We Caught Spies

Title:                      We Caught Spies

Author:                 John Schwarzwalder

Schwarzwalder, John (1946). We Caught Spies. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce

LCCN:    46005286

D810.S7 S3


Date Updated:  January 27, 2017

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

The author was in the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) in World War II, attaining the rank of major. He served in North Africa, Italy, France, Belgium, and finally Germany. Written right after the end of that war, the book is still a rarity in that it is by a CIC man about CIC operations. Schwarzwalder was motivated to write of the type of work done by CIC, from travel controls to interrogations, because he felt CIC men were not adequately appreciated despite their contribution to victory. He writes with fierce pride in CIC, its techniques, and its work but calls espionage a “distasteful trade.” Another indication of his perspective is that he sees counterintelligence as the art of catching spies and denying the enemy information, a limited view of a subtle and more complicated intelligence activity. The author has a tendency to make sweeping opinions and judgments based on his own experience and on what he was told. A number of these and some facts he gives have not held up with time; his chapter entitled “Women Are Lousy Spies” does not contain proof that Schwarzwalder had the requisite experience, knowledge, and data to make such a broad pronouncement. Despite these shortcomings, this is still valuable as some record of CIC work. Note, too, that Schwarzwalder gives one of the first hints of the enormous success of Allied deception in the war. He concludes that the United States needs effective peacetime intelligence capabilities.


This is the cloak and dagger story of the Army Counter Intelligence Corps, from its clumsy, inexperienced beginnings to its development into an efficient, daredevil group of spy-catchers. Major Schwarzwalder started as an enlisted private, went to Africa where he sifted rumor, political intrigue, resistance plans, moved into Italy with the subsequent invasion, to France, and finally in 1945 became chief of the CIC in northern Germany. En route he encountered directly, or through agents, all types of spies, the pro-German Arabs of Africa. Vichy agents, inexperienced Italian girls blackmailed into working for the Germans, the Gestapo’s famous Otto Skorzeny who rescued Mussolini. Here are the “three inside storie” of the Darlan assassination, the plan to kill Eisenhower, the capture and suicide of Himmler—along with pre-invasion security measures, the refuge of spies and deserters in the red light districts, the screening of Bremen inhabitants by use of the Gestapo files captured intact. A proud, exciting account, with both substance and detail.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[2]

Following an introduction praising the work of the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps (CIC), the author, a former CIC operative himself, devotes twenty-seven chapters to illustrative vignettes and case studies, mainly of counterespionage activity, followed by a chapter on the need for an effective peacetime intelligence agency. “Counterespionage,” the author states, is the art of catching spies,” and he proceeds to tell how the army built from scratch to do this job.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, p. 401

[2] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p. 185


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4 Responses to We Caught Spies

  1. Pingback: Hitler’s U-Boat War | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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  4. Pingback: Counterespionage, Chapter 15 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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