World War II

The British Services

MI5 and the XX System

A - L

Booth, Nicholas. ZIGZAG: The Incredible Wartime Exploits of Double Agent Eddie Chapman. London: Piatkus, 2007. New York: Arcade, 2007.

Clark comment: "ZIGZAG" was Chapman's codename in MI5's Double-Cross operation. His obituary appears in the Telegraph (London), "Eddie Chapman -- Safe-blower Who Became the Wartime Double Agent Zig-Zag and Outfoxed the Germans," 20 Dec. 1997.

MI5 has a Web page devoted to Chapman: "History: Cases from the National Archives -- Eddie Chapman (Agent Zigzag)," at: https://www.mi5.gov.uk/home/mi5-history/world-war-ii/eddie-chapman---agent-zigzag.html. Additional documents on the case are at: https://www.mi5.gov.uk/home/mi5-history/world-war-ii/eddie-chapman---agent-zigzag/documents-from-the-chapman-case.html.

Peake, Studies 51.3 (2007), notes that the author "had the cooperation of Chapman's wife and family, and his story is full of details about [Chapman's] origins, his numerous failed business ventures, his female admirers, his Rolls Royce, and his long, but successful, battles to publish his memoirs and make a movie about his double-agent life." A Publishers Weekly reviewer (via Amazon.com) calls this a "lively and sympathetic account" of the petty crook turned double agent. However, the author's "transparent cheerleading for Chapman detracts from an otherwise enjoyable biography."

For Gallehawk, I&NS 24.6 (Dec. 2009), this work "benefit[s] greatly from the input and reminiscences" of Chapman's "sometimes long-suffering wife and then widow." However, what makes this book "invaluable ... for this whole saga is the considerable amount of material devoted to Chapman's life after the war." This is "a very worthwhile read." See also, Macintyre, Agent ZIGZAG (2007); and Owen, The Eddie Chapman Story (1954).

Bowcott, Owen. "MI5 tales: An Imperfect Spy -- MI5 Files Reveal a Nazi Spy Interested Only in Good Food, Zionist Bomb Attacks in London and the Seduction of UK Spies."  Guardian, 8 Mar. 2010. [http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/mar/08/spy-mi5-files-nazi]

According to MI5 files released to the National Archives on 8 March 2010, Swiss-born German spy Werner Strebel "passed on only 'entirely worthless' information to his Nazi spymasters." Declassified documents from 1947 show that "MI5 officers believed Zionist 'extremists' were raising funds in Britain to pay for the nascent Israeli state and carrying out bomb attacks in Britain." Other Mi5 files indicate that Sophie Kukralova, a suspected German agent, "caused a scandal when she developed a 'most undesirable familiarity' with British intelligence officers in Cairo" during World War II.

Bryden, John. Fighting to Lose: How the German Secret Intelligence Service Helped the Allies Win the Second World War. Toronto: Dundurn, 2014.

Peake, Studies 59.1 (Mar. 2015), says this "attempt[] to rewrite the history of WW II intelligence ... is appalling history." For West, IJI&C 28.1 (Spring 2015), this book "is nothing if not an equal opportunity traducer of reputations and purveyor of indiscriminate smears.... [T]he wholesale rewriting of history ... should not be allowed to pass muster." The author has "pour[ed] tainted water on the pathway to knowledge."

Chapman, Betty, and Ronald L. Bonewitz. Mrs Zigzag: The Extraordinary Life of a Secret Agent's Wife. Stroud, UK: History Press, 2013.

Peake, Studies 58.2 (Jun. 2014), notes that since Mrs. Chapman cooperated with Nicholas Booth in writing Zigzag (2007), "there is little new in Mrs Zigzag." Nevertheless, this "is the only book to describe life with a WW II double agent. It is by no means typical, and it fills a gap."

Day, Peter, and Andrew Alderson. "Top German's Spy Blunders Helped Britain to Win War." Telegraph (London), 23 Apr. 2000. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

Documents at the Public Record Office in London show that "Major Nikolaus Ritter realised as early as 1941,... that his spy network in Britain had been compromised but he never passed on his suspicions to his superiors.... Ritter's failure to report his suspicions paved the way for the success of Operation Double Cross."

See also, Benjamin Fischer, "A.k.a. 'Dr. Rantzau': The Enigma of Major Nikolaus Ritter," Center for the Study of Intelligence Bulletin 11 (Summer 2000): 8-11. [https://www.cia.gov/csi/bulletin/csi11.html#toc7 -- not found 4/5/13]: "[N]o one represented the Abwehr's ambiguous record of occasional success and repeated failure better than Maj. Nikolaus Ritter, whose operational alias was 'Dr. Rantzau.' Ritter, in fact, was intimately involved in one of the service's greatest successes and its two greatest disasters -- the compromise of all Abwehr agents in the United States and Britain."

Destremau, Christian. Opération Garbo: le dernier secret du jour J. Paris: Le Grand livre du mois, 2004. Paris: Perrin, 2004. [pb]

Paraphrased from the publisher's French: The story of Garbo (Juan Pujol) "is told accurately and completely" by the author, working from the declassified files in the British Public Record Office. Garbo allegedly ran "a network of more than twenty agents in England," all of whom "were invented." The fictitious agents "played a vital role in Fortitude," the Allied deception plan for D-Day.

Elliott, Geoffrey. Gentleman Spymaster: How Lt. Col. Tommy "Tar" Robertson Double-crossed the Nazis. London: Methuen, 2011.

Peake, Studies 56.3 (Sep. 2012) and Intelligencer 19.3 (Winter-Spring 2013), notes that Thomas Argyll "Tar" Robertson "was the original architect of the Double-Cross system." The author explains how Robertson used the ability to read German cable traffic to deceive the Germans. This book "provides unusual insights to both double agent operations and the life of one of the best at the task."

Evans, Michael. "Double Dealing Aided the Allies." Times (London), 17 Sep. 1999. [http://www.the-times.co.uk]

The minutes of the XX Committee, "which masterminded the wartime double cross agents," were released by the Public Record Office on 16 September 1999. The minutes "reveal more details of the way the Germans were fooled," showing that the "greatest double cross agent of them all,... Juan Pujol Garcia, codenamed Garbo, played the crucial part in deceiving the Germans over Allied plans for the invasion of Normandy."

Fowler, Simon. "New MI5 Records at the Public Record Office." Labour History Review 63 (1999): 288-296.

Royal Historical Society Database: "Second World War records."

Grosjean, François. "FIDO: French Pilot and Security Service Double Agent Malgré Lui." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 23, no. 2 (Summer 2010): 337-352.

A son tries to reconstruct his father's (Roger Grosjean) relationship with the British Double-Cross system during World War II.

Harris, Tomás. Summary of the GARBO Case. London: Public Record Office, 2000. Also published as: GARBO: The Spy Who Saved D-Day. Intro., Mark Seaman. New York: Crown, 2000. Toronto: Dundurn, 2004. [pb]

Tomás (Tommy) Harris was Juan Pujol/Garbo's Spanish-speaking MI5 case officer.

Juárez, Javier. Juan Pujol, el espía que derrotó a Hitler. Madrid: Temas de Hoy, 2004.

Pujol was "Garbo" in the British Double-Cross system.

Lacey, Nicola. A Life of H.L.A. Hart: The Nightmare and the Noble Dream. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Erskine, Journal of Intelligence History 8.1 (Summer 2008), notes that most of this book covers Hart's "work as a barrister and academic, but part of chapter 5 deals with his wartime work in MI5 (British counter-intelligence)." His main task with MI5's B division (counter-espionage) "was to assimilate and interpret copious, but often very cryptic, ISOS (Sigint) on the Abwehr and Sicherheitsdienst (SD -- the intelligence service of the SS and Nazi Party), plus huge amounts of data from interrogations, the police and other sources." The author "is a law professor, not an intelligence historian, which leads to some detailed errors and omissions."

Lawless, Jill. "WWII British Spies Frustrated by FBI." Associated Press, 4 Sep. 2007. [http://www.ap.com]

Newly declassified files released on 4 September 2007 by the British National Archives "chart the rocky early years of the relationship" between the FBI and the British Security Service (MI5) "and show how cooperation improved over the course of the war."

[Liddell, Guy.]

See Nigel West, ed., The Guy Liddell Diaries -- 1939-1945: MI5's Director of Counter-Espionage in World War II, 2 vols. (London: Routledge, 2005). See also, Eunan O'Halpin, "The Liddell Diaries and British Intelligence History," Intelligence and National Security 20, no. 4 (Dec. 2005): 670-686.

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