As a Scientist, I love this story.
In 1939 War was looming on the German horizon. Everywhere in Europe people knew it was coming. The problem for Hitler was that the German Herrenvolk (people) really wanted to live in peace.
Late in August of that year there was an American correspondent wandering around Berlin interviewing citizens. Think of it like a late 30s “man on the street” style interview done by many of today’s news organizations. The reporter wrote in his diary one night the following: “Everybody here is against the war. How can a country get into a major war with a population so dead set against it?” Think the U.S. was the first to do such a thing? Think again.
Adolf Hitler had an answer to this question. He would use propaganda. In fact, he had a series of people whose job it was to spin the story in a way to make it look like Germany had no choice, or was doing it for the “good of the people.” Sound familiar?
Sept 1, 1939 five German armies, swarms of dive bombers poured into Poland. These soldiers converged on Warsaw from three sides. This attack was so deadly, and so precise, that they had to come up with a way to describe it. This attack was the origination of the term Blitzkrieg.
On Sept 3, 1939 Hitler received and ultimatum from the British Prime Minister that he must withdraw or the British would declare war.
England and France declared war, Germany did not withdraw, and Poland fell 27 days after that first invasion.
Here is where the story gets weird.
In October of 1939 Vice Admiral Hector Boyes, the Royal Navy attache to Norway was at the embassy in that nation and received a hand written, anonymous letter. The letter said that if the British wanted a load of German technical information on weapons development programs they should say the following words on a news broadcast: “Hellu, hier ist London,” which in English means Hello here is London.
MI-6 had to make a choice. Was this the letter of a crazy person? Those things happen in the intel business. Was this the German’s throwing some psychological warfare their direction? Was it someone who was going to reveal the secrets to German beer? It could have been anything.
They did as the letter requested.
On November 4, 1939, a guard at a British embassy in Norway found a package sitting on a stone ledge. The package contained 8 pages of notes and additional pages of technical drawings of some Top-Secret German programs. These were details of the V1 and V2 rockets. Well, most British experts were skeptical, until these weapons showed up on the battlefield.
These same experts started to work on countermeasures based on those drawings once they were known to be real.
Then starts the real debate on the British Engineering side of this situation. How could one person get so much data? Was it just one person? Was there a large scientific conspiracy? They couldn’t figure it out.
It was clear that who, or whatever group it was wanted to stop Hitler.
Interestingly, to this day, to the best of my knowledge…no one ever found out who it was.
I would really like to know who it was, but that information is lost to history.
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