Hitler’s British Traitors (Paperback)
The Secret History of Spies, Saboteurs and Fifth Columnists
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‘Tim Tate, in Hitler’s British Traitors, [explores] the entire grimy landscape of British treachery during the Second World War and the astonishing rogues’ gallery of traitors working to help Nazi Germany win. [He makes] excellent use of the vast trove of material declassified by MI5 in recent years.’ – Ben Macintyre, The Times
Hitler’s British Traitors is the first authoritative account of a well-kept secret: the British Fifth Column and its activities during the Second World War.
Drawing on hundreds of declassified official files – many of them previously unpublished – Tim Tate uncovers the largely unknown history of more than 70 British traitors who were convicted, mostly in secret trials, of working to help Nazi Germany win the war, and several hundred British Fascists who were interned without trial on evidence that they were working on behalf of the enemy. Four were condemned to death; two were executed.
This engrossing book reveals the extraordinary methods adopted by MI5 to uncover British traitors and their German spymasters, as well as two serious wartime plots by well-connected British fascists to mount a coup d’etat which would replace the government with an authoritarian pro-Nazi regime.
The book also shows how archaic attitudes to social status and gender in Whitehall and the courts ensured that justice was neither fair nor equitable. Aristocratic British pro-Nazi sympathizers and collaborators were frequently protected while the less-privileged foot soldiers of the Fifth Column were interned, jailed or even executed for identical crimes.
‘The extent to which the British far right supported Hitler, even after the outbreak of the second world war, has largely been suppressed. Now Tim Tate’s absorbing study offers a bracing reappraisal of their sympathies. … Tate reveals the widespread existence of a fifth column in Britain, using hitherto unseen archival material.’
‘Tim Tate, in Hitler’s British Traitors, [explores] the entire grimy landscape of British treachery during the Second World War and the astonishing rogues’ gallery of traitors working to help Nazi Germany win. [He makes] excellent use of the vast trove of material declassified by MI5 in recent years.’
‘[A] fascinating, shocking and — given our times — slightly worrying read’
‘A brilliant book’
‘A superb book … absolutely gripping’
‘Tate explores many engrossing accounts of espionage and counter-espionage uncovered in the archives, as well as the jaw-dropping ineptitude and complacency of the authorities who, though all too keen to imprison and execute petty criminals recruited by German intelligence, displayed a characteristic restraint when dealing with far more threatening and powerful traitors. … Tate’s formidable scholarship paints a picture of Britain during the war that is a far cry from the reassuring story told about our collective heroism of a nation united under the banner of Keep Calm and Carry On.’
‘An unfailingly readable, darkly revealing book of great scholarship.’