Skip to main content

tv   Agent 110  CSPAN  April 3, 2017 7:00am-7:55am EDT

7:00 am
a felix frankfurter in the working in the war department to the house. >> good afternoon, everyone. i think to wealthy missiles are good friends from c-span two the theater located in national archives building. i'm doug swanson and the services manager for the national archives and cms malaise producer within a tight
7:01 am
lecture series. before we begin today's program, i would like to remind you of a few other programs coming up in the near future. thursday, march 16th at 7:00 p.m., damion shields will present a lecture on the forgot irish. irish immigrant experiences in america. this will be the u.s. book launch of the book and a book signing following. on wednesday march 22nd at 7:00 p.m. will present a film screening following these switches in partnership with the d.c. environmental own festival. find out more at the center of their programs, please take one of our events which shall find on the racks in the theater lobby or visit our website at -- calendar. our topic for today is "agent 110: an american spymaster and the german resistance in wwii" by scott miller. scott miller is an author and former foreign correspondent with "the wall street journal."
7:02 am
his first book, the president and the assassin, mckinley mckinley commentary in the empire to dine the american century was a must read election. as a journalist, spent nearly two decades reporting for more -- more than 25 countries including germany, which the backdrop "agent 110". he's appeared on "the daily show" with jon stewart and the "national geographic" channel, cnbc. he also holds degrees in economic communication and earned a master of philosophy and international relations for the university of cambridge. please join me in welcoming scott miller to the national archives. [applause] >> i thought what i would do it today this talk about the
7:03 am
background behind this book, how he came to write it, introduce you to the characters along the way. describe the final product and not time for questions and many comments that you have afterwards. i will readily confess that i did not set out to write this book. i was originally very good in the early days of americans involvement in the vietnam war. that'll fear it has always an interest for me. really right after the war, the french involvement in china and it also seems like a subject that hasn't been done to death already. i began to do a little bit of research and i happened across these two characters. there they are. those are the dulles brothers.
7:04 am
allen dulles is in the light-colored jacket. he was director of the cia during the 50s and during the period i was interested in. the gentleman in the dark suit is his older brother, john foster dulles to the secretary of state. when i found this to guys, i thought there's got to be an interesting story here. it's an interesting time in american history. there's two brothers and i face got to be a good relationship if there's got to be some good way of telling the story. so i really dove in. i discovered pretty quickly that alan had been in switzerland during world war ii where he was stationed she put the office of strategic services and he was given number 110. immediately, my interest kind of perked up here i've always been a bit of a world war ii peak.
7:05 am
we lived in germany were newspaper course on it and every weekend we had done to switzerland and hit the slopes. i thought it do in a book in switzerland really captured my imagination. allen also became a very interest in figure for me. he was going to a going to a very attrition american family. he had two relatives who were secretary of state. served in the state department early in his career. he quit that job to make our money and went to wall street. he worked at the law firm sullivan and from while and really got interested in kind of the idea that the jonathan spy. he had a very little bit of s.b. mash it. when he was sent off for what was a big job in switzerland. my focus began to shift and i thought there's a story with
7:06 am
what alan was up to in world war ii. i still made it a lot more information and i was particularly concerned to find out what sort of subordinate care bears don't help the story. very quickly i discovered -- just a picture of alan switzerland. see in the background like a tennis court dare accompanied by his number two in the bureau. very quickly i discovered this woman. that is very bankrupt. now, mary came from the same sort of family that dulles did. she was from boston. her father was publisher of "the wall street journal." she married an american figure skating champion who skated in the 1928 olympics.
7:07 am
but she left him for what she described as a purely physical attraction to another man. it turned out she had a real eye for the gentleman. she ended up meeting a swiss fellow by the name of jean murtha not. at least the story that he told her. he did it just to get merits attention. mary loved the sense of danger and adventure that she imagined turkish people entailed. so they end up getting married. they moved to switzerland for mary sort of threw herself into space society. she had a very outgoing personality. there was at times a little bit of spark with her neighbors inserted for his third save.
7:08 am
the story then immediately took to her. she assumed that there is a picture. she meant a lot of notable people, including the famed psychiatrist carl jung. she meant young when she developed a sort of weird affliction where she would start sneezing when she was in socially awkward situation. so she took this to job who is able to cure her and she was very much impressed by him. also, she developed a little bit of a crush on him. she said she found him one of an attract a guy. she kind of warmed her way into a group of people who spent a lot of time and began to study as for the issue became pretty well known especially among americans in switzerland in their girded her pretty early when they saw the war was coming to do various jobs in state
7:09 am
department jobs like an adjournment speeches and writing newspaper articles favorable to the american government. they introduced her to dulles and he immediately asked her to join his team and she came to sort of semi-fairly important role. and then, very suitable for telling good stories, she became dulles' mistress. so i thought here's a good character. she brings a lot to mention to the story. and then i kept looking and i came across this guy. that is constantine is. he is a german, a bit of a hole for the man. he stood fix the floor. everybody knew him described him as being insufferably arrogant and difficult to deal with.
7:10 am
he had risen through the german security and police services and yet in and gestapo in the very early days. his career and gestapo didn't go very well. he was a realist teamer and a plotter and decided he could advance his career by spreading the rumor about the head of south. told people he thought he was a communist. that didn't go over very well. he was actually lucky he wasn't thrown in jail. but he was able to land a job in another german intelligence services called the off air. this was a group that they basically did intelligence for the german military. in fabius attitude towards the german and toward nazi is rapidly changing at this point. he had seen how they could be. i think also he would never admit it so now i'm just
7:11 am
supposing here, but they sure get the feeling that he was just kind of off that his career hadn't gone as well as he had hoped. so he began to plot against the nazis. they sent him to switzerland where he immediately reached out against the british who are skeptical of him and they try to establish contact with the americans who are also pretty worried. he was not a trustworthy guy. i bet he was a double agent purity don't really want to put a lot of confidence in somebody like that. he quickly meant dulles and they developed a good relationship. for me, this is perfect. aside from these two characters, what was really good but they survived the war and they wrote about their experiences. mary wrote an autobiography published in the 80s.
7:12 am
she left unpublished versions of it at radcliffe university including your diaries on all sides information. davis wrote an autobiography works 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 list is teams. he wanted to learn as much as he could and working with mary he asked her to help him train at the boat and to work on different pieces of it. he produced a very -- it was an entirely at random places but it was a faithful account of what it was like to work with dulles. at this point i thought there's good characters on a good point in time. figure out what the narrative thread is, the spot. they relied to great anecdotes and spy stories, but it out like
7:13 am
they didn't really link. so first i tried kenai transcendence antithesis towards the soviets. you might remember at the time the united states was an ally in the soviet union and they were supposed to be our friends. douglas didn't buy it and use and a lot of more in the united states and anybody who would listen that the soviets went to be trusted and they were to dominate europe after the war. i wrote some of the book along those lines and showed it to my editor. but you know, that's a good idea. maybe there's a better one looking at the activities of the resistance. i sort of did what any good author journalist to do in the editor make a suggestion. i thought surely that can't reach her. it was that i would've thought of it by now. it turned out that editor was a bright. there was a really good story to tell with the resistance and
7:14 am
best of all the resistance really sort has moved and dovetailed very closely with what dulles said in dulles worked with him. so that really lambasted the book that we have now. he always had the pipe. everybody talked about that. dulles arrived in switzerland in november 19411982 rather. everybody has some sort of cover. he traveled under his real name and everybody knew that it was allen dulles. his official at the nation for venus with their linguist is a specialist listed to the american mission, the american head of mission. he claimed and i think probably correctly so that he was the last american to enter switzerland before the germans sealed off the border and he was
7:15 am
really in a lot of ways are there during the war. he couldn't leave for several years. he was unable to receive much help from the oss. a few agents were able to use me through for italy, but he didn't have a great deal of interaction with them. so it was sort of a big difficult for him. this is the house he selected. this on the first floor, which also served as his office. he chose this particular location. the pictures taken around 1933 and in the old quarter on a street called aharon dossett. he chose this specifically because they received is the shopping street. there is a lot of foot traffic going back and forth. that would provide cover for people who are coming to visit him at the front door. he occasionally saw what he suspected were german agents across the street monitoring
7:16 am
comings and goings. even better is this house, but the backyard slopes gently towards the river and it was covered with a vineyard. a lot of the contracts would come up i made. he turned off the light daily, through the cover of the vineyard to knock at the back door and he was able to meet a lot of people that way without anybody monitoring and knowing what he was up to. dulles arrived in such their land was some contact. he had been in the american diplomatic corps, and a legal profession. he may simply was able to look them up right off the bat and found that an interesting thing. it is really going to be a slow slog to build up the kind of network they wanted to achieve. so he employed a couple of techniques. one was simply to buy
7:17 am
intelligence. phyllis right to everybody about how well planned and would quickly got around bearing, a small town particularly among the diplomatic and spy community. a british dj and once remarked the dulles may well have put a sign on the front door this type intelligence purchased here. another technique that dulles employed was to simply meet everybody. normally somebody is setting up a spy ring for show some discretion before you meet somebody. try to feel them out and find out if they were going to feed him bogus information is very dangerous. but not dulles. this is from a lesson he learned during world war i. one sunday afternoon he was on the american mission there and
7:18 am
the phone rang and somebody caught up in that i really need to talk to an american to the map. the list love to play tennis and he loved young ladies in the afternoon he had a tennis state within a track one. so they said all back on monday. dulles later learned that the person who called that day was vladimir lenin. he never learned what lenin had to say, that it was a lesson that he took very much to heart. he talked about throughout his career of the importance of not prejudging anybody. so with that, dulles was able to sort of rapidly get to know people and kind of applying his plan in principle, it enabled him to meet this guy. i'm sorry the picture has some imperfections. his family gave it to me and
7:19 am
it's got a little bit of wear and tear over the years. that is for its called love. he was a german member of the foreign ministry and he had a low-level position. she was essentially kind of a clerk. at the end of the war he became up is probably america's most important intelligence asset during the entire war. he was a dedicated anti-nazis an anti-bolshevik. he also had a real interest parity like the idea of a unified. and so, his position offered him an opportunity to see a lot of tops the german documents. all three branches of the german military would update the foreign ministry with what they were doing. he had an opportunity to read documents and decide what was pathfinder who. he started coming into the foreign ministry of amazement at
7:20 am
this quiet and everybody was at home. he would take notes on this top-secret documents. almost unreadable handwriting. you can imagine the stress he was under, writing as rapidly as they could. he started collecting documents but he didn't have anybody to give them to. he had a friend in switzerland, who at one point reached out to the bread who weren't interested the british had recently been fooled by similar offer and they lost to asian and this book was similar rules and they were not going to fall for it. so was able to make contact with dulles shortly after dulles arrived they had a midnight meeting in an apartment. dulles was that first skeptical, but produced about 180 documents on that particular day including one that described german codes.
7:21 am
he talked about a german agent operating in ireland. one of the coolest things was a map of hitler's headquarters. but i'm a little piece of paper and said here is where hitler holds his briefings. here's the railroad tracks, the theater, the whole thing. you can see that little piece of paper at the national archives in college park. it's really cool. by the end of the war concluded the u.s. with about 2000.even and undertook tremendous. despite having zero training and intelligence and transporting these documents back and worth between berlin and switzerland, and he originally typed copies. he made copies and simply type in around his leg with twine under his pants to get them to switzerland.
7:22 am
he later had morris has skated techniques. he ended up surviving and nazis never figured him out. it was an amazing accomplishment. what really got dulles interest though was the stories can say this told him about the german resistance in the underground. at first, dulles was quite suspicious if the guy was a german agent after all. the remaining together one turn and, one evening in the hair and casa villa. a couple of red leather chairs in the office of never having a dream. he reached into his pocket and pulled out a little flat book. in this book were from if you read a top-secret american cable that had recently been sent in switzerland to washington. there is no way that the german should have been able to get their hands on this, by the
7:23 am
blood be able to decipher the code. dulles couldn't believe it. this is obviously very revealing and worrying information. with this knowledge, the americans started using the code they did the germans could read and information to confuse the germans and of course they changed it, but the real importance of the list so a scheme to really trust in cvs. the fact you could reduce codes was not of the new giveaway. so what dulles one is that there were two fairly distinct resistance movements operating in germany. one was led members of the german military. this guy, despite his rather --
7:24 am
he had been chief of staff until 1938 when he resigned in protest over at his ambitious plan. he represented quite a number of very senior german office hours were opposed to her and wanted to do something about it. he also learned that this character who had been mayor as a member of this group. but there was an internal pop to mr. kind of offset the realism and sometimes negativity of the core. he was too optimistic for a sound good and did not surface while in the end. members of this group also worked most interestingly with wilhelm canaries. his guys in the trenchcoat with the firm whining at the center of the screen.
7:25 am
he was ahead of the military intelligence. he had started the war in the early days and he was a hitler back her. like a lot of people were in the early days because hitler was trying to make a the other side. he really heard to date the nazis and begin to use his position as head to plot against the nazis. he carved out a number of important job for people who are trying to overthrow him or. it's an amazing thing. here we are in the center of her live. center of intelligence is a little math to people trying to overthrow him. a really remarkable story. dulles also learned there was this back in group, which was led by james graff by mocha.
7:26 am
if there is any sort of hard-core military historians out there, you'll recognize him as being a very famous name in german military history. he was a lawyer by training. he opposed the nazis from the earliest days and he said that the group called the cries out her goal. this organization was different from the grip of a series. they were younger, much mark like that. there were journalists. there remembers the foreign ministry, academics, much more liberal. initially had a lot of palms about whether he was morally ready to kill hitler. was it really morally correct to actually murders of many. the amended malls those around germany and had prescience about what sort of economy or
7:27 am
political system germany could have after the war. one of the really interesting things they did was try to avoid writing things down for security purposes but when they did, and they took them to the estate on the german countryside and they had a special compartment in the beehive, which i was a great place and imagine police come in around. dulles learned something really working for both these groups that map is that they really wanted american health in deposing hitler. not so much in trying to kill him or in a secret operation, that they wanted to promise from the americans that they would treat germany well after hitler had been replaced. they remembered how horrible it ended world war i, how they felt
7:28 am
the allies had been towards germany. and they were going to risk their necks because it would be the same thing all over again. dulles was unable to offer assurances and so the resistance did everything they could to commit the americans of their sincerity. they started initially by playing to the well known hatred of the soviet union admits that the americans to help us ensure that moscow will. they began to supply to elicit information that suggested that. it certainly serves their needs. despite this, despite the fact the u.s. wouldn't help them, they continued with their schemes and probably there were several really interesting
7:29 am
attempts to knock off help her. hitler had an amazing and didn't far avoiding fascination or avoiding a coup. it's incredible how many times during the war. the resistance movement that for returns a plot does touch on 28, 19 were before. this is the dockery operation. it was led as sort of a well of newcomers to the resistance. on the far side of this photo, the light-colored jacket standing at attention. he had always very much opposed hitler and i decided the only way to get rid of them is to murder him. i don't know. i won't go into any great depth unless you want to later on because it was not. there is a movie a couple years ago with tom cruise who actually
7:30 am
bore quite a resemblance. hitler survived that attack. people were killed, but hitler survived. and what followed was really bad for the resistance and godfrey are, bad for the list, rather. in the weeks and months that followed, thousands of people rounded up around germany and hundreds were executed. including many members of dulles is circle of compartment. big craft type about how he had kind of gone out of life. he wasn't quite sure where is all heading. by late 1944, he was receiving a lot of offers from various german officers a representative said.
7:31 am
so it's really kind of dismissed those. they were kind of self-serving to certain save their own mac. dulles really kind of wondered what would happen. i'm not done that -- ..
7:32 am
>> that the oss maintained in zurich, and wolf made a couple of startling declarations of dulles. first, that he was willing to surrender the entire ss force in italy to dulles which was, that alone was pretty tantalizing, but he also said that he was buddies with field marshal albert kisserling who was in charge of the german army in italy. now, this was pretty explosive stuff. they were talking about the surrender of a million men and the end of an entire front.
7:33 am
and even more important from dulles and the americans' perspective was what it meant for fighting in the alps. and in the closing stages of the war, the americans had convinced themselves -- really entirely wrongly -- that the germans were going to make a last, final stand in the mountains of austria and italy. and there was lots of intelligence that suggested that germans were building factories and hollowing out tunnels and even building air-conditioning in some of these factories. there was a special commando unit that was being established called the werewolves, which is a great name for a commando unit, i think. it turned out it was completely wrong, the intelligence was bogus, and the americans really fell for kind of a p.r. scheme that joseph goebbels thought up.
7:34 am
but it really paralyzed american thinking. the americans estimated that if there was some sort of guerrilla war in the alps, that it could drag world war ii out by two more years, and it promised to be very bloody fighting. all the advantages that the american military enjoyed were kind of nullified in the mountains. so when they saw an opportunity to, you know, end the fighting in italy and capture these troops or achieve their surrender, that was something that they had to jump on. you can see on this slide there's dulles and his number two looking at a map of italy. the only problem was that the soviets found out pretty quickly that dulles was talking to senior german officers, and i think it's fair to say that stalin pretty much blew a gasket.
7:35 am
he had spent the entire war worrying that the u.s. and britain would cut some sort of secret deal with germany and that the three of them would gang up on him. and this looked exactly like the sort of thing that he had feared all along. there were, what followed were weeks of bitter transmissions between stalin and roosevelt where stalin accused the americans of operating behind their back, and roosevelt tried to calm him down, but roosevelt kind of got irritated. a lot of historians look to these exchanges as sort of the beginnings of the cold war. another problem was that wolf grossly oversold his position with dulles. kisserling really was not interested in surrendering in italy. finally, most dangerous for wolf was that heinrich himmler, the
7:36 am
head of the ss in germany, found out that he'd been talking to dulles. he essentially took wolf's family hostage back in germany, and said you with better get your tail back here and you're going to have a pretty serious chat about what you've been up to. wolf went back to berlin, got chewed out by hemler, and kind of their -- himmler, and their talk ended with wolf being ordered to go see hitler himself that evening. wolf left a very interesting account of going to see hitler late in the war down in the furor bunker which was the underground sort of fortress bomb shelter that hitler lived in. and wolf kind of spun a story that was part true, part lie. he said, yeah, i've been meeting with dull rest, he figure -- dulles, he figured the germans had figured that out, it wasn't really to surrender, it was to
7:37 am
cut some sort of peace deal between germany and the united states. he claimed dulles had the ear of roosevelt, and thereby he could communicate directly with roosevelt. so hitler sort of calmed down, he thought maybe that was a good idea. in the latter months of the war, that was hitler's main hopes, that the americans and the soviets would have some sort of falling out. so he sent wolf back to italy. wolf said he was just happy to get home with his head still on his shoulders. and to begin new negotiations with dulles. those talks sort of dragged on for several weeks, and there were all sorts of misadventures and false starts, but they finally agreed a surrender of german forces. which took place on may 2nd.
7:38 am
and dulles was pretty fired up about that. he had achieved quite a feat. fortunately, sort of a lot of the accomplishment diminished when the entire german army in europe surrendered five days later, but it still was meaningful. wolf had no doubt treated american prisoners of war better than he would have, and he had refused to destroy italian artworks or factories because he was talking to dulles, and it did end fighting five days earlier and probably saved hundreds if not thousands of american lives. dulles stayed on in germany after the war. he became the station chief for the oss just a little bit up the road from frankfurt, but his heart really wasn't in it. he kind of disagreed with the american occupation policy. the americans, after the war,
7:39 am
had laid down very strict rules that basically barred anybody who had been associated with the nazi party from participating in an occupation government. and dulles really didn't agree with that policy. his prime concern, as always, was the soviet union, and he wanted to make sure that germany really got back on its feet and was stable politically and economically and that you had to turn to ex-nazis to achieve that, that was the price you had to pay. he once said that you can't even make the trains run in germany on time without the help of ex-nazis. they'll spend a lot of time sort of not really managing the staff that was a assigned to him, and most of his attention was given to what he called the crown jewels, and these were people who he had worked with during the war. he wanted to make sure they were well looked after.
7:40 am
colba was particularly well looked after. he was given a car and food rations and, you know, basically nobody had a car in germany right after the war, so that was something. dulles, eventually he left germany in the fall of 1945, and the oss was disbanded. he returned to his law practice at sullivan and cromwell in new york, and he still was pretty much living in the past. other lawyers there said that he remained very fixated on the war and just spent as much time as possible reminiscing with old friends who would come by. he got very active in the council on foreign relations and kind of used that platform to argue for treating germany well and not trying to punish it excessively for the war. he also advised congress on establishing a new intelligence service to replace the oss in
7:41 am
what eventually became the cia. , and of course, he became the first civilian direct kerr of the cia -- director of the cia in 1953. so that concludes my prepared remarks. i'd be happy to answer any questions. i guess if you want to ask, you need to make your way to a microphone which is on either side. there's one over there and one over there. so -- yes, sir. >> what happened to mary bancroft? [laughter] >> i'm glad you asked that question, because i have a bonus slide. [laughter] for that very question. and that is mary there with her legs crossed, and she's sitting with clover dulles who was dulles' wife. [laughter] and it turned out that clover came to switzerland and joined dulles while the war was still on, and dulles being dulles, his
7:42 am
wife -- they had an unhappy marriage, i think it's safe to say, and clover sometimes kind of got in his hair. so he asked mary, can you, you know, become buddies with my wife and take care of her, which was a pretty bold move. [laughter] but mary volunteered, and clover pretty quickly, clover was quite astute, and she figured out pretty quickly what had been going on. she told mary, you know, i know what's been up to, and i think the quote was something like and i approve. [laughter] she and mary became pals. they both were very interested in the, in jung and studied his writings, and in the closing dates of the war they even took a tour sort of on 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. they actually remained friends long after the war.
7:43 am
mary moved to new york, and she continued to study jung. she wrote some books, and she wrote the autobiography of a spy about her experiences in the 1980s. but she was always, i felt, i wish i could have met her, but she seemed like a really interesting character, someone who was really comfortable in her own skin and always spoke her mind. anyone else? >> the station chief, you know, you mentioned the germans were outside. did people actually know his actual role? how long did it take before everybody said, oh, duh, of course he's oss?
7:44 am
>> that's a good question. it didn't take them long to figure out that he was in germany, but there had been a newspaper article that was written in a swiss newspaper shortly after dulles arrived, and that newspaper article said that this guy, allen dulles, is here. he's kind of a well known diplomat. and the newspaper article said that he was a special emissary from roosevelt. which was slightly different from roosevelt's cover story. and dulles was, at first, horrified that there was a newspaper article about him. but he kind of realized pretty quickly that, you know, if people want to belief that, i'll let 'em -- believe that, i'll let 'em. the germans bought that. they wrote a rather lengthy report in january or february of 1943, just a few months after he arrived, saying dulles was there, and it had a biography of him, and they had found
7:45 am
somgermans who had known him -- some germans who had known him for the war, and it just said he's in switzerland, and we think he's most interested in the german economy, gathering evidence about the german economy. it really wasn't sort of late, very late in the war before they kind of figured out that he was oss. they really sort of clung to this mistaken identity. they knew that he was doing some espionage, but they really didn't know that much about his network. there was a report that the germans did after value create in the -- valkyrie, and they mentioned dulles as someone who had been working with the german resistance. so they had a pretty good idea what he was about and what he was up to, but certainly they were lacking a lot of the detail.
7:46 am
>> how did dulles get the information he was gathering back to the united states so that they could take advantage of it? >> that was a constant problem. they had originally -- because switzerland was surrounded by the germans and the occupied territories, italians on all sides, they originally experimented by giving documents to diplomats from neutral countries who would smuggle it out of the country through france to spain, which was neutral, and they could fly it out from there. but those documents tended to go missing from time to time, so that didn't work very well. they experimented -- they would transmit some things over the telephone, and they knew that the swiss intelligence service was monitoring their telephone line. the swiss really monitored everybody. the swiss knew that there were a lot of spies in their country, and they were kind of willing to look the other way, but they
7:47 am
wanted to know what everybody was occupy up to. and there were people in the swiss intelligence service who were pro-american and some who were pro-german, so you really couldn't transmit very much secret information over the telephone. so dulles used kind of a very simple code that he would send things back and forth on by telegram. the problem was that the coding was always difficult, and the swiss helped him out quite a bit with that. there were quite a number of german pilots and air crew who had been -- found their way to switzerland which was neutral. maybe they had crashed along the border, sometimes if a plane developed mechanical trouble, they would land in switzerland, and the swiss wouldn't return them to the u.s., but they allowed them to stay in their country. and dulles, as i mentioned during the talk, had some friends in swiss intelligence, and is they let the air crews work with dulles on a lot of the
7:48 am
coding of the secret documents. later in the war, this was one of the coolest things that they thought of, when they were getting a lot of microfilm, secret documents from germany, they convinced a railroad engineer who went between lyon, france, and geneva to build a special compartment in his train. and it was kind of near the boiler, and so they would put microfilm or documents in this secret compartment, and it actually had a little lever on it. so if the train was ever expected, the conductor could hit this lever, and whatever was in this compartment would fall into the flames of the boiler and be incinerated, and he could avoid detection. is those documents would go to france where it was met by members of the french underground who bicycled it down to the mediterranean, then they took it by boat to a location that was eventually flown to
7:49 am
london where it was looked at and then sent on to washington. but they did that really sort of for the bigger documents that they had that were difficult to transcribe. and they just wanted to send the originals. >> aside from hitler's intuition, with that much resistance did you develop any theories about why an assassination attempt never was successful? >> it is, you know, if the guys in the resistance, you can't but marvel at how brave they were, because if you got caught -- and i have to say almost all of them did at one point or another -- you were looking at a pretty grisly death. but hitler, he just -- it's inexplicable. there was an individual that i talk about in the book by the name of bjorgelser who in 1939
7:50 am
he invented a plot where he was going to blow hitler up. this story kind of illustrates how lucky hitler was. he was going to blow up this beer hall that hitler was speaking in. and the guy was ingenious. he got a job in a construction factory and was able to steal some dynamite which he used for the bomb, and he was a carpenter and invented a really accurate and sophisticated timing device. and he knew the date and time that hitler was going to be speaking in this beer hall, and so he would go into the beer hall at night, hide in the bathroom until everybody left, and then he would come out with his little toolbox, and he carved out kind of a hollow in one of the support posts on the platform where hitler was going to speak. he did this over several days and put the bomb in there. everything worked perfectly. but on that particular night, there was bad weather in the munich area, and hitler's pilot said i don't think we can fly
7:51 am
back to berlin, you better take the train. so hitler called off his speech a little bit early, just 10 or 15 minutes early. the bomb went off exactly as timed with a tremendous explosion and killed a number of people. when the roof collapsed, hitler would have been killed, but it was just a matter of bad weather. i mean, i could go on and on about similar just inexplicable twists of fate that spared hitler. it was incredible. anybody else? >> since there's nobody else, one more question. >> sure. >> do you have a sense for if the july 20th or any of the other plots against hitler had succeeded, would that have hastened the end of the war? >> i think, yeah, i'm sure so.
7:52 am
because the people who wanted to replace hitler were very keen to end the war. i would say probably despite the protests from roosevelt, and this is all -- this is kind of the fun of history, playing the what-if game, but i think that the americans, if hitler had been replaced and a new german government came and said let's quit this nonsense, it's hard to an american -- to imagine any american government to, you know, turn too cold a shoulder to those kinds of offers, you know? it's nothing -- you know, it's hard to imagine otherwise, that the war wouldn't have ended much more quickly. >> and just a follow-up. do you think it would have been something other than an unconditional surrender in that case? >> you know, there's a lot of theories that dulles was kind of with a wink and a nudge was telling the germans just that, that america's stated policy that we will not negotiate with
7:53 am
you. but there was, there actually was a document from a german source that claimed dulles had told them, you know, you guys get rid of hitler, and i'll see that you guys are looked after. so i think, you know, politically how could you continue with the war if you had people who were, you know, saying, hey, we got rid of hitler, we hate him. we want to be your friends, you know? how do you say, no, we're going to fight you to the bitter end. it's hard to imagine otherwise. but it's fun to talk about. [laughter] okay. well, thank you so much, everybody. enjoyed talking to you. [applause] >> folks, just a reminder, there is a book signing one level up
7:54 am
at the bookstore. 15% off on lecture day, so make sure you get your book. [inaudible conversations] >> we need to ask a basic question here at the 25th anniversary, how did congress choose the 12 rights that they did, and what are the basic things that you want our audience to know about what the bill of rights protects? >> the most basic thing, and i've already begin you some hints about it -- given you some hints about it. we'll just play a game, and some of you have played this game


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on