Friday, August 17, 2012

Revising History

Seventy years after the events, we finally learn a bit of truth about the Dieppe Raid.  It seemed like a typical tale: Canadian troops losing their lives needlessly due to poor British planning.  There is a documentary tonight in Canada that presents a new take.  See here for the newspaper tale.  The essence is that the entire raid was a cover for a commando raid seeking to get German code books and machines.  And it was led by Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond books.

The frustrating thing about the newspaper story, and something I will have to track tonight, is whether the raid, actually worked.  Did they get the codes and machines or not?  If they did, then Dieppe can be re-coded a success, that the Canadians who died there helped to save lives elsewhere as the breaking of German codes was huge and entirely secret for decades.  I am kind of surprised that it took a few decades for this new version of the raid to come out since Enigma lost much of its secrecy in the 1970s if I remember correctly.  Then again, the Brits are generally far better at keeping their secrets. 

Even if the mission did not succeed in getting the codes, at least Dieppe now makes some sort of sense.  Still, it remains a testament to poor planning.  Further history work (or perhaps just watching the documentary) will be required to figure out whether the mistakes made were necessary for the mission or just poor planning--that the distraction could have been better planned.

1 comment:

Rex Brynen said...

I don't find the argument that it was all a cover for the Enigma raid particularly convincing, to be honest--especially since we also know that the record was "cleaned up" at the time by senior officials anxious to avoid blame for the debacle.