Intelligence In Ww1

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World War I was one of the first major wars in which intelligence was a key aspect of strategy and success on the battlefield. Throughout Europe many nations began to establish covert operations to gain access to the military secrets of their opposition. Germany was a nation that participated in this trend. However, their collection of intelligence did not involve much covert action. Rather, German intelligence officers used overt intelligence collection methods, including using both personal relationships and enemy news sources to predict enemy movements and strategy. Therefore, collection was the most important element of intelligence prior to World War I for Germany, as it led to early success on the battlefield. Leading up to World War I, the primary manner in …show more content…
This caused the information that was disseminated to be reasonably more accurate than other forms of collection. As Holger H. Herwig notes in his article on German intelligence before World War I, “In general, Germany’s military and Naval Envoys eschewed the secret gathering of intelligence, preferring instead to cultivate social contracts.” These social contacts were instrumental in establishing the military buildup of a multitude of Germany’s possible enemies. This is an important example of the effectiveness of Germany’s collection efforts before World War I. While attempting covert actions may have seemed to provide better intelligence, the intelligence officers were able to gain more accurate information and, therefore, create a more effective pre-war strategy. Herwig continues by noting that German intelligence officers, “regularly attended army maneuvers and scrutinized officer education at military and naval schools.” The ability for these German officers to engage in this overt espionage directly effect their preparedness for war

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