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Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home
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World War II Spy Kit:
The Great Nazi Intelligence Coup

Description of Documents

 

INTRODUCTION:

The documents used in this project are from the holdings of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and were part of the files created by General Eisenhower and his command when they planned Operation OVERLORD. These formerly highly classified documents have, with the end of World War II and the passage of time, lost their sensitivity and have been declassified as a result of agency representatives or Eisenhower Presidential Library staff members applying agency declassification guidelines. The documents may be innocuous now, but they reflect part of the history of World War II. In the spring of 1944, these were some of the most sensitive documents in the world and their release at that time would have had disastrous consequences.

DOCUMENTS:

1. Message, SHAEF to AGWAR, signed “Eisenhower,” dated January 23, 1944

General Eisenhower relayed his views on the OVERLORD plan to the United States War Department (AGWAR), the British War Office (TROOPERS) and the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Eisenhower emphasized the importance of conducting a successful operation and urged that the size of the initial assault be expanded to five divisions, specifying locations for expanding the assault.

2. Message, signed “Eisenhower” to USFOR [US Forces in London], October 3, 1943

General Eisenhower talked about Anglo-American and inter-service teamwork and commented favorably on Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s visit to Eisenhower’s headquarters. Eisenhower also relayed a message to Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

3. Message, General [George] Marshall, [Chief of Staff, US Army] to General Eisenhower, January 1944

General Marshall commented on developments on the Italian Front and expressed concern over possible measures that the Germans might take to crush OVERLORD. Gave force levels and indications of possible German capabilities. Contains reference to MAGIC, a term referring to intelligence gleaned from the United States’ breaking of Japanese diplomatic and naval codes.

4. Message, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, signed “Omar Bradley,” to Marshall for Eisenhower

Montgomery reported on OVERLORD and recommended that the initial assault area is widened and five divisions are sent in on first assault. Also commented on ANVIL.

5. COSSAC (44) 10, January 11, 1944. To Commanding General, First Army group (Omar Bradley), signed “F.E. Morgan,” Chief of Staff to the Supreme Commander (Designate)

This document outlined the OVERLORD plan developed in 1943 by COSSAC. Although the plan was revised, it contained basic information on the locations of the landings along with objectives to be attained and indicated a target date of May 1, 1944, or shortly after for the assault.

6. Memorandum, Lt. Col. Donald F. Hall to Commanding Officer, PWB, AFHQ (Psychological Warfare Branch, Allied Forces Headquarters), December 19, 1943

Includes attached reports in French. This is a “trick” document with no relevance to Operation OVERLORD whatsoever. See if students can figure out that this document was prepared by someone in Allied Force Headquarters in the Mediterranean Theater with a sense of humor. It was prepared as a military intelligence report on the birth of Christ.

7. Letter from G.C. Marshall to General Eisenhower, March 15, 1944, plus attachment

This letter and attachment outline the basis upon which the ULTRA intelligence was provided to field commands. Note that even now, small portions of this document have been excised for national security reasons.

8. Memorandum, Robert E. Baker for Chief of Staff (General Walter Bedell Smith was Chief of General Eisenhower’s staff at Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force), February 3, 1944

This memorandum outlined Plan BODYGUARD, the overall deception plan used against Germany in conjunction with OVERLORD.

9. Operation OVERLORD Cover Operation — (Pas De Calais) Appreciation, November 20, 1943

This document outlined in detail the Allied plan for deceiving the enemy into believing the main assault would come in the Pas De Calais area and thus was intended to divert enemy forces away from the Normandy beaches.

10. Message, General Marshall to General Eisenhower, April 29, 1944

This message referred to political and diplomatic difficulties resulting from public gaffe made by General George Patton before a club sponsored by a British women’s organization. Patton asserted the “. . . it is the evident destiny of the British and Americans to rule the worlds. . . .” Marshall talked about Patton and his value as a commander.

11. Minutes of Plenary Session at Eureka (Tehran) Conference, November 30, 1943

This is a portion of the record of a high level meeting between President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Marshal Joseph Stalin, along with the Anglo-American Combined Chiefs of Staff. These minutes contain information on probable date for OVERLORD and supporting operation in Southern France and discussion of coordinating OVERLORD with Soviet offensive.

12. First US Infantry Division assault map dated April 1944, showing obstacles and defenses on OMAHA beach

INTERDISCIPLINARY DOCUMENTS:

LEAFLETS:

Leaflet in French with English translation
(Le général Eisenhower s'adresse aux peuples des Pays Occupés)
(LES ARMEES ALLIEES DEBARQUENT)

Leaflet in Dutch with English translation
(Geallieerde troepen landen!)
(MANNEN EN VROUWEN VAN NEDERLANDS)

Leaflet in Norwegian with English translation
(KONGEN TIL SIT FOLK)
(De allierte Troppers landstigning er begyndt!)

Leaflet in German with English translation
(Sternenbanner, London, den 23, August 1944)

Leaflet in Spanish
(Carta de América)

MAPS:

Situation in Europe, 6 June 1944

Order of Battle OB West, 6 June 1944

Overlord Area

The Final Overlord Plan

Allied Assault Routes

POSTERS:

No caption (depicts Hitler and Mussolini)

Fascisti Repubblicani

Fuori i tedeschi

No caption (depicts the Allies)

PHOTOGRAPHS:

OVERLORD commanders meeting, January 1944. L-R: Omar Bradley, Bertram Ramsay, Arthur Tedder, General Eisenhower, Bernard Montgomery, Trafford Leigh-Mallory, Walter B. Smith.

American GIs during practice run for D-Day, January 1944, England, Slapton Sands. Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3