The Twenty Committee

It’s been a couple weeks since I talked about how fucking incredible British intelligence was during WW2, so let’s revisit that.

Literally every single Nazi spy sent to Great Britain was captured, turned, or gave themselves up. This was confirmed after the war. Every last goddamned one, with the enhh exception of one fellow who committed suicide (and so was never ‘apprehended,’ per se). By early 1941, MI5 was actively controlling German espionage efforts in the United Kingdom.

It worked like this: Agents from both of the German intelligence services, the Abwehr and Sicherheitsdienst (SD), were apprehended (usually from making mistakes during their operations). Many of the agents who reached British shores turned themselves in to the authorities. Some of them were actually false agents who had tricked the Germans into believing they would spy for them if they helped them reach England. Agents who were sent over later were instructed to contact agents already in place who, unknown to the Abwehr, were already controlled by the British. British Intelligence called this the ‘Double-Cross System.’ The more former- or supposedly-Nazi agents they had under their control, the easier it became to ensure that new agents were also brought under their control, and the more sophisticated and coordinated the misinformation sent back to the Nazis could be.

By 1942, Nazi high command was so impressed by the ‘quality’ and ‘efficacy’ of the intel coming out of the United Kingdom that it stopped sending over new agents altogether. From that point on, German information about the Western Allied war effort was in the hip pocket of MI5.

This network of German double agents was led by a group called the Twenty Committee. Abwehr actually knew something called “the Twenty Committee” existed within British Intelligence, but didn’t make anything of it.

MI5 called the Twenty Committee “the Twenty Committee” because of the way the number twenty is written in Roman numerals: XX, for double-cross.


  1. geekzrcool reblogged this from pyrrhiccomedy
  2. wendyc2272 reblogged this from pyrrhiccomedy
  3. rhythmicsequence reblogged this from fuckyeahhetalianhistory
  4. factuallyastounded reblogged this from pyrrhiccomedy
  5. roseblight reblogged this from pyrrhiccomedy
  6. snailsushi reblogged this from pyrrhiccomedy
  7. skyfull reblogged this from pyrrhiccomedy
  8. wizardsofelectricity reblogged this from pyrrhiccomedy
  9. stillyourprussianblue reblogged this from pyrrhiccomedy
  10. akashiseijuros reblogged this from sassanids
  11. abitcombustible reblogged this from iraya
  12. fireblazie reblogged this from shachaai
  13. curiouscatalyst reblogged this from shachaai
  14. dirtykipling reblogged this from shachaai
  15. mapleoverlord reblogged this from iraya
  16. justfangirling reblogged this from iraya
  17. mintofhint reblogged this from iraya
  18. throughearlymorningfogisee reblogged this from iraya and added:
    But lets not forget that the Chief of the Abwehr, Canaris, was quite a badass. :D
  19. princemonstermash reblogged this from iraya
  20. bionictree reblogged this from iraya
  21. iraya reblogged this from shachaai
  22. shachaai reblogged this from fuckyeahhetalianhistory
  23. the-heart-of-my-mystery reblogged this from pyrrhiccomedy
  24. tismydistinction reblogged this from mintjasias
  25. reflections-in-water reblogged this from pyrrhiccomedy
  26. ineffabili-tea reblogged this from pyrrhiccomedy
  27. bergamonty reblogged this from hellzabeth
  28. kitnighty reblogged this from fuckyeahhetalianhistory
  29. hanaeru reblogged this from fuckyeahhetalianhistory