The 1950s


Mu - Z

Murphy, David E. "Spies in Berlin: A Hidden Key to the Cold War." Foreign Affairs 77, no. 4 (Jul.-Aug. 1998): 171-178.

In the initial period after the end of the war, U.S. intelligence was scant and had little access to the military commander. The remnant intelligence activity left behind after the OSS was disbanded became the CIA's Berlin operations base after 1947. One area of particular intelligence interest dealt with the Soviet Union's interest in East German uranium and manufactured products to support its use. Over time, the attitude toward the Soviet Union by the U.S. leadership in Berlin became less benign.

"By the time the blockade began in June 1948,... [CIA reports had] produced a picture of the highest policy significance for those making decisions about the American response." Similarly, "intelligence during the blockade reinforced the estimate that the Russians would not risk war to force the Western allies from Berlin as long as the allies stood firm."

Meanwhile, "Soviet intelligence was turning out superb, timely reporting.... [H]owever, such information seems to have had surprisingly little effect on Stalin and Molotov.... Unquestionably, the most important failure of Soviet intelligence was its inability to convey the plans for the airlift and properly evaluate the operation's prospects for success."

Murphy, David E., Sergei A. Kondrashev, and George Bailey. Battleground Berlin: CIA vs. KGB in the Cold War. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.

Clark comment: Murphy is a former chief of the CIA Berlin Base and later headed Soviet operations at CIA Headquarters. Kondrashev is a retired KGB lieutenant general and headed the KGB's German Department. Bailey is a journalist and former director of Radio Liberty. Is this the final word on the Cold War as fought over, around, and in Berlin? Probably not, but we are unlikely to get a view from a more intimate standpoint. There are 57 pages of notes that bear out a conclusion that these are more than the meanderings of two old Cold Warriors.

From the "Preface": "Our goal has ... been ambitious: to provide never-before-seen documentary evidence of what each side knew during the crises, and to give readers a sense of what it was like to face off with an intelligence foe in Cold War Berlin."

Cohen, FA 76.6 (Nov.-Dec. 1997), notes that Battleground Berlin "covers primarily the grim glory days of the Cold War in Berlin -- the period up to the building of the Berlin Wall." Although this "is a major contribution to the intelligence history of the Cold War," the book has a number of gaps; and "Bailey's efforts to reconcile his coauthors' views of reality do not always succeed."

McGehee, in cloaks-and-daggers@maelstrom.stjohns.edu, says that "the book is laden with details that are difficult to follow as they swing from the CIA operational stories to the KGBers focus on political intelligence about postwar Germany. The authors unsuccessfully juxtaposition their stories, adding to the difficulties in comprehension and interest." In addition, the claims advanced as to the value of the Berlin Tunnel "seem overblown but a definitive appraisal is impossible."

The Publishers Weekly, 21 Jul. 1997, reviewer calls the book "a crucial addition to filling an important gap in our understanding of the Cold War. The book is not only authoritative, it is also well written and possesses the qualities of a very engaging espionage novel." In the same vein, Friend, History 26.3, calls Battleground Berlin "sober, authoritative, unsensational, documented, and revelatory."

For Bates, NIPQ, 14.3, a downside of the book "is the massive amount of detail." Nevertheless, the narrative fleshes out the history of the Cold War in Berlin "with a mass of heretofore-untold facts.... Another plus for Battleground Berlin is the detailed discussion of CIA and KGB tradecraft." Adams, IJI&C 12.1, sees this as "an unusual and very important volume ... [that] is illuminating on a number of levels."

The review by Jeffreys-Jones, I&NS 13.4, reads a bit haughty for my taste. Although he grants that they provide "balanced accounts of some significant episodes,... some interesting details ... [and l]ittle glimpses ... of characters," the reviewer takes the authors to task for being "historical amateurs." He finds particular fault with the absence in the book of "historical context" for the events they are relating. Welcome to the real world, Jeffreys-Jones.

Powers, NYRB (23 Oct. 1997) and Intelligence Wars (2004), 141-158, sees Battleground Berlin as "a fascinating and important account of the opening campaigns of the secret cold war waged by the CIA and the KGB.... Anyone interested in just how complex a counterintelligence case can become should read the fourteen pages in which Battleground Berlin lays out the intricate web of what was known to whom, through which channels," as the KGB closed in on Col. Pyotr Popov. See also, William Drozdiak, "Rival Spies Relive Thrills of Cold War," Washington Post, 21 Oct. 1997, A16.

Nashel, Jonathan. Edward Lansdale's Cold War. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2005.

Pellegrin, H-War, H-Net Reviews, Dec. 2006 [http://www.h-net.org], calls this work "a compelling analysis of the life, adventures, and legend" of Edward Lansdale. This "is not a biography in the traditional sense.... Rather, the author uses Lansdale's career to explain American activities during the Cold War and emphasizes those events where Lansdale had a significant effect on such activities." See also, Lansdale, In the Midst of Wars (1972); and Currey, Edward Lansdale (1988).

Pullin, Eric D. "'Money Does Not Make Any Difference to the Opinions That We Hold': India, the CIA, and the Congress for Cultural Freedom, 1951–58." Intelligence and National Security 26, no. 2 & 3 (Apr.-Jun. 2011): 377-398.

From Abstract: "During the 1950s, the United States conducted both overt and covert propaganda activities in India.... [D]omestic opposition composed primarily of members of the Praja Socialist Party worked closely with US-backed groups, in particular the Indian Committee for Cultural Freedom, to generate a political alternative to the ruling Congress party. Although receiving covert money from the Americans, these Indians did not believe that foreign money determined or shaped their opinions. On the other hand, their close association with the Americans undermined their claims to represent a legitimate domestic opposition."

Reese, Mary Ellen. General Reinhard Gehlen: The CIA Connection. Fairfax, VA: George Mason University Press, 1990.

Simpson, I&NS 8.2: found "much of the text to be poorly researched, poorly footnoted, and at points self-contradictory." NameBase says that "Reese offers the first book about Gehlen that concentrates on the American connection. She interviewed former CIA and Army Intelligence officers, and received 'hundreds' of documents under FOIA from various agencies."

Sewell, Bevan. "The Pragmatic Face of the Covert Idealist: The Role of Allen Dulles in US Policy Discussions on Latin America, 1953–61." Intelligence and National Security 26, no. 2 & 3 (Apr.-Jun. 2011): 269-290.

From Abstract: The author suggests that Dulles was "an active and rational participant" in the Eisenhower administration's discussions on Latin America. This "raises important questions for our understanding of the CIA's role during the Eisenhower era."

Studies in Intelligence. Editors. "Historical Intelligence Documents: CIA's Earliest Days." 38, no. 5 (1995): 117-122.

Document 1: "The first page of the minutes of the DCI's staff meeting on 23 September 1947, in which he announces the establishment of CIA."

Document 2: "The final issue of the Daily Summary, dated 20 February 1951. It was the intelligence digest prepared by CIA for President Truman. The Current Intelligence Bulletin (CIB) replaced it."

Document 3: A note from President Truman to DCI Smith, dated 6 March 1951, stating that he was "highly impressed" by the new CIB.

U.S. Department of State. Office of the Historian. Eds., Douglas Keane and Michael Warner. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1950-1955, The Intelligence Community, 1950-1955. [Available at: http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1950-55Intel]

From "Preface": "This volume is organized along chronological lines in one large chapter covering 1950–1955, and a second chapter that includes the key National Security Council Intelligence Directives of the period.... The intelligence community under President Eisenhower in 1955 was a much more significant player and a more robust bureaucracy than it was under President Truman in the late 1940s. This volume documents that growth and development.... The editors did not seek to document the planning and implementation of specific intelligence operations, or to document the impact of intelligence appraisals upon specific foreign policy decisions or negotiations."

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