Early life[ edit ] Gehlen was born into a Catholic family; his father was a book-seller in Erfurt. In , Gehlen joined the Reichswehr. In July , he received a promotion to lieutenant-colonel and was sent to the Eastern Front , where he was assigned as senior intelligence-officer to the Fremde Heere Ost FHO section of the Staff. In April , despite the accurate military intelligence, Hitler dismissed Gehlen, soon after his promotion to major general. Understanding that the Soviet Union would defeat and occupy the Third Reich , Gehlen ordered the FHO intelligence files copied to microfilm ; the FHO files proper were stored in water-tight drums and buried in various locations in the Austrian Alps.
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Shelves: biography-spymasters This book is a fascinating account of one of the most intriguing figures of the Cold War. Reinhart Gehlen was actually a prophetic figure in a way. In the s he saw the Soviet Union as an upcoming figure in world politics. In fact, the Soviet Union of the s was significant in its support of the Communist International and the various Popular Front governments throughout Europe and Communist insurgencies in other parts of the world.
But the power of the Soviet state itself was muted by the This book is a fascinating account of one of the most intriguing figures of the Cold War. But the power of the Soviet state itself was muted by the purges of Stalin in the s, the years of civil war in the early s and the self-inflicted famines of the mids. Gehlen was obsessed with the Soviet Union, and during the Second World War he headed the Nazi intelligence organization that monitored the Soviet Union.
At the end of the war, Gehlen should have become a prisoner of war, perhaps sharing the fate of fellow Nazis like Ribbentropp or Goering.
Instead, he offered himself, his large collection of intelligence on the Soviet Union and his still operating intelligence network within the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to the Western allies. The rest, as they say, was history. Cookridge does an excellent job of making the life of Gehlen interesting to an American readership. He does not demonize Gehlen, nor does he brush over the irony that this senior Nazi enjoyed a tremendous amount of prestige and power at a time when his fellow Nazis were either executed or in prison or exile.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the power politics of the Cold War as well as Nazi intelligence operations on the Eastern front.
Gehlen: Spy of the Century
He joined the Reichswehr in He attended the German Staff College, graduating in , after which he was promoted to captain and attached to the Army General Staff. In , Gehlen was promoted to Major. His role was to be minor. Throughout his years at FHO, Gehlen allowed determined opponents of the National Socialist government to hold conspiratorial discussions inside his section and he was present at Berchtesgaden in the final days before 20 July when details of the assassination attempt were discussed. Gehlen scoured army personnel files, searching for linguists, geographers, anthropologists, lawyers and junior officers who had recently joined FHO. He accepted anyone who seemed suitable to him and who would be likely to raise the intellectual level of FHO.
Gehlen : spy of the century
Gehlen: Spy Of The Century