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Irish Secrets: German Espionage in Wartime Ireland, 1939-1945 Hardcover – 1 Oct 2002

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • 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)

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Product Description


"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.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Mark Hull's painstaking research is evident from the outset of his book. This book is not about rumours or fiction but of dedicated research covering several continents in his quest to find out the factual truths relating to the collaboration between the Germans and the Irish.
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!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x926534b0) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93131a20) out of 5 stars Stunning insight into a forgotten war 14 May 2003
By Dr David O'Donoghue - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Irish Secrets provides a stunning insight into a now forgotten aspect of the Second World War - Nazi Germany's secret overtures to neutral Ireland, 1939-1945. Berlin sent a "dirty dozen" agents by parachute and U-boat to Ireland, whose wartime leader, Eamon de Valera, was striving to maintain strict neutrality in the face of strong pressure to join the war (mainly from British Premier, Winston Churchill).
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).
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x933d3e40) out of 5 stars Excellent Reading 13 April 2005
By Brinkly - Published on
Format: Paperback
It's not often that a history book comes along that catches my interest. When first starting to read "Irish Secrets," I thought I would be in for another historical timeline reading. As I kept reading, I was captured with the informative and humorous, yet tragic stories. Mark Hull has put real-life incidents together to tell the truth, whether liked or not. You do not get lost in the first chapter with the events occuring out of place, instead, you are given an understanding of the German Intelligence Service and the tools used to achieve an ultimate outcome of events. For Example: agent basic training, radio transmission secrets, secret inks, a coding system, and the people that were chosen.

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.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x991bedd4) out of 5 stars A truly gripping and comprehensive account 3 Feb. 2005
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
Irish Secrets: German Espionage In Wartime Ireland 1939-01945 by Mark M. Hull (Assistant Professor of History, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri) is a 383-page exploration of why World War II German intelligence basically failed in the Irish State, and offers the documented view that the german effort represented a genuine menace to the Allies (including Northern Ireland) as well as the wartime neutrality of the Irish Republic. So much more than a stodgy historical study, Professor Hull offers the reader a truly gripping and comprehensive account of the intelligence war in Ireland and showcases the story of a brilliant, creative, and ultimately successful Irish Military Intelligence in waging a counter-espionage campaign that would overwhelm the German intelligence operations. Strongly recommended for personal and academic World War II Military Studies collections, Trust Yourself To Transform Your Body draws upon newly released intelligence files in several countries, in-depth interviews Professor Hull was able to conduct with surviving participants, and other previously unpublished primary sources.
HASH(0x93131dbc) out of 5 stars Mostly about espionage, avoids too much concentration on the IRA-Germany connection 23 Feb. 2014
By T.Velasquez - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a really good book! Well written, packed with information, its main focus is on the activities of the Abwehr in Ireland from just before World War 2 through the entire conflict. I wanted to read this book as I had saw a documentary on TV about the collusion between the IRA and the Germans during WW2 (plan Kathleen). While the book does talk about Plan Kathleen and does mention the IRA, the author avoids too much discussion about the IRA itself. Most of the attention is on the individual German agents who are drawn colorfully and showing all their failings. It seems Ireland wasn't very high on Canaris' list and he didn't send very good agents there. The fact that he was probably trying to sabotage his own plans (some say Canaris was working against the Nazis) explains why he sent out such obviously poor agents.

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.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9226f5b8) out of 5 stars The Best Spy Book to Date 19 Jun. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book has amazing insight into the realms of Irish and German espionage history. I found the reading to be thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining. Dr. Mark Hull brings a bit of humor into a subject that is difficult to entertain. I have never been an advent reader of any type of historical writings and found that once I started reading, I honestly felt capitivated by the reconstruction of history in this book. Unlike most history books, Dr. Hull has brought to life a writing that is serious in depth of subject, yet could be viewed world wide on a theatre screen as thoroughly enjoyable (James'Bond anyone?).
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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