Military history

Smersh: Stalin's Secret Weapon, Soviet Military Counterintelligence in WWII

Smersh: Stalin's Secret Weapon, Soviet Military Counterintelligence in WWII

SMERSH, acronym of the Russian phrase ‘Death to Spies’, is primarily known to readers as James Bond’s sinister opponent in Ian Fleming’s novels. Yet SMERSH was a real organization and just as diabolical as its fictional counterpart. No information was available on this organization until the fall of the Soviet Union, and its importance to WWII history is almost completely unknown to scholars and history readers alike. Ostensibly a military counterintelligence organization dedicated to fighting Nazis, SMERSH spent considerable time and effort terrifying its own, including writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who was arrested for writing to a fellow officer. Its activities often strayed into the political sphere, exemplified by the arrests of many political leaders and foreign diplomats in Eastern Europe, including the famous rescuer of Hungarian Jews, Raoul Wallenberg, at the end of WWII.

Introduction

Part I. The Big Picture

Chapter 1. Soviet Military Counterintelligence: An Overview

Part II. The Roots of SMERSH

Chapter 2. Stalin’s Ruling Mechanism

Chapter 3. Laws and Tribunals

Chapter 4. Highest Courts

Chapter 5. Division of Europe

Chapter 6. On the Verge of the War

Chapter 7. The Scapegoats: Hunting for Generals

Chapter 8. Directorate of Special Departments (UOO)

Part III. Military Counterintelligence: July 1941–April 1943

Chapter 9. At the Moscow Gates

Chapter 10. More About OOs

Chapter 11. Alleged New Traitors (Late 1941–Early 1943)

Chapter 12. Special Tasks of the OOs

Part IV. German Intelligence Services at the Eastern Front

Chapter 13. German Military Intelligence at the Eastern Front

Chapter 14. Abwehr’s Failures and Successes

Chapter 15. German Intelligence and Occupation

Part V. The Birth of SMERSH

Chapter 16. The Birth of SMERSH

Chapter 17. Leaders of SMERSH

Part VI. SMERSH in Action: 1943–44

Chapter 18. General Activity

Chapter 19. Against Our Own People

Chapter 20. First Trials of War Criminals

Part VII. Toward Berlin

Chapter 21. Crossing the Border

Chapter 22. In the Heart of Europe

Chapter 23. Berlin and Prague Are Taken

Chapter 24. The End of Abwehr

Part VIII. The End of WWII

Chapter 25. Investigations in Moscow

Chapter 26. War with Japan

Part IX. SMERSH After the War: 1945–46

Chapter 27. In Europe and at Home

Chapter 28. The SMERSH Team in Nuremberg

Epilogue. The Road to the Top: Abakumov Becomes a Minister

Plates