Agent 110: An American Spymaster and the German Resistance in WWII

Agent 110: An American Spymaster and the German Resistance in WWII

by Scott Miller

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Overview

Agent 110: An American Spymaster and the German Resistance in WWII by Scott Miller

The “lively and engrossing” (The Wall Street Journal) story of how OSS spymaster Allen Dulles built an underground network determined to take down Hitler and destroy the Third Reich.

Agent 110 is Allen Dulles, a newly minted spy from an eminent family. From his townhouse in Bern, Switzerland, and in clandestine meetings in restaurants, back roads, and lovers’ bedrooms, Dulles met with and facilitated the plots of Germans during World War II who were trying to destroy the country’s leadership. Their underground network exposed Dulles to the political maneuverings of the Soviets, who were already competing for domination of Germany, and all of Europe, in the post-war period.

Scott Miller’s “absorbing and bracing” (The Seattle Times) Agent 110 explains how leaders of the German Underground wanted assurances from Germany’s enemies that they would treat the country humanely after the war. If President Roosevelt backed the resistance, they would overthrow Hitler and shorten the war. But Miller shows how Dulles’s negotiations fell short. Eventually he was placed in charge of the CIA in the 1950s, where he helped set the stage for US foreign policy. With his belief that the ends justified the means, Dulles had no qualms about consorting with Nazi leadership or working with resistance groups within other countries to topple governments.

Agent 110 is “a doozy of a dossier on Allen Dulles and his early days spying during World War II” (Kirkus Reviews). “Miller skillfully weaves a double narrative of Dulles’ machinations and those of the German resistance” (Booklist) to bring to life this exhilarating, and pivotal, period of world history—of desperate renegades in a dark and dangerous world where spies, idealists, and traitors match wits and blows to ensure their vision of a perfect future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451693409
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 03/07/2017
Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 520,436
File size: 13 MB
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About the Author

Scott Miller is a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. The author of Agent 110: An American Spymaster and the German Resistance in WWII, his first book, The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century, was a Newsweek “must read” summer selection. Mr. Miller spent nearly two decades in Asia and Europe, reporting from more than twenty-five countries. He lives in Seattle.

Read an Excerpt

Agent 110


  • At movie houses across America in 1942, newsreels depicted maps of Europe that showed territory occupied by Germany and its allies. Stretching across the screen, from the English Channel to the Soviet Union, the Nazi reach and terror seemed unstoppable. One small pocket, though, was carefully illustrated to show an area that did not belong to the Germans. Pointing through the projector’s flickering light, parents might have noted to their children that the missing piece of the Third Reich was Switzerland, that country of soaring peaks, fields of cows, and alpine meadows, just as they may have seen in Shirley Temple’s 1937 movie Heidi.

    What few American parents knew was that Switzerland was home to a thriving community of spies. Secret agents—German, Hungarian, Japanese, British, American, Italian, Chinese, Polish, and Soviet—had been drawn to the country for years for its long-standing policy of neutrality and its geographic position at the heart of Europe. By day, secret agents plotted one another’s political destruction. By night, at the Hotel Bellevue Palace, they laughed and drank at tables within easy earshot of each other. At the golf course, intelligence agents politely allowed their faster counterparts from enemy nations to play through. At fragrant bakeries, they patiently stood in the same lines for the morning’s croissants.

    Where so many spies congregated, so did their camp followers, scoundrels hoping to make a quick franc peddling information of suspect quality, resistance fighters, and women willing to trade their bodies to advance their cause. Everyone, or so it seemed, was a double agent trying to keep all the stories straight.

    On a chilly Sunday in January 1943, an American with the physique of a lifelong tennis player strode through the quiet streets of the nation’s financial capital, Zurich. Allen Dulles, a portrait of confidence, had been in Switzerland only a couple of months in the employ of the US government. To anyone who would ask, he would say he served as a special assistant to the American head of mission, Leland Harrison. The claim made sense for someone like him, a suitable way for a former diplomat to do his part for the war effort. Yet aiding the American minister was not the reason he had come to Switzerland. William Donovan, the head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the fledgling American intelligence service, had assigned him to get a Swiss station up and running to spy on Nazi Germany.

    At age forty-nine, Dulles was one of those rare individuals whose vintage only improved with the years. His hair, though slightly thinning, was still sufficient for a respectable part, and his mustache was full. A Wall Street lawyer and a member of a family that ranked among America’s ruling class—two relatives had served as secretaries of state—he projected a worldliness that was unusual for an American. Maybe it was the blue eyes that twinkled behind round rimless glasses or the disarming pipe perched between his teeth, but Dulles could, when he wished, assume an engaging personality that made others take an instant liking.

    Dulles was in Zurich to meet a man he had been warned to avoid, a German named Hans Bernd Gisevius. Like Dulles, Gisevius lived in Switzerland under false pretenses. Officially he carried the title of vice consul attached to the German mission in Zurich. Espionage circles knew that he was really an agent of the Abwehr, the intelligence arm of the German military. As a newcomer, Dulles was an obvious target for Germans like Gisevius who feasted on inexperienced spies. Yet exactly because he was new to town and eager to establish an intelligence network as quickly as possible, Dulles had kept an open mind. “Our countries were at war. A meeting between us was hardly according to protocol,” Dulles later wrote. Checking with what few contacts he had been able to develop, Dulles concluded that if he kept his guard up, meeting the German spy was worth the risk.

    Greeting Gisevius at an undisclosed location, Dulles was confronted with a solidly built, handsome man who was more than a little imposing. Standing some six feet four inches, he was known to his friends as “Der Lange” or “the tall one.” At first blush, Gisevius exuded the air of an academic. With his round thick glasses, he had the look of a “learned professor of Latin or Greek.” Yet he had spent virtually his entire career in German security and police services, including the Prussian Gestapo, and he bore the imprints of the profession. His manner was stiff, formal, and guarded, and he frequently came across as arrogant. One who knew him well attributed a “brutal” aspect to his appearance.

    Gisevius had come to Dulles with a clear agenda. He explained that there were many brave souls in Germany who wanted to rid their country of Adolf Hitler and were ready to take action. All they needed was help from the Americans, which they hoped Dulles could arrange. They could kill or depose the Führer, but Gisevius and his friends needed to know whether Washington would negotiate a peace treaty with a new German government. Overthrowing their Fascist dictator without such assurances, he said, could lead to revolution and chaos.

    Dulles dismissed Gisevius that night without any record that he offered the slightest encouragement. Gisevius would soon travel to Berlin to join fellow conspirators in a bold plot, while Dulles dove into what he considered more important projects.

    • • •

    Though Dulles didn’t take Gisevius seriously that evening, much of what the German said rang true. Allied intelligence services knew there were pockets of resistance within Germany. In company canteens, noisy local beer halls, and even closed-door meeting rooms at the German army headquarters in Berlin, groups of men and women had gathered to plot against Hitler since the first of the eerie torchlight parades in 1933 that signaled the Nazis’ rise to power. Their motivations were varied—religious leaders detested the Führer’s merciless attacks on Jews; politicians, especially those on the left, hated his attitude toward the Communists; and army officers were terrified he would ruin the Wehrmacht. All feared that Hitler was leading their beloved country to ruin.

    Some resistance members had been making their way to the West to issue warnings. In the late 1930s, several had traveled to Switzerland to open lines of communication with the British government. Others had turned to contacts in the British aristocracy. One, a Munich lawyer, Josef Müller, made contact with the British using Pope Pius XII as an intermediary. Still another, the German politician Carl Friedrich Goerdeler, had turned to Jakob Wallenberg, a member of the Swedish banking family, to reach out to Western capitals.

    Yet Dulles had reason to be wary about Gisevius. In November 1939, the Abwehr had captured two British spies near the Dutch town of Venlo, after German agents had similarly approached them to work together. Although it was unlikely the Germans would try to kidnap Dulles himself—the Swiss took a dim view of such lawlessness—it was possible, even likely, that Gisevius’s purpose was to worm his way into Dulles’s confidence to gain information that could be used to break American codes or discover the identity of Allied agents.

    Another reason for caution was the nature of Dulles’s assignment. His superiors had made it clear before he left Washington that he was to lead psychological campaigns to demoralize the German people and troops, to learn what he could about Nazi secret weapons, and to deliver order of battle intelligence such as enemy troop strengths. Dulles also hoped to work with members of resistance movements, and he had access to money to help fund their operations. But engaging in high-level political negotiations exceeded his brief.

  • Table of Contents

    Preface xiii

    Time Line xvii

    Principal Characters xix

    1 Portal on the Reich 1

    2 "I Have Never Believed in Turning Back" 5

    3 The "Eternal Plotter" 16

    4 "Roosevelt's Emissary" 23

    5 Unconditional Surrender 31

    6 "Because You're You" 38

    7 "A Yankee Doodle-Dandy" 44

    8 "Utterly Without Scruples" 49

    9 "Imposing Their Brand of Domination" 52

    10 Two Bottles of Cointreau 56

    11 "Who, Me? Jealous?" 62

    12 "There Is Just the Glimmer of a Chance That This Man Is on the Square" 71

    13 "You Could Have Peace in Eight Days" 77

    14 "I Wouldn't Tell Dulles" 83

    15 The Committee for a Free Germany 93

    16 "Twenty Percent for Liberation and Eighty- Percent for Russia" 98

    17 "A High-Tension Power Line" 104

    18 "The Qualities of a Genius" 111

    19 "Obviously a Plant" 114

    20 "Now All Is Lost" 121

    21 "I Trembled With Emotion" 128

    22 "I Do Not Understand What Our Policy Is" 134

    23 "The Soviet Maintains a Steady Flow into the Reich of Constructive Ideas" 139

    24 "Aren't They Ready to Act Yet?" 145

    25 The Wolf's Lair 150

    26 "Communism Is Not What Germany Needs" 161

    27 "I Never Saw Them So Completely Downtrodden" 165

    28 Reunion with Donovan 167

    29 Light Had Gone Out 172

    30 "I Felt That the Walls of the Cellar Were About to Collapse Around Me" 176

    31 "An Implacable Enemy of Bolshevism" 185

    32 "A Common Desire to Know What the Germans Were Planning" 188

    33 "Gero, Are You Standing or Sitting?" 193

    34 "I Can See How Much You and Allen Care for Each Other" 201

    35 "I Was Puzzled About What the Soviets Would Do with This Information" 208

    36 "I May Be Crazy" 216

    37 "I Cannot Avoid a Feeling of Bitter Resentment Toward Your Informers" 222

    38 "This Is the Most Terrible News I've Ever Had" 226

    39 "In View of Complications Which Have Arisen with Russians" 234

    40 An Overloaded Mercedes-Benz 239

    41 "I Will Never Forget What You Have Done for Me" 242

    42 "Countless Thousands of Parents Would Bless You" 249

    43 The Crown Jewels 255

    44 "It Was Three Allies and One Enemy" 263

    45 "Most of My Time Is Spent Reliving Those Exciting Days" 266

    Postscript 271

    The Characters 277

    Acknowledgments 285

    Bibliography 287

    Notes 299

    Illustration Credits 331

    Index 333

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    Agent 110: An American Spymaster and the German Resistance in WWII 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Boring with way to many characters. Save your $. I purchased based upon a WSJ review and guess what!! Author is a contributing editor to the WSJ