To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions. It had been reported that Greene had made some cryptic annotations in the margins of the Philby book, and I hoped they might provide a clue to the strange story I was pursuing. A story about a possible deathbed revelation Graham Greene had had about Philby. Greene had first come to know Philby when the two were working for the British Secret Intelligence Service during World War II and Philby was the brilliant, charming counterintelligence specialist who disguised his intellectual arrogance with a disarming stammer.
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While a student at the University of Cambridge , Philby became a communist and in a Soviet agent. He worked as a journalist until , when Guy Burgess , a British secret agent who was himself a Soviet double agent, recruited Philby into the MI-6 section of the British intelligence service. By the end of World War II , Philby had become head of counterespionage operations for MI-6, in which post he was responsible for combating Soviet subversion in western Europe.
In he was sent to Washington to serve as chief MI-6 officer there and as the top liaison officer between the British and U. While holding this highly sensitive post, he revealed to the U. Thereafter he worked as a journalist in Beirut until fleeing to the Soviet Union in There he settled in Moscow and eventually reached the rank of colonel in the KGB , the Soviet intelligence service. Philby published a book, My Silent War , detailing his exploits.
Philby seems to have been a lifelong and committed communist whose primary devotion lay toward the Soviet Union rather than his native country. Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:.
Review: My Silent War: The Autobiography of a Spy by Kim Philby — a monster unmasked
After reading about a third of the book my dilemma was resolved, he appears to have been a right berk. I always assumed that it must have taken an uncommonly sharp mind to do what Philby did, but you start to think that just maybe, rather than being incredibly clever, he was actually just another over educated member of the establishment, who only got away with it for so long because the people around him were exactly the same. He appears to have decided or been told to say nothing whatsoever about what information he passed on, or what activities he undertook on behalf of his Soviet bosses. The book becomes a procession of run-ins with staff at various levels of the UK secret services. It feels like being trapped talking to a particularly dull civil servant on the night of his retirement, who is determined to relate to you every detail of the times he bested some rival in a petty bureaucratic dispute.
In his early teens, he spent some time with the Bedouin in the desert of Saudi Arabia. He won a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge , where he studied history and economics. He graduated in with a degree in Economics. The World Federation for the Relief of the Victims of German Fascism was an organization that attempted to aid the people victimized by fascism in Germany and provide education on oppositions to fascism.
My Silent War: The Autobiography of a Spy
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