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Hitler's Secret War in South America, 1939–1947

German Military Espionage and Allied Counterespionage in Brazil

Stanley E. Hilton

Publication Year: 1999

Published first in Brazil as Suástica sobre o Brasil, this examination of the rise and fall of German espionage in that country spent months on the best-seller list there and generated a national furor as former spies and collaborationists denounced it as a CIA ploy. Here, for the first time, are the colorful stories of such German agents as “Alfredo,” probably the most important enemy operative in the Americas; “King,” who was decorated for his daring exploits but who carelessly mentioned the real names of his collaborators in secret radio messages; the bumbling Janos Salamon; and the debonair Hans Christian von Kotze, who ultimately betrayed the Abwehr (German Military Intelligence). Eminently readable, Hitler’s Secret War in South America resembles, but is not, fiction. It describes in detail the Allies’ real battle against the Abwehr, a struggle highlighted by the interception and deciphering of German radio transmissions.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press


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pp. i-v


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p. vii-vii

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Introduction to the American Edition

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pp. 1-11

In the years that followed World War II, hundreds of books were written about different aspects of that unprecedented conflict, but the details of the "secret war" in the West were slow to appear, in large part because of agreements concluded in 1945 between the American and ...

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1) Target: Brazil

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pp. 12-27

"Amid the torrent of violent events, one anxiety reigned supreme," wrote Winston Churchill, reflecting on the grim years 1940—41. What was this "mortal danger" that "gnawed" at the indomitable British leader during those somber times? What was the only ...

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2) "Alfredo" and the "Bolívar" Network

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pp. 28-50

In the latter part of October, 1941, a German spy whose code name was "Ivan" traveled from the United States to Rio de Janeiro to consult "Alfredo," an Abwehr agent, about the possibility of establishing a clandestine radio station in the United States. Director of one of ...

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3) The Bolívar Tangents

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pp. 51-63

The policy followed by the Abwehr in Brazil was to saturate the country with agents in the conviction that, despite the inevitable casualties and the inefficiency of some agents, sufficient information would reach Germany to furnish a relatively complete picture of enemy ...

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4) "King" and the Message Center Brazil

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pp. 64-81

The year 1923 was a momentous one in German history. When French and Belgian troops invaded and occupied the industrial Ruhr area because the Weimar government had failed to make reparations payments, the German people responded with a policy of passive ...

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5) Swastika and Sigma

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pp. 82-93

For the Portuguese salesclerk Elisio Teles, the important thing was to have somebody share the rent on the house that he occupied in Santa Teresa. Teles was thirty-six years old, a bachelor, and did not earn much, so he decided in the summer of 1941 to place an ad in the ...

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6) The Hungarian Connection

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pp. 94-105

As the Third Reich extended its dominion over Europe in 1940- 41, the regime in Berlin found ready collaborators in several neighboring states. They became fifth columnists within their own countries— the case of Major Vidkun Quisling in Norway is the most notorious

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7) The Sāo Paulo Listening Post

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pp. 106-114

Gabriela Lázsló was only twenty years old in 1941, but the dilemma she faced was an old one: one man loved her and was supporting her, but she was in love with another. Toward the former, she felt a debt of gratitude. She had arrived in Rio de Janeiro the previous ...

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8) The Starziczny Case

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pp. 115-153

Hans Buckup, von Kotze's businessman friend, was writing a letter to his sister in Germany in April, 1941, when he received word that a German merchant ship, the Hermes, had managed to break the British blockade and reach Rio de Janeiro. "That's marvelous," he exclaimed, and ...

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9) Pearl Harbor and Its Consequences

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pp. 154-182

At the beginning of November, 1941, while Starziczny was trying to recruit "Admiralty," Werner Waltemath was endeavoring to get his transmitter working, and Janos Salamon was feuding with the Hungarian minister, two Japanese agents were carrying out a secret mission in ...

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10) The Allied Counterattack

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pp. 183-229

The question of Nazi activities in Brazil became a matter of serious concern to the Vargas government for the first time in 1938, a year in which diplomatic relations between Rio de Janeiro and Berlin were almost severed as a result of the proselytizing efforts of Nazi party ...

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11) The Collapse

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pp. 230-261

There was little movement on Rua Campos de Carvalho in the southern beach district of Leblon that Tuesday morning in March, 1942. It was only ten o'clock, but the sun stood bright in the sky and it had already become another hot summer day. Readers of the dailies on ...

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12) "Captain Garcia" and the Greenshirts

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pp. 262-279

The Brazilian army captain seemed at first glance to have a reasonably promising career ahead of him. The son of a colonel, he was a licensed pilot and had rendered notable service in the coastal defense sector, working as a fire control officer with the American Military ...

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13) The Buenos Aires-Sāo Paulo-Toronto Circuit

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pp. 280-294

WITH THE COLLAPSE of the small network headed by "Captain Garcia," the only remaining German intelligence-gathering activity in Brazil was being done by the weak listening post set up in Sao Paulo by Werner Waltemath. And that group really had never gotten off the ...

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14) The Abwehr's Last Salvo in Brazil

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pp. 295-312

THE COASTAL DISTRICT of Sao Joao da Barra in the state of Rio de Janeiro was a region of decadent fishing villages whose inhabitants struggled hard to make a living. One of the poorest villages was Gargau, a riverport. There, early on the morning of August 10, 1943, while ...

List of Abbreviations

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p. 313-313


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pp. 315-338


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pp. 339-345


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pp. 347-353

E-ISBN-13: 9780807141946
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807124369

Page Count: 384
Publication Year: 1999