Format Hardcover
Publication Date 04/30/24
ISBN 9781639366316
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 352

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Cracking the Nazi Code

The Untold Story of Agent A12 and the Solving of the Holocaust Code

Jason Bell

The thrilling true story of Agent A12, the earliest enemy of the Nazis, and the first spy to crack Hitler’s deadliest secret code: the framework of the Final Solution.

In public life, Dr. Winthrop Bell was a Harvard philosophy professor and wealthy businessman.

As an MI6 spy—known as secret agent A12—in Berlin in 1919, he evaded gunfire and shook off pursuers to break open the emerging Nazi conspiracy. His reports, the first warning of the Nazi plot for World War II, went directly to the man known as C, the mysterious founder of MI6, as well as to various prime ministers. But a powerful fascist politician quietly worked to suppress his alerts. Nevertheless, Dr. Bell's intelligence sabotaged the Nazis in ways only now revealed in Cracking the Nazi Code.

As World War II approached, Bell became a spy once again. In 1939, he was the first to crack Hitler’s deadliest secret code: Germany’s plan for the Holocaust. At that time, the führer was a popular politician who said he wanted peace. Could anyone believe Bell’s shocking warning?

Fighting an epic intelligence war from Eastern Europe and Russia to France, Canada, and finally Washington, DC, Agent A12 was a real-life 007, waging a single-handed struggle against fascists bent on destroying the Western world. Without Bell’s astounding courage, the Nazis just might have won the war.

Jason Bell, PhD, is a professor of philosophy at the University of New Brunswick. He has served as a Fulbright Professor in Germany (at Winthrop Bell’s alma mater, the University of Göttingen), and has taught at universities in Belgium, the United States, and Canada. He was the first scholar granted exclusive access to Winthrop Bell’s classified espionage papers. He lives in New Brunswick, Canada.

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Endorsements & Reviews

“In Cracking the Nazi Code, Bell offers a deeply researched, intriguing portrait of Winthrop. It is a remarkable story. The author, who spent 15 years on his research, argues that his subject was a super-spy who ‘led the fight’ against the Nazis, both in their early days and on the eve of World War II.” The Wall Street Journal
“Exceptionally well-written, clear and engaging. Readers will be fascinated by the information that was, until now, unknown to the public. They will be captivated by Bell’s prose; his descriptions of fighting, landscapes, and historical figures carry the reader into the story.” Jewish Book Council 
“The investigative work the author has done has produced a biography suited to the best of the current-day spy novels. Well-written and interesting and deserves to be devoured.” New York Journal of Books
“A hitherto unknown story about how Bell, who had been interned in Germany during World War I, used his excellent German and many connections to describe the country’s turmoil after the war for the benefit of the British secret services and government. The core story is remarkable in itself, but the wealth of detail about Germany in the years after World War I and the inner workings of British espionage makes it doubly so.” Foreign Affairs
“A firecracker of a Canadian story and a path-breaking look at the inner workings of British intelligence between the two world wars. A doozer of a tale. [Jason Bell] argues convincingly that ‘a good spy can prevent a war so quietly that hardly anyone realizes it.’ The author makes a compelling and exciting case for the effectiveness of Bell’s work.” Peterborough Examiner
"A remarkable account of the life of Winthrop Bell (1884–1965), a spy also known as A12 who uncovered the emerging Nazi conspiracy. The book vividly documents the spy’s efforts to alert the British of Nazi plans. A gripping account of the spy, who also was an academic at Harvard and McGill. An extraordinary story of one man’s efforts to stop the Nazi regime." Library Journal (starred review)
“Fascinating. Cracking the Nazi Code is the result of many years of research, a magnetic and magisterial recounting of Winthrop Bell’s heroic life. It is worth every word.” The Winnipeg Free Press
“With the help of recently declassified documents, Jason Bell’s book is the first to shine a light on the intelligence work of Winthrop.” The Chronicle Herald
"Is Winthrop Bell the most—or least—obvious spy name? It’s hard to say. As early as 1939, when he was working for Britain’s MI6 as Agent A12, the Halifax-born Bell was already sounding the alarm about Hitler’s plot to obliterate all non-Aryan people from the earth. Author Bell (no relation), a New Brunswick professor, posits that the intelligence his subject gathered may have been crucial to the Allies winning the war.” The Globe and Mail
"Brilliantly researched, Cracking the Nazi Code upends our conventional, often inaccurate, understanding of the Nazis’ rise to power after WWI. It took the stunning intelligence work of Winthrop Bell, a Canadian spy working for MI6 in Germany, to decipher what was really going on. How did Hitler, an insignificant minion, manage to climb the ladder of power? How wide-ranging was his genocidal intent? As Bell pursues the truth, the twists and turns of his life are fascinating. We come away with a deep respect for intelligence work at its finest. A page-turner, one of those books not to be missed." Rosemary Sullivan, author of Stalin's Daughter