The Walls Have Ears: The Greatest Intelligence Operation of World War II

The Walls Have Ears: The Greatest Intelligence Operation of World War II

by Helen Fry


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A history of the elaborate and brilliantly sustained World War II intelligence operation by which Hitler’s generals were tricked into giving away vital Nazi secrets

“A great book.”—Michael Goodman, BBC History Magazine
“An astonishing story of wartime espionage.”—Robert Hutton, author of Agent Jack

At the outbreak of World War II, MI6 spymaster Thomas Kendrick arrived at the Tower of London to set up a top secret operation: German prisoners’ cells were to be bugged and listeners installed behind the walls to record and transcribe their private conversations. This mission proved so effective that it would go on to be set up at three further sites—and provide the Allies with crucial insight into new technology being developed by the Nazis.

In this astonishing history, Helen Fry uncovers the inner workings of the bugging operation. On arrival at stately-homes-turned-prisons like Trent Park, high-ranking German generals and commanders were given a "phony" interrogation, then treated as "guests," wined and dined at exclusive clubs, and encouraged to talk. And so it was that the Allies got access to some of Hitler’s most closely guarded secrets—and from those most entrusted to protect them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300238600
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 09/10/2019
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 234,723
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Helen Fry is the author of The London Cage and over twenty books focusing on intelligence and POWs in World War II. She consulted on the docudrama Spying on Hitler’s Army and appeared in BBC’s Home Front Heroes.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

Acknowledgements x

Abbreviations xiii

Prologue: Decades of Silence 1

1 The Tower of London 6

2 M Room Operations 24

3 Trent Park 43

4 Prized Prisoners, Idle Chatter 63

5 The Spider 84

6 Battle of the Generals 99

7 Mad Hatter's Tea Party 120

8 Secret Listeners 133

9 Rocket Science 150

10 'Our Guests' 172

11 Saga of the Generals 189

12 War Crimes and the Holocaust 210

13 Breaking the German Will to Resist 231

14 British Intelligence, POWs and War Crimes Trials 246

15 Always Listening 259

Epilogue: Secrets to the Grave 271

Appendix of Intelligence Staff 275

Notes 282

Bibliography 311

Index 314

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