REVIEW: Fighting The Nazis. French Intelligence and Counterintelligence 1935-1945


Fighting the Nazis: French Military Intelligence and Counterintelligence 1935-1945

By Colonel Paul Paillole. New York, NY: Enigma Books, 2003. 492 pages, photos, charts, index.


Originally published in France in 1975 this interesting work provides a remarkably detailed account of Paillole's service as the leader of French counterintelligence prior to and during World War II. In the years leading up to the outbreak of war, German military intelligence had significantly insinuated itself into the social fabric of France.

Assigned to the French Deuxième Bureau, which handled both counterintelligence and analysis of enemy intelligence, Paillole created a network of covert travaux ruraux ("rural routes") that gathered information on German espionage efforts both in France and in North Africa. Paillole often found himself struggling on two fronts: against the Germans and caught up in the contest between de Gaulle and Henri Giraud, who both sought leadership of the Free French. Paillole warned his military masters about the impending German attack in May 1940, but his concerns were lost in a mass of contradictory intelligence.

Drawing on the author’s unique personal insights and experiences, this book is filled with fascinating operational and organizational..

Read more: