The Acknowledgments of this book by Nigel West and Oleg Tsarev states that much of the information has not been declassified. It also states that all the photographs shown of British and Soviet agents, with the exception of the one of Kim Philby, are from the KGB archives.
The book details the Soviet espionage efforts in England beginning in the 1920s. The large numbers of well educated, upper class English citizens in sensitive government positions willing to commit espionage against Britain for the Soviet Union is remarkably similar to the situation in the United States. The Soviets obtained literally thousands of documents describing secret British foreign policy, military strength, weapons technology including development of the atomic and hydrogen bombs, and details of counterintelligence (to mention a few categories). The book is not a spy thriller, but instead marches through over three hundred pages of history about how England lost the “Crown Jewels” of its secrets to the Soviets. I have picked a few items from the book that were of particular interest to me and recorded them. For example, Walter Kivitsky, was a Soviet “rezidentura” in England. Kivitsky later defected and was sent to the United States. He eventually befriended Whitaker Chambers, and advised him on how to protect himself from KGB assassins. Kivitsky later was officially ruled to have committed suicide, although those who knew him were certain he had been killed.
Anthony (Tony) Blunt was one of the key British spies in the “Cambridge-Ring-of-Five” that was immensely successful at providing the “Crown Jewels” of Britain to the Soviets. There are pictures of these five spies and Edith Hart, who recruited Philby. Blunt is described as “a typical English intellectual.” He also was the person who originally recruited Michael Straight, the son of an American millionaire close to President Roosevelt. Straight gave the Soviets a copy of the entire deception plan for Overlord, the D-Day invasion, nearly two weeks before the invasion . He provided 1771 documents to the Soviets between 1941 and 1945. Burgess provided 4605, Cairncross 5832, Philby 914, and MacClean 4593. The activities of the spy network were suspended in 1946 after a GRU cipher clerk, Igor Gouzenko, defected in Canada.
Another major asset for the Soviets in England and later while on loan to the Manhattan Project in the United States was Klaus Fuchs, the German refugee. Fuchs was exposed by the Venona project and later gave a full confession of his activities and contacts.
In an interesting twist, Captain Harry Crookshank, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, selected John Caincross, one of the “Cambridge Five, “to be his personal secretary based on his performance and the fact that he was an ardent vegetarian. Virtually all classified information eventually reached Crookshank’s desk, since his department funded all war efforts. In 1941 he provided the first information on Enormoz, the Soviet code word for the development of atomic weapons by Britain, the USA and Canada. Vladimir Barkovsky, “the best informed KGB officer on the history of the Soviet bomb”, said “In the USA we obtained information on how the bomb was made and in Britain of what it was made.” Klaus Fuchs participated in revealing both aspects, since he worked in both Britain and the US before British intelligence arrested him in 1950. As an example of the information Fuchs provided the Soviets, in 1946 he “…handed over a sketch of the hydrogen bomb’s mechanism and explained that the Americans had abandoned the electromagnetic method of separating the isotopes of Uranium-235 because it had proved ineffective. However, they had achieved considerable success with the diffusion method, and the process was continuing. He revealed that Canadian factories produced about a kilo of plutonium while American sources produces about 16-18 kilos a year and about 36 kilos of U-235. The Americans had exhausted their stock after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The current programme envisaged the production of fifty bombs a year, but the uranium installations in Henford (sic) occasionally broke down, slowing the work of the chemical facilities at Los Alamos, so Fuchs estimated the American stockpile of bombs at approximately 125 units.”
Soviet counterintelligence tried to convert the exposure of Fuchs to their advantage by planning to cast doubt on key scientists working on Enormoz. The book incorrectly states, “Ironically Hoover and Senator Joe McCarthy together accomplished much of what had been planned by the Soviets by dragging the most outstanding scientists before the UnAmerican Activities Committee.” (Evidently the English author did not realize this was a House Committee, and McCarthy was a Senator.)
One of the most interesting parts of the book is the Postscript, which details why Communism and espionage for the Soviet Union was attractive to young intellectuals in Britain. Soviet recruiters could choose between “150 in Oxford, 200 in Cambridge, 300 in London University…” One of the Soviet recruiters observed, “British intellectuals, especially the young among them, do not find satisfactory ideals in the decomposing capitalist society of Britain and are naturally drawn towards the USSR.” It is not explained how these “intellectuals” overlooked the tens of millions of people executed and imprisoned in Russia during the horrors of the Stalin dictatorship to be “drawn towards the USSR.”