WORLD WAR II

OSS

Operations against Germany

A - L

Bancroft, Mary. Autobiography of a Spy. New York: Morrow, 1983.

Bancroft worked for Allen Dulles and the OSS station in Switzerland in World War II, and this work makes explicit that the two were also lovers. "[H]er most important work was with Hans Bernd Gisevius, a top officer of German military intelligence.... [H]er real job was to make sure he was not a double agent (she concluded he was not) and then to elicit and pass on the detailed information he supplied about the day-to-day shifts of power and strategy within the German Government." See Robert McG. Thomas, "Mary Bancroft Dead at 93; U.S. Spy in World War II," New York Times, 19 Jan. 1997.

Casey, William J. The Secret War Against Hitler. New York: Regnery Gateway, 1988. New York: Berkley Books, 1989. [pb] London: Simon & Schuster, 1990. D810S7C35

Surveillant 1.1: This is a "[b]oring and disappointing final work from an otherwise forceful visionary head of CIA. Do we say that because it is too scholarly . . . or too dry?"

Delattre, Lucas. Tr., George A. Holoch. A Spy at the Heart of the Third Reich: The Extraordinary Story of Fritz Kolbe, America’s Most Important Spy in World War II. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005. Betraying Hitler: The Story of Fritz Kolbe, the Most Important Spy of the Second World War. London: Atlantic, 2006. New York: Grove, 2006. [pb]

Clark comment: Fritz Kolbe was Allen Dulles' source (to whom he gave the codename "George Wood.") in the German Foreign Ministry. From Publishers Weekly, Feb. 2006, (via Amazon.com): "Delattre paints a vivid portrait of Kolbe, a romantic and a stubborn fitness buff, who seems to have become an agent simply because he was a decent man confronting indecency.... Kolbe survived the war but did not prosper in the peace, when he was regarded as a traitor in Germany."

Peake, Studies 49.3 (2005), comments that "[d]espite the irritating absence of specific source notes and an index, this is a worthwhile book on an important case." The author "conveys admiration for Kolbe's contribution and is perplexed that he did not get more credit at the time.... The book concludes with a remembrance of Kolbe by OSS and CIA veteran Peter Sichel, who helped handle Kolbe after the war. His firsthand account adds much to the image of a true German patriot."

To West, IJI&C 19.4 (Winter 2006-2007), the author has failed to place Kolbe's efforts "in their proper context." Kolbe was not the sole high-level source providing intelligence to the Allies through Switzerland. In addition, West considers the possibility that Kolbe's information also represented a serious complication to the British and their COMINT sources. However, although it is "far from the whole story," Delattre's book "is most welcome."

Rubinstein, I&NS 24.2 (Apr. 2009), finds this a "gripping and well-researched book.... Using a wide range of recently declassified sources and many interviews," the author "has rescued Kolbe from... obscurity and has vividly told a tale which deserves to be remembered." See also, Anthony Quibble, "Alias George Wood," Studies in Intelligence 10, no. 1 (Winter 1966): 69-96.

Dulles, Allen.

1. Germany's Underground. New York: Macmillan, 1947.

Dulles headed OSS operations in Switzerland during World War II. This is his firsthand account of the espionage network established in Germany in World War II.

2. The Secret Surrender. New York: Harper & Row, 1966. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1967. New York: Popular Library, 1966. [pb]

Clark comment: This is Dulles' firsthand account of Operation Sunrise, the negotiations which led to the German surrender in Italy. Pforzheimer sees it as a "fascinating description of a unique intelligence coup at the highest level." According to Constantinides, Dulles concentrates "on providing a play-by-play record," with "little analysis of the overall meaning and significance of the operation." However, the book provides "the feel for personalities and their relationships that only a participant can provide."

See Smith and Agarossi, Operation Sunrise: The Secret Surrender (1979), for what Constantinides calls a "scholarly history" of the Allied effort to secure the surrender of German forces in Italy.

Field, Edward L.

1. Retreat to Victory: A Previously Unknown OSS Operation. Surfside Beach, SC: EDMA Historical Consultants, 1991.

MacPherson, I&NS 7.4, says it is unfortunate that this memoir by a "former enlisted member of the immediate post-war OSS mission in occupied Germany" reflects the author's "minimal" capabilities as a competent historian. The unit involved was "the Regimental Reserve Liaison Detachment-OSS, 1st European Civil Affairs Division, attached to the OSS Liaison School at Bad Orb, American Zone of Occupation." Its function was locating "German citizens put on a 'White List' by OSS because of their presumed anti-Nazi sentiments or actions." These individuals were brought to Bad Orb for instruction in democratic civil administration. The explanation of all this is, however, contained in a "disjointed, illogical and often obfuscating text" that "confuses trivia with history."

2. Retreat to Victory": Book II of a 3 Volume Set. Surfside Beach, SC: EDMA Historical Consultants, 1994.

Surveillant 3.4/5: "An updated version of Book I based on recently released OSS/CIA documents on OSS/SHAEF G-5 School at Bad Orb, Hessen, Germany from April to October 1945."

Gould, Jonathan S. "The OSS and the London 'Free Germans.'" Studies in Intelligence 46, no. 1 (2002): 11-29.

The author's father, U.S. Army Lt. Joseph Gould, recruited and trained German OSS agents for the London office of OSS' Secret Intelligence Branch (SI). Here, he tells the story of seven German trade unionists recruited and dispatched into Germany as the war was drawing to a close. The agents came from the ranks of the Free Germany Committee of Great Britain. It appears that the agents were sent to him after vetting through Soviet intelligence with the famous Sonya (Ursula Kucznski, aka Ruth Werner) as intermediary.

Grose, Peter. Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994.

Clark comment: Publication of this biography of Allen Dulles, Director of Central Intelligence from 1953 to 1961, ranks as one of the more important events in intelligence historiography in the 1990s. Grose's research is of the highest quality, and he tells his story well. Agency critics and noncritics alike have found things to quibble about in Grose's presentation, but the heart and soul of the work remain unscathed. For anyone seriously interested in this period of American and/or intelligence history, Gentleman Spy is a mandatory read.

Click for an extensive selection of reviews.

Heideking, Jürgen, and Christof Mauch, eds. American Intelligence and the German Resistance to Hitler: A Documentary History. Scranton, PA: Westview, 1996.

With regard to the German-language edition (1993), Frank, WIR 13.6, comments that this compendium is based on 80 original declassified OSS documents. "The authors have done a superior job in using footnotes to identify persons and events referred to in the OSS reports.... Perhaps the most serious shortcoming ... is the authors' failure to give Donovan credit for doing what he could.... [The book's] unbiased presentation of the facts makes it a significant contribution to World War II intelligence literature."

Surveillant 4.4/5 notes that the documents included here describe the extent of U.S. knowledge of German resistance to Hitler, U.S. reactions to peace feelers from resistance groups, and OSS psychological operations to undermine German morale. Powers, NYRB, 9 Jan. 1997, found the documents included here to be "extremely useful."

Lewis, S.J. Jedburgh Team Operations in Support of the 12th Army Group, August 1944. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Cobat Studies Institute,U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1990 [http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/carl/download/csipubs/lewis.pdf]

"This study examines the operations of the eleven Jedburgh teams dropped into northern France during the summer of 1944, with particular emphasis on the degree to which they assisted in the advance of the 12th Army Group from Normandy to the German border.... The area of operations covered by these teams reached from the Belgian border in the north, south to Nancy."

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