Work in the Abwehr September–December 1939

  • Michael Balfour
  • Julian Frisby


The work on which Helmuth now embarked involved a major issue of principle. The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 about the laws of war had been drawn up in days when wars were still thought of as things fought by rival armies, with civilian life remaining relatively unaffected. Once the object of war was extended beyond the defeat of the enemy army in the field to the destruction of its supplies and therefore to the continued capacity for resistance of its industrial machine and population, many of the rules became inadequate and a host of new situations arose for which no agreed rules existed. Air warfare, with its inability to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants, added a further complication. In this situation, and more particularly in Germany in 1939, the lawyers faced two alternatives.


Senior Officer Hague Convention Merchant Ship Industrial Machine Agree Rule 
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  1. 3.
    See, however, G. van Roon, Graf Moltke als Völkerrechtler im OKW. VfZ., Vol. 18 (1970), pp. 12–61.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    M. Salewski, Die Deutsche Seekriegsleitung 1935–45, Vol. I, 1935–41 (1970), p. 140.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    S. P. Best, The Venlo Incident (1950).Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    H. Trevor-Roper (ed.), Hitler’s War Directives (1964), pp. 18–21.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael Balfour and Julian Frisby 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Balfour
    • 1
  • Julian Frisby
  1. 1.University of East AngliaUK

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