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Admiral Canaris : How Hitler's Chief of Intelligence Betrayed the Nazis - David Alan Johnson

Admiral Canaris

How Hitler's Chief of Intelligence Betrayed the Nazis

By: David Alan Johnson

Hardcover | 18 June 2024

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Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, Adolf Hitler's chief of military intelligence, accomplished something that neither President Franklin D. Roosevelt nor Prime Minister Winston Churchill could ever achieve - he saved the lives of hundreds Jewish refugees and other racial and political undesirables by rescuing them from Nazi Germany and other Nazi-occupied countries. Seen as a quiet and uninteresting career naval officer, Canaris' unmilitary bearing was actually a cover he had devised for himself, camouflaging a very sharp, and rebellious, mind. Admiral Canaris is a page-turning story of one of the most important and least likely saboteurs within the Third Reich.



Initially a supporter of Hitler and the plan to re-arm Germany, Canaris was appointed to direct the Abwehr - Germany's military intelligence agency - after a long career in the navy built on fostering relationships with foreign agents. But when the Nazis began their campaign of assassination and terror, including the systematic murder of thousands of Jews and other "undesirables," the admiral became determined to do everything possible to fight Hitler and the Nazis. After the failure of Operation Pastorious, a spy mission to disarm American manufacturing plants, Hitler extolled his executive committee for risking German lives instead of the lives of "criminals or Jews." That speech gave Canaris an idea. He would go on to disguise refugees as Abwehr agents and sent them to South America, under the official designation of "infiltration agents," where they joined hundreds of authentic German agents operating in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and nearly every other South American country.



Canaris' anti-Nazi activities, along with some health issues, finally resulted in his dismissal as head of the Abwehr. He was suspected of inefficiency and incompetence by senior Nazi officers - who had no idea that he had turned against the Hitler regime -- and exiled to a desk-job in the Economic Warfare Department. Little did the F?hrer know, this placement was the best thing that could have happened to Canaris' resistance efforts. Through in-depth research and affirming storytelling, author David Alan Johnson paints the picture of a driven and devious mind working amidst the darkest evil to save all those that he could.

Industry Reviews

"A solid portrait of the iconic Nazi."

-- "Kirkus Reviews"

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