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The Secret War Against Hitler

By: William Casey (583/36110)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
From the John Laffin Library

Using elite Allied special forces, spies, and resistance movements, the secret war against Hitler’s Germany and the Nazi war machine played a major part in Germany’s defeat.

This fascinating and revealing account, combining an insider’s knowledge with an historian’s perspective, of the secret war against Hitler by the former director of the CIA. Hired by William ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan – the founder of the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA – William Casey was sent to London and in just over two years became head of secret intelligence at the age of thirty one. Writing from his unique, and central, vantage point, Casey not only reveals the critical role of allied intelligence and covert operations, but unflinchingly records, along with the triumphs, the tragic blunders and internal clashes that marred the record from Normandy to Hiroshima.

The Secret War Against Hitler shows how the Allies gathered intelligence, used it, and misused it. There were some spectacular successes in Norway, where German plans to produce an atomic bomb were foiled; at D-Day, where a steady supply of disinformation led the Germans to believe that the Normandy landings were a diversion; and with the resistance forces in France, who provided vital assistance to the British and American liberation forces.

But there were also grave setbacks. The political and military bureaucracies were sceptical of the OSS and frequently paid insufficient attention to OSS reports and advice. Intelligence data that could have warned of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour were not handled properly, a failure to carefully examine reports of German resistance preparations in the Fatherland led to a misuse of Allied manpower, and. Casey argues, the Allied insistence on ‘unconditional surrender’ closed viable intelligence channels, thus unnecessarily prolonging the war and exacerbating its political, military, and human cost.

Casey details the various factional fights between those who favoured bombing over guerrilla action and those who favoured the reverse, and the sometimes reluctant cooperation between the various intelligence services of the Allied Powers.

The Secret War Against Hitler points out the importance of understanding, in Casey’s words, “how clandestine intelligence, covert action, and organised resistance, saved blood and treasure in defeating Hitler”.

April 2009


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