Wednesday, June 6, 2012

June 6 and Agent Garbo

What a day in history June 6 is.

D-Day, in 1944.
Bobby Kennedy died, in 1968.

And more... New Amsterdam was renamed New York City.
The YMCA was created in London.
Levi Strauss made his first pair of blue jeans!
Susan B. Anthony tried to vote, and was fined for it.
The first drive-in movie theater opened.
The Battle of Midway ended as the Japanese retreated.
The U.S. bombing of Haiphong in Vietnam.
Maya Lin wins Vietnam War Memorial competition.

The 2 events here than interest me the most are the first I listed--
D-Day and Bobby's assassination.

I always hear people talking about the connotations of "D-Day" and what the term refers to. It is actually a military term referring to the day in question as a variable. It originally just stood for "day"--the day a planned operation was to take place. Now people believe it stands for Deliverance Day or Doom's Day. Nope. 
And ever since June 6, 1944, the term D-Day is most associated with Operation Overlord during WWII, though before then it was a general term (used in other countries as well). 
 General Eisenhower on D-Day.

What is new about D-Day? People are learning more and more about the secret agent that played such a significant and overlooked role in the venture--known as Agent Garbo (because he was such a skilled actor). His real name was Juan Pujol. He was from Barcelona and had an incredible imagination, which, along with his hatred of fascism, led him to believe he could start a personal war with Hitler.
But first he needed to get the attention of the Nazis.
He did this by running visas and creating false but believable reports (the more you read about this, the more you think of Casablanca) and soon the Nazis knew his name and "recruited" him as a London spy. He was also working for the British as this point.

As Stephen Talty, specialist and author on Juan wrote,

Garbo snared the Germans in scheme after scheme, some of them successful, others not. But slowly he built up the Nazis' confidence in his authority. Churchill read his dispatches at night, and soon even J. Edgar Hoover would clamor to meet the double agent.

As D-Day neared, Garbo convinced Hitler and his followers that the real attack was coming  to Calais.  He succeeded and many more Allied soldiers would have been lost on Normandy's beaches had he not been such a skilled double agent. He disappeared after the war, faking his death several times.
Fascinating guy...

My next post, on Bobby Kennedy, will be in several parts. Because one is not enough!

No comments:

Post a Comment