To the Bitter End
To the Bitter End
Hans Bernd Gisevius is one of the few survivors of the group of Germans who actively plotted to do away with Hitler. In the early days of the conspiracy he was at the center of activities in Berlin. Then he became one of the foreign envoys of the conspirators, and that is how I came to know him in Switzerland.
We met there early in 1943. I was then in charge of the work in Switzerland of the Office of Strategic Services and attached to the American Legation in Bern. Gisevius was ostensibly a German ViceConsul in Zurich. In reality, he belonged to a small circle of men in the German counter-intelligence service, the Abwehr, who, under Admiral Wilhelm Canaris and General Hans Oster, were working against the Nazis. Our first secret conference took place in January of 1943, after I had taken careful soundings about the man I was to meet. Sources I trusted thoroughly had told me in strict confidence of the work he was doing, and that he was the one person in Switzerland who could tell me the inside story of the German underground.
He did that, and much more. As soon as mutual confidence was established Gisevius let me into the secret of the conspiracy, led by General Beck and Carl Friedrich Goerdeler.
Even before I met him Gisevius had completed roughly one half of his present book. It is interesting to note that he had done this writing before the German defeat was apparent, in fact, when Germany was riding roughshod over Europe. After I had known him a few months he gave me the bulky German manuscript and asked my help in getting it translated, as even in those days he was looking forward to the time when he could make available to the English-reading world the story of what went on behind the scenes of Nazi Germany. Also, he wished the manuscript to be in safe hands in the event that he did not live to finish it.