Hitler's Man in Havana
Heinz Luning and Nazi Espionage in Latin America
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
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Latin America was one of the few parts of the world that was not directly involved in World War II. As air raids and land campaigns laid waste to cities and countryside in Asia, Europe, and Africa, Latin America appeared to have remained at the margins of the drama that engulfed the vast portion of humanity. ...
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On August 31, 1942, the combined efforts of British, Cuban, and U.S. counterintelligence captured a German Abwehr (intelligence) agent, A-3779, Heinz August Adolf Sirich L�ning (aliases: Lumann, Enrique Augusto Luni, Rafael Castillo, Manuel Gonz�lez, and numerous other code or cover names). ...
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Introduction: Pushed to the Edge of Defeat in 1942
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The Lüning episode had characteristics of the contemporary “weapons of mass destruction” phenomenon. It was seized as an opportunity to manipulate opinion and to produce beneficial rewards and consequences for these manipulators. Political, military, and counterespionage leaders sought praise, prestige, and power for their institutions. ...
1. A Troubled Life
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In September 1942, the recently captured Nazi Abwehr agent in Havana Heinz August L�ning was considered a master spy and the most important spy captured in the Western Hemisphere. Initially, the FBI-SIS suspected that this Nazi headed a spy network that was instrumental in German U-boat successes in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. ...
2. The World He Scarcely Knew
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Despite being considered by several Allied officials the most important Nazi spy caught in Latin America during World War II, Heinz L�ning knew little about the region where he was to do his secret work and meet his end. Nor did he understand well the strategic security importance of Cuba and the greater Caribbean. ...
3. Back to School! Trained as a Nazi Spy
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In July 1941, Hans Joachim Koelln arranged for Lüning to enter the Abwehr academy in Hamburg. From the beginning, Lüning seemed anxious to go to the Western Hemisphere. Later, after he was captured, rumors surfaced about earlier Abwehr service. ...
4. Tested in Action
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Despite a rather dismal record of education in his young life, Lüning had finished the Abwehr academy. This may say more about the Abwehr’s need for agents than Lüning’s maturity or suitability as an agent. Perhaps the Abwehr was more concerned about getting people into Latin America than locating and training qualified agents. ...
5. Failure and Fatality
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To all appearances, the Germans operated an effective, dangerous spy network. The evidence was the catastrophically successful German U-boat campaign in the Gulf-Caribbean from February to November 1942. Presumably, terminating the German spy network in the Caribbean would involve hard work, intrigue, cunning, and humor. ...
6. Their Man in Havana
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On October 25, 1942, Washington, D.C., police motorcycles escorted a vain Cuban chief of police, General Manuel Benítez, through the capital, for a meeting with J. Edgar Hoover. Benítez and Hoover basked in the light of photographers’ flashbulbs as they shared the glory of capturing Germany’s master spy in the Americas. They also shared a cover-up. ...
7. Graham Greene's Man in Havana
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Lüning was reincarnated fifteen years later in the guise of James Wormold, Great Britain’s and Graham Greene’s “man in Havana.” Graham Greene, who served in MI6 and shared responsibility for oversight of British counterespionage in the Caribbean in 1943 and 1944, apparently drew on the importance assigned to Lüning and the large volume of ma-...
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Lüning’s brief career served others more effectively than it served him. He was, in fact, first Hitler’s, then Canaris’s, Benítez’s, Batista’s, Braden’s, and Hoover’s man in Havana. After the war, Lüning became Theodore Koop’s, Kurt Singer’s, Klaus-Peter Bochow’s, and Graham Greene’s man in Havana. ...
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2008