The Nazi Secret Service

Title:                      The Nazi Secret Service

Author:                  André Brissaud

Brissaud, André (1974). The Nazi Secret Service. New York: W. W. Norton

LCCN:    74011340

DD253.6 .B7413 1974


Date Updated:  September 23, 2015

French title: Histoire du service secret nazi. Translated from the French by Milton Waldman.

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

The journalist in Brissaud is much more evident here than in Canaris[2]. This book covers a series of events in the history of the SD [Sicherheitdienst] up to 1940 rather than giving a history of that organization. There are chapters on such matters as the Venlo incident, the murder of Rohm, the Tukhachevsky deception operation, the Polish agent Sosnowski, and the bombing of the Munich beer hall in 1939. The author interviewed many individuals, some of whom, like Schellenberg, were long dead by the time the French edition appeared in 1972. He states many of these requested anonymity. Another matter for concern is the author’s habit of giving direct quotes despite the unlikelihood of their having been perfectly recalled by the participants or secondary sources. Perhaps Brissaud’s caution to the reader is the best judgment of the book itself: much has yet to be learned about the SD, “too many questions remain open, too many documents undiscovered, too many witnesses remain silent.”

This is a review by the Defense Intelligence School.[3]

The history of the formation, from 1933 to 1939, of the infamous Sicherheitsdienst (SD), the security arm of the SS, under the leadership of Reinhard Heydrich. M. Brissaud’s journalistic style and professional knowledge of the World War II period make for interesting readinq, Much of the book is well documented; however, it cannot compare in excellence to his work on Admiral Canaris[4]. In too many areas, he relies heavily on conversations of many years ago. It takes another specialist of this period to make valid use of the book.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[5]

Andre Brissaud, free-lance French journalist, recounts the .activities of the Nazi party intelligence, counterintelligence, and covert operations organization, the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) of the SS. The author has limited himself to the first period of the SD—from its creation in 1931 through 1939. Brissaud has based his work on available written and spoken evidence, including personal conversations with Walter Schellenberg and Heinz Jost. A comprehensive bibliography is provided. Extensive insights into the in-fighting and rivalries of the various intelligence and political leaders are detailed as well as descriptions of the part the SD played in the Tukhachevsky affair and the Gleiwitz deception. Some details on the organizational evolution of the SD ore included.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 95-96

[2] Brissaud, Andre (1970, 1973, 1974). Canaris: The Biography of Admiral Canaris, Chief of German Military Intelligence In The Second World War. New York: Grosset & Dunlap

[3] Defense Intelligence School (1981). Bibliography of Intelligence Literature: A Critical And Annotated Bibliography of Open-Source Literature (7th ed, rev.). Washington, D.C. : Defense Intelligence School, p. 11

[4] Brissaud, Andre (1970, 1973, 1974). Canaris: The Biography of Admiral Canaris, Chief of German Military Intelligence In The Second World War. New York: Grosset & Dunlap

[5] 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.



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3 Responses to The Nazi Secret Service

  1. Pingback: The Venlo Incident | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  2. Pingback: The Man Who Started The War | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  3. Pingback: Blackstock Selected Bibliography of Fifty Titles | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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