Abwehr [ˈapveːɐ̯] – intelligence and counterintelligence body of the German military command; formed in 1925 to replace the Nachrichtendienst (dissolved in 1918); it was initially responsible for conducting counterintelligence as part of the Land Forces Command; as of 4 February 1938, it became an organ of the Supreme Command of German Armed Forces (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, OKW); it participated in the preparation and implementation of Wehrmacht’s war plans; after the reorganisation in February 1944 (in connection with the rivalry of the military intelligence with RSHA intelligence units), it became subordinate to the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA); core Abwehr units were taken over by the SS and incorporated into the RSHA as the Military Board; the position of the deposed head of the Abwehr, Admiral W. Canaris (1 January 1935 – February 1944) was taken over by W. Schellenberg; the Abwehr bears direct responsibility for a number of campaigns carried out in many countries, including the organisation of the fifth column, assassinations and diversionary actions, and crimes against POWs and resistance fighters.

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