Hitler's Spies in South Africa: Intelligence Networks During the Second Word War with Dr Evert Kleynhans


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In 1939, South Africa entered World War II on the side of the Allied powers, although not without internal opposition. The German government capitalised on these domestic rifts and secretly engaged the leaders of the pro-fascist Ossewabrandwag in order to encourage sedition across South Africa and intercept naval intelligence- ultimately to undermine the strategic importance of the Cape of Good Hope for Allied efforts. To this end, a complex network of spies was dispatched to collect intelligence to send back to the Reich by way of coded messages to Axis diplomatic agents stationed in Mozambique. These spies and their tactics are the focus of Dr Evert Kleynhans' new book, Hitler’s South African Spies (Jonathan Ball Publishers, 2021). In this podcast, Dr Kleynhans and Dr Marco Wyss, Director of the Centre for War and Diplomacy, discuss the role of intelligence in South Africa during the Second World War, the impact these spies had on the outcome of the war, and how research into this field continues to develop.

Dr Evert Kleynhans is a senior lecturer in the Department of Military History at the Faculty of Military Science of Stellenbosch University. He lectures undergraduate and postgraduate modules on the evolution of warfare, African military history, and low-intensity conflict in Africa since 1945. His research interests include South African participation in both World Wars, insurgency and counterinsurgency in Africa, and the broad historical impact of climate and terrain on warfare. Dr Kleynhans formerly served as an officer in the South African National Defence Force, whereafter he was appointed as the archivist, and later director, of the Records, Archives and Museums Division of North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa. His book, Hitler's South African Spies: Secret Agents and the Intelligence War in South Africa, was published by Jonathan Ball Publishers this year and is available through reputable booksellers.

25 episode