Revealed: The man who started World War Two

Wartime reports describe how Poland was dragged into conflict and how a British hero became a Japanese spy
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The Independent Online

A German SS officer organised the fake Polish attacks on the German border in 1939 which were used as a pretext by Hitler to justify launching the invasion of Poland. The confession of Alfred Helmut Naujocks, dubbed "The Man who started the War" by his MI5 captors was among documents released at the Public Record Office at Kew yesterday.

A German SS officer organised the fake Polish attacks on the German border in 1939 which were used as a pretext by Hitler to justify launching the invasion of Poland. The confession of Alfred Helmut Naujocks, dubbed "The Man who started the War" by his MI5 captors was among documents released at the Public Record Office at Kew yesterday.

In 1944 the captured Naujocks admitted to startled MI5 interrogators that he had been ordered by Brownshirt leader Reinhard Heydrich to fake the attacks. For the plot German concentration camp inmates were dressed up as German soldiers, murdered and left lying on the border to Ôproveÿ border incidents had happened.

"He (Naujocks) maintains that Hitler must have planned the frontier incident scheme and given orders for the murder of prisoners for the concentration camps, since no other Nazi leader would have dared to take such steps on his own initiative," says the MI5 report.

Born in 1911 and joining the Nazi Party in 1931 Alfred Naujocks became an assassin and dirty tricks operator for the ruthless Heydrich - later assassinated while the Governor of Czechoslovakia.

In October 1944 Naujocks was caught trying to slip behind British lines. He was arraigned in post war Nuremberg War Crime Trials but escaped and was never seen again.

Another MI5 file reveals that an RAF First World War hero became a spy for the Japanese, for twenty years helping to develop the aircraft carrier force that the Japanese Navy used so effectively in their attack against Pearl Harbor in 1941.

But the file shows that British Intelligence were tipped off about the traitor and mounted a surveillance operation of the traitor for nearly two decades. Squadron Leader Frederick Rutland was finally arrested in 1942 and was interned in Britain for the duration. But he was never prosecuted as the British authorities did not want to make public the scandal of a British officer turned enemy spy.

Squadron Leader Rutland was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross "for gallantry and persistence in flying in close range of four enemy light cruisers" the Battle of Jutland.

The MI5 file contains a report from 1922 which says: "Reliable information was received from a very delicate source to the effect that the Japanese government were communicating regularly with an officer in the RAF." "He is an officer who has an unique knowledge of aircraft carriers and deck landing and his experience gained in the RAF will be invaluable to the Japanese." the file says.

Another MI5 file released yesterday shows that the wife of "Lord Haw Haw" escaped execution as traitor because the British authorities did not want to prosecute her. Margaret Joyce married Oswald Mosleyÿs former bodyguard William Joyce in 1937. With war imminent they fled to Germany in 1939 where both broadcast pro-Nazi propaganda throughout the war. While he was executed at the end of the war the British authorities chose to except her claim that she was a German citizen by the time of the broadcast and therefore not a traitor to Britain.

A Jersey women who broadcast on alongside Lady Haw Haw on the German controlled Radio Luxembourg did so to be near her German lover, an MI5 file shows. Pearl Joyce Vardon fell in love with a German officer after the occupation of Jersey. In 1946 she was convicted of broadcasting for the enemy and received nine months imprisonment.

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