COVERT ACTION

By Region

Europe

During the Cold War

N - Z

O'Connell, Charles T. The Munich Institute for the Study of the USSR: Origin and Social Composition. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pennsylvania Center for Russian and East European Studies, 1990.

Paget, Karen. "From Stockholm to Leiden: The CIA's Role in the Formation of the International Student Conference." Intelligence and National Security 18, no. 2 (Summer 2003): 134-167.

This article focuses on the period from 1949 to 1952, not the full existence of the National Student Association-International Student Conference-CIA relationship. The author believes that "a careful distinction must be made between CIA objectives and its capacity to execute them.... Who had the power to make decisions, and to make them stick, varied greatly throughout the life of the relationship.... In the earlier years,... most differences between the CIA and NSA or ISC offficials tended to be tactical."

Philipsen, Ingeborg. "Out of Tune: The Congress for Cultural Freedom in Denmark, 1953-1960." Intelligence and National Security 18, no. 2 (Summer 2003): 237-253.

The author notes that the formation of the Society for Freedom and Culture "was an all-Danish initiative," not the result of activities by the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF). Even when the CCF Secretariat tried to take a more active role with the national committee, controlling the Danish committee was not an easy task -- or perhaps was an impossible proposition.

Pisani, Sallie. The CIA and the Marshall Plan. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1991. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1991.

Mapother, FILS 11.2, says that this "engaging" and "rambling tour" of the OPC is "illuminating." On the negative side, Surveillant 2.2 comments that some "reviewers consider this work flawed, with insufficient supporting evidence for many of the statements. Some of her sources do not concur with her thesis -- that CIA was the covert arm of the Marshall Plan." And Leary, JAH 79.3, finds that Pisani presents "only a flat, one-dimensional portrait of men who led the United States into secret battle after World War II."

According to Aldrich, I&NS 8.4, Pisani "convincingly demonstrates that overt Marshall Plan aid and a major programme of CIA non-military operations were part of one overarching strategy. The main focus is upon the Office of Policy Co-ordination." There are "a number of significant omissions in this study," but the main "weaknesses ... appear to be those of a doctoral dissertation revised a little too hastily for publication."

Clark comment: Having finally read Pisani's work 15 years after it was published, I can affirm that the Aldrich quote above is on the mark. The chapter on Italy is underdeveloped, lacking an understanding of the role of the 1948 elections that preceded the actual formation of OPC as backdrop to later events. The tieing of the discussion of Italy to Iran seems strained to me. But my biggest complaint is that it stops too soon; and, I guess, that complaint is actually a compliment. The story is told in a spritely way. I enjoyed this narrow look at OPC.

Pojmann, Wendy. Italian Women and International Cold War Politics, 1944-1968. Bronx, NY: Fordham University Press, 2013.

From publisher: This work "pays particular attention" to the work of the Socialist/Communist Unione Donne Italiane (UDI) with the pro-Soviet Women's International Democratic Federation (WIDF), and the relationship of the lay Catholic Centro Italiano Femminile (CIF) with the global Catholic organization the World Movement of Mothers (WMM). The author "draws on new and original material from archival collections and oral histories to develop a critical understanding of the important ... period in women's activism between the 1940s and 1970s."

Risso, Linda. "A Difficult Compromise: British and American Plans for a Common Anti-Communist Propaganda Response in Western Europe, 1948–58." Intelligence and National Security 26, no. 2 & 3 (Apr.-Jun. 2011): 330-354.

From Abstract: This article examines how the British IRD worked with the CIA's International Organizations Division "in shaping the foundation and early activities" of the Western Union and the NATO Information Service in coordinating "the Western response to Soviet and Soviet-inspired propaganda campaigns." It seeks to explain "why, in the early Cold War, the West struggled to produce a coherent and fully coordinated propaganda response to communism."

Romero, Federico. The United States and the European Trade Union Movement, 1944-1951. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1992.

Saunders, Frances Stonor. "Modern Art Was CIA 'Weapon.'" The Independent (UK), 22 Oct. 1995. [http://www.independent.co.uk]

"[T]he CIA fostered and promoted American Abstract Expressionist painting around the world for more than 20 years.... [I]n the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, this new artistic movement could be held up as proof of the creativity, the intellectual freedom, and the cultural power of the US. Russian art, strapped into the communist ideological straitjacket, could not compete."

Saunders, Frances Stonor. Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War. London: Granta, 1999. The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters. New York: New Press, 2000.

Click for reviews.

Scott-Smith, Giles. "'The Masterpieces of the Twentieth Century' Festival and the Congress for Cultural Freedom: Origins and Consolidation, 1947-52." Intelligence and National Security 15, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 121-168.

Scott-Smith, Giles. The Politics of Apolitical Culture: The Congress of Cultural Freedom, the CIA and Post-War American Hegemony. London: Routledge, 2001.

Coleman, I&NS 17.3, finds that the author "understands the limitations of the intellectuals who gravitated to the CCF but he is also aware of their integrity." For Peake, Studies 48.1, "those concerned with the political-economic approach to social progress and the battle between democracy and communism" will find this "an important work, its complex theoretical narrative notwithstanding."

Scott-Smith, Giles. "'A Radical Democratic Political Offensive': Melvin J. Lasky, Der Monat, and the Congress of Cultural Freedom." Journal of Contemporary History 35, no. 2 (Apr. 2000): 263-280.

The author offers an intellectual antidote to the venom often prevalent in discussing the role of the Congress of Cultural Freedom in the immediate postwar period. Essentially, he argues that "the Congress has become a much maligned institution since the disclosures of its intimate relationship with the CIA, and this has tended to overshadow the simultaneous developments in the wider cultural and political realms which help explain the institution's character."

Scott-Smith, Giles, and Hans Krabbendam, eds.

1. "Special Issue on The Cultural Cold War in Western Europe, 1945-1960." Intelligence and National Security 18, no. 2 (Summer 2003): Entire issue.

Click for Table of Contents.

2. The Cultural Cold War in Western Europe 1945-1960. London: Frank Cass Publishers, 2003.

Schumacher, JIH 3.2, says that "[t]his collection of essays is a timely and valuable addition to the growing literature on the symbolic dimensions of the East-West confrontation." The work includes "sixteen impressive contributions to the study of American overt and covert propaganda and cultural relations in Western Europe during the early cold war.... The well-crafted essays demonstrate the complexities of the transatlantic relationship, underline the importance of local initiatives as well as limitations to Washington’s overall strategy by local conditions. They offer valuable and nuanced insights into the limits of clandestine operations, the workings of cold war alliances, and the uses of soft power in international affairs."

U.S. Department of State. Office of the Historian. Gen. ed., David S. Patterson. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968. Vol. XII. Western Europe. Ed., James E. Miller. Washington,DC; GPO, 2001.[http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1964-68v12]

See "Note on U.S. Covert Action Programs," pp. XXXI-XXXV, at http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1964-68v12/actionsstatement.

Warner, Michael. "Origins of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, 1949-50." Studies in Intelligence 38, no. 5 (1995): 89-98. [https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/pdf/v38i5a10p.pdf]

The author credits Michael Josselson (and covert CIA funding) with establishing and maintaining this "daring and effective" covert operation. When the Congress convened for the first time, in Berlin on 26 June 1950, the North Koreans had just invaded the South, an event which highlighted that the time had come to choose sides. When the organization was formally established in November 1950, Josselson became the Congress' Administrative Secretary, a post he would hold for the next 16 years.

Whitney, Joel. "The Paris Review, the Cold War and the CIA." Salon, 27 May 2012. [http://www.salon.com]

"Letters discovered by Salon show even deeper Cold War ties between the Paris Review" and the Congress for Cultural Freedom, "largely and covertly funded by the CIA.... [A] secret patronage system, paid for by the taxpayer with no public debate, appears to have existed." Regrettably, propositions such as "Che Guevara ... was caught and murdered by the Agency in 1967" do not enhance the credibility of this author or his findings.

Wilford, Hugh.

1. "American Labour Diplomacy and Cold War Britain." Journal of Contemporary History 37 (2002): 45-65.

2. "Calling the Tune? The CIA, the British Left and the Cold War, 1945-1960." Intelligence and National Security 18, no. 2 (Summer 2003): 41-50.

"[T]he tendency has been to portray the CIA as fatally compromising the independence of the British left.... [However,] the British response to the cultural campaigns of the CIA was more complex..., involving ... resistance, appropriation and complicity."

3. The CIA, the British Left and the Cold War: Calling the Tune. London: Frank Cass, 2003.

Peake, Studies 48.4 (2004), finds that the author "presents a well-documented account of the origins of the [CIA's] program" of support for anti-communist artists, writers, and publications, "and assesses its overall impact on communist-infiltrated trade unions and cultural organizations."

4. "'Unwitting Assets?' British Intellectuals and the Congress for Cultural Freedom." Twentieth Century British History 11 (2000): 42-60.

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