Hitler's Man in Havana : Heinz Luning and Nazi Espionage in Latin America.

At the beginning of World War II, Heinz August Lüning, posing as a Jewish refugee, was sent to Cuba to spy for the Third Reich. Lüning's assignment was to collect information about the United States and its allies and report back to Abwehr, the German foreign intelligence agency. The Caribbean...

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator: Schoonover, Thomas D.
Other Authors / Creators:Perez, Louis A., Jr.
Format: eBook Electronic
Language:English
Imprint: Lexington : University Press of Kentucky, 2008.
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Local Note:Electronic reproduction. Ann Arbor, Michigan : ProQuest Ebook Central, 2022. Available via World Wide Web. Access may be limited to ProQuest Ebook Central affiliated libraries.
Online Access:Click to View
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Summary:At the beginning of World War II, Heinz August Lüning, posing as a Jewish refugee, was sent to Cuba to spy for the Third Reich. Lüning's assignment was to collect information about the United States and its allies and report back to Abwehr, the German foreign intelligence agency. The Caribbean waters Lüning monitored were important to the Allies both for shipping and for deploying ships between the various fronts. Despite some early setbacks, Lüning provided information on naval activities to the Germans. Ultimately, however, Lüning was arrested and became the only Nazi spy executed in Latin America during World War II. For at least five months after Lüning's arrest, U.S. and Cuban leaders--J. Edgar Hoover, Fulgencio Batista, Nelson Rockefeller, General Manuel Benítez, Ambassador Spruille Braden, and others--treated Lüning as the dangerous, key spy for a Nazi espionage network in the Gulf-Caribbean.British counterintelligence agent Graham Greene, who oversaw one group supervising Nazi communications areas, picked up Lüning's story and made it into a seminal spy novel. In Hitler's Man in Havana, Thomas Schoonover investigates the true story of the life, career, and death of Heinz August Lüning. In the sixty years since Lüning worked in the Caribbean, very little has been written about Nazi espionage in Latin America because the U.S. government kept much of the material secret. Schoonover draws from extensive research to recreate Lüning's story and explore the significance of his life and capture.

When Heinz Lüning posed as a Jewish refugee to spy for Hitler's Abwehr espionage agency, he thought he had discovered the perfect solution to his most pressing problem: how to avoid being drafted into Hitler's army. Lüning was unsympathetic to Fascist ideology, but the Nazis' tight control over exit visas gave him no chance to escape Germany. He could enter Hitler's army either as a soldier... or a spy. In 1941, he entered the Abwehr academy for spy training and was given the code name "Lumann." Soon after, Lüning began the service in Cuba that led to his ultimate fate of being the only German spy executed in Latin America during World War II. Lüning was not the only spy operating in Cuba at the time. Various Allied spies labored in Havana; the FBI controlled eighteen Special Intelligence Service operatives, and the British counterintelligence section subchief Graham Greene supervised Secret Intelligence Service agents; and Ernest Hemingway's private agents supplied inflated and inaccurate information about submarines and spies to the U.S. ambassador, Spruille Braden. Lüning stumbled into this milieu of heightened suspicion and intrigue. Poorly trained and awkward at his work, he gathered little information worth reporting, was unable to build a working radio and improperly mixed the formulas for his secret inks. Lüning eventually was discovered by British postal censors and unwittingly provided the inspiration for Graham Greene's Our Man in Havana. In chronicling Lüning's unlikely trajectory from a troubled life in Germany to a Caribbean firing squad, Thomas D. Schoonover makes brilliant use of untapped documentary sources to reveal the workings of the famed Abwehr and the technical and social aspects of Lüning's spycraft. Using archival sources from three continents, Schoonover offers a narrative rich in atmospheric details to reveal the political upheavals of the time, not only tracking Lüning's activities but also explaining the broader trends in the region and in local counterespionage. Schoonover argues that ambitious Cuban and U.S. officials turned Lüning's capture into a grand victory. For at least five months after Lüning's arrest, U.S. and Cuban leaders--J. Edgar Hoover, Fulgencio Batista, Nelson Rockefeller, General Manuel Benítez, Ambassador Spruille Braden, and others--treated Lüning as a dangerous, key figure for a Nazi espionage network in the Gulf-Caribbean. They reworked his image from low-level bumbler to master spy, using his capture for their own political gain. In the sixty years since Lüning's execution, very little has been written about Nazi espionage in Latin America, partly due to the reticence of the U.S. government. Revealing these new historical sources for the first time, Schoonover tells a gripping story of Lüning's life and capture, suggesting that Lüning was everyone's man in Havana but his own.

Item Description:Description based on publisher supplied metadata and other sources.
Physical Description:1 online resource (257 pages)
ISBN:9780813173023
Author Notes:

Thomas D. Schoonover is professor emeritus of history at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He is the author of eight books, including Uncle Sam's War of 1898 and the Origins of Globalization, The Banana Men, and Germany in Central Americ a.