Margaret Sankey's Reviews > Lisbon: War in the Shadows of the City of Light, 1939-45

Lisbon by Neill Lochery
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Jan 01, 12

Read in January, 2012

From its advantageous position on the Atlantic, Portugal, poor and overlooked except for its traditional alliance with Britain, became a player of significance in WWII and Lisbon the center of covert and overt negotiations and scheming. While both sides bribed service industry workers and shuffled spies and refugees through the port, Salazar and his chief of Secret Police attempted to work to Portugal's survival and advantage--keeping neutrality in the face of threatened German invasion and Allied pressure over the crucial wolfram trade, access to the Azores and the Nazi gold flowing through Lisbon banks. With wildcards like the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the German downing of BOAC flight 777A, smuggling and counterfeiting, it is no surprise that Ian Fleming was mesmerized by the plot possibilities of the 24/7 casino. In the end, Salazar had manipulated from a position of weakness so successfully that Portugal kept most of its Nazi-stamped gold (and used part of it to fix up the Fatima shrine, to international embarrassment), its empire and its dictator long into the Cold War.
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