Hitler regarded Brazil under the dictator Vargas as a potential German ally; and that possibility--plus the country's strategic position, vast raw materials, and large German community--made it a prime target for German intelligence efforts. A parallel mission was to spy on the American military buildup in strategic northeastern Brazil and to transmit to Germany reports from Nazi agents in the United States. Hilton demolishes the long-held belief that Argentina, not Brazil, served as the principal center of wartime Nazi activities in South America. They recruited mail-openers much of the Nazi reporting was done through the mail, using invisible inks and microdots , and made the bizarre discovery that the most dexterous ones were women with ''slender, attractive legs. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1947. Former Integralistas accused him of being a Central Intelligence Agency operative, and attempts were made to close Brazilian archives to American researchers.
This whole story is now told, in immense detail, by Mr. Most of the Abwehr agents were German businessmen, though some were Brazilian-born, sent from Germany or recruited locally; only a few were intelligence professionals or military attaches. Hilton writes, differs from the original Portuguese version because it incorporates new material from declassified O. The German Fifth Column in the Second World War. The Germans wanted to track movements both of troopships destined for the Middle East and the Pacific and of merchantmen convoys bearing vital foodstuffs and strategic materials for Britain so that they could better direct their U-boats for the kill. Year after year, we learn something new about the triumphs and defeats, the imagination, sophistication, dedication and courage - as well as the stupidity, greed and sloth - of the rival intelligence services who were then engaged in lethal combat around the globe.
Kingston and Montreal, Canada: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1985. He first published his findings in Brazil in his 1977 book ''Suastica sobre o Brasil'' ''Swastika over Brazil''. President Truman later commuted the sentences of the friends and relatives. As it happened, United States Signal Intelligence Service radio monitors intercepted the messages and provided the British with a timely warning; otherwise, Nazi submarine packs prowling the South Atlantic might well have sunk the ship. Hitler's Secret War in South America 1939-1945: German Military Espionage and Allied Counterespionage in Brazil. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
Useful footnotes are on pp. The British turned at least one of the important Abwehr agents into a double agent. Also mentioned is the arrest of 14 friends and relatives of the agents, and the conviction of 10 of them. New York: David McKay Company, 1971. In reality, it was so important that both Washington and London went to extraordinary lengths to eradicate the German espionage networks there - not a simple proposition given the fact that for a long time key Brazilian officials including the Federal police chief were frankly pro-Axis.
The Beach Patrol and Corsair Fleet. German Espionage and Sabotage Against the U. Gimpel, Erich with Will Berthold. We know how the theft of the German ''Enigma'' enciphering machine and sheer mathematical genius enabled the British to penetrate Nazi military communications, and how the United States Navy broke the Japanese codes. Organized in two independent main networks and eight cells and subcells there was even a Hungarian cell , the Abwehr agents fought among themselves over funds and the use of clandestine radio transmitters. Some of the key operatives were ardent womanizers, who violated elementary intelligence work rules by keeping mistresses. For the story of the two agents landed in November 1944, see pp.
The net result was the virtual destruction of German efforts by the end of 1942. Hilton points out, the operations were in dead earnest. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1960. New York: Random House, 1961. And throughout the war, the State Department and the American Embassy in Rio de Janeiro were under unrelenting pressure from the United States military to destroy Nazi intelligence operations in Brazil. U-Boats Against Canada: German Submarines in Canadian Waters.
Hitler's Undercover War: The Nazi Espionage Invasion of the U. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. In March 1942, German agents in Rio de Janeiro and in the northeastern city of Recife informed their headquarters through clandestine radio transmissions that the British liner Queen Mary, carrying 9,000 American troops, was sailing along the Brazilian coast. Hitler's Spies and Saboteurs: Based on the German Secret Service War Diary of General Lahousen. It took the Allies - and those Brazilian police officials who were willing to help them - about two years to finish off the Abwehr in Brazil. They Came to Kill: The Story of Eight Nazi Saboteurs in America. The Atlantic Battle Won, May 1943 - May 1945.
Most crucial in their success was the decrypting of Abwehr radio traffic, but the campaign importantly upgraded the capabilities of the Latin American intelligence agencies as well. Hilton, a professor of history at Louisiana State University. Hitler's secret war in South America 1939-1945: German military espionage and Allied counterespionage in Brazil User Review - Not Available - Book Verdict Published initially in Brazil and later in the United States in 1981 in an English-language version, Hilton's book unravels a true story that could rival the best espionage novel. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1958. But here, as elsewhere, the policy failed: the German networks produced mainly data on shipping and naval movements; the spies--expatriate German businessmen or known Axis sympathizers, for the most part--were not only easy to spot, they were constantly at odds. In the public mind, as is true even today, Brazil was at best a secondary security concern for the Allies. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems.
Perhaps the most interesting portion of Mr. Roosevelt and the British, fearful that Brazil might become the staging ground for a Nazi invasion of the Western hemisphere, launched a sweeping counterespionage campaign, coordinated by the British Security Coordination Office in New York and the nascent American intelligence effort in Washington. He writes, in explaining why the Abwehr became so engaged in Brazil, that the German Admiral Karl Donitz ''resisted pressure from his advisers to dispatch units to the South Atlantic in 1940 largely because tracking the British convoys there was so difficult'' and that ''the ultimate success or failure in the sea contest, therefore, might depend on the quality and quantity of information that could be obtained about ships servicing the enemy. Wighton, Charles and Gunter Peis. Guarding the United States and Its Outposts. The amateurs, usually short on money, tended to be careless. .
It describes in detail the Allies' real battle against the Abwehr, a struggle highlighted by the interception and deciphering of German radio transmissions. New York: Random House, 1998. In perspective, much of the Allied counterespionage effort may sound like intelligence fun and games. Hilton named a number of members of the pro-Nazi Integralista Party, dissolved in 1938 after an abortive coup d'etat, as active German espionage agents, his book triggered something of a storm in Brazil. Hilton's superbly researched and extremely readable ''Hitler's Secret War in South America 1939-1945,'' which for the first time outlines the German effort to establish espionage networks in Brazil to monitor Allied shipping in the South Atlantic and beyond. New York: Random House, 1956. The Battle of the Atlantic, September 1939 - May 1943.