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Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


Term meaning “defense,” applied in Germany to the military intelligence and counter-espionage organization operative from 1920 until 1944. Originally performing domestic functions, this expanded under the Third Reich (see nazism ) to include a spy network abroad. Led by Admiral Canaris from 1935, the Abwehr had become by 1939 a branch of the Armed Forces Supreme Command (OKW). Its espionage proved especially valuable in the balkans , and its greatest counter-intelligence success was registered against the Soviet resistance network labeled the “Rote Kapelle.” Within the Nazi system, the Abwehr suffered from its rivalry with the SD (see sicherheitsdienst ). Eventually Canaris and other senior colleagues became embroiled in some of the German resistance to hitler . Early in 1944 himmler as leader of the schutzstaffel (SS) took over most of the responsibilities previously assigned to the Abwehr. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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