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What did they do with it?

F.H. Hinsley, 27 July 1989

Ultra and Mediterranean Strategy 1941-1945 
by Ralph Bennett.
Hamish Hamilton, 496 pp., £17.95, April 1989, 0 241 12687 8
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... Ralph Bennett’s first book on intelligence in the Second World War – Ultra in the West – dealt with the Normandy invasion and the campaign in North-West Europe. This volume appears later, in what he calls ‘an unnatural order’, because the material on which both are based was released to the public records without regard for chronological sequence ...

Various Reasons

F.H. Hinsley, 30 August 1990

Other Losses: An Investigation into the Mass Deaths of German Prisoners of War after World War Two 
by James Bacque.
Macdonald, 252 pp., £13.95, August 1990, 0 356 19136 2
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... population. But Mr Bacque mentions these explanations only to dismiss them as dishonest. One of his persistent themes is that there was no shortage of food, only a refusal to release to the camps what was available, including 13,500,000 Red Cross parcels which would have kept alive those who starved – and he devotes less attention to Eisenhower’s ...

Bombes, Cribs and Colossi

R.O. Gandy, 26 May 1994

Codebreakers: The Inside Story of Bletchley Park 
edited by F.H. Hinsley and Alan Stripp.
Oxford, 321 pp., £17.95, August 1993, 0 19 820327 6
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... that no letter could code itself – probably a selling point for the original machine, but one of help to the codebreakers. Each rotor carried a ring marked with the letters of the alphabet, which could be rotated. The three current letters appeared at three windows, and each time a key was depressed, one or more of the rotors moved on. Already before the ...

In the field

Nigel Hamilton, 5 November 1981

Washington Despatches, 1941-45: Weekly Political Reports from the British Embassy 
edited by H.G. Nicholas.
Weidenfeld, 700 pp., £20, August 1981, 0 297 77920 6
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British Intelligence and the Second World War. Vol. II 
by F.H. Hinsley, E.E. Thomas, C.F.G. Ransom and R.C. Knight.
HMSO, 850 pp., £15.95, September 1981, 0 11 630934 2
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Mars without Venus: A Study of Some Homosexual Generals 
by Frank Richardson.
William Blackwood, 188 pp., £5.95, September 1981, 9780851581484
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Soldiering on: An Unofficial Portrait of the British Army 
by Dennis Barker.
Deutsch, 236 pp., £8.50, October 1981, 0 233 97391 5
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A Breed of Heroes 
by Alan Judd.
Hodder, 288 pp., £6.95, September 1981, 0 340 26334 2
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War in Peace: An Analysis of Warfare Since 1945 
edited by Robert Thompson.
Orbis, 312 pp., £9.95, September 1981, 0 85613 341 8
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... 1940-41 offensive, and Montgomery did not participate in ‘First’ Alamein in July 1942). Harry Hinsley’s British Intelligence and the Second World War: Its Influence on Strategy and Operations, Volume II, is another impersonal work. He has the strange notion that in order to simulate ‘perfect’ reality he must exclude any mention of individuals. Pas ...

Garbo & Co

Paul Addison, 28 June 1990

1940: Myth and Reality 
by Clive Ponting.
Hamish Hamilton, 263 pp., £15.99, May 1990, 0 241 12668 1
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British Intelligence in the Second World War. Vol. IV: Security and Counter-Intelligence 
by F.H. Hinsley and C.A.G. Simkins.
HMSO, 408 pp., £15.95, April 1990, 0 11 630952 0
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Unauthorised Action: Mountbatten and the Dieppe Raid 1942 
by Brian Loring Villa.
Oxford, 314 pp., £15, March 1990, 0 19 540679 6
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... thanks to the good sense of the jury. His mission to revise 1940 is a projection into the past of his campaign against secrecy and misinformation in Whitehall. In Ponting’s view, Britain’s ‘finest hour’ was mainly a triumph of rhetoric over reality. The lesson of 1940 was that Britain was no longer a great power. So vulnerable was Britain in the ...

Hinsley’s History

Noël Annan, 1 August 1985

Diplomacy and Intelligence during the Second World War: Essays in Honour of F.H. Hinsley 
edited by Richard Langhorne.
Cambridge, 329 pp., £27.50, May 1985, 0 521 26840 0
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British Intelligence and the Second World War. Vol. I: 1939-Summer 1941, Vol. II: Mid-1941-Mid-1943, Vol. III, Part I: June 1943-June 1944 
by F.H. Hinsley, E.E. Thomas, C.F.G. Ransom and R.C. Knight.
HMSO, 616 pp., £12.95, September 1979, 0 11 630933 4
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... being written on Anthony Blunt and the Cambridge Spies. Already the sleuths are nosing out the Fifth Man – the master control, an older don who must have recruited them. In 1977 the Times proclaimed to a sceptical public that he was Donald Beves, the delightful tutor of King’s known to generations of undergraduates who performed on stage in the ADC, the ...

Access to Ultra

Brian Bond, 16 June 1983

Hidden Weapons: Allied Secret or Undercover Services in World War Two 
by Basil Collier.
Hamish Hamilton, 386 pp., £15, April 1982, 0 241 10788 1
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The Other Ultra: Codes, Ciphers and the Defeat of Japan 
by Ronald Lewin.
Hutchinson, 332 pp., £10.95, April 1982, 0 09 147470 1
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The Puzzle Palace 
by James Bamford.
Sidgwick, 465 pp., £9.95, April 1983, 0 283 98976 9
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... take account of what is known now about all kinds of intelligence and covert activities. Professor F.H. Hinsley and his colleagues are fulfilling this task meticulously and with clinical detachment in their official history of British Intelligence in the Second World War, but Mr Collier has meanwhile provided a useful synthesis for non-specialists. As one ...

Churchill has nothing to hide

Paul Addison, 7 May 1987

Road to Victory: Winston Churchill 1941-1945 
by Martin Gilbert.
Heinemann, 1417 pp., £20, September 1986, 0 434 29186 2
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... The latest volume of Martin Gilbert’s Churchill biography is the fifth he has published since taking up the task in 1968. This time he accompanies Churchill on the long march from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour to VE Day. The book has all the strengths and weaknesses of its predecessors. It is a superbly researched chronicle, almost wholly devoid of explicit historical interpretation ...

World’s Greatest Statesman

Edward Luttwak, 11 March 1993

Churchill: The End of Glory 
by John Charmley.
Hodder, 648 pp., £30, January 1993, 9780340487952
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Churchill: A Major New Assessment of his Life in Peace and War 
edited by Robert Blake and Wm Roger Louis.
Oxford, 517 pp., £19.95, February 1993, 0 19 820317 9
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... Anglo-German war. That Churchill was addicted to war is certainly beyond dispute. One reading of his often brilliant observations about nuclear weapons (the 1955 ‘Balance of Terror’ speech said it all) is that he deplored them more than most people, as the final and complete ruination not just of mere boring peace, but of the splendid ...

Righteous Turpitudes

Basil Davidson, 27 September 1990

British Intelligence in the Second World War. Vol. V: Strategic Deception 
by Michael Howard.
HMSO, 266 pp., £12.95, July 1990, 0 11 630954 7
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... every morning for a weary long while, and produced sound and copious British news from a host of highly-qualified correspondents in most parts of the world from Tokyo to Trinidad, handed on the happy facts of military success in any number of legendary battles, and even won the anti-U-Boat war years before time. (Why Trinidad? My undercover correspondent ...

Having it both ways

Peter Clarke, 27 January 1994

A.J.P. Taylor: A Biography 
by Adam Sisman.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 468 pp., £18.99, January 1994, 1 85619 210 5
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A.J.P. Taylor: The Traitor within the Gates 
by Robert Cole.
Macmillan, 285 pp., £40, November 1993, 0 333 59273 5
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From Napoleon to the Second International: International Essays on the 19th Century 
by A.J.P. Taylor, edited by Chris Wrigley.
Hamish Hamilton, 426 pp., £25, November 1993, 0 241 13444 7
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... on the authority of the autobiography. For example, he simply reiterates its hard-luck tale of how Taylor’s ‘special lectureship’ came to an end at Oxford; also its over-zealous denial that his friendship with Beaverbrook had anything to do with the fact that the Sunday Express began commissioning a series of lucrative articles. To be sure, Cole ...

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