10 of the Most Satisfying Times Somebody Really Stuck it to Hitler

10 of the Most Satisfying Times Somebody Really Stuck it to Hitler

Khalid Elhassan - January 21, 2018

Few people in history deserved to have somebody stick it to them as much Adolph Hitler deserved it. In the grand scheme of things, fate itself stuck it to Hitler in the end, and did so in a big way. He spent his final days ranting out his rage, hunkered in an underground bunker while his enemies closed in on him from all sides. His vaunted so-called “Thousand Year Reich” had lasted barely a dozen years before collapsing. His dreams of lebensraum and seizing a vast empire in the east from Slavic and Asiatic so-called untermenschen, had vanished in the mist.

He once had a vision of exterminating most Slavs and Asiatics east of the Urals, and enslaving the survivors to serve his German so-called “Master Race” as helots. Instead, by April of 1945, those Slavs and Asiatics, in Red Army uniforms, were rampaging through his capital and reducing it to rubble. Utterly defeated, with his dreams in ruins and his empire reduced to a smoldering wreck, Hitler took his own life. However, before reaching that pathetic end, Hitler had once been an extremely powerful and frightful figure. Nonetheless, even when he was at the height of his power, brave and enterprising people did stand up to the Fuhrer and stick it to him.

10 of the Most Satisfying Times Somebody Really Stuck it to Hitler
Captain America punching Hitler. The Sci Fi Stack Exchange

Following are ten examples of people who thwarted Hitler and stuck it to him.

10 of the Most Satisfying Times Somebody Really Stuck it to Hitler
Paul von Lettow returning to hero’s welcome in Berlin in 1919. Spiegel Magazine

German War Hero Tells Hitler to Go F*ck Himself

Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck (1870 – 1964) was a Prussian army officer who rose to the rank of general in Germany’s Imperial Army. When World War I began, he was the military commander in the German colony of Tanganyika – today’s Tanzania. He knew that his colony, and all of East Africa, would be a sideshow. So von Letow decided to aid Germany’s war effort by tying down as many British troops as he could, in order to keep them away from other fronts more vital to Germany.

He succeeded beyond his wildest expectations. In what came to be known as the German East Africa Campaign, von Lettow led his forces and kept them in the field against great odds. He never had more than 14,000 men – 3000 German and 11,000 African natives – but still managed to keep in check British, Portuguese, and Belgian armies that numbered nearly half a million men.

Despite the great disparity in numbers, von Lettow harried his opponents and led them on a merry chase throughout four years of war, conducting one of the greatest guerrilla campaigns in history. He remained undefeated throughout the war, and only gave up the fight at war’s end after Germany threw in the towel and signed the Armistice of November, 1918.

Von Lettow’s exploits earned him the affectionate nickname The Lion of Africa. After the war, as his country’s only undefeated commander, he returned to a hero’s welcome in Germany. Von Lettow became active in politics, and as the Nazis rose to power in the tumultuous years following Germany’s defeat in WWI, he attempted to establish a viable conservative opposition to Hitler.

Von Lettow’s efforts failed, and Hitler came to power in 1933. In 1935, seeking to exploit the high respect and esteem in which Von Lettow was held by his former British enemies, Hitler offered to appoint him the Third Reich’s ambassador to Great Britain. Von Lettow not only declined, but in no uncertain terms told Hitler to “go fuck himself”.

Unsurprisingly, that insult did not sit well with the Nazis. From then on, they kept him under close surveillance, repeatedly searched his home, and kept harassing him during their years in power. The only thing that saved him from being sent to a concentration camp was his immense popularity with the German public as a genuine national hero, who represented one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal WWI.

10 of the Most Satisfying Times Somebody Really Stuck it to Hitler
Scene from ‘The Great Dictator’, mocking Hitler and Mussolini. Wikimedia

Charlie Chaplin Mocks Hitler in ‘The Great Dictator’

Charlie Chaplin rose to international stardom in the silent film era, during which he became one of the world’s most readily recognized figures. Even after the silent film era wound down, and the sound film period began with the release of The Jazz Singer in 1927, he continued making silent films. For the remainder of the 1920s, and all throughout the 1930s, Chaplin avoided making “talkies”, and stuck with what he knew best.

In the meantime, during the 1930s, the Nazis had published a propaganda book, The Jews Are Watching You, in which Chaplin was listed among dozens of activists, journalists, academics, bankers, and performers marked for death. Rather than intimidate Chaplin, it inspired him to go after Hitler by directing and starring in a movie depicting the Fuhrer as a buffoon.

Thus, in 1940, more than a decade after sound films had become the norm, Chaplin finally opened his mouth and spoke on the silver screen in order to stick it to Hitler in The Great Dictator. He hit it out of the park with his first talkie. In a long career full of blockbusters, The Great Dictator became Chaplin’s most commercially successful film. It is considered by many critics to be the British comedian’s greatest movie ever, as well as one of the best films of all time.

Chaplin played the dictator Adenoid Hynkel, who is clearly modeled on Adolph Hitler, and the Fuhrer and his Third Reich were mercilessly mocked in the satirical movie. Audiences roared with laughter at scenes of Nazi-like rallies, in which Chaplin rants in German-sounding gibberish. Other scenes depicted farcical interactions between the film’s stand-ins for fascist dictators Hitler and Mussolini. Yet another classic scene mocks the Fuhrers ambition to rule the world, as Chaplin depicted the German dictator playing in his office with an inflated globe.

That satire was bitingly effective and powerful, because Chaplin drew on the strong physical resemblance between himself and Hitler, particularly their distinctive and silly toothbrush moustaches. The Great Dictator went on to get nominated for five Academy Awards, for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Writing, Best Music, and Outstanding Production.


10 of the Most Satisfying Times Somebody Really Stuck it to Hitler
Hitler posing in front of the Eiffel Tower. Business Insider

French Workers Cut Eiffel Tower’s Car Cables to Thwart Hitler

Ever since its inauguration as the entrance to Paris’ 1889 World Fair, the Eiffel Tower has been one of the most recognized structures in the world. It was initially planned as a temporary structure, that would be torn down and sold for scrap after 20 years. Early on, many criticized it as an eyesore, and could not wait until the 20 years were up. However, it grew on people, and 20 years came and went without it getting torn down. Eventually, the Eiffel Tower became Paris’ most popular attraction, and a beloved fixture of the Parisian skyline that only a philistine would dislike.

Half a century after the Eiffel Tower’s inauguration, the Germans overran Western Europe in 1940, in a devastating blitzkrieg campaign that crushed all opposition, and led to France’s collapse within 40 days. The French government fled its capital, and the French military evacuated Paris, declaring it an open city. On June 14th, 1940, the triumphant Germans marched into and seized the City of Lights.

Hitler fancied himself a man of art and architecture, and growing up, he had dreamt of becoming an artist or architect. His greatest hope had been to gain admission to the prestigious Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, and the rejection of his application – twice – was the most devastating setback of his youth. So when Paris fell, Hitler made a beeline to the captured French capital, not only to savor his victory, but also to savor the City of Lights’ art and architecture.

He looked forward to gazing at a captive Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower. However, prescient members of the French Resistance figured that Hitler and the Nazis would derive great pleasure from surveying the French capital from that perch. So to deprive them of that satisfaction, they cut the lift cables for the tower’s elevator cars. Without an elevator, the only way to reach the top of the Eiffel Tower would be via a strenuous climb of 1500 steps. Hitler, in his 50s and not in the best of shape, decided to do without. Instead of treating himself to a view of Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower, the Fuhrer had to settle for posing for photos with Paris’ iconic symbol in the background.

10 of the Most Satisfying Times Somebody Really Stuck it to Hitler
British tank camouflaged to look like a truck. Wikimedia

British Stage Magicians Lull Hitler’s Forces Into Disaster

In October of 1942, Hitler’s Afrika Korps, under the command of his favorite general, Erwin Rommel, faced British forces in the Egyptian desert near a hamlet named El Alamein. The ensuing Battle of El Alamein was to be fought in a narrow strip of land bounded to the north by the Mediterranean Sea, and to the south by the Qattara Depression, which was impassable to armor and wheeled vehicles.

The British planned to attack in the north, and to conceal that they created a specialist unit known as the Camouflage, Development, and Training Centre (CDTC). The CDTC was cobbled together from stage magicians, filmmakers, painters, sculptors, and architects, and tasked with flummoxing the enemy. They came up with a misdirection plan, Operation Bertram, to deceive Rommel about British intentions regarding the direction of their upcoming attack.

That was particularly important because Rommel faced fuel shortages that made redeployment of his troops, particularly the Italians, difficult once fighting commenced. Wherever Rommel deployed his forces, that is where most of them would remain during the battle, so the British set out to convince him to deploy them in the wrong place. The British planned to attack in the north, so the CDTC set out to hide the actual troop and materiel buildup in the north, and to make what buildup could not be concealed appear smaller than it actually was. They also set out to convince the Germans that the main attack would be in the south, not the north.

To that end, the British fed the Germans misinformation via turned spies. And because the CDTC was heavy on magicians, they borrowed heavily from stage magic. They built wood and canvass contraptions to fool German aerial reconnaissance by making concentrations of armor in the north appear like trucks, and make transport trucks in the south look like menacing concentrations of tanks. To misdirect Hitler’s forces about the buildup of supplies and munitions, the CDTC set up fake ammunition dumps. Water was the most precious resource in the desert, so wherever the enemy concentrated water was a strong hint that he planned on doing something nearby. So the CDTC’s stage magicians built a 200 mile dummy water pipeline to the southern sector of the Alamein line.

The deception worked, and Hitler’s forces concentrated in the north. When the Battle of El Alamein commenced on the night of October 23, 1942, Axis forces were surprised that the British Eighth Army’s main thrust came in the north, and not in the south as had been expected. As predicted, fuel shortages kept Hitler’s forces from effectively redeploying troops from the southern sector to reinforce and meet the threat to the north. The battle ended in a complete British victory, and a retreat that culminated 6 months later in the complete surrender of all Axis forces in North Africa.

10 of the Most Satisfying Times Somebody Really Stuck it to Hitler
Eddie Chapman on book cover of ‘Agent Zigzag’. Google Books

English Criminal Gains Hitler’s Confidence, Derails Hitler’s Rocket Assault on London

The only Englishman ever awarded a German Iron Cross was Eddie Chapman (1914 – 1997). He was a thief, safebreaker, crook, and all around career criminal, who was recruited by German intelligence during WWII. Unbeknownst to them, Chapman was actually working for the British. He fed his German handlers false information that wrecked the effectiveness of Hitler’s “Vengeance Weapons” assault on London, and saved the lives of thousands of Londoners.

Chapman was raised in a dysfunctional family, and was a delinquent from the start. He enlisted in the British Army age 17, but deserted after a few months. When the army caught up with him, he was convicted, sentenced to prison, and given a dishonorable discharge. Upon his release, Chapman turned to crime to support a gambling habit and a taste for fine drinks.

In 1940, the Germans captured the British Channel Islands, and there, they found Chapman in a prison, serving a two year sentence for burglary. He volunteered to work for them, so the Germans freed him, and trained him in explosives, sabotage, and other clandestine skills. They then parachuted him into Britain in 1942, with orders to destroy a bomber factory.

Chapman was arrested soon after landing, and immediately offered to become a double agent for British intelligence. He was given the codename “Agent Zigzag”, and a plan was hatched to fake the bomber factory’s destruction. It convinced the Germans, and raised Chapman in their esteem. From then on, Chapman’s reports, carefully fed him by British intelligence, were treated as gospel by his German handlers.

The Germans eventually recalled Chapman, and gave him a hero’s welcome. Soon after D-Day, he was awarded an Iron Cross, then sent back to Britain to report on the effectiveness of the German V1 and V2 rocket strikes on London. Under British control, Chapman sent the Germans inflated figures about deaths from their rockets, while deceiving them about their actual impact points. That caused the Germans to shift the rockets’ aim points, causing them to fall on lower population density parts of London, with correspondingly fewer casualties.

After WWII, Chapman continued his colorful life. He got into smuggling, moved to the colonies, and started a farm. Then, in violation of the Official Secrets Act, he published his wartime exploits in The Eddie Chapman Story (1953); Free Agent: Further Adventures of Eddie Chapman (1955); and The Real Eddie Chapman Story (1966). Those books formed the basis for a 1967 movie, Triple Cross.

10 of the Most Satisfying Times Somebody Really Stuck it to Hitler
Georgy Zhukov. Famous People

Zhukov Lures Hitler Into Trap at Stalingrad

In 1942, Hitler launched a massive summer offensive on the Eastern Front, whose ultimate aim was to capture the Soviets’ oil fields in the Caucasus. At the northern edge of that offensive, the city of Stalingrad was to be the easternmost anchor for a line stretching between the rivers Don and Volga. That line would protect the German thrust into the Caucasus from being attacked in the rear by Soviets advancing from the north. However, the symbolism of Stalingrad being named after the Soviet leader grabbed Hitler’s attention, and what began as a subsidiary operation turned into a major battle.

Recognizing Hitler’s growing fixation on Stalingrad, Soviet commander Georgy Zhukov lured Hitler into pouring more and more resources to capture the city. Zhukov and the Soviets saw beyond the immediate fight for the city, while Hitler did not. The result would be a German disaster, caused by the Fuhrer thinking small, while the Soviets thought big.

Hitler focused on the fight for Stalingrad, with its capture being an end in of itself. Zhukov saw the defense of Stalingrad as a means to a greater end, so he fed just enough forces and supplies into the city to keep the battle going and the Germans engaged. In the meantime, he concentrated powerful armies hundreds of miles north and south of Stalingrad. He aimed to launch them in a pincer attack, Operation Uranus, that would surround the Germans inside the city, and smash the Axis armies guarding their flanks.

Uranus was launched on November 19th, 1942, and it went like clockwork. The Soviets wrecked the Italian, Romanian, and Hungarian armies protecting the Germans in Stalingrad, and within 4 days, the attacking pincers met. Hitler insisted that the Germans in Stalingrad fight it out until relieved by a rescue force, rather than try and break out. Rescue efforts failed. By the time the last Germans in Stalingrad surrendered in February of 1943, the Axis had suffered 728,000 casualties, and the tide of war had turned against Germany.

10 of the Most Satisfying Times Somebody Really Stuck it to Hitler
HMS Cambeltown resting atop the gates of the Normandie drydock after crashing into them, while Germans inspect her, unaware of her cargo. Wikimedia

British Commandos Wreck Hitler’s Naval Strategy

After the Germans conquered France in 1940, they controlled France’s Atlantic coast and ports, with great consequences for the war at sea. In WWI, the German navy had been confined to the Baltic and North Sea. To break out into the Atlantic, it would have had to run the gauntlet of British-controlled waters in either the English Channel, or the naval chokepoints of the Greenland-Iceland-UK (GIUK) gap north of Scotland. In WWII, by contrast, with the capture of France’s Atlantic ports, the German navy could now operate directly on the Atlantic.

One of the most important facilities for German naval operations in the Atlantic was the Normandie drydock in St Nazaire. It was the only Axis-controlled drydock on the Atlantic that could accommodate the giant German battleships Bismark and Tirpitz. Its loss would ensure that should those battleships break into the Atlantic Ocean and suffer damage there, instead of returning for repairs to a convenient haven on the Atlantic, they would be forced to return all the way back to Germany, through chokepoints controlled by the superior British navy.

So on March 28th, 1942, a surprise attack by British Commandos was launched against the Normandie drydock in St Nazaire. The raiders were carried in a flotilla of 18 small craft, intended to be their ride back home after the mission. They were accompanied by an obsolete destroyer, HMS Cambeltown, packed with well-concealed delayed-action high explosives. Upon reaching St Nazaire, the Cambeltown rammed the gates of the Normandie drydock, and came to rest above them at an angle.

The Germans were unaware of the destroyer’s deadly cargo, so they concentrated on fighting the Commandos, who were attacking other vital targets in St Nazaire. In heavy exchanges of fire, the Germans destroyed nearly all the British small craft that were supposed to take the Commandos back home. Stranded, the Commandos tried making their way inland, but most were killed or captured after their ammunition ran out.

The raiders suffered heavy losses: 169 were killed, and another 215 were captured. They also lost 13 motor launches, a torpedo boat, a gun boat, and two airplanes. It was worth it, however. Later that day, after things had quieted down and the Germans began cleanup efforts, swarming aboard the HMS Cambeltown resting above the dry dock gates, the destroyer’s hidden cargo of delayed action explosives detonated. The massive explosion killed hundreds of Germans, and wounded hundreds more. It also put the Normandie drydock out of commission for the rest of the war.

10 of the Most Satisfying Times Somebody Really Stuck it to Hitler
An RAF Lancaster making an attack run during the ‘Dambuster Raid’. The Telegraph

Maverick Scientist and Daring Airman Flood Hitler’s Industrial Heartland

Germany’s industrial heartland lay in the Ruhr Valley, whose waters were regulated by a series of dams. For years, British contingency planners had explored the feasibility of destroying those dams. Many proposals were examined, but none produced a plan that stood a reasonable chance of success. The problem was accuracy: theoretically, a big enough bomb, such as the 10 ton Earthquake Bomb that burrows deep underground before exploding, could destroy a dam by seismic waves if dropped from 40,000 feet. However, no bomber existed at the time that could carry such a heavy bomb to the required height, then accurately drop it close enough to the dam to destroy it.

Finally, an eccentric British scientist, Barnes Wallis, solved the problem. A smaller bomb, provided it went off against a dam wall at a sufficient depth, would destroy the dam. However, the Ruhr dams were protected by underwater torpedo nets to prevent that. Wallis figured out a solution: bounce a bomb over the water’s surface and over the torpedo nets like a skipping stone, until it struck the dam’s wall. It would then sink down the wall, and once at the requisite depth, explode. The surrounding water would concentrate the blast against the dam, resulting in a breach.

To get the explosive to skip on the surface, then sink along the dam’s wall after striking it instead of bouncing back, Wallis devised a spinning drum filled with explosives. A bomber would approach the dam flying low above its reservoir, and at the proper height and distance from the target, release the explosive drum, which a motor had set to spinning counterclockwise. The bomber’s speed would propel the drum skipping over the water surface, bouncing over the underwater torpedo nets. Once it struck the dam, the drum’s counter-rotation would ensure that it hugged the dam’s wall while sinking. Then, at the proper depth, hydraulic pistols would detonate it.

In March of 1943, a special Royal Air Force unit, 617 Squadron, was formed under the command of a daring 24 year old daring Wing Commander, Guy Gibson. Staffed with experienced pilots and crews, 617 Squadron was to be an elite aerial commando unit. Gibson’s aircrews trained in modified Lancaster heavy bombers, fitted with a motor in the bomb bay to spin the explosive drum, which had to be released 60 feet above the water to properly skip. To determine the correct height, two spotlights were placed on the bomber’s front and rear, and angled so their lights would meet at the water’s surface when the bomber was precisely 60 feet above water.

19 Lancaster bombers took off on the night of May 16th, 1943, flying low on a route carefully chosen to avoid known antiaircraft concentrations. Losses began early on, and two bombers had to turn back after one flew too low and struck water, losing its explosives, while another had its radio damaged by flak. Soon thereafter, a third bomber was shot down, a fourth crashed after striking electric towers, and a fifth went down after flying into power lines.

Guy Gibson made his attack run at the first dam, the Mohne. He then flew across the dam to draw antiaircraft fire while other bombers made their approaches. One bomber was lost and another damaged, but the dam was finally breached after the fifth bombing run. Gibson then led those bombers that that still had explosives to the second dam, the Edersee. It was undefended but, the angle of approach was difficult, and made even more dangerous by fog. After numerous aborted runs, it was finally breached. The attack on a third dam, the Sorpe, failed.

The breached dams caused flooding that killed about 1700 civilians. The greatest impact was the loss of hydroelectric power to factories and residences in the Ruhr for two weeks, as two power stations were destroyed and seven more were damaged. Coal production also dropped, declining 400,000 tons that month. The raid gave a boost to British morale as an impressive feat of derring-do, and Guy Gibson was awarded a Victoria Cross. 617 Squadron, known thereafter as the “Dam Busters”, went on to fly further successful special raids.

10 of the Most Satisfying Times Somebody Really Stuck it to Hitler
George Patton, commander of the fictitious First US Army Group (FUSAG), and one of FUSAG’s inflatable dummy tanks. Pintrest

Allied Intelligence Keeps Hitler Waiting for an Invasion That Never Came

The Western Allies’ planned amphibious invasion of France in WWII was going to be a risky affair, that could easily end in disaster. Landing troops in Normandy would just be the start of it. Ultimate success would depend on whether the Allies would be able to pour enough troops into their Normandy beachhead to make it invulnerable to counterattack, or whether the Germans would be able to nip the beachhead in the bud.

The Germans had many troops in France, and powerful panzer divisions near Normandy that could be concentrated against the Allied beachhead before it was secure. It was going to be iffy, so before giving the go ahead for D-Day, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Western Allies’ supreme military commander in Europe, prepared a statement accepting all responsibility in case of failure.

Time for an Allied buildup in Normandy was going to be a precious commodity. To buy that time, Allied intelligence came up with Operation Bodyguard, a multifaceted and complex plan to deceive Hitler about the time and location of the invasion of Europe in 1944. The plan had three goals. First, conceal the actual time and date of the invasion. Second, convince the Germans that the main invasion would land in the Pas de Calais. Third, convince the Germans after the Normandy landings to maintain a strong defense in the Pas de Calais for at least two weeks, rather than send its defenders to Normandy.

A sub-plan of Bodyguard was Operation Fortitude, which created a fictitious “First US Army Group” (FUSAG) in southeast England under the command of general George S. Patton. Various means were used to sell Hitler and his generals on FUSAG’s existence. Fake radio traffic was used between fictitious FUSAG units. German reconnaissance planes were allowed to fly over and photograph concentrations of FUSAG tanks and transports that in actuality were just inflatable dummies. German intelligence was fed fake reports via double agents and turned spies about FUSAG’s intentions to invade the Pas de Calais, in order to tie down the German defenders there. A subsidiary, Fortitude North, created a fictitious British Fourth Army in Scotland, and convinced the Germans that it planned to invade Norway in order to tie down German defenders there.

After D-Day, Bodyguard succeeded in convincing the Germans that the Normandy landings were not the main event, but the first in a series of landings. Hitler was thus led to keep units guarding other potential landing sites. Especially the Pas de Calais, which was threatened by the fictitious FUSAG under Patton. Bodyguard had hoped to convince the Germans to stay put in the Pas de Calais for two weeks after D-Day, instead of immediately sending the units there to reinforce Normandy. The plan worked so well that the Germans stayed put in the Pas de Calais for seven weeks instead of the hoped-for two. That allowed the Allies time to build a beachhead in Normandy, before breaking out to liberate France and Western Europe. As Winston Churchill put it in his memoirs: “In wartime truth is so precious, that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies“.

10 of the Most Satisfying Times Somebody Really Stuck it to Hitler
Juan Pujol Garcia, and his German and British medals. Whale Oil

Eccentric Spanish Fabulist Hoodwinks Hitler

Much of the success of Operation Bodyguard, which hoaxed Hitler out of resisting the Normandy invasion with all available resources, is owed to Juan Pujol Garcia (1912 – 1988). Pujol was an eccentric Spaniard who, out of a desire for adventure and excitement, hoaxed Hitler with fictional spying during WWII. The hoax grew into the greatest deception operation of the war, and helped ensure Allied victory on D-Day and the Normandy Campaign.

Spain was a neutral country during WWII, and its fascist government was actually quite friendly to Hitler. Pujol, unlike his government, hated fascists, and when WWII began, he decided to help the Allies “for the good of humanity”. However, when he offered his services to British intelligence, he was rejected. Undeterred, and wanting to get into the action anyhow, Pujol pretended to be a Nazi sympathizing Spanish government official, and offered his services to the Germans. They accepted, and ordered him to Britain, with instructions to recruit a spy network.

Pujol went to Lisbon, instead. From the Portuguese capital, he made up reports about Britain with content culled from public sources, embellished and seasoned with his own active imagination. He then sent the reports to the Germans as if he had written them in Britain. His handlers believed it, and begged for more. So Pujol invented fictitious sub-agents, and used them as sources for additional fictitious reports.

In the meantime, the British were intercepting and decoding secret German messages about reports from a spy in Britain. The information in the reports was ludicrously wrong, so the British realized that somebody was hoaxing the Germans. When they discovered that it was Pujol acting on his own, the British belatedly accepted his offer of services. Giving him the codename GARBO, they whisked him to Britain. There, they built upon his imaginary network, transforming it into an elaborate operation that carefully fed the Germans a massive amount of often true but useless information, mixed in with half truths and falsities.

The flood of reports from Pujol and his steadily growing network of fictional sub-agents, caused him to be viewed by the Germans as their most successful spy in Britain. The moment for cashing in on that trust came during the buildup to D-Day and the subsequent Normandy campaign. The ultimate aim was to convince the Germans that the Normandy landings were but the first in a series of planned invasions, with an even bigger one planned against the Pas de Calais.

Pujol’s credibility with the Germans was strengthened by having him send a message alerting them to the invasion a few hours before it began. British intelligence knew that by the time it worked its way from German intelligence to commanders in the field, the invasion would have already taken place. The warning would thus do the Germans no good, but it would enhance Pujol’s reputation.

Pujol and his British handlers then went in for the kill. Building upon the years of trust, Pujol told the Germans that the Normandy landings were diversions, and that the real invasion would strike the Pas de Calais a few weeks later. Pujol’s warning supported what the Germans were already inclined to believe, because of other deceptive Allied intelligence measures, such as a fictional First US Army Group supposedly massed across the English Channel from the Pas de Calais. So the Germans kept powerful formations in reserve, instead of rushing them to Normandy. By the time the Pas de Calais formations were finally released, the Allied position in Normandy was invulnerable. Allied forces in Normandy not only defeated German counterattacks, but then went on the offensive, and broke out of the beachhead to sweep across and liberate France within a few months.

Pujol was decorated by both sides. The Germans awarded him an Iron Cross, and the British made him a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). After the war, he faked his death then moved to Venezuela, where he ran a gift shop and book store. He led an anonymous life until 1984, when he agreed to be interviewed for a book. After its publication, Pujol was lionized in Britain, and was received at Buckingham Palace. On the 40th anniversary of D-Day, he travelled to Normandy to pay his respects to the dead. He died in Caracas 4 years later.


Sources & Further Reading

Brown, Anthony Cave – Bodyguard of Lies (1975)

Encyclopedia Britannica – The Eiffel Tower

Hastings, Max – ­Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 (2011)

MacIntyre, Ben – Agent Zigzag: The True Wartime Story of Eddie Chapman, Lover, Betrayer, Hero, Spy (2007)

Mountbatten, Louis – Combined Operations: The Official History of the Commandos (2007)

Roberts, Geoffrey – Victory at Stalingrad (2002)

Royal Air Force – Bomber Command No. 617 Squadron

The Daily Express – How Charlie Chaplin Defied Nazi Death List

Timothy Ashby – The German General Who Told Hitler to go Screw Himself

Vintage News – Eiffel Tower’s Cables Were Cut So That Hitler Would Have to Climb the Steps to the Top

Wikipedia – Juan Pujol Garcia

Wikipedia – The Great Dictator

Wikipedia – Operation Bertram