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Publicly Available Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg September 9, 2015

Im Fadenkreuz der Stasi: Westliche Spionage in der DDR

Die Akten der Hauptabteilung IX

  • Paul Maddrell


Im geteilten Deutschland tobte bis 1989/90 ein verdeckter kalter Krieg der Spione und Agenten. Was dabei auf dem westlichen „Kriegs“-Schauplatz geschah, ist partiell bekannt, während die Spionagetätigkeit westlicher Dienste im Osten noch immer einem Buch mit sieben Siegeln gleicht. Der renommierte britische Historiker Paul Maddrell greift diese brisante Materie auf, wobei er sich auf neue Stasi-Quellen stützen kann. Das Ergebnis ist frappant: In der DDR wimmelte es vor Spionen, die zwar nur selten so große Scoops landeten wie die Stasispione im Westen, im Großen und Ganzen aber ähnlich erfolgreich arbeiteten.


Line IX of the East German Stasi had the job of interrogating arrested spies and preparing their trials. It reported via its central office to the Minister of State Security and the KGB on these interrogations every month from October 1955 to October 1989. This article analyses these thirty-four years’ worth of reports. It concludes that the reports are largely reliable and that Line IX took care to prove that an arrested person was guilty of spying. It argues that the Line’s understanding of these cases of spying was not distorted by Marxism-Leninism because spying is not a political activity; it is just a form of theft. Moreover, communications and other equipment are essential to spying; the Line realized this and made great efforts to obtain physical evidence of espionage. Using these records, it is possible to analyse the character of Western espionage throughout this period and to estimate the number of spies. Although all the main Western intelligence services recruited important spies in the GDR during the Cold War (and particularly the early part of it), the most successful were those of the United States. Spies provided political, economic, scientific and, above all, military intelligence. In the early Cold War, there were important sources in the GDR’s economic bureaucracy. The records become less valuable as of 1965, when Line IX assumed a less prominent role in the Stasi’s counter-intelligence operations.

Published Online: 2015-09-09
Published in Print: 2013-08-01

© 2015 Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag GmbH, Rosenheimer Str. 145, 81671 München

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