Brazil, Espionage, and Dönitz's Dream
Brazil and the United States generally maintained good relations from the turn of the century to the beginning of World War II. The British blockade immediately slowed German traffic, but for a brief period Brazil enjoyed an enviable position, with powerful countries outbidding each other to gain Brazilian friendship. The story of German espionage attempts in Brazil is a story of too little, too late. Quickly, the requirements for war and the requirements for a Brazilian espionage structure changed. The information desired principally concerned shipping, although knowledge of air activities and air ferrying from Natal to Africa was also of great interest to the Germans. The result was a special espionage and sabotage investigation that forced German agents to go underground. The German efforts in Brazil had their genesis in an old-fashioned view of espionage. Agents gleaned material from a variety of sources and sent it to neutral nations to be forwarded to Germany.