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Germany Basic Handbook (1944)

Price £755.00 Sale



Copy No. 3015
April 1944


An extremely rare, original, WW2 British Ministry of Economic Warfare secret intelligence handbook, produced in April 1944, with amendments from July 1944. It is a huge volume, weighing 3kg and running to 830 pages. This was a secret document with a restricted circulation, each copy being individually numbered. This is copy number 3015. It includes a wealth of contemporary intelligence material on every aspect of Germany and the Nazi State in 1944. The list of subjects covered is very comprehensive and detailed, and is illustrated with maps, fold-outs and charts. There are sections on: Government, Administration, the legal system, Police and security, the SS, Nazi Party organisation, Civil Defence, Labour organisations, Press and Propaganda, Education, Hitler Youth, Civil Service, Religion, Industry, the Jewish community, Censorship, and the Armed Forces. The sheer amount of information included is extraordinary, considering the war was still in progress when this handbook was produced. It is also very interesting to note exactly how much the allies knew about the internal workings of the Nazi state at this time. The information on the SS, Gestapo, concentration camps, etc shows that a great deal was known about exactly what was going on. This unique handbook is a fascinating primary source and detailed insight into the internal workings of Third Reich and the German war machine in the last year of the war.

Two of the seven maps listed in the contents of the map section appear to be missing. There are also amendments that appear to have been added at some point (including the July 1944 revised Part I - Geographical and Historical). The handbook was probably being continuously amended up until the end of the war.

Ministry of Economic Warfare Basic Handbooks: This series of handbooks covered enemy and occupied countries and was compiled from April 1943 onwards, at the request of the Joint Intelligence Committee. Classified as secret, this comprehensive collection of numerous highly detailed volumes was intended to reflect official British understanding and thinking, rather than an being an exercise in propaganda. This included an indication of the state of contemporary knowledge of the persecution of Jewish people, concentration camps, the extent of collaboration and resistance in occupied countries, and other aspects of Nazi programmes and methods. Countries and regions were also provided with historical and political introductions, often covering the period from antiquity to recent 20th century politics. Discussions of recent events such as the Anschluss were often more sophisticated than anything which would have been publicly permissible during the war. MEW’s links with SOE are also highlighted in the anecdotal nature of some of the information, which would have been based on agents’ reports, intercepts, and captured documents.


In good condition. The hardback binder boards are in good condition, with general signs of wear and use, and some marks. The laced binding is secure - although a little loose, it could easily be tightened up if necesssary. There are  a few loose pages. The text, illustrations, and maps are in good condition, with some wear to the edges of a few pages, and some slight warping to the bottom right corner of the text block. Two of the seven large folding maps are missing from the maps section at the rear of the handbook. The other five maps are in very good condition.
Published: 1944
Grey loose leaf binder boards, with laced binding
Illustrated with maps, charts, and fold outs
Dimensions: 210mm x 325mm
Pages: 830 (plus 5 large fold out maps at rear)