World War 2 The OSS Volume 1

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Churchill had secretly been in contact with Franklin D. Roosevelt sent his head of intelligence, William Donovan—the future creator of the C. Churchill made sure Donovan spent substantial time with Vera, according to Spymistress. Vera was a firm believer in the power of ordinary citizens to wreak havoc. Stevenson writes in Spymistress that she liked invented weapons that could be assembled on the fly, like rats stuffed with explosives. Instead of trying to impress Donovan with fancy dinners, Vera deliberately took him to the heart of the S.

University students worked furiously to translate codes. In the end, Donovan was so impressed with the underdog S. Krystyna Skarbek was the daughter of Polish aristocracy. Her doting father taught her horsemanship and shooting; for the rest of her life she excelled in charming men. And as she roamed Europe on secret missions, she left many of them heartbroken.

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In , the Germans invaded, quickly followed by the Russians. Krystyna was overseas, and her attempts to enlist were frustrated by the fact she was a woman. Positive news about the fight against Hitler was vital to fuel the resistance, especially now that the Polish government had fled the country. It was the coldest winter in memory—German patrols found so many bodies in the following spring thaw that they doubled their patrols the following winter.

Krystyna craved danger, even as her very existence was perilous: her mother was a fabulously wealthy Jewish banking heir. Krystyna became a vital part of the resistance, smuggling intelligence out of Poland to the allies, using her wits to evade capture and execution over and over again—including the time she bit her own tongue bloody to fake tuberculosis.

She once saved the life of one of her lovers, Francis Cammaerts, by skulking around the prison where he was being held and singing one of their favorite tunes, until she heard him sing it back. Now that she knew where he was located, she entered the prison and told the guards that she was related to a senior British diplomat. The Allies had just landed; over the course of three hours, she convinced the guards that the only way they might receive mercy would be to release the prisoners.

They agreed. After the war, Krystyna led a somewhat aimless existence, and was eventually stabbed to death by another obsessed admirer. She married a wealthy man in Marseille, and was accustomed to breakfasting in a large bath with champagne and caviar on toast. West contributes an essential context for the report and his excellent, insightful assessment is worthy historiography in and of itself. West provides fascinating details in his introductory remarks. We learn that Gilbert Highet, who was commissioned by Stephenson to prepare the account of the BSC's wartime activities, was married to the American writer Helen MacInness author of nearly fifty spy novels , and that he would eventually become an American citizen and Professor of Mathematics at Columbia University.

Because Stephenson thought that Highet's initial draft was too dry and academic, Tom Hill, editor of the trade journal Western Hemisphere Weekly Bulletin, was selected to redraft the report.


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Office of Strategic Services, and worked for a short period on the report. From through Dahl was a successful writer of 35 children's stories, including James and the Giant Peach New York: Knopf, According to West, Hill did most of the rewriting and editorial work on the manuscript, completing his task in the late summer of A local printer in Oshawa, Ontario printed twenty copies and a Toronto bookbinder covered them in leather and placed each individually in a separate locked box.

Hill and his wife were then instructed to collect the entire BSC archive and burn it, which they did, thereby ensuring that the twenty printed copies were the only extant historical record of BSC.

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Stephenson retained two copies for himself and placed ten in a Montreal bank vault where they remained until Hill was directed to burn these in Stephenson's life story and the history of the BSC operations were the subjects of H. Stephenson lent Hyde one of his two copies of the printed and bound history in order to prepare the biography.

Apparently, a number of liberties were taken with the information included in the biography, and West details the lawsuits arising from Hyde's "embellishments and defamation" pp. Recently, a Canadian historian, Tim Naftali, had the opportunity to compare Hyde's biography of Stephenson with the "Report on British Security Coordination in the United States of America," a manuscript prepared by Tom Hill in March , which was found in Hyde's personal archival collection now deposited at Cambridge University's Churchill College.

Naftali wrote an article, "Intrepid's Last Deception," for the journal Intelligence and National Security , 8 in which he stated that The Quiet Canadian relied heavily upon the BSC document, copying verbatim, without attribution, many long passages and incorporating other materials as if they were direct quotations from Stephenson. Approximately 85 percent of the biography consisted of "direct reproductions or faithful executive summaries" derived from the original.

Joseph, At this point the reader may be confused sufficiently and should ask how did this volume, British Security Coordination: The Secret History of British Intelligence in the Americas, , come to be published? West has responded to this query with a statement that "whatever the different interpretations put by other authors on British Security Coordination since it was completed [in ], the document itself, in its complete and unexpurgated form, has been deliberately kept from the public.

Some photocopied versions of Sir William's personal edition have circulated among a small circle of intelligence cognoscenti, but this present edition [] is the first time [that] the whole document has been published without editorial comment" pp. Your reviewer remains puzzled about one obscurity regarding the origin of the text. Is the original source or manuscript used to typeset the publication one of the two original copies possessed by Stephenson, or was it a photocopy of one of Stephenson's copies, or is there another explanation? Nowhere in the introductory sections to the book, or in the volume's dust jacket, or in the publisher's sales flyers or press materials is the reader informed without doubt as to the actual origin of the manuscript that was used to typeset the "edition.

British Security Coordination also includes Stephenson's own Foreward dated 31 December , an Editorial Note, a Glossary with 41 acronyms or other designations, and the original twelve-page Introduction including one map.

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These precede nine Roman numeral parts comprising a total of 43 chapters -- pages in all. A very useful, detailed double-column Index pp.


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In a footnote p. Curiously there is a mixture of British and American English spellings cypher preferred to cipher, for example , reflecting the Anglo-British "Canadian" character and culture of the authors. I shall next list the contents for each part of the report, comment on the individual chapters within each of the parts, and conclude with a final assessment.

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Upon his return to England, WS reported his findings to CSS the Head of Secret Intelligence Services and was empowered to undertake the liaison and "assure sufficient aid for Britain and eventually to bring America into the war" p. His initial primary concerns were: 1 to investigate enemy activities, 2 institute security measures against the threat of sabotage to British property, and 3 organize American public opinion in favor of aid to Britain. Therefore, enemy or enemy-controlled businesses, propaganda groups, and diplomatic and consular missions became targets for investigation.

Consular Security Officers were posted to U. The third objective involved Political Warfare or covert propaganda, collecting foreign and domestic intelligence, the penetration of unfriendly and enemy diplomatic and consular missions, the organization of "free" movements among foreign exiles and minorities in the Western Hemisphere, directing subversive propaganda.


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This objective also entailed preventing the enemy from smuggling supplies to and from the Western Hemisphere, instituting security measures, recruiting and training agents for Special Operations and Special Intelligence activities, and procuring special supplies for the underground in occupied countries. The anticipation of America's eventual entry into the war represented a move from the defensive to the offensive. To quote from the introductory remarks: "The climax of that offensive was reached some six months before Pearl Harbor when BSC secured, through the establishment of the organization which eventually came to be known as the Office of Strategic Services, an assurance of full American participation and collaboration with the British in secret activities directed against the enemy throughout the world" p.

The narrative also considers BSC activities in the United States and in Latin America, activities directed against the enemy outside the Western Hemisphere, and the addition of a Communications Division late in whose work developed primarily after 7 December. In sum, the initial remarks indicate that there were really four purposes -- the three defensive ones noted above establishing the BSC, procuring essential supplies, and fostering American intervention --plus the fourth, offensive in nature: "The assurance of American participation in secret activities throughout the world in the closest possible collaboration with the British" p.

Some of the major events considered are a recounting of the U. Navy's assistance to the Royal Navy during the autumn of with State Department approval in locating sixteen Axis German and Italian merchant vessels in Mexican territorial waters and preventing them from running a naval blockade. High-level political contacts between Stephenson and playwright Robert Sherwood, FDR confidant Vincent Astor, politician Wendell Willkie, private citizens, and the press and radio publishers such as Hearst and Sulzberger, and major columnists including Walter Lippman and William Shirer were facilitated through Hoover.

Although OSS was abolished by the Presidential Executive Order of 20 September , the BSC report states that "whatever new arrangements may eventually be made, it is clear that the United States Government is now fully convinced of the need for preserving a coordinated Foreign Intelligence Service which must be built on the foundations laid by OSS" p. A lengthy article from Life magazine no date is cited written by John Chamberlain, extolling the OSS's contribution to the war effort, is reprinted verbatim pp. The Pearl Harbor attack changed the nature of American-British intelligence cooperation, in effect, "bringing it out of the closet.

In separate SO. There were two sections within SO. The objective and methods used by SO. The BSC's sophisticated use of foreign-language newspapers printed in the U. Political warfare against Japan, in the main, involved attempts to break German-Japanese friendship as early as August by planting evidence of German Fifth Column subversive activities in Japan, the duping of Japanese Diet member Juiji Kasai in an anti-German propaganda effort, and influencing San Francisco radio station KGEI to broadcast anti-German reports to Pacific Rim listeners.

The BSC concluded that their efforts began too late to achieve the objective of disrupting the German-Japanese alliance, but that the effort ultimately advanced American plans for Far Eastern political warfare pp. Therefore, the foundation for cooperation and the coordination of British and American propaganda effort existed well before the Pearl Harbor attack, and this was enhanced dramatically after 7 December BSC produced the first propaganda leaflets dropped by American aircraft over Japan and provided much of the material for Donovan's political warfare effort early in the war.

Japanese atrocities against prisoners of war including U. BSC targeted German industrial organizations, particularly chemical companies that were German-owned and often camouflaged by neutral ownership in Sweden or Switzerland. Among these were Schering A.

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German agents who were sent to the Americas are also profiled. The transfer, processing, and creation of finding aids followed at the National Archives and records were made available to the public. There are folder lists available in paper format in the research room for most of the records accessioned from the CIA's OSS archives.

We also have the following RG finding aids available in the research room:. These finding aids are useful, since RG operational files are not arranged in conventional series or entries. A typical RG series of OSS operational records may contain files from a number of different branches and offices.

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