Churchill's spy chief was at the heart of one of Britain's worst political scandalsBreaking News
The publication of a letter purporting to be from Soviet officials four days before the 1924 general election helped to sweep Ramsay MacDonald's government from power. But the correspondence mobilising "sympathetic forces" in Labour was later found to be a fake.
Now a new official history, based on access to closed intelligence files, suggests the document was a "dirty tricks" operation by the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), overseen by Major Desmond Morton. Morton, a First World War hero whom Churchill befriended in the trenches, became an SIS officer on his recommendation and went on to become the war leader's "spymaster". In the early years of the Second World War, he was a trusted fixer within the inner circle of Churchill's bunker.
His role was recently lauded in the film The Gathering Storm, in which Morton, played by Jim Broadbent, is shown leaking intelligence on German preparations for war to Churchill during his "wilderness years".
The truth, however, appears to be rather less heroic. Gill Bennett, until recently chief historian at the Foreign Office, has found that Morton was "centre stage from the beginning" of one of Britain's worst political scandals.
It was Morton who first received the letter, purporting to be from Grigori Zinoviev, president of the Comintern, the internal communist organisation, from an agent in Riga, Latvia. It called on British Communists to mobilise the Labour Party to support an Anglo-Soviet treaty.
comments powered by Disqus
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- Tourism spot for Colonial Williamsburg shocks some New Yorkers during Super Bowl 50 for use of 9/11 attack footage
- We asked 6 political scientists if Bernie Sanders would have a shot in a general election
- The price of oil has plummeted and with it Russia’s finances
- Legal scholars at Harvard debate Cruz’s eligibility to serve as president
- Has one of Sally Hemings’s siblings been neglected by history unfairly?
- Retired historian George Dennison remains on the payroll at the U. of Montana while faculty are cut
- The Atlantic profiles exciting ways to teach history
- LDS Church has gone from 0 to 4 historians specializing in women’s history
- American Historical Association protests Turkey’s crackdown on historians and other academics who signed a a petition critical of the Turkish government
- Israeli historian Yair Auron lays out details of a massacre in 1948