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World War II Re-explored

Some New Millenium Studies in the History of the Global Conflict

Edited By Jarosław Suchoples, Stephanie James and Barbara Törnquist-Plewa

This volume is a collection of thirty papers written by authors from around the world. The writers focus on topics related to their own research interests. As a result, readers obtain a worldwide perspective on World War II from academics working on nearly every continent, proving that World War II was, probably, the first ever truly global experience for humanity. Present are many and different perspectives on the war. Eighty years after the end of World War II, these academics share their knowledge and reflections about a gruesome, but still not very remote time. In the new millennium, their studies should remind readers that the ‘end of history’ has been an impossible illusion and warn that peace and stability in international relations are not a given.

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British Security Agencies

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and Suspected German Espionage Couriers during the ‘Phoney War’

Abstract: This chapter examines British security authorities’ investigations of intercontinental passengers suspected of being German agents or espionage couriers during the Phoney War. The study exploits the ideas of microhistory as it focuses on small details and by doing so seeks to uncover fresh insights into larger themes concerning World War Two intelligence. The chapter’s emphasis is on the global aspects of interstate and intrastate intelligence-sharing, a standard theme of intelligence history. It explores the grounds on which British security officials started the investigation of passengers, the methods they used to deal with the information they received, and the part intelligence liaison played in the investigation process. Passengers became suspects on several grounds, including suspicious travel motives, employment at German diplomatic representations or companies and family relations. British intelligence obtained information through several means, such as contacts with American and Belgian intelligence services, open sources, and anonymous tip-offs. Delays in the transmission of information was the most significant weakness in the investigation process.

Keywords: intelligence-liaison, espionage couriers, British intelligence, Phoney War, microhistory

Introduction

Espionage couriers have received little attention in the historiography of the Second World War, or indeed of any period. One book which gives some thought on their position and status is Robert Popple’s popular history of Lawrence Fox, a Canadian Cold War Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) agent. He was sent on several undercover assignments to Eastern Europe in...

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