The Third Reich is Listening

The Third Reich is Listening

Inside German codebreaking 1939–45

General Military
  • Author: Christian Jennings
  • Short code: GNM
  • Publication Date: 18 Oct 2018
  • Number of Pages: 336
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The codebreakers at Bletchley Park have been immortalised in films such as The Imitation Game and Enigma, but the Germans were also breaking Allied ciphers.

The Third Reich is Listening is the comprehensive account of the successes, failures and science of Germany's codebreaking and signals intelligence operations from 1935 to 1945. This fast-moving blend of modern history and popular science is told through colourful personal accounts of the Germans at the heart of the story, including a former astronomer who worked out the British order of battle in 1940, a U-Boat commander on the front line of the Battle of the Atlantic and the woman from the foreign ministry decrypting Japanese and Italian signals.

It investigates how and why a regime as technologically advanced as the Third Reich both succeeded, and failed, in its battle to break their enemy's codes and to use the resultant intelligence effectively, and why they failed to recognise the fact that the Allied had cracked the enigma code.

Biographical Note

Christian Jennings is a British freelance foreign correspondent and the author of six works of non-fiction. Since 1988, across twenty-three countries, he has been writing books and journalism on international current affairs, modern history and popular science for publications ranging from The Economist and Reuters to Wired, The Guardian, and The Scotsman. He has been based variously in Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, Burundi, Kenya and Switzerland. He now lives in Turin, Italy. His recent book At War on the Gothic Line (Osprey, 2016), was described in The Spectator as 'military history at its most engaging'.


Chapter One - Losing the battle of signals intelligence in WW1 Chapter Two - Target: the Royal Navy Chapter Three - German signals intelligence on the eve of war Chapter Four - Encoding the Wehrmacht Chapter Five - The Code to Scapa Flow Chapter Six - The secret language of Blitzkrieg Chapter Seven - Losing Enigma Chapter Eight - Robbery in Rome Chapter Nine - The perfect cryptanalyst: Beethoven with the soul of an accountant Chapter Ten - Signals Intelligence Company 621 Chapter Eleven - Churchill, Roosevelt and the German Post-Office Chapter Twelve - Sicily next Chapter Thirteen - Inside Operation Citadel Chapter Fourteen - Decrypting the war at sea Chapter Fifteen - Changing the Allied codes and defeating the U-Boats Chapter Sixteen - Losing the Battle of the Atlantic Chapter Seventeen - Success and failure in Normandy Chapter Eighteen - Radio silence and ‘Maskirovska' Chapter Nineteen - The crumbling centre Chapter Twenty - Listening to the partisans Chapter Twenty-one - Stealing the Signals Intelligence of the Third Reich Chapter Twenty-Two - The last days Chapter Twenty-Three - Lessons Learned? Chapter Twenty-Four. Epilogue - What became of the characters in the book?