The Forschungsamt was one of the principal German
intelligence agencies in the period 1933-45.It was created by Goering in 1933
to provide the Nazi party with reliable intelligence on domestic and foreign
It’s main focus was on intercepting plaintext post , radio
and teletype traffic and eavesdropping on telephone conversation but it also
had a large decoding department.
One of the main efforts of the FA was in economic
intelligence. The part devoted to economic intelligence was department 12 of
Group V ( Evaluation).
Department 12 was divided in three sections :
1. 12A – Germany’s national economic problems.
2. 12B – Economic conditions of other countries.
3. 12C – Compilation and analysis of information concerning
domestic raw materials ,markets and prices.
Source: Consolidated Interrogation report SAIC/SIR/7 – 19
Obviously the information collected from unencoded and
encoded traffic was important in guiding German economic and trade policy,
especially as Goering was also in charge of the four year plan.
A hint of this is given by report ’Headquarters
Seventh Army ,MU 500 , CSDIC,G-2 , APO 758 – German Air ministry Research
Office' , 29 Jan ‘45
Main source : Guenther Lothar
The economic Dept
is the largest of all FORSCHUNGSAMT sections. Here a staff of
experts of various branches of industry sort and evaluate information
pertaining to the activities of the world market, production of all possible
goods, statistics, etc. Of particular interest, was, of course, the armament
industry in the United States and England. Stock
exchange rumors and fluctuations in foreign countries were also very closely
watched and collected to enable quick and advantageous decisions to be made for
buying and selling.
Statistics of industrial interest gathered by this Dept
were also sometimes disseminated to certain German industrial institutions.
The codes of foreign banking establishments were also
TICOM report I-162 ''Report on interrogation of Kurt
Saurbier of RLM/Forschungsamt held on 31 August 1945'' gives more information:
7. Commercial Codes :
Several enciphered versions of standard codes were
solved, but S. did not consider any of the results of importance. Traffic
between TURKEY and SWEDEN was attacked particularly and solved, but yielded
none of the expected information on shipping possibilities.A major effort of
the section was the solution in 1944 of the code used by INTABANK, the International Bank at BASLE.
The code used was an old Bank of England
code which had been solved in 1941. The pages were shuffled, and an
encipherment added, but solution was achieved by the use of cribs and common
form messages, of which the best was a statement of the daily exchange rates
between various countries.
The detail of the encipherment was as follows: the basic
system was bigram substitution from a table different for each link and changing
each 3 months. The text was divided into segments of three or four groups, and
the plain text bigrams for encipherment were prearranged pairs, as 1 and 15, 2
and 14 , 6 and 10 etc. Very long depths and near depths were produced on
closely similar number values, and this was the entry. The whole solution took about 6 months, starting with 1942-3 traffic
and working up to 1944. The interception of the traffic was not systematised at
any time, and S. did not believe more than 50%, of all the traffic was read as
a result of the solution .
I have also written before on the Soviet
economic traffic intercepted during the war , allowing the Germans to
evaluate parts of the Soviet economy.
So in the area of economic intelligence the FA
certainly had its successes!