University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Violence and Conflict Graduate Workshop, Faculty of History > Reinhard Gehlen, British Intelligence, and Communist Subversion, c. 1945-62

Reinhard Gehlen, British Intelligence, and Communist Subversion, c. 1945-62

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In 2008 the British Security Service (MI5) has released their file on Reinhard Gehlen to the National Archives. Gehlen was one of the most interesting figures in the intelligence world of the Second World War and early Cold War. He was a general of the Nazi Wehrmacht and became chief of the German military intelligence on the eastern front in 1942. After the war he was recruited by the Americans after the war and set up the so-called Gehlen Organisation – the predecessor of the West German Intelligence Agency BND in 1956 of which Gehlen remained head until 1968. The main objective of this paper, however, will not be to present Gehlen’s career as such, but rather to examine the MI5 file itself and reflect on its value to the historian. It reveals information on methods used by Soviet intelligence which were of great interest to the British intelligence services. The paper will use the information provided in the Gehlen file as a starting point for a more detailed study of Communist subversion in the United Kingdom and counter-subversive measures taken by post-war British governments and the intelligence community.

This talk is part of the Violence and Conflict Graduate Workshop, Faculty of History series.

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