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German espionage and British counter-intelligence in South Africa and Mozambique, 1939-1944

Fedorowich, Kent


Kent Fedorowich
Associate Professor in British Imperial & Comnwealth History


For most of the Second World War, German and Italian agents were actively engaged in a variety of intelligence gathering exercises in southern Africa. The hub of this activity was Lourenço Marques, the colonial capital of Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique). One of the key tasks of Axis agents was to make links with Nazi sympathizers and the radical right in South Africa, promote dissent, and destabilize the imperial war effort in the dominion. Using British, American, and South African archival sources, this article outlines German espionage activities and British counter-intelligence operations orchestrated by MI5, MI6, and the Special Operations Executive between 1939 and 1944. The article, which is part of a larger study, examines three broad themes. First, it explores Pretoria's creation of a humble military intelligence apparatus in wartime South Africa. Secondly, it examines the establishment of several British liaison and intelligence-gathering agencies that operated in southern Africa for most of the war. Finally, it assesses the working relationship between the South African and British agencies, the tensions that arose, and the competing interests that emerged between the two allies as they sought to contain the Axis-inspired threat from within. © 2005 Cambridge University Press.


Fedorowich, K. (2005). German espionage and British counter-intelligence in South Africa and Mozambique, 1939-1944. Historical Journal, 48(1), 209-230.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 1, 2005
Journal Historical Journal
Print ISSN 0018-246X
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Issue 1
Pages 209-230
Keywords British, espionage, counter-intelligence, South Africa, Mozambique, 1939-1944
Public URL
Publisher URL


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