The Early Years

From Creation to 1953

A - C


Works by Arthur B. Darling, Burton Hersh, Ludwell Lee Montague, Evan Thomas, Thomas F. Troy, and Robin W. Winks are presented in separate files under their names.

Andrews, Robert H. "How the CIA Was Born." Mankind 5 (Apr. 1975): 14-15, 68. [Petersen]

Barnes, Trevor.

1. "Democratic Deception: American Covert Operations in Post-War Europe." In Deception Operations: Studies in the East-West Context, eds. David A. Charters and Maurice A.J. Tugwell, 297-323. Washington, DC: Brassey's, 1990.

This chapter covers "political deception in Italy between 1948 and 1958, the work of the 'Anti-Cominform,' and the establishment of American broadcasting stations designed to reach audiences beyond the 'Iron Curtain.'" (p. 300)

2. "The Secret Cold War: The C.I.A. and American Foreign Policy in Europe, 1946-1956." Part I, Historical Journal 24, no 2 (Jun. 1981): 399- 415. Part II, Historical Journal 25, no. 3 (Sep. 1982): 649-670.

Petersen calls this a "groundbreaking essay."

Barrett, David M. The CIA and Congress: The Untold Story from Truman to Kennedy. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2005.

Clark comment: This work is a triumph of scholarship. If the author does not turn previous assessments of Congressional oversight for this period upside down, he at least has turned them away from a deeply rutted path. Given the immense amount of detailed material presented here, it was easy to expect the writing to slip into tediousness. However, except for infrequent lapses, that did not happen -- which can be attributed to Barrett's strong sense of where he was going, combined with energetic writing. For a work of this size and depth, The CIA and Congress reads quite easily. His careful descriptions of what he could not find -- and therefore does not know -- are in some instances as important as what he did find.

DKR, AFIO WIN 33-05 (29 Aug. 2005), says that the author finds that "Congress was a firm, if not always wise, taskmaster in the agency's early decades. The CIA was repeatedly criticized for Intel failures, harassed by budget cutters and witch hunts, and pressed by legislators to slant analysis on politically charged issues.... Barrett has written a trenchant study of Congressional oversight that is in sharp contrast to a widespread, popular image of the CIA."

For Scheuer, Washington Post, 27 Nov. 2005, this work is "is a triumph of research." Faced with "widely dispersed research materials," the author has "displayed sound analytic sense and balance in their use." Along the way, he provides "superb portraits and assessments of the key players." Nolen, IJI&C 21.1 (Spring 2008), lauds the author as "a master at culling the important details of secret history hidden in the dusty attic archives of America.... Barrett tells new tales of congressional oversight, reinterprets the old, and whets the appetite for more to come."

Snider, Studies 50.1 (Mar. 2006), finds that the author paints "a far richer picture" of the Congress-CIA relationship "than we had before. Intriguing tidbits are scattered throughout," and "almost every chapter reveals something that we did not quite appreciate before.... [T]he DCI and other senior CIA officials appeared far more often before congressional committees ... than was previously understood. In 1958, for example, DCI Dulles appeared a surprising 27 times before 16 different committees.... Still, as Barrett's account documents, a great deal of what passed for oversight during this period was informal and less than rigorous."

To Platt, I&NS 22.4 (Aug. 2007), the author provides "a detailed, comprehensive, and highly persuasive examination of congressional oversight" of the CIA "during the early Cold War.... Barrett's lengthy, somewhat densely written tome convincingly demolishes the myth of congressional deference to and salutary neglect towards the CIA from its founding in 1947 to the Bay of Pigs debacle in 1961."

Finding the author's study "both fascinating and provocative," McCarthy, H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews [http://www.h-net.org], Sep. 2008, opines that "it is unquestionably one of the most important books ever published on the early history of the CIA.... In the hands of a less talented author, this would have been an incredibly tedious book. Barrett, however, has a good eye for revealing quotations and fun anecdotes."

Braden, Tom. "The Birth of the CIA." American Heritage 28, no. 2 (1977): 4-13.

Braden served with OSS.

Bruce, David K.E.

Bruce was OSS head in London.

1. "The National Intelligence Authority." Virginia Quarterly Review 22 (Summer 1946): 355-369.

2. "Have We an Intelligence Service?" Atlantic Monthly 181 (Apr. 1948): 66-70.

Petersen: "Unsigned article urging improved national intelligence."

Carew, Anthony. "The American Labor Movement in Fizzland: The Free Trade Union Committee and the CIA." Labor History 39, no. 1 (1998): 25-42.

Clifford, Clark M., with Richard C. Holbrooke. Counsel to the President: A Memoir. New York: Random House, 1991.

According to Surveillant 1.6, Clifford "provides a glimpse at the formation of the CIG, CIA, and the National Security Act of 1947." Lowenthal notes that the memoir includes Clifford's "view of what Truman had in mind in creating the CIA."

Corke, Sarah-Jane. U.S. Covert Operations and Cold War Strategy: Truman, Secret Warfare, and the CIA, 1945-53. London: Routledge, 2007.

Clark comment: Although this work suffers from some of the problems that arise when dissertations are converted into books (primarily that all events are construed to fit the writer's argument), it is nevertheless an interesting and useful presentation about the early years of the Cold War as they played out in the Truman administration.

For Daugherty, I&NS 25.1 (Feb. 2010), this "is an exceptionally informative work, impressively researched and cogently written." However, it "is not light reading... The work is quite detailed," and "omit[s] general explanatory background." It also "assumes the reader has at least a fair knowledge of American foreign policy and the world situation during the years covered."

Dujmovic, Studies 54.1 (Mar. 2010), says that readers will "find useful [Corke's] summary of the historiography of the Cold War," and "[s]he is excellent on the internal organizational and cultural divisions and feuds between the collectors of human intelligence ... and the covert action operators." However, the reviewer disagrees with the author with regard to "her repeated downplaying ... of the external Soviet or international communist threat in the development of US Cold War policies." Despite "some factual errors" and "careless mistakes," this work is still "a valuable contribution to the history of CIA's covert action mission."

Critchfield, James H. Partners at the Creation: The Men Behind Postwar Germany's Defense and Intelligence Establishments. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2003.

Fitzpatrick, CIRA Newsletter 28.4, designates Partners at the Creation as "an easily read and important work of history." It is "important because it delineates the thinking and the actions taken by U.S. officials." The author's memoir refutes allegations that the CIA used Nazi war criminals after the war, and "shows both the benefits and drawbacks of working with the Gehlen Group to create a modern new Germany capable of becoming a strong ally of the United States." This "is not a cloak and dagger spy book. Rather, it is filled with the intellectual and diplomatic minutiae which is the real life of intelligence officers."

For Bath, NIPQ 20.1, the author "adds significantly to our knowledge" in the areas of the formation of the postwar German intelligence service and the rebirth of the German army. "These are interesting stories, well told." Goulden, Washington Times, 29 Feb. 2004, and Intelligencer 14.1, notes that "Critchfield carried out another mission perhaps even more important than caring for Gehlen -- the shaping of the intelligence and military structure of a democratic Federal Republic that took its place in NATO." The author "tells a good intelligence story and gives insight into how 'diplomacy' functioned during the Cold War."

Peake, Studies 48.3 (2004), says that this book "is an important contribution from a member of the 'Greatest Generation.'" Critchfield emphasizes "the political, operational, and organizational problems he encountered [in Germany] and in Washington." To Hutchinson, IJI&C 17.4 (Winter 2004-2005), the author "adds significantly to the public knowledge of postwar Germany." He tells his story "without excessive detail" and "provides valuable details about the general development of a democratic Germany, along with more specific insights to the defense and intelligence establishments."

In a Review Essay, Naftali, FA 83.4 (Jul.-Aug. 2004), asserts that the cost of working with Gehlen and similar individuals is too high. In FA 83.6 (Nov.-Dec. 2004), former BND President (1985-1990) Hans-Georg Wieck (pp. 138-139) and Critchfield deputy (see below) Clarence W. Schmitz (pp. 139-140) take issue with that argument; Naftali replies at pp. 140-141.

See Clarence W. Schmitz, "Comments on the Book, Partners at the Creation by James H Critchfield and on Other Related Subjects," CIRA Newsletter 29, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 35-38. Schmitz was on Critchfield's staff at Pullach from 1949 to 1954 and was his deputy for operations from 1952 to 1954. From 1954 to 1957, he was in charge of the Headquarters component that supported the Gehlen operation. And from 1957 to 1964, Schmitz was in Bonn in charge of liaison with the Federal Office for Protection of the Constitution (BfV). He believes that "[a] book dealing with this particular subject could have been written only by Critchfield."

Paehler, H-German, H-Net Reviews, Nov. 2005 [http://www.h-net.org], finds that this work "derives much of its originality from the author's prominent place in the development and inside information and knowledge available to him.... [It] is a worthwhile read for historians and those interested in intelligence history alike." However, "Critchfield's memoirs suffer from a few problems, some of which afflict the genre in general and some of which are rather unique to this particular defense of CIA policies some fifty-five years ago and, to some extent, the defining years of Critchfield's own life. Thus, the account has to be approached with some caution."

Cutler, Richard W. "Three Careers, Three Names: Hildegard Beetz, Talented Spy." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 22, no. 3 (Fall 2009): 515-535.

The author was Beetz's "initial case officer" while working for U.S. counterintelligence after World War II. He traces Beetz's career as a spy from its beginning with the German SS's SD and her involvement with the Cianos during the war to her work with the Americans in the 1940s.

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