Friday, 6 July 2012

Eric Kerjean: CANARIS

February 2012, 240 pages

A new and original biography of one of the most troubling figures of the 3rd Reich, Wilhelm Canaris, Hitler’s master spy from 1935 to 1944. A controversial work that puts an end to the myth of Canaris the resistant.
There are few men whose career path is more shadowed with ambiguity than that of Admiral Wilhelm Franz Canaris. To some he seemed the perfect Nazi, determined and loyal, for others the very incarnation of German resistance to Hitler. Where does the true story lie?
A convinced Nazi, close associate of Heydrich, as head of the Abwehr Canaris turned the Reich’s military intelligence unit into a formidable and strategically indispensable part of the war machine—both long previous to the war and during it. And yet the admiral simultaneously became known, from 1941 on, as one of the guardian figures of the resistance in the German armed forces. Though he never actively intervened in resistance projects, the Abwehr chief was always informed of its objectives.

Through a thorough re-examination of the archives, Eric Kerjean reveals that the genius of counter-espionage allowed his intelligence service to become a hotbed of resistance the better to control it. Master of a double game, he participated in the resistance as a mole would in an enemy group, manipulating it in order to prevent its actions. Contrary to the popularly-accepted view that Canaris was a traitor to Hitler, he was in reality his finest servant and his greatest protector.
Lies, dissimulation and treason, this is an essay that reads like a spy novel.
With a doctorate in history, Eric Kerjean is a specialist on the 3rd Reich and civil and military intelligence.