Dušan "Duško" Popov
Allegiance Template:Country data British Empire
Award(s) Order of the British Empire
Codename(s) Tricycle

Born 10 July 1912
Died 10 August 1981
Nationality Template:Country data Serbia Serbian

Dušan "Duško" Popov OBE (Serbian Cyrillic: Душан "Душко" Попов; born 10 July 1912 in Titel, Austria-Hungary; died 10 August 1981 in Opio, Alpes-Maritimes, France) was a double agent working for MI5 during World War II under the code name "Tricycle" and the Abwehr under the code name "Ivan".

Origins of Tricycle[edit | edit source]

Popov was born in 10 July 1912 in Titel, Austro-Hungary (now Serbia) to a wealthy Serbian family. He had an older brother, Ivo – also a double agent during World War II – and a younger brother, Vladan. The Popov family moved to Dubrovnik (now in Croatia) when Dusko was very young.

He spoke fluent German and had many highly placed German friends, but secretly despised the Nazis after earlier unpleasant brushes with them during his university years in Freiburg.[1] When a university friend, Johann Jebsen approached him to work for the Abwehr, he informed Clement Hope, passport control officer at the British legation in Yugoslavia. Hope enrolled Popov as a double agent with the codename Skoot (he was later known to his handler as Tricycle) and advised to cooperate with Jebsen.[2]

When accepted as a double agent, he came to live in London. His international business activities in an import-export business provided cover for visits to neutral Portugal, which was linked to the United Kingdom by a weekly civil air service for most of the war. Popov fed enough MI5-approved information to the Germans to keep them happy and unaware of his actions[3] and was well-paid for his services. The assignments they gave him were of great value to the British in assessing enemy plans and thinking.[3]

Popov is famous for the playboy lifestyle he lived while carrying out perilous wartime missions for the British.The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5.</ref>

Allegations regarding Pearl Harbor[edit | edit source]

In 1941, Popov was dispatched to the United States by the Abwehr to establish a new German network.[4] He was given ample funds and an intelligence questionnaire (a list of intelligence targets, later published as an appendix to J.C. Masterman's book The Double Cross System). Of the three typewritten pages of the questionnaire, one entire page was devoted to highly detailed questions about U.S. defences at Pearl Harbor on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. He made contact with the FBI and explained what he had been asked to do. During a televised interview, Dusko Popov related having informed the FBI on August 12, 1941 of the impending attack on Pearl Harbor. For whatever reason, either the FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover did not report this fact to his superiors,[5] or they, for reasons of their own, took no action in regard to this apparent German interest in Pearl Harbor. Popov himself has said Hoover was quite suspicious and distrustful of him and, according to author William "Mole" Wood, when Hoover discovered Popov had taken a woman from New York to Florida, he threatened to have him arrested under the Mann Act if he did not leave the U.S. immediately.

Operation Fortitude[edit | edit source]

In 1944, Popov became a key part of the Operation Fortitude deception campaign. However, when his German intelligence handler, Johann Jebsen – who was also a double agent (code-named "Artist") and a close friend of Popov's from before the war – was arrested, the British feared Popov had been betrayed and ceased giving him critical information to pass along. Some time later, however, with no indication that Popov was now distrusted, he was brought back into use.

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Popov was a noted as a ladies' man – while in the US, he lived an extravagant lifestyle and had an affair with the well-known actress Simone Simon.[6] He published his memoirs, Spy, Counterspy, in 1974.

Duško Popov died in 1981 aged 69, leaving a widow and three sons.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. St. Louis, Regis; Landon, Robert (2007). Portugal, p.144. Lonely Planet. ISBN 1-74059-918-7.
  2. Nigel West, ‘Popov, Dusan (1912–1981)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2008
  3. 3.0 3.1 Howard, Michael Eliot (1995). Strategic Deception in the Second World War, p.16. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-31293-3.
  4. nationalarchives.gov.uk - Dusko Popov - Record Summary
  5. Jeffreys-Jones, Rhodri (2007). The FBI: A History, p.110. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-11914-3.
  6. BBC News | UK | The name's Tricycle, Agent Tricycle

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • West, Nigel. Seven Spies Who Changed the World. London: Secker & Warburg, 1991.
  • Miller, Russell. Codename Tricycle: The true story of the Second World War's most extraordinary double agent, Secker & Warburg, London, 2004. ISBN 0-436-21023-1
  • Stevenson, William. A Man Called Intrepid - the Secret War, Ballantine, 1976.
  • Popov, Dusko. Spy/counterspy: The autobiography of Dusko Popov, Grosset & Dunlap, 1974. ISBN 0-448-11606-5

External links[edit | edit source]

fr:Dušan Popov hr:Dušan Popov it:Dušan Popov ja:ドゥシャン・ポポヴ pt:Dusko Popov sl:Dušan Popov sr:Душан Попов sv:Duško Popov

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