The Secret Surrender

Title:                      The Secret Surrender

Author:                 Allen W. Dulles

Dulles, Allen W. (1966). The Secret Surrender. New York: Harper and Row. [London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1967].

LCCN:    67109884

D810.S7 D8 1967

Date Updated:  February 23, 2017

The book was republished in 2006 with the title The Secret Surrender: The Classic Insider’s Account Of The Secret Plot To Surrender Northern Italy During WWII (Guilford, CT: Lyons Press) [LCCN: 2004048342]

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

Dulles capped his OSS service with Operation Sunrise, the negotiations for the surrender of the German and fascist forces in Italy in 1945. This is his first-hand account of the operation, based primarily on his own records and memory and those of his assistant as well as other reports and documents at their disposal. Their report to the Joint Chiefs of Staff served as a guide in writing this book. The German view came from interviews with those Germans involved in the talks. Dulles concentrated on providing a play-by-play record; there is little analysis of the overall meaning and significance of the operation. In the epilogue, the lessons learned are discussed, but these are confined to two: the importance of secret contact and secure communications and the problems of bringing a war to an end. Dulles does not reconcile the lesson of secret contact and measures with his revelation that word of the negotiations had reached the Japanese representatives in Switzerland. There is no appraisal of gains and the costs of political misunderstanding and distrust among the Allies stemming from the negotiations. The reviewer in the New York Review of Books claimed to discern in Dulles’ manner of handling the negotiations and keeping his home office informed seeds of his future conduct as head of CIA. Bradley Smith and Elena Agarossi’s Operation Sunrise[2] attempted to analyze the political risks of negotiations with the Germans and the motives of the players and to evaluate the results, as well as to set out the sequence of events. But it is Dulles’ book that unfolds the large and small events, explains the security arrangements, and gives the feel for personalities and their relationships that only a participant can provide.

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

Mr. Dulles, who led the highly sensitive and successful OPERATION SUNRISE as an OSS official in Switzerland, describes this delicate operation which helped bring about the surrender of the German armies in Italy in World War II. The book constitutes a fascinating description of a unique intelligence coup at the highest level.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[4]

The authentic account of the OSS-directed operation SUNRISE which brought about the surrender of a million German and Italian troops in April 1945 at Caserta, Italy. Dulles guided the delicate negotiations from his OSS station in Switzerland. In this dramatic narrative Dulles describes the activities necessary to keep channels of communications open with an SS general across the Swiss-Italian boundaries. The author acknowledges the contributions of Gero von S. Gaevernitz who conducted some of the negotiations and contributed material for the book.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 171-172

[2] Smith, Bradley F. (1979) and Elena Agarossi. Operation Sunrise: The Secret Surrender. New York: Basic Books

[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. 22

[4] 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. 208


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4 Responses to The Secret Surrender

  1. Pingback: The Secret Front | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  2. Pingback: Operation Sunrise | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  3. Pingback: War Report of the OSS | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  4. Pingback: OSS—The U.S. Office of Strategic Service, Chapter 18 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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