Sunday, September 18, 2011

Richard Sorge "The Professor" PART II

Sorge supplied the Soviet Red Army with information about the Anti-Comintern Pact, the German-Japanese Pact and warned of the Pearl Harbor attack. In 1941, Sorge is said to have informed them of the exact launch date of Operation Barbarossa. Moscow answered with thanks but Joseph Stalin largely ignored it,as was also the case with information supplied by the other networks, including Leiba Domb's Red Orchestra spy network on the German Borders. Stalin was reportedly so angry with Domb's information that he ordered that Domb be 'punished for spreading such lies'. (The order was not followed).[citation needed]

Gordon Prange's analysis (1984) was that the closest Sorge came to predicting the launch date of Operation Barbarossa was 20 June 1941 and Prange comments that Sorge himself never claimed to have discovered the correct date (22 June) in advance. The date of 20 June had been given to Sorge by Lt-Col Friedrich von Schol who was assistant military attache at the German embassy in Tokyo. As Sorge took pride in and sought the credit for the spy ring's work, Professor Prange may have taken Sorge's failure to claim that he had discovered the correct date as conclusive evidence that Sorge in fact did fail to discover it. Kim Philby's recruiter A. Deutsch was also the spymaster of Gestapo officer Willi Lehmann, who on June 19 cabled the Barbarossa launch date to NKVD in Moscow. Stalin considered this as disinformation, too.

The Soviet press reported in 1964 that on June 15, 1941, Sorge had broadcast a dispatch saying that, "The war will begin on June 22." Writing before previously-embargoed material was released by the Russian authorities in the 1990s, Prange and those writing with him appear not to have accepted the veracity of this report. More recently, Stalin was quoted as having ridiculed Sorge and his intelligence prior to the launch of Operation Barbarossa:

"There's this bastard who's set up factories and brothels in Japan and even deigned to report the date of the German attack as 22 June. Are you suggesting I should believe him too?"

As the war progressed, it was becoming increasingly dangerous for Sorge to continue his spying work. Nevertheless, in view of the critical juncture of the war, he continued spying. However, due to the increasing volume of radio traffic from one-time pads (used by the Soviets), the Japanese began to suspect a spy ring operating. The Japanese secret service had already intercepted many of his messages and begun to close in. Ozaki was arrested on October 14, 1941, and interrogated.

Sorge was arrested on October 18, 1941, in Tokyo. German ambassador Eugen Ott heard of Sorge's arrest the next day from a brief memo notifying him that Sorge had been arrested "on suspicion of espionage" together with another German, Max Clausen. Ott was both surprised and outraged, and assumed it was a case of "Japanese espionage hysteria". He thought that Sorge had been discovered passing secret information on the Japan-US negotiations to the German embassy, and also that the arrest could be due to anti-German elements in the Japanese government. It was not until a few months later that Japanese authorities announced that Sorge had in fact been indicted as a Soviet spy.

Initially, the Japanese believed that, due to his Nazi party membership and German ties, Sorge was an Abwehr agent. However, the Abwehr denied that he was one of their agents. Even under torture, he denied all ties with the Soviets. The Japanese made three overtures to the Soviets, offering to trade Sorge for one of their own spies. However, the Soviets declined all the offers, maintaining that Sorge was unknown to them. He was incarcerated in Sugamo Prison.
Richard Sorge was hanged on November 7, 1944, at 10:20 a.m. Tokyo time 

Find out about another great spy who did a marvelous espionage feat in the 1940s in Dixieland.

Find out About Kim Philby's encounter with the scheming spymaster in Spy Hunt in D.C. 
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