Cracking the Nazi Code: The Untold Story of Agent A12 and the Solving of the Holocaust Code (Hardcover)

Cracking the Nazi Code: The Untold Story of Agent A12 and the Solving of the Holocaust Code By Jason Bell Cover Image

Cracking the Nazi Code: The Untold Story of Agent A12 and the Solving of the Holocaust Code (Hardcover)


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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.
Product Details ISBN: 9781639366316
ISBN-10: 1639366318
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication Date: April 30th, 2024
Pages: 352
Language: English
Praise for Cracking the Nazi Code:

"I love books that promise 'untold stories.’ This one does and it delivers. Who knew that a Canadian was the first to warn the world what the Nazis were up to, and to do it years before anyone else was even talking about Nazis? Winthrop Bell is a name you should know, and thanks to Jason Bell and his deep dive research you now will."
Peter Mansbridge, former chief correspondent for CBC News and anchor of The National

“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

"Written with uncommon verve, wonderful detail, and deep insight gained from previously inaccessible archival records, Cracking the Nazi Code reveals the key spy work of Winthrop Bell. His secret fieldwork revealed insurrection, revolution, and the rise of the vile ideology that would underpin the Nazi party. Bell’s dangerous missions saved countless lives, supported battered democratic regimes, and provided British spymasters and Canadian political leaders with crucial information to avert disaster. Cracking the Nazi Code reminds us of the fragility of nations after war and how easily they can slide into chaos as demagogues prey upon the vulnerable, helpless, and hopeless."
Tim Cook, author of Vimy: The Battle and the Legend

"If you think you know everything about World War II, you need this book. Jason Bell’s account of how a philosophy professor alerted world leaders to the true threat of the rising Nazi movement is a first-rate spy story. Cracking the Nazi Code takes you along on one man’s dangerous quest to discover the truth and convince world leaders of perils to come."
Gregory A. Freeman, author of The Forgotten 500