Skip to main content

tv   Agent 110  CSPAN  August 14, 2017 8:31pm-9:28pm EDT

8:31 pm
followed by nicolas reynolds who looks at nobel prize winning novelist ernest hemingway and his ties to spies. then jack bar shares stories about his experience as a kgb spy in deep undercover. and later a look at mccarthy spies which tells the story of three individuals who denied the japanese occupation of the philippines during world war ii. >> you are watching booktv on c-span with top non-fiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers.
8:32 pm
>> good afternoon everyone. i would like to welcome you as well as the good friends from c-span to the mcgowan theater. as well as the producer for the noontime lecture series. before we begin today's program i would just like to remind you of a few other programs we had coming up in the near future. the irish immigrant experience. and then on wednesday march 22 film screaming -- screening. it is presented in partnership with the dc environment a film festival. to find out more about these and the other programs please take one of the monthly calendar events where you can visit our website at debbie ww.
8:33 pm
-dot our topic for today is agent 110. an american spy master in the german resistance of world war ii by scott miller. he is an author and former correspondent. the first book the president in the assassin at the dawn of the american century was century was a news week using must read. he spent nearly two decades in asia and europe reporting for more than 25 countries including two postings in germany which the backdrop for "agent 110". he has appeared on the daily show with jon stewart. he also holds degrees in economics and communication.
8:34 pm
the international relations. please join me in welcoming scott miller to the national archives. >> i thought what i would do today is talk a little bit about the background behind this book and how i came to write it and introduce you to some of the characters along the way. and described a little bit about the final product and then we will have time for questions and any comments that you have afterwards. i will readily confess that i did not set out to write this book. i was originally very interested in the early days of american's involvement in the vietnam war
8:35 pm
that whole time has always held an interest for me really right after the war the french involvement in china and also seemed like a subject that have not been done to death already. i began to do a little bit of research and i happened happen to cross these two characters. those are the dallas brothers allen dulles is in the lighter colored jacket. he was the director of the cia during the 50s and during the time i was interested in and the gentleman in the dark suit is the older brother john ostler who was secretary of state.
8:36 pm
when i found these two guys i thought there had to be an interesting story there and it was an interesting time in american history there is two brothers and i thought there's got to be a good relationship there's got to be some good way of telling the story. i discovered pretty quickly that alan began the light colored jacket have been in switzerland during world war ii where he was a station chief for the office of strategic services. and then he was given code number 110. immediately my interest kind of perked up. i've already been a frustrated ski mom. we lived in germany where i was newspaper correspondent and pretty much every week and that weekend that we could we would have down to switzerland and hit the slopes. and the thought of doing a book that took place in switzerland captured my imagination. he have quit that job. in the idea of the gentleman spy. it was a big job in switzerland. at that point my focus began to shift and i thought maybe there is a story really just what to do with alan and world war ii. i need a lot more information and i was particularly concerned and interested to find out what sort of subordinate character might be there. i discovered very quickly there is a picture of alan and switzerland you can see in the background it looks like he has a tennis court there. very quickly i discovered this
8:37 pm
woman. that is mary bancroft. now mary came from the same sort of family that she was from boston. her father have been publisher of the wall street journal.
8:38 pm
she had married an american figure skating champion hood competed in the 1920 olympics. but she left him for the purely physical attraction to another man. it turned out that she did a a real eye for the gentleman. and she ended up meeting a swiss fella and they moved to switzerland she admitted that she didn't really love jean but she was really interested in his personal story at least the story that he told her. it was entirely a lie marriott
8:39 pm
loved the source of danger and adventure that she imagined turkish people entail. they moved to switzerland where mary threw herself into the swiss society. i think there was at times a little bit of spark with her neighbors the reserved swiss the sort that immediately took to her. but soon met a lot of notable people including the famed psychiatrist carl young. and she met him when she developed a weird affliction whereby she would start sneezing when she was an socially awkward situations. she took this two young who was
8:40 pm
able to cure her and she was very much impressed also i think she developed a little bit of a crush on him. she left a quote where she said she found him one hell of an x attractive guy. she warmed her way into a group of people who spent a lot of time with young and began to study his work. she became pretty well known especially within americans in switzerland. they recruited her pretty early when they saw the war was coming to do various jobs with the state department jobs. in writing a newspaper articles that were favorable to the american government. when dallas arrived they dulles arrived they introduced her to dallas and he immediately asked her to join his team and she came to assume a fairly important role in what dallas was doing. and then very is suitable in telling a good story she became the mistress so i thought here
8:41 pm
is a good character. she brings a lot of dimension to the story really flushes it out. and then i kept looking and i came across this guy. he is a german he is a bit of a hulk of a man. he stood 6-foot four. everybody who knew him described him as being insufferably arrogant and difficult to deal with. he had written through the german security in place services. his career did not go very well. he was a real schemer and a plotter and he decided he could advance his career by spreading the rumor about the have of the gestapo and until people he was a communist. that didn't go over very well.
8:42 pm
he got drummed out the gestapo was actually lucky he was not thrown in jail. he was able to land a job in another arm of the german intelligence services. this group basically did intelligence for the german military. and the attitude towards the german and towards the nazis was rapidly changing at this point and he have seen how nasty the nazis could be i think also he would never admit it and i'm just supposing here. he was just kind of pissed off that his career had not gone as well as he had hoped. so he began to plot against the nazis. they fit into switzerland where he immediately reached out to the british were very skeptical of him. and they tried to establish contact with the americans.
8:43 pm
however trustworthy guy. he was a double agent. and you don't really want to put a lot of confidence in something like that. they were willing to meet. they developed a good relationship. this is perfect. mary wrote an autobiography. she left unpublished versions of it. they work on it during the war. and what made it really interesting was that it turned out that mary helped him write it. the fact that she did so was one of the schemes he wanted to learn as much as he could about it. and so they want to translate the book and work on bits and
8:44 pm
pieces of it. he produced not entirely accurate to places. there is a good time. there was a lot of great in a dokes in spite stories i felt like they didn't really link. at first i tried looking at the antipathy towards soviet. they were supposed to be our friends. but they did not buy it. that the soviets weren't to be trusted and they were really in it to dominate europe after the war. i wrote some of the book along those lines. i showed it to my editor and thought that's a good idea. there is a better one looking at the activities of the resistance. i sort of did what any good
8:45 pm
author or journalist would do when editor makes a suggested i merely thought surely that can be true. my editor was dead right. there was a really good story to tell with the resistance and best of all the story of the resistance really sort of moved. that really sort of lettuce to the book we have now. you always had to pipe with him. everybody always talked about that. he arrived in switzerland in november 1942. his cover and everybody have some sort of cover he traveled under his real name and everybody knew that it was alan bellis. but his official explanation was
8:46 pm
that he was a special assistant to the american mission in bering. he claimed in probably correctly so that he was the last american to enter switzerland before the germans sailed off the water. and he was really in a lot of ways around there during the war. he could not leave for several years. he was able to receive much help. a few agents were able to sneak through from italy but he didn't have a great deal of interaction with them. so i was a bit difficult for him. this is the house that he and he lived on the first floor. it also served as the office.
8:47 pm
and he chose this particular location and it's in the old quarter on a street called the heron. he chose it specifically because there was a busy shopping street on the other end of that. there was a lot of foot traffic going back and forth. he figured that would provide coverage for people who were coming to visit him. at the front door. occasionally saw what they saw. even better was that this house you can't see in this picture of the backyard slopes down gently towards the river. it was covered with the vineyard. they would come up through the coverage of the vineyard.
8:48 pm
they arrived in switzerland with some context. he had been in the american diplomatic corps they found some interesting things. to build up the kind of network that they wanted to achieve. they employed a couple of techniques. one was simply to buy intelligence. he bragged to everybody about how well financed he was. n-word quickly got around particularly among that diplomatic and espy community. intelligence was purchased here. to simply meet everyone that came along. to try to fuel them out. where even if they were dangerous. but not dallas.
8:49 pm
and this is from a lesson that he learned during world war i. he had been in bering one sunday afternoon he was in the american mission there in the phone rang and someone called up and said i really need to talk to an american diplomat. he loved to play tennis and he loved young ladies in the afternoon he was a tennis state with an attractive one. call back on monday. and later they learned that the person who called that day was vladimir lenin. he never learned what lund have to say but it was a lesson that he took very much to heart and
8:50 pm
he talked about that through his career about the importance of not prejudging anybody. with that he was able to rapidly get to know people and kind of applying his lenin principle it enabled him to meet this guy i'm sorry the pictures a little bit with imperfections. it has a little bit of wear and tear over the years. that is fritz. he was a german member he became what was probably the most intelligence asset during the entire war. he was a dedicated anti- bolshevik. he also had a real taste for adventure. it offered him an opportunity to
8:51 pm
see a lot of german documents. they would update the foreign ministry with what they were doing. he and an opportunity to read these documents and what was passed on to him. he started coming into the foreign ministry on sunday and he would take notes on these top-secret documents. most unreadable handwriting. you can imagine the stress he was under. he started collecting these documents. he didn't have anybody to give them too. he have a friend in switzerland at some point reached out to the brits who were not interested. they have recently been fueled
8:52 pm
--dash back fueled by a similar offer. this looked like a similar ruse and they were not going to fall for it. so they were able to make contact. they have a midnight meeting. in an apartment. he was at first skeptical. but he produced about 180 documents on that particular day including ones that described german codes he talked about a german agent that was operating in ireland and one of the coolest things the map of the headquarters on the eastern front. he sketched out that evening just a little piece of paper. here is where he holds his briefings. you can see that little piece of
8:53 pm
paper. up in at college park. it's really cool. by the end of the war. they have about 2000 documents and undertook tremendous risk and despite having zero training and intelligence in transporting these back and forth between berlin and switzerland he originally he tied the copies. he just tied them around his leg with twine under his pants to get to switzerland. he have more sophisticated techniques. the nazis never figured him out. he ended up surviving. >> what really got him with interest though. was the stories that they told
8:54 pm
him about the german resistance in the underground. at first he was quite suspicious the guy was a german agent after all. but they were meeting together one afternoon one evening actually in the heron gaza villa. they were having a drink. and they reached into his pocket and they pulled out a little black book. and in this book he read a top-secret american cable that have recently been sent from switzerland to washington. there was no way that the germans should have been able to get their hands on this let alone unable to decipher the code. in dallas cannot believe it.
8:55 pm
this is obviously very revealing and worrying information with this was rather despite his sour expression he had been the chief of staff of the german army until 1938 when he resigned in protest in the ambitious plan. he represented quite a bit of. senior german officers opposed to hitler. he also learned that this character who have been mayor was member of this group. he was an internal optimist. internal optimist. he offset the cold realism. he was probably too optimistic for his own good. he was a bit naive. he did not serve him well in the end. members of this group also
8:56 pm
worked most interestingly he is a guy with it trench coat. he was the have of the military intelligence. he have started the war he was a backer. like a lot of people were in the early days because hitler was trying to make up for the horrible treaty. but as the work went along he really learned to hate the nazis and he began to use his position as had to plot against the nazis. the number of important jobs who were trying to overthrow hitler and hashing plots against him. it is an amazing thing. there is a little nest of people who are trying to overthrow
8:57 pm
them. really a remarkable story. they also learned about the second group which was led by james glass. if there's any sort of hard core military historians out there. a very famous name in german military history. a lawyer by training. he opposed the nazis from the earliest day. and he set up a group called the circle. this organization was very different from the group of officers. they were younger. there were journalists the members of the foreign ministry they initially have a lot of qualms about whether it was morally right to kill hitler. it wasn't really morally
8:58 pm
correct. what sort of economy or political system germany could have after the war. one of the really interesting things as they try to avoid writing things down for security purposes but when they didn't they took them to they hid them hit them all in a special compartment. i thought it was a great place to keep documents. they were taking a look at that. they also learned something really important from both of really important from both of these groups that was that that they really wanted to have american help not so much in actually trying to kill him or any secret observation. a promise that they would treat germany while after there was a coup. they all remembered how horrible it had been after world war i and how vindictive they felt.
8:59 pm
and they will not going to risk their next. he was unable to offer those insurances.
9:00 pm
>> there several really interesting attempts to knock off hitler that came really close. they had an amazing instinct for avoiding associat assassination. it was it amazing how many times he was able to escape. the resistance to move forward toward a plot 1944, this is the famed -- operation. it was led by a relative newcomer to the resistance. he was on the far side of right colored jacket standing at attention. he had always very much opposed
9:01 pm
hitler and decided the only way to get rid of him was to murder him. i will go into it into great detail but it's reasonably well know, there's a movie called valkyrie with tom cruz, it bore quite a resemblance to -- killer survived the attack. he was injured and people were killed but hitler survived. what followed was bad for the resistance and bad for hitler. and bad and the we some month that follow, thousands of people around germany and hundreds were executed. including members of the informants. first time that it really look good for -- he talked about how happy was in the life had gone
9:02 pm
out of his life and he wasn't quite sure where he was heading. by late 1944 he was receiving surrender offers from various german officers or representatives of them. they just dismiss those, tends to inspire people to save the. they really wondered what would happen to the station. of that change the very first part of 1945. was at home one morning and received a phone call from a friend and swiss intelligence who said that a general in the ss in charge of the entire ss readily was then in switzerland and on his way through this was
9:03 pm
shocking news. he had a small entourage of people they had reserved to cars on the rug the passenger cherry and pulled the blinds down so nobody could see them. the trip did not go well on that particular day and avalanche swept out he had to get out with all the other german team march through the snow and get on a regular swiss passenger train or risk being seen. they met that night at a safe house that they maintained. wolf made a couple of startling declarations. first, that he was willing to surrender the entire ss force in italy to dallas which was pretty tantalizing. he also said that his buddies
9:04 pm
with the field marshal albert -- who is in charge of the german army an army in italy. this was explosive stuff. they're talking about the surrender of a million men and the end of an entire front. more important from the american perspective was what it meant for fighting in the alps. in the closing stages of the war the americans convince themselves wrongly that the germans were going to make a last final state in the mountains of austria and italy. there is intelligence that suggested germans were building factories and hauling out tunnels. there is a special commando unit those been established called
9:05 pm
the werewolf, i think that's a great name for commando unit. turned out completely wrong and the intelligence was bogus and the americans really fell for a pr scheme. it really paralyzed american thinking. americans estimated that there is some sort of guerrilla war in the alps. that it could drink world war ii up by two more years. so when they saw an opportunity to fight in italy and capture the troops are surrender that was something they had to jump on you can set say the only
9:06 pm
problem and they learn pretty quickly that the german officers that stalin pretty much blew a gasket. he had spent the entire war worrying that the u.s. and britain were some sort of deal with germany. the three of them would gang up on them and this looked exactly like this sort of thinks he had feared all along. there were weeks of bitter transmissions between stalin and roosevelt were stolen accused the americans of operating behind their back and roosevelt tried to calm him down. roosevelt got irritated and historians looks toward these exchanges is the beginning of the cold war.
9:07 pm
another problem was wolf was not interested in surrounding in italy. the most dangerous was that the head of the ss in germany found out he had been talking to him. he essentially took wolf's family hostage in germany and said, you need to get back here and working to have a chat about what you been up to. with considerable trepidation he went back to berlin and got chewed out by hitler. there talk ended with wolf being ordered to go see hitler himself that evening. wolf left an interesting account of going to see hitler later in the war which was the underground fortress of the
9:08 pm
shelter that hitler lifted. wolf had a story that was part true apart lies and said i've been meeting with them. he figured the germans had figured that out but he said it wasn't to surrender it was to cut a good deal for us a peace deal between germany and the united states. he claimed that he had the ear of roosevelt and could communicate directly with him. hitler calm down and thought that was a good idea. in the latter months of the war that was hitler's main home for how the war would end. that the americans and soviets would have a falling out. he was never convinced the communists and the capitalist we get along for long. so he sends wolf back to italy, wolf said he was just happy to get home with his head on his shoulders. and begin negotiations.
9:09 pm
the talks dragged on for several weeks and there's all sorts of misadventures and false starts but they finally agreed that are surrender of german forces which took place in may 2 and to tell us was fired up about that. he had to achieve quite a fee. a lot of the accomplishment diminished when the entire german army in europe surrendered five days later. it was still gainful. wolf had treated prisoners of war's better than he would've. he refused to destroy telling artworks because he was talking and it did and five days early and probably slaved hundreds or thousands of american lives. stayed on the germany after the
9:10 pm
war. he became station sheet for the osf which is up the line a little bit from frankfurt. but his heart was not in it. he disagreed with american occupation policy. after the war they had laid down strict rules that part anybody who had been associated with the nazi party from participating in occupation and government. he did really great that policy. his prime concern was always with the soviet union. he wanted to make sure that germany got back on its feet and was stable politically and economically. he had asked nazis to achieve that, it was the price he had to pay. he once said that you can even make the train run in germany without the help of x nazis. spent a lot of time not really
9:11 pm
managing the staff assigned to. most of the attention was given to the crown jewels which are people he worked with during the war, he wanted to make sure they were well looked after and -- we saw a few minutes ago was given a car in food rations, basically nobody had a car in germany right after the war. that was something. eventually he left germany in the fall of 1945. he returned to new york and he still was living in the past, other lawyers there said that he remained very fixated on the war is spent as much time as possible reminiscing with old friends that would come by. he got very active on the council on foreign relations and
9:12 pm
use that platform to argue for treating germany well and not trying to punish it excessively for the war. he advised congress on establishing new intelligence service to replace what eventually became the cia. he became the first civilian director of the cia in 1953. that concludes my prepared remarks. i'm happy to answer questions, if your task you need to make your way to a microphone. >> what happened to mary bancroft? >> i'm glad just a question. i have a bonus slide for that very question. and that is mary with her legs
9:13 pm
crossed. she is sitting with clover -- was his wife. it turned out clover came to switzerland and joined while the war was still on. dulles, they had at unhappy marriage it's safe to say. so yes mary can you become buddies with my wife and take care of her which was a bold move. but, she volunteered and clover quickly clover was quite astute and she figured out quickly what had been going on. but she told mary, i know what it's been up to. i think the quote something like and i approve. she and mary became pals. there are both interested in --
9:14 pm
and studied his writings. in the closing of the war they took a tour above the northern border of switzerland to look across into germany and mary wrote about their trip together and all the horrible things they could see in germany. may remained friends long after the war. mary moved to new york and continued to study. she wrote some books in the autobiography of the spy about her experiences in the 1980s. i felt she would -- i wish i could have met her. she seemed like an interesting character and was comfortable in and in her own skin and always spoke her mind to. anyone else?
9:15 pm
>> with the you mention the germans were outside, to people actually know his actual role? a long did it take before people said of course? >> that's a good question. it didn't take them long to figure out that he was in germany. but there was a newspaper article shortly after dallas but the newspaper article says that she's from roosevelt. is slightly difficult from roosevelt's cover story. in dallas was basically horrified there is a newspaper article about him. but he realized quickly that the people want to believe that i will let them.
9:16 pm
the germans bought that. they wrote a lengthy report i think in january or february of 1943 a few months after he arrived saying that he was there and had a biography of him. they had some germans who knew him from before the war and said he's in switzerland and just here on roosevelt's behalf. and we think he's most interested in the german economy. gathering intelligence. but it really wasn't sort of very late in the war before they figured out he was oss. they clung to this mistaken identity. they knew he was doing some espionage but they did not know that much about his network. there was a report the germans stood in the summer of 1944 and
9:17 pm
they were mentioned him as someone who had been working with the german resistance. they had a good idea of what he was about what he was out to but they were lacking a lot of detail. >> how did he get the information he was gathering back to the united states they could take advantage of it? >> that was a constant problem. originally because switzerland was surrounded by the germans and the occupied territory they originally experimented by giving documents to diplomats of neutral countries who would smuggle it out of the country through france, to spain which was neutral flight out from there. those documents tended to go missing so didn't work well.
9:18 pm
they were tracking somethings over the telephone. they knew the swiss intelligent service was monitoring their telephone. this was monitored everybody. the swiss knew there were a lot of spies in their country and they were willing to look the other way. they wanted to know whatever but it was up to. there are people who are pro- american and there are some who are pro- german. you really cannot transmit very much secret information over the telephone. so they used simple codes sixpack of by telegram. the problem was the coding was always difficult. the swiss help them with that. there is a number of german pilots who found their way to switzerland who is neutral and maybe they crashed sometimes the
9:19 pm
plane develop mechanical trouble. the swiss would not return unless they allow them to stand their could. as i mentioned they had some friends and swiss intelligence. they let the aircrews work with them a lot of secret documents. later in the war was is one of the coolest things they thought of when they were getting microfilm secret documents from germany they convinced the railroad engineer who went between france and geneva to build a special compartment in his trade. it was near the boiler. they put microfilm or documents in the secret compartment and it had a lover on it. so if it was ever inspected the conductor could hit the leper
9:20 pm
and whatever was in there could fall into the flames of the boiler be incinerated and avoid detection. those documents would go to france was matched by members of the french underground. he bicycled it to the mediterranean by boats and then sent on to washington. but they did that really for the bigger document the head and it was difficult to transcribe. >> a aside from hitler's intuition did you develop any theories about why an assassination attempt was never asked successful? >> the guys in the resistance, you cannot marvel at how brave they were. if you get caught and i have to say most all of them printed you are looking at the grisly death.
9:21 pm
but, hitler just it's inexplicable. there is an individual i talk about who in 1939 he invented a plot to blow hitler up. the story illustrates how lucky hitler was. he was going to blow up this beer hall that hitler was speaking and the guy was ingenious. he get a job in a construction factory was able to field sometime dynamite he invented a really accurate and sophisticated device and he knew the date and time that hitler was going to be speaking and so he was going with the beer hall at night, until everybody left
9:22 pm
as i carved out a hollow on a support post on the platform where hitler was speak. he did this over several days but the bomb in there. everything worked perfectly. from that particular night there is bad weather in the munich area and hitler's pilot set i don't think we can fly back to berlin, you need to take the train. hitler called off his speech early, ten or 15 minutes early. the bomb went off exactly as timed with a tremendous explosion. it killed a number of people in the roof collapse. hitler would've been killed but it was just a matter -- i could go on and on about similar inexplicable twists of fate that was incredible. anybody else?
9:23 pm
>> it one more question. do you have a sense for if the july 20 or any of the other plots against hitler had succeeded, would've that hasten the end of the work? >> i'm sure so. the people who wanted to replace heather were very keen to end the war. despite the protests from roosevelt, and this is the fun of history, playing the what if game. if hitler had been replaced in a new german government came and said, let's quit this nonsense, it is hard to imagine any american government to turn to call the shoulder to those offers. it's hard to imagine otherwise the war would not and did much more quickly.
9:24 pm
>> to think it would've been something other than unconditional surrender and i case? >> there are a lot of theories that they were with a wink and nudged telling the germans just that. america stated policy that we will not negotiate you. there actually was document from a german source that claimed they told him, get rid of hitler and i will see that you are looked after. so, politically i think how could you continue with the war if you had people say we got rid of hitler, we hate him, we want to be a friends, howdy say no, were going to fight you to the bitter end? it's hard to imagine otherwise. but, it's fun to talk about.
9:25 pm
thank you so much. [applause] >> just a reminder there is a book signing at the archives bookstore. [inaudible] [inaudible] every month, book to be on c-span2 features an in-depth conversation with the nonfiction author about the writing career. join us on september 3 for eric metaxas.
9:26 pm
oktoberfest first. november 5, michael lewis will talk about his books including his latest, the undoing project. he has written the big short and the new, new thing. join us for in depth, the first sunday of the month a new eastern. >> we have been on the road meeting winners of the student can documentary competition. at royal oak high school in royal oak, michigan the first place winner one a price of $3000 for his documentary on the rising cost of pharmaceutical drugs. the second-place price of 1500 went to classmate mary sire for her documentary a mass incarceration mandatory minimum sentencing. the place winner won a prize of
9:27 pm
seven or $50 for her documentary on gender inequality. thank you to all of the students who participated in our 2017 student cam video documentary competition. to watch any of the videos go to student and student kim 2018 starts in september with the theme, the constitution and you. we're asking students to choose any provision of the u.s. constitution. create a video illustrated why the provision is important. >> book tv continues with former cia officer, nicholas reynolds. he writes about nobel prize-winning novelist, ernest hemingway and his alleged ties to spy craft in his book "writer. sailor. soldiers. spy. ".


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on