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  • Hitler’s British Traitors

  • By: Tim Tate
  • Narrated by: Tim Tate
  • Length: 16 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Military
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (139 ratings)

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Summary

Hitler’s British Traitors is the first authoritative account of a well-kept secret: the British Fifth Column and its activities during the Second World War.   

Drawing on hundreds of declassified official files - many of them previously unpublished - Tim Tate uncovers the largely unknown history of more than 70 British traitors who were convicted, mostly in secret trials, of working to help Nazi Germany win the war, and several hundred British Fascists who were interned without trial on evidence that they were working on behalf of the enemy. Four were condemned to death; two were executed.     

This engrossing audiobook reveals the extraordinary methods adopted by MI5 to uncover British traitors and their German spymasters as well as two serious wartime plots by well-connected British fascists to mount a coup d’etat which would replace the government with an authoritarian pro-Nazi regime.     

The audiobook also shows how archaic attitudes to social status and gender in Whitehall and the courts ensured that justice was neither fair nor equitable. Aristocratic British pro-Nazi sympathisers and collaborators were frequently protected while the less-privileged foot soldiers of the Fifth Column were interned, jailed or even executed for identical crimes.

©2019 Tim Tate (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Hitler’s British Traitors

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The other side of the WWII legend.

Tate draws on fairy recently released archives of counter-espionage and security services documents of surveillance and and in (necessarily circumspect) newspaper reports in the thirties and forties to portray the character and extent of fascist and antisemitic groups in the UK, and their efforts to help Nazi Germany win the war.
The reluctance of those in power to act against those of wealth or social standing is made clear in Tate’s account - “one of us”, old school tie, plus ability to employ eminent lawyers and establishment connections protected them from the harsher punishments meted out to ordinary mortals!
The UK was no more prepared in the matter of legislation, strategy and Human Resources to combat subversion from within, as in military readiness on 3 September 1939.
It’s about time to add nuance to the monochrome portrayal of a nation all pulling in one direction, heroes to a man and woman. Oswald Mosley and William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) are remembered but they were not alone.

17 people found this helpful

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Britain's 5th Columnists

A really enjoyable read exploring an area not normally covered by historians of the 2nd World War. The story of how our secret services worked to stop home grown men and women spying for the enemy. Potential spies from the lowest strata of society to the aristocracy, what they did, how they were stopped and how the class system protected the rich and famous from real punishment for their efforts at treason, whilst ordinary folk suffered much stiffer punishment. Fascinating stuff

5 people found this helpful

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A salutory lesson from history

Tim Tate in a very well researched book exposes the incompetant and arbitrary way that Britain dealt with perceived enemies of the state in the first half of the 20th C. Sadly, being a member of the aristocracy seems to have conferred a degree of immunity against prosecution irrespective of unsavoury behaviour. The redaction of the archives tells its own story. The final chapter adds further food for thought.

5 people found this helpful

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Fascinating insight

After a bit of a slow start, I found myself immersed in this fascinating insight into how normal people have managed to get themselves caught up in espionage, sometimes motivated solely by ideology with no involvement from foreign intelligence agencies. Parallels can be drawn with modern day where people take to twitter and social media to promote their loyalties to various regimes such as Putin, Trump, IS etc.

The knowledge and experience of the research comes across in the narration. Tim Tate also sounds a bit like Harry Hill which gives the audiobook a very period feel.

Highly recommended.

4 people found this helpful

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Interesting but hard going

Bit repetitive and without terribly exciting subject matter. It's interesting to learn of the first fumbling steps in domestic counter espionage when espionage was already quite sophisticated . The most interesting thing to me was a small mention of Hollis, which adds a small snippet regarding the questions marks over him.

2 people found this helpful

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Fascinating.

A worrying, well researched, work of history. Provides a another key to understanding British society.

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I wanted to like it.

I couldn't finish this. It's just endless lists of names. I've listened to this reader before and really liked him but even he couldn't make this interesting.

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Evidence of the enemy within.

Excellent review of how much of Britain was supportive of the nazi ideology during wartime and prewar 1930 s. Makes you wonder how we won.

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Excellent read

Having a healthy interest in the Second World War and espionage, I found this book well researched and well written I already knew some of the stories but was massively informed having listened to it in its entirety, it also confirmed what I already knew and is self evident today as it was 70 years ago ….. class and patronage will always trump justice and the rule of law compared to those who don’t come from the former or have any of the latter to fall back on.

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British Traitors

An assortment of people who wanted Germany to win WW2 and what happened to them. MI5 play a large part in bringing them to justice. A lot of information to take in.