As Britain entered its second winter of World War II, nightly German blitzes rained fire on its cities and the threat of invasion had not yet passed. Britain stood very much alone. Yet wartime recruit and Oxford University professor, J.C. Masterman, had the confidence and foresight to predict a time when the tables could be turned against the Nazis. Since the outbreak of war, the British Security Service MI5 had been collecting a group of double agents. The Germans appeared to trust these spies and pressed them for more information. This presented an enormous challenge for MI5: how to preserve the credibility of their doubles without giving away vital war secrets? In a secret memorandum of 1940, Masterman presented an amazing solution. Crowdy’s new book reveals the content of the now-declassified memorandum and explores to what extent the Allies were able to realize Masterman’s plan to pull off an elaborate hoax on Hitler.
Thomas D. Schoonover, professor emeritus in history at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, will share his impressive research into the Nazi spy story of Heinz August Lüning, discussing how he separated fact from fiction from this story that inspired Graham Greene’s 1958 book, Our Man in Havana. He took a moment to answer some questions about his research and the book; you can meet and discuss Shoonover’s work at noon tomorrow at the International Spy Museum. The event is free and open to the public.
At the beginning of World War II, Heinz August Lüning, posing as a Jewish refugee, was sent to Cuba to spy for the Third Reich. Lüning’s assignment was to collect information about the United States and its allies and report back to the Abwehr, the German military intelligence agency. His Caribbean post was an important vantage point for observing shipping patterns and ship deployments, but things went badly wrong for the bumbling Lüning who was ultimately captured and executed for espionage.