Interwar Period


M - Z

Macklin, Graham D. "Major Hugh Pollard, MI6, and the Spanish Civil War." Historical Journal 49, no. 1 (2006): 277-280.

Mains, A. A. "Intelligence in India, 1930-47." Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research 79, no. 317 (2001): 63-82.

Maiolo, Joseph A.

1. "Deception and Intelligence Failure: Anglo-German Preparations for U-boat Warfare in the 1930s." Journal of Strategic Studies 22, no. 4 (Dec. 1999): 55-76.

From abstract: "This essay ... argues that the Royal Navy (RN) employed the general perception of ASDIC (sonar) as a 'antidote' to the submarine to mislead potential foes about the state of its anti-submarine defences.... [T]he German Navy failed to discover the realities behind ASDIC's image, and this intelligence failure helped to shape U-boat policy."

2. "'I believe the Hun is cheating': British Admiralty Technical Intelligence and the German Navy, 1936-39." Intelligence and National Security 11, no. 1 (Jan. 1996): 32-58.

This article reconstructs "Admiralty technical intelligence analysis about German capital ships and U-boats from 1936 to 1939.... Evidence ... demonstrates that technical assessors performed better than has been previously acknowledged."

Miller, Dawn M. "Dark Waters: Britain and Italy's Invasion of Albania, 7 April 1939." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 16, no. 2 (Summer 2003): 290-323.

"[T]he Albania venture left a significant legacy, especially in the handling of intelligence.... [T]he inability of intelligence to provide a clear warning of Italy's intentions was at the heart of British surprise over Albania.... To prevent a repeat, Britain began to reform its system of intelligence. These reforms laid the foundation of the centralized intelligence system which served Britain so well in World War II."

Morrell, Gordon W.

1. Britain Confronts the Stalin Revolution: Anglo-Soviet Relations and the Metro-Vickers Crisis. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1995.

Swain, I&NS 13.4, calls this "the most detailed study of the Metro-Vickers affair yet available." The author "is entirely successful" in his effort "to synthesize both the domestic and international contexts for the arrest [by the Soviet authorities] in March 1933 of six British engineers on charges of spying."

2. "Refining Intelligence and Intelligence-gathering: The Industrial Intelligence Centre and the Metro-Vickers Affair, 1933." Intelligence and National Security 9, no. 3 (Jul. 1994): 520-533.

The author argues that "the Soviet charge that Metro-Vickers acted as a source for British intelligence on matters related to economic development in the USSR ... had some basis in fact."

Murray, Williamson. "Appeasement and Intelligence." Intelligence and National Security 2, no. 4 (Oct. 1987): 47-66.

"British intelligence analysis in the late 1930s responded to attitudes of its political masters.... In terms of their own attitudes, it was inconceivable to the British that the Germans would take the kinds of risks that they did."

Neilson, Keith. "Cautionary tale: The Metro-Vickers Incident of 1933." In Incidents and International Relations: People, Power, and Personalities, eds. Gregory C. Kennedy and Keith Neilson, 87-112. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002.

O'Halpin, Eunan. "'Weird Prophecies': British Intelligence and Anglo-Irish Relations, 1932-3." In Irish Foreign Policy, 1919-66: From Independence to Internationalism, eds. Michael Kennedy and Joseph Morrison Skelly, 61-73. Dublin: Four Courts, 2000.

Owen, G. L. "The Metro-Vickers Crisis: Anglo-Soviet Relations Between Trade Agreements, 1932-4." Slavonic & East European Review 49 (1971): 92-112.

Reynolds, David. "Great Britain and the Third Reich, 1933-1940: Appeasement, Intelligence and Misperceptions." In Das gestörte Gleichgewicht: Deutschland als Problem britischer Sicherheit im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, eds. Adolf M. Birke and Marie-Luise Recker, 113-133. Munich: 1990.

Sonyel, Salahi R. "Kurtulus Savasi Döneminde Istanbul Kabineleri ve Ingiliz Istihbarat Servisi" [The Istanbul Cabinets and the British Intelligence Service During The War of Liberation]. Belleten 65, no. 243 (2001): 665-712.

Thurlow, Richard C. "British Fascism and State Surveillance, 1934-45." Intelligence and National Security 3, no. 1 (Jan. 1988): 77-99.

"[T]he history of anti-fascist operations went full circle between 1934 and 1945 with the Home Office defending traditional policies of political liberty and surveillance of extremist groups at the beginning and end of the period. However, between those dates the limits of tolerance and the protection provided by the Habeas Corpus Acts were severely tested as a result of the changes in the perception of fascism."

Wark, Wesley K.

1. "Baltic Myths and Submarine Bogeys: British Naval Intelligence and Nazi Germany, 1933-1939." Journal of Strategic Studies 6, no. 1 (Mar. 1983): 60-81.

The author finds that both the possibility of war and the capability of the German fleet were underestimated by British naval intelligence.

2. "British Intelligence on the German Air Force and Aircraft Industry, 1933-1939." Historical Journal 25, no. 3 (Sep. 1982): 627-648.

3. "British Intelligence and Small Wars in the 1930s." Intelligence and National Security 2, no. 4 (Oct. 1987): 67-87.

"The ... British failure to learn lessons from Spain and the other small wars of the 1930s ... was shared, on balance, by most of the European great powers.... Italy lacked the ability to learn lessons from Spain; France and Britain lack the will and imagination to do so.... The Soviet Union ... learned the wrong military lessons from Spain.... Perhaps the most critical military lessons of small wars in the decade were learned by Germany in operations conducted by the Condor Legion in Spain."

4. "Intelligence Predictions and Strategic Surprise: Reflections on the British Experience in the 1930s." In British and American Approaches to Intelligence, ed. K.G Robertson, 85-103. New York: St Martin's, 1987.

5. "'Our Man in Riga': Reflections on the SIS Career and Writings of Leslie Nicholson." Intelligence and National Security 11, no. 4 (Oct. 1996): 625-644.

This article, "a revised version of the introduction that appears in the reprint edition of 'John Whitwell' [Leslie Nicholson], British Agent (London: Frank Cass, 1997)," is a good piece of intelligence scholarship. It shows the work of a well-versed practitioner working with the materials available -- and around those that are not.

6. "In Search of a Suitable Japan: British Naval Intelligence in the Pacific Before the Second World War." Intelligence and National Security 1, no. 2 (May. 1986): 189-211.

7. "Something Very Stern: British Political Intelligence, Moralism and Strategy in 1939." Intelligence and National Security 5, no. 1 (Jan. 1990): 150-170.

"As official foreign policy traced its surprising arc through appeasement to deterrence and on to the proclamation of an anti-Hitler crusade, political intelligence helped sow the seeds for a new quality of sternness and moral outrage that brought Britain to its declaration of war on 3 September 1939."

8. "Three Military Attachés in Berlin in the 1930s: Soldier-Statesmen and the Limits of Ambiguity." International History Review 9, no. 4 (Nov. 1987): 586-611.

Details the efforts of Col. Andrew Thorpe, Col. F.E. Hotblack, and Col. Noel Mason-Macfarlane to understand what was happening around them in 1930s Germany. See also Wesley K. Wark, "Military Attaché in Berlin: General Sir Frank Noel Mason-Macfarlane," Military History 12 (1984): 136-144.

9. The Ultimate Enemy: British Intelligence and Nazi Germany, 1933-1939. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1985.

Bross, IJI&C 1.2, sees Wark making an "interesting contribution to an understanding of the origins of the second World War." For Foot, I&NS 2.1, this is "an interesting, cogently argued book, which helps to explain, by showing how little they knew, why politicians at Westminster behaved so ineptly."

Watt, D. Cameron. "An Intelligence Surprise: The Failure of the Foreign Office to Anticipate the Nazi-Soviet Pact." Intelligence and National Security 4, no. 3 (Jul. 1989): 512-534.

There are several reasons for the failure of British intelligence to anticipate the signing of the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact. These include: confused and even wrong information; assessors "were misled, if not positively misdirected"; and when "confronted with evidence that did not fit their assumptions," officials at the Foreign Office tended "to question the motives of those who produced it."

Whitwell, John [Pseud. for Leslie Nicholson]. British Agent. London: Kimber, 1966. London: Frank Cass, 1997.

Clark comment: This is Nicholson's memoir of service with MI6/SIS from 1929 to 1945. He headed the SIS station in Prague 1930-1934, and in Riga until the Soviet occupation in August 1940. Nicholson's wartime service included the handling of Middle East and Balkan operations.

Constantinides suggests that Nicholson "has relatively little to tell,... but there are some good lessons on poor practices by intelligence services, including his own." On the other hand, Wark, I&NS 11.4/625, calls British Agent "the best memoir available of the British secret service during the 1930s." (Wark wrote an introduction to the 1997 edition.) For Salmon, I&NS 13.4, Nicholson tells his story in a manner that is "readable, entertaining and genuinely informative.... Nicholson provides much colourful material and many good anecdotes, but he is particularly informative on the banal detail of everyday life as a spy."

Young, Robert J. "Spokesmen for Economic Warfare: The Industrial Intelligence Centre in the 1930s." European Studies Review 6, no. 4 (1976): 473-489.

Calder: "This was a secret agency of great importance to the preparation of the British military plans."

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