Stalin's Secret War: Soviet Counterintelligence against the Nazis, 1941-1945

Stalin's Secret War: Soviet Counterintelligence against the Nazis, 1941-1945

by Robert W. Stephan
     
 

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The Soviet-German War of 1941-1945 was the most extensive intelligence/counterintelligence war in modern history, involving the capture, torture, deportation, execution, and "doubling" of tens of thousands of agents—most of them Soviet citizens. While Russian armies fought furiously to defeat the Wehrmacht, Stalin's security services waged an equally ruthless

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Overview

The Soviet-German War of 1941-1945 was the most extensive intelligence/counterintelligence war in modern history, involving the capture, torture, deportation, execution, and "doubling" of tens of thousands of agents—most of them Soviet citizens. While Russian armies fought furiously to defeat the Wehrmacht, Stalin's security services waged an equally ruthless secret war against Hitler's spies, as well as against the Soviet population. For the first time, Robert Stephan now combines declassified U.S. intelligence documents, captured German records, and Russian sources, including a top-secret Soviet history of its intelligence and security services, to reveal the magnitude and scope of the brutal but sophisticated Soviet counterintelligence war against Nazi Germany.

Employing as many as 150,000 trained agents across a 2,400-mile front, the Soviets neutralized the majority of the more than 40,000 German agents deployed against them. As Stephan shows, their combination of Soviet military deception operations and State Security's defeat of the Abwehr's human intelligence effort had devastating consequences for the German Army in every major battle against the Red army, including Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk, the Belorussian offensive, and the Vistula-Oder operation.

Simultaneously, Soviet State Security continued to penetrate the world's major intelligence services including those of its allies, terrorize its own citizens to prevent spying, desertion, and real or perceived opposition to the regime, and run millions of informants, making the USSR a vast prison covering one sixth of the world's surface.

Stephan discusses all facets of the Soviet counterintelligence effort, including the major Soviet "radio games" used to mislead the Germans—operations Monastery, Berezino, and those that defeated Himmler's Operation Zeppelin. He also gives the most comprehensive account to date of the Abwehr's infamous agent "Max," whose organization allegedly ran an entire network of agents inside the USSR, and reveals the reasons for Germany's catastrophic under-estimation of Soviet forces by more than one million men during their 1944 summer offensive in Belorussia.

Richly detailed and epic in scope, Stalin's Secret War opens up a previously hidden dimension of World War II.

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Editorial Reviews

American Historical Review
Stephan's thorough and imaginative research sets a standard that other historians working on intelligence should emulate.
Parameters
An indispensable account of this dimension of the war on the Eastern Front.
Journal of Intelligence History
Likely to remain the standard book on the subject for years to come. A rewarding and informative read.
Journal of Military History
A powerful view of Soviet counterintelligence efforts—the best we are likely to see for some time to come.
Library Journal
Historians trained before the fall of the USSR were weaned on the pervasive antagonisms of the Cold War; anything positive the Soviet Union did during World War II was suspect. Given the closed nature of the former Soviet Union, adequate research has never been done on Soviet counterintelligence until now. Stephen, a CIA specialist in Russian military and intelligence issues, uses the secret files just now beginning to open as well as British and American files and previous sketchy Russian works to triangulate information about the effectiveness of Soviet Counterintelligence during the Soviet-German war of 1941-45. His research indicates that "the scale, scope, and complexity of many of these Soviet operations rivaled or arguably exceeded those of the British Twenty Committee." Stephen's stated goal is to "stimulate further research on combat counterintelligence in general, lay out the current state of the Soviet equivalent of the British Twenty Committee, and induce Russians to publish a declassified credible history of their operations against the Germans that meets Western historiographic standards." Achieving these goals lies mostly in the future, but he has succeeded in pulling together a credible accounting of the accomplishments of Soviet counterintelligence of World War II. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Harry Willems, Southeast Kansas Lib. Syst., Iola Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780700618248
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Publication date:
09/08/2011
Pages:
364
Sales rank:
1,442,996
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Robert W. Stephan, an adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics, served in the CIA from 1987 to 2006, specializing in Russian military and intelligence issues.

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