of the Master Spy That Helped Win World War II (1976, 2000)
(WS) received an offer from a company in Berlin called Cipher Machines to create what would become known as Enigma. WS thought Enigma could be miniaturized, which was exactly what experts in Germany were thinking. WS played around with the first stages of Enigma, and then moved on to other ventures and forgot all about it.
Much happened in WS's world during the next ten years, including becoming a millionaire by the age of 30. In the midst of his success, WS kept supplying information, at least indirectly, to Winston Churchill (who at the time was basically politically dead, but not out) of the dangers Hitler presented to Britain. When Hitler was appointed Chancellor of the Reichstag in 1933, Churchill had Hitler pegged exactly right in terms of what he would do during the next 12 years.
WS saw that Hitler was using weapons of mass persuasion and thought control (e.g. burning books), and Hitler's use of propaganda spread in Germany like poison gas. WS privately wrote Churchill that he believed Hitler would try to conquer the world. When WS was in Germany looking after business interests, Alfred Rosenberg (Hitler's propaganda minister before Joseph Goebbels) saw WS as a potential asset to the Nazis in that WS controlled one of the largest movie/recording studios outside of Hollywood. The Nazis saw WS as a possible conduit to spread their propaganda, and WS's worldwide connections could be useful to the German corporations.
Only informal individuals/groups (such as WS) saw the potential for Enigma in Nazi Germany and that there was another (worse) war coming. However, these "Nervous Nellies" were labeled as unpatriotic, and there was also the desire to avoid having to deal with more adversity during the Great Depression . . . so WS and those that viewed Nazi Germany as a dire threat had to become invisible reluctant detectives.
WS was building planes at a time when Britain basically refused to build military aircraft; one of WS's planes was the direct forerunner of the British Spitfire. Admiral Reginald ("Blinker") Hall put together another informal intelligence group that he called Focus, which was made up of men/women that saw war as inevitable, which ran counter to the "official line" from Whitehall (the British Gov't). Churchill and Hall didn't have parliamentary authority, but they did have King George V's (the king died in 1936) permission and funding for what was in essence a secret intelligence operation. Hall's point man was Major Desmond Morton, who shuttled between the secret informal intelligence groups that Hall had created, which included
Ian Fleming. WS's business office just off Piccadilly Circus was the informal base of intelligence which was used to inform Washington, D.C. of what had been learned.
WS was becoming the chief of an intelligence apparatus, and after 1935 there started to be very little mention of WS in newspapers, and clippings about WS started to disappear in newspaper files. But WS was still in the public eye, which was intentional in that he knew the first resource German intelligence would use would be newspapers (and their files). WS was also building up his international contacts in preparation for the Secret War of intelligence he knew was coming.
At about the time his newspaper clippings were starting to vanish from various locations, WS won the prestigious King's Cup air race in a plane designed by his own company. The Luftwaffe still viewed WS as a potential asset, and as they talked to and questioned WS, he learned much about the Nazis. Luftwaffe officers spoke so freely to WS in large part because they were so proud of their efficiency. WS was told that the Wehracht and Luftwaffe would crush Russia using coordination unheard of before radio transmissions . . . the Blitzkrieg.
WS knew the key to the Blitzkrieg was the speed of communications, and WS reported to Churchill that he believed communications was the weak link in the Nazi German military machine. WS told Churchill if they could read their radio traffic, the Britain could anticipate Hitler's actions . . . without knowing it, WS's search for the Enigma machine had already started.
WS thought that the US could be their supporter, in that Churchill had loads of courage but no power, and FDR wasn't under any such restraints. President Franklin Roosevelt, the furthest thing from a warmonger, saw the danger of Nazi Germany in the same light as WS and Churchill. FDR relied on and trusted William Donovan for foreign intelligence, which in effect made Donovan FDR's William Stephenson. Donovan, as a corporate lawyer, knew an incredible amount about international corporate operations/law, especially in terms of Nazi involvement. So it was very logical that WS and Donovan would once again connect as they had during the Great War.
While it was officially frowned-upon to intercept and try to decode Japanese radio traffic, FDR did nothing to discourage such actions. The existence of a cipher machine being used by both Japan and Germany was known by the US and Britain, and at least somewhat understood. Both WS and Donovan knew that the "soft underbelly" of any dictatorship was it security system. WS knew that a dictator functioned in a cocoon in which he feels invulnerable, which then would lead to making mistakes. Secret communications would be the Achilles Heel of Nazi Germany, and WS was beyond-delighted that Donovan shared his point of view.
Heydrich and WS were opponents in an increasing battle of intelligence wits, and Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, the leader of the Abwher, kept grooming Heydrich for greater intelligence successes. WS knew of Heydrich's actions, such as getting factories to switch over to making kitchen appliances when international inspectors came to Germany to see if the Nazis were honoring the Treaty of Versailles. WS had such knowledge because he was so plugged-in to the international corporate scene. Whitehall was unmoved when WS presented them with evidence that Nazi Germany was manufacturing Stuka fighter planes. In 1938, under Heydrich's orders, brand new and far more complicated Enigma machines were being manufactured, which would keep the Nazi top secret radio transmissions even more secure; Enigma would also be the central nervous system of the Blitzkrieg.
Heydrich would become the greatest intelligence leader in Nazi Germany, and Enigma would allow Hitler to use Shock and Awe against anyone he decided to invade. The Blitzkrieg depended on quick communications and total secrecy, so to WS it was an obvious priority to find out how to crack Enigma . . . unless Enigma was cracked, there was no effective way in the early years of World War II to stop the Blitzkrieg.
Churchill was still relatively powerless, even with the responsibilities of being the 1st Lord of the Admiralty, and the strong right arm he needed to increase his power was FDR. By April 1939, FDR wanted Germany and Italy to promise to not invade 31 specifically listed nations. Hitler ranted/raved in absolute derision as a result, which cemented FDR's view of Hitler to the same tune as WS's and Churchill's During the Great Depression, most Americans focused on the economic successes of Nazi Germany, not Hitler's tyranny, which posed a huge obstacle for FDR. Hitler's desire for Lebensraum wasn't nearly as innocuous as most Americans believed ...