by R. T. Howard
Exactly a century ago, intelligence agencies across Europe first became aware of a fanatical German nationalist whose political party was rapidly gathering momentum. His name was Adolf Hitler.
From 1933, these spy services watched with growing alarm as they tried to determine what sort of threat Hitler’s regime would now pose to the rest of Europe. Would Germany rearm, either covertly or in open defiance of the outside world? Would Hitler turn his attention eastwards – or did he also pose a threat to the west? What were the feelings and attitudes of ordinary Germans, towards their own regime as well as the outside world?
Despite intense rivalry and mistrust between them, these spy chiefs began to liaise and close ranks against Nazi Germany. At the heart of this loose, informal network were the British and French intelligence services, alongside the Poles and Czechs. Some other countries – Holland, Belgium, and the United States – stood at the periphery.