William J. Donovan

Articles by and on Donovan

Included here:

1. Articles on Donovan

2. Donovan's Writings/Speeches


1. Articles on Donovan

Campbell, Kenneth J. "William J. Donovan: Leader and Strategist." American Intelligence Journal 11, no. 1 (Winter 1989-1990): 31-36.

Charles, Douglas M. "'Before the Colonel Arrived': Hoover, Donovan, Roosevelt, and the Origins of American Central Intelligence, 1940-41." Intelligence and National Security 20, no. 2 (Jun. 2005): 225-237.

Two FBI representatives arrived in the United Kingdom in late 1940 (that is, before Col. William Donovan arrived in early 1941). During their visit, "they surveyed British intelligence, met high-ranking intelligence officials, and reported back" to FBI Director Hoover. "The FBI director subsequently submitted a report to [President] Roosevelt ... that outlined the organization and methods of both the Security Service (MI5) and Secret Intelligence Service (SIS)."

Dulles, Allen W.

1. "William J. Donovan and National Security: Speech to the Erie Bar Association, Buffalo, New York, May 4, 1959." Congressional Record 105 (14 May 1959): 8103-8105. [Petersen]

2. "William J. Donovan and the National Security." Studies in Intelligence 3, no. 3 (Summer 1959): 71-83. Studies in Intelligence: 45th Anniversary Special Edition, Fall 2000, 13-25.

"Adaptation from an address delivered in tribute to the father of central intelligence."

Lagemann, John K. "Wild Bill Donovan." Current History 52 (Apr. 1941): 23-25, 55-56. [Petersen]

Mattingly, Robert E. "'The Worst Slap in the Face' the Marine Corps Ever Was Given." In New Aspects of Naval History, eds. Craig L. Symonds, et al, 373-385. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1981.

Petersen: "Donovan plan to use USMC units as commandos."

Powers, Thomas. "The Underground Entrepeneur." New York Review of Books, 12 May 1983. Chapter 1 in Intelligence Wars: American Secret History from Hitler to Al-Qaeda, 3-20. Rev. & exp. ed. New York: New York Review of Books, 2004.

This is the author's review of four works on Donovan -- Anthony Cave Brown's The Last Hero (1982); Richard Dunlop's Donovan (1982); Bradley Smith's The Shadow Warriors (1983); and Thomas Troy's Donovan and the CIA (1981). It is also Powers' views on Donovan and his creation, the OSS.

Salter, Michael. Nazi War Crimes, U.S. Intelligence and Selective Prosecution at Nuremburg: Controversies Regarding the Role of the Office of Strategic Services. New York: Routledge-Cavendish, 2007.

Peake, Studies 52.1 (Mar. 2008) and Intelligencer 16.1 (Spring 2008), finds that "[m]ost of this very detailed book dwells" on the contribution of the former OSS's war crimes staff." It also "details the involvement in Nuremberg of OSS Director William Donovan." After OSS was disbanded in 1945, "Donovan was assigned to the Nuremburg trials as deputy to Robert Jackson.... Donovan had definite views on the trials' handling, and they conflicted sharply with Jackson's.... [T]he differences with Jackson led to Donovan's dismissal." The book "is comprehensive" and, with one exception, "thoroughly documented with primary sources."

Smith, Bradley F. "Admiral Godfrey's Mission to America, June/July 1941." Intelligence and National Security 1, no. 3 (Sep. 1986): 441-450.

The material presented here includes Smith's comments on and text of the report by the British Director of Naval Intelligence, Adm. J.H. Godfrey, on his visit to the United States in June-July 1941. According to Smith, the document "shows Admiral Godfrey more closely involved with the developmental activities of William Stephenson ... and William Donovan ... than many scholars ... had realised.... Admiral Godfrey not only gave direct support to the cause of William Donovan and the COI, but ... he went to ... unprecedented lengths to assist them."

Sullivan, Brian R. "'A Highly Commendable Action': William J. Donovan's Intelligence Mission for Mussolini and Roosevelt, December 1935-February 1936." Intelligence and National Security 6, no. 2 (Apr. 1991): 334-366.

This article concerns trips Donovan made, first, to Rome, Ethiopia, and a number of European capitals in late 1935-early 1936, and, later, to Britain in 1940. The author concludes that Donovan was deceived in the first trip by the Italians and in the second by the British. Much of what is used to tie together the strands of the first trip is highly speculative ("circumstantial evidence strongly suggests," "Donovan's probable direct or indirect service to the President," "it may be," and the like). There are also too many early citations of Anthony Cave Brown and Phillip Knightley to leave me completely comfortable with the article's foundation, despite the use of a number of original sources.

Thomas, Evan. "Spymaster General: The Adventures of Wild Bill Donovan and the 'Oh So Social' OSS." Intelligencer 18, no. 2 (Summer-Fall 2011): 37-43. [Vanity Fair, 3 Mar. 2011, web exclusive]

"Donovan may have been larger than life, but he defies easy caricature.... His exploits are utterly improbable but by now well documented in declassified wartime records that portray a brave, noble, headlong, gleeful, sometimes outrageous pursuit of action and skullduggery."

Troy, Thomas F.

1. "CIA's Indebtedness to Bill Stephenson." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 20, no. 4 (Winter 2007): 717-727.

The author offers his opinion (Clark comment: better than anyone else's I am aware of on this topic) about the greatness of Stephenson "as a covert-action agent, station chief, and agent of influence in New York in 1940-1945." He suggests that the debt owed to Stephenson by the CIA is for its very existence.

2. "The Coordinator of Information and British Intelligence: An Essay on Origins." Studies in Intelligence 18, no. 1-S (Spring 1974).

3. "Donovan's Original Marching Orders." Studies in Intelligence 17, no. 2 (Summer 1973): 39-69.

In seeking to reconstruct Donovan's "original marching orders" from President Roosevelt, the author focuses on "three episodes in roughly the first six months" of the history of the Coordinator of Information (COI): "(1) Donovan's meeting with the President on 18 June 1941 when FDR gave the go-ahead sign on COI; (2) the drafting of the order which made COI official on 11 July; and (3) the next few months when that order was implemented."

Wilson, John D. "At Work with Donovan: One Man's History in OSS." Studies in Intelligence 37, no. 5 (1994): 71-79.

The author joined the Research and Analysis Branch at the Coordinator of Information in March 1942. He discusses work with R&A and with Donovan during the war.

2. Donovan's Writings/Speeches

Donovan, William J. "Foreign Policy Must Be Based on Facts." Vital Speeches (1 May 1946): 446-448. [Petersen]

Donovan, William J. "Intelligence: Key to Defense." Life 21 (30 Sep. 1946): 108-120. [Petersen]

Donovan, William J. "Stop Russia's Subversive War." Atlantic Monthly 181, no. 5 (1948): 27-30. [Petersen]

Donovan, William J. "Strategic Services in 'Cold War.'" Naval War College Review 6, no. 1 (Sep. 1953): 31-42. [Petersen]

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[1. Photo from: https://www.cia.gov/cia/ciakids/history/donovan.html]