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Why was German Intell Ineffective on the Russian Front?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: March 25, 2014 
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How was it Adolf Hitler's Military Intelligence of the Russians on all the battle front in Russia was so poor? How was it German Military, Abwehr, was ineffective?

J. O'Connell

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German intelligence had a spotty career on both fronts throughout World War II, sometimes scoring coups, other times making horrendous errors in analysis and sometimes leaking information that suggests that some of its member were not so loyal—starting with the head of the Abwehr, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, who was dismissed from his post by Adolf Hitler in February 1944, (replaced by the more loyal Walter Schellenberg) subsequently placed under house arrest and ultimately convicted of treason, for which he was sent to Flossenbürg prison camp, stripped naked and hanged on April 9, 1945. On the other side of the coin, one has to give credit to Soviet intelligence for being good, at least from Barbarossa onward, enlisting German communists willing to keep their real convictions under wraps, such as Tokyo attaché Richard Sorge and Rudolf Rössler, who ran a supremely effective spy ring in Switzerland under the code name "Lucy."



Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
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One Response to “Why was German Intell Ineffective on the Russian Front?”

  1. 1
    Jules says:

    Interesting…. I was always under the impression that "Lucy" was no more or less than a deliberate filter for "Ultra" intelligence product supplied to the Soviets by Britain.

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