The Hunt for Nazi Spies: Fighting Espionage in Vichy France by Simon Kitson
From 1940 to 1942, French secret agents arrested more than 2,000 spies working for the Germans and executed dozens of them - despite the cooperation of the Vichy government announced…
The Hunt for Nazi Spies synopsis
From 1940 to 1942, French secret agents arrested more than 2,000 spies working for the Germans and executed dozens of them - despite the cooperation of the Vichy government announced with the Third Reich. In a previous chapter of the history of the Second World War, this narrow activity was the subject of "chasing Nazi spies," an account of the Vichy regime's attempts to preserve sovereignty while supporting the Nazi occupiers.
Simon Kitsson tells this remarkable story of his findings - the first by any historian - of the thousands of Vichy documents seized by the Nazis and the Soviets in turn, and returned to France only in the 1990s. His leading police operation reveals a paradox: a French government that has been hunting down left-wing activists and supporters of Charles de Gaulle's free French forces is also undermining the influence of German spies who were hunting down the same Gaulle and Resistance.
In the light of this apparent contradiction, Kitson does not deny that Vichy is committed to helping the Nazi cause, but it illuminates the complex agendas that characterized cooperation and show how it could have been anti-German and anti-diaspora. Combining accurate conclusions with dramatic stories about the lives of spies on both sides, The Hunt for Nazi Spies adds an important new dimension to our understanding of the French impasse under German occupation and the mysterious world of espionage in World War II..
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