RUSSIA

Historical

The Colonel Redl Affair (1913)

"From 1905 Russia's most productive spy in the Austro-Hungarian military establishment was Colonel Alfred Redl, who also sold information to the French and Italian secret services. From 1900 until his exposure in May 1913 Redl served first as deputy chief of the Evidenzbüro, the military and counterespionage organization in Vienna, and then as intelligence chief of the Army's VIII Corps, headquartered in Prague." Richelson, Century of Spies, 14-15.

Armour, Ian D. "Colonel Redl: Fact and Fantasy." Intelligence and National Security 2, no. 1 (Jan. 1987): 170-183.

The author concludes that the movie Colonel Redl, made by Hungarian director Istvan Szabo about a pre-World War I Russian spy in Austria-Hungary, "is nothing but a vast and pointless fiction, which, by building its story around the skeleton of real events, gives fantasy the veneer of truth."

Asprey, Robert. The Panther's Feast. New York: Putnam, 1959. London: Jonathan Cape, 1959.

Clark comment: This work concerns the Colonel Redl affair in Austria-Hungary in 1913. Armour, I&NS 2.4 (1987), notes that this is a semi-fictional novel. However, it is based on research in Redl's dossier in the Vienna Kriegsarchiv, and represents "a sober and conscientious reconstruction of Redl's career." Schindler, IJI&C 18.3 (Fall 2005), calls this "more fiction than fact." An unsigned review in Studies 4.2 (Spring 1960) says that The Panther's Feast "makes little contribution to a professional understanding of this famous espionage case." This "is neither sound biography nor good fiction."

Deutsch, Harold C. "Sidelights on the Redl Case: Russian Intelligence on the Eve of the Great War." Intelligence and National Security 4, no. 4 (Oct. 1989): 827-828.

This presents a few stray "facts" concerning the Russian spy in Austria-Hungary in 1913. The information comes from the author's interviews with "leading First World War figures in 1938."

Markus, George. Der Fall Redl, mit unveröffentlichten Geheimdoukenten zur folgenschwersten Spionage-Affairedes Jahrhunderts. Vienna: Amalthea Verlag, 1984.

Armour, I&NS 2.4, comments that, given the existence of Asprey's The Panther's Feast (1959), "it is ingenuous of [Markus] ... to puff his own book as the sole serious study available." Worse than that, however, he has not taken the trouble to document his sources properly; "we are left guessing as to where he has derived even his direct quotations." Nevertheless, Markus has brought some new Austrian sources to bear and, even more, exploited previously unavailable materials from Russian archives.

Schindler, John R. "Redl -- Spy of the Century?" International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 18, no. 3 (Fall 2005): 483-507.

Working from both Russian and Austrian sources, the author retells and adds to the Redl story. His conclusion: "While its operational significance has perhaps been overestimated, its psychological impact on the ailing Habsburg Empire would be difficult to overstate."

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