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Columbia University Press
The Shadow War Against Hitler: The Covert Operations of America's Wartime Secret Intelligence Service

The Shadow War Against Hitler: The Covert Operations of America's Wartime Secret Intelligence Service

by Christof Mauch, Jeremiah RiemerChristof Mauch


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Surveying the expanding conflict in Europe during one of his famous fireside chats in 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt ominously warned that "we know of other methods, new methods of attack. The Trojan horse. The fifth column that betrays a nation unprepared for treachery. Spies, saboteurs, and traitors are the actors in this new strategy." Having identified a new type of war—a shadow war—being perpetrated by Hitler's Germany, FDR decided to fight fire with fire, authorizing the formation of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) to organize and oversee covert operations. Based on an extensive analysis of OSS records, including the vast trove of records released by the CIA in the 1980s and '90s, as well as a new set of interviews with OSS veterans conducted by the author and a team of American scholars from 1995 to 1997, The Shadow War Against Hitler is the full story of America's far-flung secret intelligence apparatus during World War II.

In addition to its responsibilities generating, processing, and interpreting intelligence information, the OSS orchestrated all manner of dark operations, including extending feelers to anti-Hitler elements, infiltrating spies and sabotage agents behind enemy lines, and implementing propaganda programs. Planned and directed from Washington, the anti-Hitler campaign was largely conducted in Europe, especially through the OSS's foreign outposts in Bern and London. A fascinating cast of characters made the OSS run: William J. Donovan, one of the most decorated individuals in the American military who became the driving force behind the OSS's genesis; Allen Dulles, the future CIA chief who ran the Bern office, which he called "the big window onto the fascist world"; a veritable pantheon of Ivy League academics who were recruited to work for the intelligence services; and, not least, Roosevelt himself. A major contribution of the book is the story of how FDR employed Hitler's former propaganda chief, Ernst "Putzi" Hanfstengl, as a private spy.

More than a record of dramatic incidents and daring personalities, this book adds significantly to our understanding of how the United States fought World War II. It demonstrates that the extent, and limitations, of secret intelligence information shaped not only the conduct of the war but also the face of the world that emerged from the shadows.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231120456
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 06/08/2005
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 0.78(w) x 6.00(h) x 9.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Christof Mauch is Director of the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C., and a professor of modern history at the University of Cologne. He was the director of the OSS Oral History Project at Georgetown University and is the author or editor of more than a dozen books, mostly in German.

Jeremiah M. Riemer is a translator living in Washington, DC.

Table of Contents

I. The Setting
Historical Perspectives
The Place of the OSS in American History
Within the Secret Intelligence Service
Anatomy of the OSS
II. Donovan on the Offensive and America's Path to War
The fifth column as a danger
William J. Donovan's lessons for America
On the eve of confrontation
William J. Donovan as Director of Intelligence and the origins of the COI -The peace feeler of Federico Stallforth - Pearl Harbor
The COI and the New "World Pattern"
Germany's Military and Economic Capabilities in the COI's calculations, 1941 - Assessing the Situation in the East
Between Opinion Research and Counterespionage
The Foreign Nationalities Branch and the Role of German Émigrés - German-Americans, Exile, and Propaganda
Excursus: Franklin D. Roosevelt, John Franklin Carter and Ernst "Putzi" Hanfstaengl
The Secret Carter Organization - The "S"-Project: Ernst "Putzi" Hanfstaengl in the Service of American Secret Intelligence - Analyses of Germany and Propaganda Plans - The End of the "S"-Project
The COI in Crisis and the Creation of the OSS
III. 1943, The Turning Point
Strategies and discourses
State Department versus OSS: Initial Speculation about the German collapse, 1942 - The Discussion About Strategic Priorities, 1943
Lessons from Moscow and the OSS' Answer
The National Committee for a Free Germany and the Beginnings of the Crisis Between the Allies - Secret Intelligence Initiatives for Mobilizing German Émigrés
Germany and the Germans
The Mood of the Germans as Assessed by the OSS - A German Parallel: 1918 and 1943
Ideology and Economy in the Bombing War
Theories and Experiences-The Enemy Objectives Unit (EOU) - From Casablanca to POINTBLANK - Tensions with the British and the philosophy of the EOU
IV. Bern: the Big Window Onto the Fascist World
Allen Dulles and the Establishment of the OSS Outpost in Bern - Psychological and Military Warfare - Opportunists and Conspirators - The German V Weapons and the Attack on Peenemünde - The Wood Story
V. Media War and Black Propaganda
The Difficult Beginnings of the OSS Morale Operations - From the Hamilton Plan to Operation Sauerkraut - Blankenhorn's Soldiers Councils Project and the "Neues Deutschland" Underground movement - OSS Radio War: Joker and Matchbox - Operation Musac: American Pop Music in the War Against Hitler
VI. Penetration of Germany
The Infiltration of Agents into Germany in the British Calculation - American Secret Intelligence Plans for Operations in the German Reich - The Post-invasion Syndrome and the Significance of the OSS Labor Division for Operations in Germany
Paul Hagen, the Origins of the OSS Labor Division, and the Trade Union Contacts of British Intelligence - Goldberg's 'Philosophy of the Underground' and the FAUST Plan
"Special Operations": Foreign Workers and CALPO Communists as "Trojan horses" - Infiltrating SI Agents into the Reich
VII. Götterdämmerung - Between Peace and War
Phantom Stronghold in the Alps: The Redoubt as an Idée Fixe?
Defense of the Alps and the Ideological Phantom of the "Nazi Underground" - The Redoubt in the Calculation of the OSS - The Alpine Fortress from the Perspective of British Intelligence - The "Redoubt Psychosis" of the Americans and the Perspective of Gauleiter Hofer - Eisenhower, Marshall, Roosevelt
Last-minute Putsch
The Munich "Pheasant Hunt" and American intelligence - The Peace Feelers of Ritter von Epp - The Munich Putsch of April 28 - Operation Capricorn: Simulated Resistance Under the Sign of Zodiac
Good and Bad Germans
Allen Dulles as Promoter of Postwar German Politicians
VIII. The Dream of the Miracle War: the Legacy of the OSS
Conclusion and Summary
The End of the OSS and the Origins of the Myth - Outline of the Shadow War: A summary - The Legacy of the OSS

What People are Saying About This

Stuttgarter Nachrichten

A thrilling look into the work of the first central secret service of the U.S.

Timothy Naftali

Christof Mauch is one of the world's experts on what US wartime intelligence knew about Hitler and Nazi Germany. This book is an essential resource for students of the secret dimension of World War II.

Timothy Naftali, University of Virginia

Klemens von Klemperer

A comprehensive, very well researched and flawless account of the U.S. secret intelligence operations in the war against Nazi Germany.... A significant contribution to the field.

Klemens von Klemperer, author of German Resistance Against Hitler: The Search for Allies Abroad, 1938-1945

Gerhard L. Weinberg

The product of a very careful examination of recently declassified OSS records combined with... extensive interviewing of participants in the events. It will, therefore, serve for years as the most reliable study of the work of the OSS as an organization and its work against Germany in World War II.

Gerhard L. Weinberg,

Richard Breitman

Christof Mauch presents a vivid account of OSS's activities and a balanced assessment of its achievements, highlighting penetrating analysis of Nazi economic vulnerabilities. Drawing upon a wide range of archival sources and interviews, this book is essential reading for students of intelligence and of World War II generally.

Richard Breitman, American University

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