Monthly Archives: April 2012

Hitler’s Spy Chief: The Wilhelm Canaris Mystery by Richard Bassett

I bought this in a bookshop at Heathrow, just filling time really.

I found it quite readable and somewhat thought provoking. There are some interesting questions about his relations with the Nazi opposition and allied intelligence in the war. The assassination of Heydrich (I think the only leading Nazi to be killed) is somewhat curious, but I’m not sure what the evidence really is.

Likewise the book refers to the shootdown of BOAC 777 from Portugal to the UK in 1943. This is unusual because it was the only downing of an airliner. But the Wikipedia entry seems to suggest it was a case of mistaken identity by the German pilots.

Another detail is a meeting between Canaris and Menzies during the war. I think the MI6 history seems to debunk this.

Still, I enjoyed the book.