MI5: The British Secret Service during World War II.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.
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MI5 archives opened: 3 WWII stories emerge: Fourth Reich sleepers cells, poisoned food, Operation Pastorius
Nazis planned Fourth Reich by planting sleeper cells in post-war Europe to destabilise governments. A French collaborator revealed he had attended a conference near Munich in April 1945, presided over by an SS officer in full uniform in which the postwar actions were discussed. (link to article #1)
Nazis planned to poison chocolate, sugar and Nescafé coffee to keep the embers of the Third Reich burning after Germany's surrender in 1945. In April 1945, four U.S. army soldiers were hospitalized, one of whom died, as a result of drinking poisoned alcohol obtained in Germany. (link to article #2)
MI5 criticized the Americans' failure to capture the Operation Pastorius sabotage team after a coastguard officer interrupted the Nazi agents as they buried supplies on the beach. The leader of the spies, George Dasch, tried to bribe the coastguard with $300 and although the man informed his superiors, MI5 reported that only "trivial and amateurish enquiries were started by the coastguards." (link to article #3)
Documents reveal: Italian dictator Benito Mussolini got paid weekly by MI5 in 1917
History depicts Benito Mussolini as a founder member of the original Axis of Evil, the Italian dictator who made a fateful alliance with Nazi Germany. But a previously unknown secret of Il Duce's CV has come to light: his career as a British agent. Documents revealed that Mussolini got his start in politics in 1917 with the help of a £100 weekly wage from MI5 - authorized by Sir Samuel Hoare (who later became Lord Templewood). Historian Peter Martland, who discovered details of the deal, said: "Mussolini was paid £100 a week from the autumn of 1917 for at least a year to keep up the pro-war campaigning."
MI5's secret D-Day pigeon plot to spread false rumours revealed
British spy chiefs planned to use pigeons to spread false rumours in Nazi-occupied France about the imminent D-Day landings, declassified MI5 files show. Nazi Germany had been intercepting pigeons with Allied notes, so MI5 considered to put extra pigeons over the west coast of France to give the impression the invasion would be there. The official historian of MI5, professor Christopher Andrew, commented: "Because pigeons are used to pass on messages, it's understandable someone thought of this." The intelligence use of pigeons started during WWI when the British dropped pigeons inside baskets attached to parachutes and balloons to gather information.
British government tapped civil servants' phonecalls to expose 'loose lips'
Dozens of Whitehall lines and calls to World War II armament contractors were eavesdropped for signs of careless talk after a request from MI5. Records freed under the Freedom of Information Act also show how wartime Britain strained under the pressure of the war effort and Luftwaffe air raids. The Postal and Telegraph Censorship Department of the Ministry of Information recorded tense conversations between family members as Nazi bombs fell on London. Mark Dunton said: "You get some sense of Whitehall working at full tilt and people working under pressure and some of the conversations are very tense to say the least."
Nazi plot to get gold to Argentina - Uncovered by MI5 in 1943
MI5 uncovered a plot by Nazi leaders to smuggle plundered jewellery and gold in a submarine to Argentina in 1943, according to secret files. The details emerged from interrogating an "unprincipled ruffian" called Ernesto Hoppe, who was an agent of the German Intelligence service. Hoppe, codenamed Herold, was arrested in Gibraltar in 1943 and taken to MI5’s interrogation centre at Camp 020 in Ham. He had been approached by a German Luftwaffe colonel named Rosentreter, who had outlined his secret mission. The Nazis appeared to be planning for a quick exit to Argentina once Third Reich was defeated and the u-boat cargo was to be their nest egg.
Secret WWII files reveal rocky early years of US-UK Intelligence (Article no longer available from the original source)
British spies during World War II were frustrated by the lack of information-sharing with the FBI and feared Nazi agents could infiltrate Britain through the US. Newly declassified documents reveal that in 1941 MI5 officers were arguing for closer intelligence cooperation with the US agency. They feared German agents could hide themselves among the thousands of American diplomats, military personnel and journalists entering the country in the wake of the Lend-Lease agreement. "The 30,000 Americans who are arriving over here and the many hundreds here already, who at the moment are subject to little control, represent a grave danger to security..."
World War II spies have their cover blown by MI5 - Camp 020
A blunder by MI5 has blown the cover on some of its top WWII agents. The identities of operatives are closely guarded, even after long periods of time. However, an innocuous file released to the National Archives has allowed a number of agents who operated during World War 2 to be identified. The information is contained in a schedule from the body's secret interrogation centre, Camp 020 (run by Lt Col.Robert 'Tin Eye' Stephens) in which captured German agents were "broken". The double-agent system, in which the centre played a key role, culminated when the Germans were fooled into believing Britain would attack in the Pas de Calais rather than Normandy.
Unique photos of Hitler at leisure before WWII by MI5 spy released
Son of MI5 spy Charles Turner releases unique record photos of Nazis at leisure on the eve of WWII. They shared a love of Richard Wagner and were regulars at the Bayreuth Opera festival, so Adolf Hitler took secret agent Charles Turner for just another opera lover. Now the photographs that he took of the Führer in 1939 were made public for the first time. Dressed in a cream overcoat and carrying white gloves, Hitler is pictured leaving a performance. In one image, he is wearing a white tie and carries a ticket while flanked by SS bodyguard. On July 26 Turner had been granted unprecedented access to the Führer and his entourage of Joseph Goebbels and Rudolf Hess.
MI5 stopped the spy who offered to blow up Adolf Hitler
A British secret agent who offered to blow up Adolf Hitler at the height of WW2 was dissuaded from carrying out the assassination by MI5, according to wartime archives. The offer to kill Führer in a suicide mission was made by Eddie Chapman, a safe-breaker who was trained by the Nazis as a spy and went on to become one of Britain’s most successful double agents, codenamed Agent Zigzag. He was serving a sentence in Jersey prison when the Nazis invaded the Channel Islands in 1940. He was recruited by the Abwehr, German military intelligence, and parachuted into Britain in Dec 1941. He defected to MI5, the British security service.
They may have been shot by MI5 as a precaution if the Nazis had landed (Article no longer available from the original source)
Italian cafe owners, leaders of the Welsh Nationalist Party and an elderly nun were blacklisted as potential collaborators with Adolf Hitler in Wales. Historian Ivor Wynne Jones says the 156 people on the list would have been arrested and some might even have been shot as a precaution if the Nazis had landed in Britain. His book, Hitler's Celtic Echo, also suggests former Prime Minister David Lloyd George may have hoped to become Britain's puppet leader. The book features the full Welsh list of people regarded by MI5 as potential threats to British security after an invasion.
MI5 saved goddaughter of the late king George V from jail
MI5 documents now reveal Dowager Viscountess Dorothy Downe had her mail intercepted at her home but was not interned. She was noted in official files as a "most fanatical admirer of Hitler" but not involved in pro-Nazi propaganda. However, unlike some other fascist aristocrats, she avoided jail. The newly released file records that Lady Downe was also said to have "for some time almost entirely supported the National Fascists out of her own pocket".
Secret files reveal WW2 problem of Nazi nobles (Article no longer available from the original source)
Newly-released papers show the scale of suspicion and fear around the British High Command during the Second World War. It has emerged that intelligence chiefs faced a dilemma over how many aristocrats with Nazi sympathies they should arrest, amid fears that interning too many would inflate their importance. MI5 spied on a god-daughter of the late King George V, Dowager Viscountess Dorothy Downe, noting her as a "most fanatical admirer of Hitler" and intercepting her mail.
MI5 file reveals a plot to set up a puppet Nazi government in Scotland (Article no longer available from the original source)
The former SNP leader Arthur Donaldson plotted to set up a puppet Nazi government in Scotland, according to a recently released wartime spy report. An MI5 file on Mr Donaldson, who led the SNP from 1961 to 1969, claims that he conspired to set up a Vichy-style regime with himself as a "Scottish Quisling" in the wake of Hitler's widely-anticipated invasion.
MI5 uncovered a secret Polish plot to kill Rudolf Hess
MI5 uncovered a secret Polish plot to assassinate Rudolf Hess after his landing by parachute in Scotland during the Second World War. The arrival of Adolf Hitler’s deputy in 1941 raised the question of whether British intelligence or members of the aristocracy were trying to broker a secret peace deal with the Nazi Germany. Although such theories later proved unfounded, some Polish soldiers feared Hess’s arrival showed their country was being sold. A group of Polish plotters were determined to prevent a deal between Britain and Nazi Germany, according to the diaries of Guy Liddell, the director of MI5 counter-espionage during the war.