The Spy in Hitler’s Inner Circle

Hans-Thilo Schmidt and the Intelligence Network that Decoded Enigma

Paul Paillole

The story of Hans-Thilo Schmidt, France's German spy embedded in the very heart of the Third Reich, and how the intelligence he provided helped to decode the Enigma machine. In compelling narrative style Paillole details how Schmidt delivered intelligence to France right from the source of the German Cipher Office. Revealed here are the most secret
Date Published :
May 2016
Publisher :
Contributor(s) :
Curtis Key
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781612003719
Pages : 304
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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Ten years after the publication of his Services Spéciaux (1935-1945), Paillole took up his pen once again in order to shed further light on the critical role that the French Secret Service played in the infiltration of German agencies. In this first English edition of The Spy in Hitler’s Inner Circle, Paillole brings us to the very heart of the world of espionage and counterintelligence, providing unique insight into the key figures that led to the decoding of the Enigma machine at Bletchley and the ultimate collapse of Hitler’s Third Reich, most notably through Hans-Thilo Schmidt, France’s German spy embedded in the very heart of the Third Reich.

In compelling narrative style Paillole details how Schmidt delivered intelligence to France right from the source of the German Cipher Office. Schmidt, whose brother Rudolf occupied one of the highest postings in the Third Reich, commander of 2nd Panzer Army in Russia, created an intelligence network between France, Poland and England, and successfully transmitted crucial details about Hitler’s strategic plans. From information about Germany’s rearmament and the reoccupation of the Rhineland, to fundamental technical intelligence about the Enigma machine, Schmidt’s contributions are key to the Allied victory in the intelligence war, despite the fact that France largely ignored his communications.

Revealed here are the most secret aspects of the ‘secret war,’ the ‘war of numbers.’ Paillole also sheds further light on the interaction of secret agents working inside the German government, bringing attention to the cooperation between the French, English and Polish agencies surrounding the challenges of decoding the Enigma machine. We learn the innermost details of the roles that men such as Gustave Bertrand, Rudolphe Lemoine, and Richard Sorge played in this dramatic history and ultimately the pivotal role that Bletchley’s Alan Turing was able to perform as a result.

Paillole brings renewed focus onto one of the most important espionage affairs of the war, revealing new aspects of the participation of Enigma during the decisive phases of the Second World War: the Battle of France, the Battle of Britain, the Battle of the Atlantic, the Battle of Libya and the Battle of Normandy.

About The Author

Paul Paillole joined the French army in 1925 and was transferred to the Secret Services in 1935. Although initially reluctant to be desk-bound he rapidly excelled at the job. At the outbreak of the war Paillole was prominent in the active counter-espionage branch, the 5th Bureau. After the defeat of France in 1940 he led a clandestine counter-espionage network which operated from Marseille under the codename ‘Travaux Ruraux’, whose role was to arrest German collaborators, though the reality may have been murkier. Operating at the heart of the Vichy regime, he was a key figure in dealings between the Vichy government, the Germans, the Allies, and the French factions vying for post-war power. He wrote two books, one about his own experiences, and this one about the Hans-Thilo Schmidt affair which he witnessed at first hand. He died in 2002.




Chapter I: Enigma’s Secret Revealed
Chapter II: Inside the Reich
Chapter III: France Defeated, England Saved
Chapter IV: The Pursuit

Appendix I: The Wehrmacht Enigma Machine
Appendix II: Excerpt from a 1974 memorandum by Colonel S. A. Mayer, former head of Polish Intelligence
Appendix III: Clarification from General Bertrand regarding the subject of the Enigma equipment and Anglo-Polish-French relations
Appendix IV: Note on the conference in the Reich Chancellery 4.15p.m.–8.30 p.m., November 5, 1937
Appendix V: Conference with Admiral Canaris on December 9, 1937
Appendix VI: Excerpts of declarations signed by Lemoine (Rex) for the Abwehr
Appendix VII: Excerpts from the journal of General of Infantry Schmund, head of the Personnel Service of the Army High Command



"...a chronological account of the activities of H.E., the information he passed on, the history of the Enigma machine, and the events that unfolded in Europe during World War II...shown the bravery and cost of passing along information during the war. The people involved understood the cost, but hoped for the best outcome. Their motivations became clearer as the book ended. Not all had the same motivations. Some were motivated to end the war. Some were motivated because they loved their country. Some were motivated because they hated Hitler. Some were motivated because they believed in a different ideology."

- Impressions in Ink

"...personal involvement with the events adds authenticity to the story of a famous spy."

- Studies in Intelligence

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