Tag: Second World War

German spies in South Africa during WWII – The enemy within

Reading time: 5 minutes
The story of the intelligence war in South Africa during the Second World War is one of suspense, drama and dogged persistence. South Africa officially joined the war on 6 September 1939 by siding with Britain and the Allies and declaring war on Nazi Germany.

South African historians have largely overlooked the intelligence war, partly because of the apparent paucity of reference sources on it. This lack of attention prompted me to investigate the matter further. The result was my book Hitler’s Spies: Secret Agents and the Intelligence War in South Africa.

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Left to ruin: we must preserve our forgotten wartime defences

Reading time: 5 minutes
Australia built a number of coastal defences to help protect the country from any enemy attack during the second world war. Now, almost 80 years later, some of the physical remnants of those historic facilities lie forgotten and decaying.

These monuments to the nation’s home defence are in desperate need of preservation. While their condition varies greatly, too many have faded into obscurity.

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Carols, ration books and bomb shelters: how Britain celebrated Christmas in 1940

Reading time: 6 minutes
At Christmas 1939, Britons had been able to maintain a semblance of normality. The blackout prevented displays of lighted Christmas trees in front windows, but there was no rationing and Britain’s key ally, France, remained unconquered behind the allegedly impregnable Maginot Line.

Following the fall of France, the evacuation at Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain, Christmas 1940 was much bleaker – the first real wartime Christmas. It took place in the middle of the Blitz. In December, the Luftwaffe attacked Southampton, Bristol, Sheffield and Leicester. Manchester took heavy pounding on the night of December 22/23 and again on Christmas Eve. Rationing was beginning to bite hard as the German occupation of Europe and blockade by U-boats cut off important sources of supply.

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