- Hardcover: 406 pages
- Publisher: Irish Academic Press Ltd (1 Oct. 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0716527561
- ISBN-13: 978-0716527565
- Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,017,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Irish Secrets: German Espionage in Wartime Ireland, 1939-1945 Hardcover – 1 Oct 2002
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More About the Author
"Irish Secrets" tells the little-known history of German military espionage activity in Ireland - despite Ireland's neutral stance - before and during World War II. It details illicit contacts between officers of the Abwehr (German Military Intelligence)and leaders of the Irish Republican Army with the intent of coordinating actions against British targets and the Irish State. The book also examines the extent of pro-German support in Ireland, the fledgling Nazi party in Ireland, and the activities of Irish civilians and diplomats abroad who offered to serve Hitler's Germany. It scrutinizes the personalities and mission profiles of the eleven German agents (from both the Abwehr and the SS intelligence service, the SD) who operated with widely varying degrees of success on Irish soil, and unearths the stories of previously unknown German operatives and Irish supporters. Many of the most compelling scenarios revolve around the use of recruited Irish nationals for espionage work, some details of which are still classified by the British and Irish governments.The book explores why German intelligence ultimately failed, and proposes that the German effort represented a genuine menace to the Irish State and the Allies alike, which seriously threatened the official position of Irish neutrality.
Top Customer Reviews
I found Mark Hull's book very refreshing in a world of military history where personal biase is often a leading factor, hence many important facts being either deliberately misinterpreted or completely swept under the carpet. Mark Hull's book says it without flowers!
I hope to hear more from this author as, from his first excellent book, it seems to me he is interested in bringing to light and to our reading knowledge, facts and events that we know little about rather than raking over much known old ground.
As the nites draw in, this is the perfect book to settle down with and become entralled by!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Mark Hull, a professor of modern history at St. Louis University, has produced the most detailed study of the agents sent to Ireland by Germany. They included a German circus weight-lifter, an Indian and two South Africans. Most were en route for missions in England, but all were caught and incarcerated in Athlone army camp in the Irish midlands (luckily for them because they would have faced executiion if discovered in wartime Britain).
The most colourful agent by far was Dr Hermann Goertz, who parachuted into Ireland just north of Dublin in 1940. Goertz was wearing his Luftwaffe uniform and medals in the mistaken belief that he would be shot if caught in civilian attire. Goertz who was in his 50s and a First World War veteran, asked a startled Irish farmer if he had landed in Northern Ireland by mistake. The farmer asked the German agent "You wouldn't happen to know Ballivor?" (the nearest village), at which point the conversation abruptly halted as Goertz went on the run.
As Professor Hull points out, Goertz had the most success among the German agents, remaining at large for 18 months. But it's believed that the Irish Army deliberately kept him on a long leash, checking all those with whom he came in contact, including the German ambasador, Dr Eduard Hempel.
Goertz was unsuited to a spying mission, however, and spent his time in prison writing love stories, practising suicide drills, and dreaming about taking over the leadership of the IRA (Irish Republican Army). After his post-war release, he was so alarmed at the prospect of being repatriated to Allied-controlled Germany (he feared he would be tortured to death by the Russians) that he took a cyanide pill and died instantly, in 1947.
Professor Hull's book - which is destined to become a standard work of historical reference - will prove an invaluable read for anyone intersted in recent Irish history, Ireland's historical links with Germany and, in particular, Nazi Germany's attitude to Europe's neutral states (which included Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden and Turkey).
It is noteworthy that the foreword for Irish Secrets was written by none other than Enno Stephan (the former head of German Radio's French-language service), whose 1963 book "Spies in Ireland" did much of the spadework on this fascinating topic.
(Dr David O'Donoghue, Dublin, Ireland).
I am not educated with this part of history. Frankly, I find it boring in the classroom, but not with "Irish Secrets." You will get to know the people and feel their half achievements and full loss. You will go to Ireland and have landed in the wrong area only to come upon a long hike through the roads, I believe the gent walked about 70 miles...of which he was dressed out of sorts! He is very easily spotted as a foreigner - not too well planned. You'll have illicit affairs, entrapment, thrilling escapes and ultimately see the inside of a jail cell.
This book is beyond a doubt, one of its own kind and should be read for the classroom, but also for pleasure! A simple "Spies Like Us" all the way humor. The classroom reading list should include "Irish Secrets" for scholars to learn a bit of forgotten history and enjoy a well written bit of work on the authors part. Irish Secrets is very well written and thorough in its recalling of a time went wrong. I enjoyed the book from start to finish and urge others to do the same.
The book gives a lot of information on espionage itself, the use of codes, signals, the "book code" and background such as that so it is a more of a history of espionage in the 20th century than about Irish internal politics.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in Irish History of this period, espionage, propaganda, or World War II history. Its well and lively written with plenty of photographs throughout.
I would recommend this book for a history class or just for the enjoyment of sitting down on the sofa with a good book and a cup of wine for a relaxing evening at home.
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