Stalin's Secret War

Soviet Counterintelligence against the Nazis, 1941-1945

Robert W. Stephan

The Soviet-German War of 1941–1945 was the most extensive intelligence/counterintelligence war in modern history, involving the capture, torture, deportation, execution, and doubling of tens of thousands of agents—most of them Soviet citizens. While Russian armies fought furiously to defeat the Wehrmacht, Stalins security services waged an equally ruthless secret war against Hitlers spies, as well as against the Soviet population. For the first time, Robert Stephan now combines declassified U.S. intelligence documents, captured German records, and Russian sources, including a top-secret Soviet history of its intelligence and security services, to reveal the magnitude and scope of the brutal but sophisticated Soviet counterintelligence war against Nazi Germany.

Employing as many as 150,000 trained agents across a 2,400-mile front, the Soviets neutralized the majority of the more than 40,000 German agents deployed against them. As Stephan shows, their combination of Soviet military deception operations and State Securitys defeat of the Abwehrs human intelligence effort had devastating consequences for the German Army in every major battle against the Red army, including Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk, the Belorussian offensive, and the Vistula-Oder operation.

“A significant book that clearly shows the importance and vastness of the clandestine intelligence-counterintelligence war on the Eastern Front. . . . Stephans thorough and imaginative research, and his patient analysis and interpretation of the documents and memoirs he has unearthed, set a standard that other historians working on intelligence should emulate. ”

American Historical Review

“An indispensable account of this dimension of the war on the Eastern Front, and a valuable primer for all those who wish to understand how to conduct intelligence and counterintelligence operations. Needless to say this topic is of immense relevance to American forces and intelligence agencies today.”

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Simultaneously, Soviet State Security continued to penetrate the worlds major intelligence services including those of its allies, terrorize its own citizens to prevent spying, desertion, and real or perceived opposition to the regime, and run millions of informants, making the USSR a vast prison covering one sixth of the worlds surface.

Stephan discusses all facets of the Soviet counterintelligence effort, including the major Soviet radio games used to mislead the Germans—operations Monastery, Berezino, and those that defeated Himmlers Operation Zeppelin. He also gives the most comprehensive account to date of the Abwehrs infamous agent Max, whose organization allegedly ran an entire network of agents inside the USSR, and reveals the reasons for Germanys catastrophic under-estimation of Soviet forces by more than one million men during their 1944 summer offensive in Belorussia.

Richly detailed and epic in scope, Stalins Secret War opens up a previously hidden dimension of World War II.

Additional Titles in the Modern War Studies Series