48 PM
Britain and the First World War soares History Help 14 January 25th, 2012 06:58 AM
world history questions mbeezy General History 2 September 2nd, 2008 05:15 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.