World War I

F - M

Felstead, Sidney T. German Spies at Bay: Being an Actual Record of the German Espionage in Great Britain During the Years 1914-1918, Compiled from Official Sources. London: Hutchinson, 1920. New York: Brentano's, 1920.

Flicke, Wilhelm F. "The Early Development of Communications Intelligence." Studies in Intelligence 3, no. 1 (Winter 1959): 99-114.

The author traces the development of radio intercept and codebreaking in World War I. "There is a certain irony in the fact that at the very time when the Russians in the east were exposing themselves by clumsy use of radio so disasterously that the course of the Battle of Tannenberg wrecked their entire blitz campaign, the Germans in the west should be making the same mistake with the same result.... In the east, it was the Battle of Tannenberg; in the west it was the Battle of the Marne."

On Tannenberg, see also, Richard N. Armstrong, "Tactical Triumph at Tannenberg," Military History 14, no. 3 (Aug. 1997): 58-64, 80; and John M. Denkler, "Tannenberg," Cryptolog 15, no. 1 (Jan. 1994): 3, 17-18.

Flicke, Wilhelm F. War Secrets in the Ether. 2 vols. Vol. I (parts 1 & 2): to World War II; Vol. II (Part 3): World War II. Laguna Hills, CA: Aegean Books, 1977. Reprinted as 1 vol., 1994.

Denkler, Cryptolog 15.1, notes that "Flicke joined the German [signals intelligence] service at the beginning of World War I and remained through World War II.... Perhaps the most fascinating part[] is his description of the role of the service in counterintelligence operations in World War II."

According to McGinnis, Cryptolog 16.2, "Flicke gives a good account of German failures in the COMINT field during WWI, as well as their successes, such as the Battle of Tannenberg.... Flicke spent much of WWII dealing with agent and partisan communications networks operating within Germany or German occupied territories.... They did locate many of the agent transmitters.... There were so many of the transmitters, and enemy agents, that the flow of intelligence from within German territory to the Allied powers was not greatly interrupted. This is a landmark publication which deserves to be read by any serious student of COMINT.... The work has many defects, and is shallow reading in many parts, but the defects are frequently overshadowed by the author's remarks about how things should have been. He is clearly a proponent of centralized control of intelligence by a single body."

White, IJI&C 7.3, says that Flicke's "accounts of the radio intercept role in the famous engagements of both wars are fascinating." However, Pforzheimer finds some instances "where Flicke's memory is incorrect or his information is incomplete." As does Constantinides, who comments that "there are enough instances of error or incomplete information to warn that not everything Flicke says is automatically authoritative." Peake, AIJ 15.1/90, sees Flicke's work as "an informative overview," but adds that "the absence of sources and the availability of much more recent material greatly limits its utility."

Reviewing the one volume edition (1994), Surveillant 4.1 notes that "Flicke tells the story of German successes in reading the secret codes of both enemies and friends. Historians have long pondered how General Rommel knew in advance th[e] moves of the British army in North Africa. Flicke reveals the reason: the Germans had broken the U.S. secret code between Cairo and Washington."

Foley, Robert T. "Easy Target or Invincible Enemy? German Intelligence Assessments of France Before the Great War." Journal of Intelligence History 5, no. 2 (Winter 2005). []

From abstract: "For many years the assumption that Germany went to war in 1914 believing that the war would be short has remained unchallenged. However, recent research by Stig Förster has cast doubt on this traditional interpretation.... [This article] argues that German war planners did not view the French army as a serious threat and assumed the German army could defeat the French quickly and easily. Thus, German fears about a long war, if they did truly exist, must have come from the capabilities of Britain and Russia and not France."

Goltz, Horst von der. My Adventures as a German Secret Agent. New York: McBride, 1917. [Petersen]

Hieber, Hanne. "'Mademoiselle Docteur': The Life and Service of Imperial Germany’s Only Female Intelligence Officer." Journal of Intelligence History 5, no. 2 (Winter 2005). []

From abstract: Elsbeth Schragmüller "was one of the key figures in Germany's wartime intelligence against France.... [She] belonged to the first generation of young women who had been admitted to the universities, and she was among those disposed for management and leadership positions. This article presents new archival sources which shed some light on the biography of Elsbeth Schragmüller. It provides further insights into her work for IIIb."

Jähnicke, Burkhard. "Lawyer, Politician, Intelligence Officer: Paul Leverkuehn in Turkey, 1915-1916 and 1941-1944." Journal of Intelligence History 2, no 2 (Winter 2002). [http://www.]

From abstract: "As a member of the secret Scheubner-Richter expedition in World War I, travelling to the Turkish-Persian frontier, and as spy chief in Istanbul from 1941 until 1944, Leverkuehn represents the history and development of German intelligence in Turkey....  His intelligence activities ended abruptly in February 1944, when his co-worker Erich Vermehren and his wife defected to the British." See also, Paul Leverkuehn, German Military Intelligence (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1954).

Journal of Intelligence History. ["Special Issue on German Military Intelligence in World War I."] 5, no. 2 (Winter 2005): Entire issue. []

Lasswell, Harold D. Propaganda Technique in the World War. New York: Knopf, 1927. London: Kegan Paul, 1938. New York: Peter Smith, 1938. [pb] Propaganda Technique in World War I. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1971. [pb]

Lerner at MIT Press: "This classic book on propaganda technique focuses on American, British, French, and German experience in World War I. The book sets forth a simple classification of various psychological materials used to produce certain specific results and proposes a general theory of strategy and tactics for the manipulation of these materials."

Matthews, Peter. SIGINT: The Secret History of Signals Intelligence 1914-45. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2013.

Peake, Studies 58.3 (Sep. 2014), finds that this book "tells some interesting stories about intercept units and operations, but it has two serious drawbacks. It is not documented"; and it "is poorly edited, and the narrative is often hard to follow." Nonetheless, it "offers an interesting account of German SIGINT operations not found elsewhere."

Millman, Chad. The Detonators: The Secret Plot to Destroy America and an Epic Hunt for Justice. New York: Little, Brown, 2006.

Boghardt, Studies 51.1 (Mar. 2007), notes that the Black Tom explosions of July 1916 are discussed; but the "main focus is on the ... legal battles of the German-American Mixed Claims Commission" after the war. The author's "elucidation of the fluid German secret service networks that operated in the United States throughout the period of American neutrality" is of "particular interest.... Unfortunately, the book's readability occasionally comes at the expense of accuracy and nuance.... Millman's lack of nuance is partially due to the fact that he ignores German sources and scholarship." Nonetheless, the author "tells an exciting story and captures the big picture."

Morton, James. Spies of the First World War: Under Cover for King and Kaiser. Kew, UK: National Archives, 2010.

Grehan,, 6 Jul. 2010, refers to this as "an absorbing and informative read." To Peake, Studies 55.1 (Mar. 2011), there is "little new in this book," and it "inexplicably" omits Sidney Reilley. Nevertheless, it "is well written and well documented,... and will do nicely for those wishing a succinct, easy-reading overview."

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