Juan Pujol Garcia, known by the British codename Garbo, was a double agent during the Second World War. Pujol played a key role in the success of Operation Fortitude, misleading the Germans about the timing and location of the Allied invasion of Normandy, convincing them that it would happen via Pas-de-Calais.
Born in 1912 in a family of liberals, Juan Pujol Garcia reluctantly fought in the Spanish Civil War of 1936. Developing a hatred for the communist and fascist regimes, Pujol was determined to make a contribution to the ‘good of humanity’ during the Second World War.
After being rejected by the British intelligence agencies, Pujol made contact with the Germans and was recruited as a German agent. Pujol was instructed to travel to Britain and recruit more agents, but instead he moved to Lisbon and constructed a network of imaginary agents, using a variety of public sources including a Blue Guide to Britain and a magazine he found in his local library. In 1942, Pujol made contact with the British intelligence services again and was eventually brought to London, where he was given code name Garbo.
In 1944, Pujol sent the Germans small amounts of correct information about the planned invasion via Normandy in order to maintain his credibility. Pujol and his ‘other’ agents then began reporting that these plans were no more than a ruse, and the main attack was to come, as Hitler expected, via Calais. This misleading played a key role in the success of the invasion in Normandy. In November 1944, he was awarded an MBE for his services.