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The Kriegsmarine, Signals Intelligence and the Development of the B-Dienst Before the Second World War

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This article explores the development of the Kriegsmarine's signals intelligence service, the B-Dienst, and its role in operational planning prior to 1939. It challenges the prevalent view that the Kriegsmarine had little interest in intelligence gathering and contends that the naval leadership understood the implications and possibilities of this new intelligence source. By employing hitherto unused source material the article demonstrates how the B-Dienst was systematically protected and nurtured by the naval staff. Consequently the Kriegsmarine entered the Second World War with a well-prepared signals intelligence machinery from which it reaped the rewards in the first half of the conflict.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02684527.2010.537030

Publication date: August 1, 2010

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