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The Secret War in Spain

Saturday 28 March 2015

1 Hour


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Ticket price

Three experts draw on recently opened archives to look at the role played by Spain in the spy world during World War II. With its command of the Straits of Gibraltar, the Rock of Gibraltar was critical to Britain’s war effort, but it was also vulnerable to sabotage from German agents and Spanish agents working closely with the Germans.

Jimmy Burns is a noted international journalist and sports writer. His book, Papa Spy, tells the story of his father, Tom Burns, who was press attaché in the British Embassy in Madrid during the war. Burns is president of the British Spanish Society.

David Liebler is a doctoral candidate at Queen Mary, University of London. His research focuses on British diplomacy and intelligence operations in Italy and the Adriatic during World War I and covers the work of Sir Samuel Hoare, the chief of the British military mission in Rome (1917-1918). Hoare would continue his political career after the war, rising to Foreign Secretary in 1935, and would serve as the British Ambassador to Spain during World War II. 

Burns and Liebler talk to Dr Peter Martland, of the University of Cambridge, one of the greatest authorities on international espionage in the 20th and 21st centuries.  He is currently working on a biography of Hoare.

This event is part of the festival’s Spanish strand.