Interwar Period


G - Z

Hannant, Larry. "Inter-War Security Screening in Britain, the United States and Canada." Intelligence and National Security 6, no. 4 (Oct. 1991): 711-735.

The internal security forces of Canada (RCMP), Britain (MI5), and the United States (FBI) all declined in numbers of personnel from the early 1920s into the 1930s. Nevertheless, these services worked "to broaden the range of their security operations." One of the "important new enterprises they launched in this time" was "systematic security screening of civil servants and even industrial workers."

Hope, John G. "Surveillance or Collusion? Maxwell Knight, MI5 and the British Fascisti." Intelligence and National Security 9, no. 4 (Oct. 1994): 651-675.

The author raises questions about the relationship between MI5 and British Fascism between the wars.

Jeffery, Keith. "The British Army and Internal Security 1919–1939." Historical Journal 24, no. 2 (Jun. 1981): 377-397.

Jeffery, Keith. "British Military Intelligence following World War I." In British and American Approaches to Intelligence, ed. Kenneth G. Robertson, 55-84. New York: St. Martin's, 1987.

Maiolo, Joseph A. The Royal Navy and Nazi Germany: A Study in Appeasement and the Origins of the Second World War. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 1998.

Gardner, I&NS 16.3, notes that this work includes "a critical investigation into the role that intelligence played in shaping the British Admiralty's perceptions and policies.... Collection and analysis are both written about at length as is the application of the derived product to policy.... [T]his is a densely written work, rewarding the careful reader but unlikely to be fully appreciated by anyone who has a superficial knowledge or understanding of the period."

McMahon, Paul.

1. "British Intelligence and the Anglo-Irish Truce, July-December, 1921." Irish Historical Studies 35 (2006-2007): 519-540.

2. British Spies and Irish Rebels: British Intelligence and Ireland, 1916-1945. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell & Brewer, 2008.

O'Halpin, I&NS 23.5/fn.15 (Oct. 2008), says that this work "provides an admirably researched survey of Anglo-Irish and Belfast/London security relations up to 1945." In Dublin Review of Books 8 (Winter 2008-09), O'Halpin notes that his "conclusion on finishing this excellent study is that the most striking gap in British intelligence on Ireland, from the early twentieth century to the present day, is not on the republican movement or the Irish state, but on Ulster loyalism."

For Deirdre McMahon, Irish Times, 23 Aug. 2008, the author "writes lucidly and sensibly on a subject that often attracts fevered treatment, and he makes excellent use of recently released intelligence material in both Irish and British archives."

Milmo, Cahal. "Forget Bond, MI5 Wanted Its Spies Short and Static." The Independent (UK), 5 Apr. 2010. [http://www.independent.co.uk]

A secret file, released at the National Archives, details "the activities of Section B6, the outpost of MI5 used to tail threats to national security." The file "includes a history of B6 written by an anonymous veteran surveillance officer.... After its formation shortly before the First World War, the unit ... grew to 40 members by the beginning of the Second World War and was dealing with 140 cases a year by 1942."

O'Halpin, Eunan. "Intelligence and Anglo-Irish Relations, 1922-1973." In  Intelligence, Statecraft and International Power: Papers Read before the 27th Irish Conference of Historians Held at Trinity College, Dublin, 19-21 May 2005, eds. Eunan O'Halpin, Robert Armstrong, and Jane Ohlmeyer, 132-150. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2006.

O'Malley, Kate. "Indian Political Intelligence (IPI): The Monitoring of Real and Possible Danger?" In Intelligence, Statecraft and International Power: Papers Read before the 27th Irish Conference of Historians Held at Trinity College, Dublin, 19-21 May 2005, eds. Eunan O’Halpin, Robert Armstrong, and Jane Ohlmeyer. Historical Studies 25. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2006.

Satia, Priya. Spies in Arabia: The Great War and the Cultural Foundations of Britain's Covert Empire in the Middle East. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Peake, Studies 52.3 (Sep. 2008) and Intelligencer 16.2 (Fall 2008), finds this to be a "confused and confusing book." The author "provides little new about the events already described by other historians." In addition, the term covert empire "is never defined," and the narrative displays a "pervasive semantic ambiguity."

For Tusan, H-Albion, H-Net Reviews [http://www.h-net.org], Sep. 2008, this work is "[w]ell researched and cogently argued." It "analyzes the exploits of intelligence agents in order to understand British cultural, military, and political perceptions of the region that came to be known as Arabia (present-day Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq).... One of the book's key contributions to both cultural history and the history of the British Empire is how it pushes the boundaries of cultural explanations of the interwar period by placing violence at the center of the story."

Thomas, Martin. "Anglo-French Imperial Relations in the Arab World: Intelligence Liaison and Nationalist Disorder, 1920–1939." Diplomacy & Statecraft 17, no. 4 (2006): 771-798.

Turi, John. England's Greatest Spy: Eamon De Valera.  London: Stacey International, 2009.

As expected, this work caused considerable controversy. For prepublication feature articles on the book, see Spain, Irish Independent, 26 Oct. 2009, and Dwyer, Irish Examiner, 31 Oct. 2009.

De Valera biographer Tim Pat Coogan, Irish Independent, 28 Nov. 2009, says that he "put down the book with a feeling of fervent hope that people like Turi are not currently employed in supplying intelligence reports to the White House.... This selective use of quotations [from the reviewer's biography of de Valera], an occupational hazard for historians, contributes not to truth but to bad history.... I have never found a scrap of evidence to support the contention that Eamon de Valera was a British spy and Turi has not produced any either."

McCarthy, Sunday Independent, 15 Nov. 2009, notes that "De Valera was never short of enemies over the course of his long life.... And now an American writer suggests he was really a British spy.... The absurdity of this thesis should not, however, obscure de Valera's very profound Anglophile streak.... Dev wasn't turned by the British spooks, but he was charmed by her parliamentary genius and by what Burke once called her liberal descent."

Peake, Studies 54.4 (Dec. 2010), notes that the documents that might prove the author's case "remain locked in the British archives. Thus the title claims a bit more than the book proves -- cause and effect remain obscure when espionage is considered." For a review of what Irish historians have said about Turi's thesis, see Shortall, Sunday Times, 1 Nov. 2009.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Mathtech. Office of Research and Development. Covert Rearmament in Germany, 1919-1939: Deception and Misperception. Washington, DC: March 1979.

Constantinides: "Based on overt material, the study provides some valuable insights, lists a number of lessons, and makes a start in exploring an important subject." It does not, however, answer the question as to "whether deception or misperception (or self-deception) was the more important ingredient in Allied policy toward covert German evasions."

Wade, Alexander G. Spies Today. London: S. Paul, 1939.

Peake (in personal correspondence) notes that this book "focuses on the interwar period and the threat of German spies in England that turned out to be overrated. The singular feature of the book is that it is one of the first to have chapters on women spies and assert that they can do just as good a job as men."

Wark, Wesley K. "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.

West, Nigel. [Rupert Allason] MASK: MI5's Penetration of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Oxford: Routledge, 2005.

Thurlow, I&NS 21.1 (Feb. 2006), says that "[t]his book is hybrid; a cross between an account of some of the counter-intelligence and counter-espionage operations against the CPGB, the Comintern and Soviet Russia between 1920 and 1945, and the editing of important documents from recently declassified MI5 files." However, it is "neither a coherent narrative nor a satisfactory presentation of edited documents."

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