American Intelligence’s Employment of Former Nazis During the Early Cold War: A Revisionist History

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This work examines the history and ramifications of the employment of former Nazi intelligence officers by the American intelligence community during that critical period of the Cold War, from the fall of Berlin through the end of the Eisenhower administration.


“This excellent book is recommended not only to the academic historian, but also to the interested layman. While it will be of special interest to scholars who want to conduct research in the same field, or who want to study the Cold War in general, the clarity of the writing and the logic of the analysis make this work accessible to anyone interested in the origins of the Cold War.” – Prof. O.A. Robinson, III, Central Methodist University

“. . . shows that the program failed not only on a moral level, but on a pragmatic level as well. Recruited former Nazis not only failed to provide substantial benefits to the United States during the cold war, but actually hindered American efforts, things fully demonstrated in the Nazi role in exaggerating estimates of Soviet strength and overemphasizing the need for, and the feasibility of, operations in Eastern Europe.” – Prof Richard Bradley, Central Methodist University

“Dr. Carter has a special gift for lucidly explaining the obscure and complex topics in which he specializes, and his talents are on full display in this work. He masterfully guides the reader through the history of the evolution of America’s intelligence services, describes the complex and sometimes chaotic organizational structures of Nazi and Soviet intelligence services, and illuminates issues and problems which might not have occurred to other students of the subject matter. Especially impressive were Dr. Carter’s discussions of the dishonesty and ineptitude of Nazi spies, of the motives of Nazis in seeking to work for America, and the failure of the Americans to understand either Nazi ineptitude or Nazi goals.” – Prof. Malcolm L. Cross, Tarleton State University

Table of Contents

Preface by 0. A. Robinson
Part I: Introduction
1. Friends and Enemies
Friends and Enemies — Intelligence Communities at War’s End
The Third Reich’s Intelligence Community The Reich Central Security Office
The Abwehr
Other Intelligence Organizations of the Third Reich
The Intelligence Services of the Soviet Union
Soviet Military Intelligence
The NKVD and the KGB
The American Intelligence Community
Office of Strategic Services
U.S. Army Intelligence
The Central Intelligence Agency
Office of Policy Coordination
2. Fears and Suspicions
Part II: Old Enemies and New Friends
3. Operations to Identify and Recruit Scientists and Technicians
Operation Alsos — The First Step
Operation Overcast/Paperclip — A Second Step
4. Operations to Identify and Recruit Nazi Intelligence Officers
Post War Decline of American Intelligence
Demobilization of CIC
Demise of the Office of Strategic Services
The Special Service Branch of the War Department
CROWCASS and the Architecture of Nazi Recruitment
Three Templates for Recruitment
5. Recruited Nazi Networks and Contractors: Two Vignettes
Organization Gehlen
The Gehlen Resume’
The Gehlen Team
Klaus Barbie and the Petersen Network
6. Vignettes of Nazi Recruits: A Rogues Gallery
Otto von Bolschwing
Gustav Huger
Radislaw Ostrowsky and the Belarus Brigade
Friedrich Buchardt
Nikolai N. Poppe
Part III: Unreliable Sources
7. Overestimating Nazi Foreign Intelligence
The Double-Cross Fiasco
Failure on the Eastern Front
Agent Operations Behind Soviet Lines
German Intelligence’s Performance against Soviet Counterintelligence
Observations on German Successes against American Intelligence...
8. Soviet Penetration and Disinformation Controlled Agents
Heinz Felfe
Emil Augsburg
Heinrich Mueller and the Ghosts of Nazi Intelligence
Controlled Networks
Operation WIN
Operation Fiend/Valuable
9. Underestimating the Culpability of Nazi Intelligence in War Crimes
War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity
Culpability within the Nazi Intelligence Community
What American Intelligence Knew in 1945-1946
10. Politicizing the Soviet Estimate
Part IV: Conclusions and Lessons
11. Conclusions: Causes and Consequences
12. Lessons for the War on Terror Recruiting Under Stress
Lessons about Sub-contracting Intelligence to former Adversaries
The Problems of Penetration
The Challenges of Managing Goal Displacement

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