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The double-cross system in the war of 1939 to 1945

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: The double-cross system in the war of 1939 to 1945
Author(s): Masterman, J. C.
Date published: 1972
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press
"By means of the double-cross system we actively ran and controlled the German espionage system in this country." This extraordinary claim is made in this British top secret intelligence report written by an Oxford don at the end of World War II. The Masterman Report, now made available for the first time, with the permission of Her Majesty{u2019}s Government, describes the double-cross system and offers an account of its workings which clearly substantiates the claim. The double-cross system was a remarkable apparatus of deception whereby German agents captured in Great Britain were induced to serve the Allied cause by supplying the German officers with information devised and manipulated by British intelligence. In the Masterman Report the theory and practice of this device, which in the end contributed substantially to the Allied military success, is laid out in fascinating detail. The author discloses the careful process by which the captured spy was brought into effective British service and the necessity for total psychological empathy between the British spymaster and the Nazi agent. He describes the problem of providing credible messages for return to the enemy and, ultimately, the use of this "traffic" in the actual conduct of strategic deception. Here at last is the explanation of how Hitler and the German army were fooled into believing that the Allied D Day landings would be made in the Pas de Calais rather than in Normandy. Double agentry was an engrossing game and the stakes were high. This important document in the history of World War II uncovers the complex story of the doublecross system from its origins in 1939 through the early defensive achievements of 1941 and on to the aggressive coups of 1942-43 and of the last years of the war in Europe. Included in the myriad of detail are the activities of the superspies to whom the British gave such astonishing and apt cover names as Tricycle, Garbo, Zigzag, Snow, Lipstick, and Treasure. The Double-Cross System in the War of 1939 to 1945{u2019} is an official report by a man who played a conspicuous role in this adventure. It is a lucid narrative which combines the scrupulous accuracy of a historical account with the liveliness of drama. Sir John Masterman has produced a document from which could be quarried countless spy-story plots, none stranger than the true events he relates.


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