The Politics of "Liberation"

excerpted from the book


America's recruitment of Nazis,
and its disastrous effect on our domestic and foreign policy

by Christopher Simpson

Collier / Macmillan, 1988

The Central Intelligence Agency did not sever its ties with the extremist exile organizations once they had arrived in this country. Instead, it continued to use them in clandestine operations both abroad and in the United States itself. Before the middle of the 1950s the agency found itself entangled with dozens-and probably hundreds-of former Nazis and SS men who had fought their way into the leadership of a variety of Eastern European emigre political associations inside this country.

Instead of withdrawing its support for the extremist groups and for the men and women who led them, the CIA went to considerable lengths to portray these leaders as legitimate representatives of the countries they had fled. At about the same time that the agency initiated the immigration programs ... it dramatically expanded its publicity and propaganda efforts inside the United States itself. A major theme of this effort was to establish the credibility and legitimacy of exiled Eastern European politicians-former Nazi collaborators and non-collaborators alike-in the eyes of the American public. Through the National Committee for a Free Europe (NCFE) and a new CIA-financed group, the Crusade for Freedom (CFF), the covert operations division of the agency became instrumental in introducing into the American political mainstream many of the right-wing extremist emigre politicians' plans to "liberate" Eastern Europe and to "roll back communism.

The price tag for the U.S. arms buildup, according to Paul Nitze, who drafted most of the main policy statements on the issue, was some $50 billion-almost three times the then existing U.S. military budget. The real question for U.S. policymakers of the day, write Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas in their study of American foreign policy formulation The Wise Men, "was whether Congress and the Administration would pay for it. The public had to be persuaded. The way to do that, Nitze knew from experience, was to scare them; to tell them that the Soviets were intent on world domination, that they were poised to attack, and that the U.S. had to meet them everywhere."

It was in this context that the CIA launched a major propaganda effort in the United States. Despite a legal prohibition against domestic activities by the agency, it initiated a multimillion-dollar publicity project in this country called the Crusade for Freedom. This new group served as a fund-raising arm for Radio Free Europe, the various Free Europe exile committees, and eventually Radio Liberation from Bolshevism, all of which worked primarily overseas, where the agency had stronger statutory authority to operate. These overseas propaganda programs were posing as private corporations made up solely of individual citizens who wanted to do something about the problem of communism in Europe, it will be recalled, and the CFF's fund-raising efforts in the United States provided a convenient explanation for where all the money that RFE was spending was coming from, the CIA's longtime legislative counsel Walter Pforzheimer has said. Its work permitted the broadcasting operations to claim that they were financed by millions of small contributions from concerned Americans-not by the government.

In reality, one of the most important reasons for the CFF was to bring to America the analysis of foreign affairs that had been developed by the National Committee for a Free Europe-and by the CIA. The CFF became a "gigantic, nationwide drive," as former RFE/RL director Sig Mickelson has put it, "to obtain support for the activities of the Free Europe Committee."

The basic message of that analysis was a more aggressive, hard-hitting version of the containment doctrine that would soon come to be known as "Liberation." Liberation, in a nutshell, began at about the point that containment left off, politically speaking. It held, as many containment advocates had argued earlier, that the socialist governments of Eastern Europe were unremittingly despotic regimes, installed by the Red Army and ruled exclusively by Stalin-style terror. Liberation proponents discarded the earlier circumspection about public calls for the overthrow of those states, however, and openly agitated for the "rollback of communism" in Eastern Europe through U.S. instigation of, and support for, counterrevolutionary movements in those countries...

The political rhetoric of the extremist exile groups that had once worked for the Nazis ... evolved in a complex interaction with the gradual introduction of liberationist thinking into America. By the late 1940s exiled extremist leaders had learned the rhetoric of this new, more "American" form of liberation. Their adoption of lip service to democracy began to provide former Fascists with a platform to promote their agenda to millions of Americans, and it created a shelter, in effect, that protected them from the exposure of their Nazi pasts. They were no longer seen as the triggermen of Nazi genocide in the public mind but, rather, as fervent anti-Communist patriots. The government's intelligence agencies played a substantial role in this shift.

The changes in the rhetoric of the extreme Russian nationalist organization Natsional'no-Trudovoi Soyuz (NTS) ... is still active in today's Russian emigration

Many of the NTS leaders of the 1950s, particularly those who served as police and city administrators in the Nazi occupation zone, are major war criminals who personally helped organize the identification, roundup, and execution of millions of Jewish and Slavic civilians. Insofar as NTS men won control of local administrations in the Nazi-occupied regions of the USSR, the organization became an integral part of the Nazis' propaganda, espionage, and extermination apparatus in the East.

The main theme of NTS propaganda throughout the conflict was a campaign to "liberate" the USSR from Stalin, communism, and the Jews through a mutiny by the Red Army. This became the centerpiece of Vlasov Army recruiting efforts at least as early as 1942 and was elaborated in considerable detail with tactics for counterinsurgency operations in the Nazi occupation zone, behind-the-lines infiltration of NTS agents on espionage and sabotage missions, propaganda themes tailored to appeal to Russian sensibilities and similar specifics. When the Germans were finally driven out of Russia, selected NTS agents were left on "stay-behind" missions in an attempt to organize subversion in Soviet rear areas once the Red Army front had passed. The NTS also served as the dominant force (after the Nazis themselves) in the Russkaja Osvoboditel 'naia Armiia (Russian Army of Liberation, or Vlasov Army) and the Komitet Ozvobozhdeniia Narodov Rossii (German-sponsored Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia), the Nazis' primary front group for eastern front political warfare operations in the desperate closing months of the war.

It was through the NTS, and through the rival national liberation programs sponsored among Soviet minority groups by the Nazis' Rosenberg ministry, that the strategy and tactics of the "liberation" of the USSR were first hammered out. These were the laboratories, so to speak, used by Hans Heinrich Herwarth, Gustav Hilger, and the other German political warfare officers discussed earlier to develop the propaganda themes and behind-the-lines subversion tactics believed most suitable for reaching people inside the USSR.

Constantine Boldyreff was a founder of NTS and a senior leader of the group throughout the war. His wartime career is shrouded in secrecy today; but it is clear that the CIC believed that in late 1944 he helped administer gangs of Russian laborers for the SS. He is a case in point of the manner in which the intervention of U.S. intelligence agencies shepherded the migration of liberation propaganda out of the fallen wartime ministries of Berlin and into the living rooms of America.

It is impossible to determine today what Common Cause knew, if anything, of the NTS's wartime record at the time it sponsored his speaking tour. ~t is clear, however) from Boldyreff's own U.S. Army intelligence file that the CIC was well aware that the NTS \ was a totalitarian and pro-Fascist organization. Instead of making this fact clear, however, U.S. intelligence promoted Boldyreff's propaganda work in this country. "A Common Cause spokesman said that Boldyreff is 'well known to American intelligence,' " the Boston Herald reported in its coverage of one of the NTS man's early news conferences. " '[He] is vouched for by high American officials,' and cooperated with the American military government in Germany."

Over the next four years Boldyreff went on to ghostwritten feature stories appearing under his by-line in Look, Reader's Digest, and World Affairs. "Will Russia's democratic revolution take place in time to keep the Communist plotters from using their atomic bombs against humanity?" he asked readers of the American Federation of Labor's mass circulation Federationist. "The answer to this all important question depends on how hard the free world fights to pierce the Iron Curtain and join forces with Russian anti-Communists."

It is clear that Boldyreff was soon enjoying the direct sponsorship of the CIA. British intelligence historian E. H. Cookridge reports that the U.S. agency put Boldyreff on retainer for assistance in recruiting Vlasov Army veterans for espionage missions inside the USSR-a claim that the nationalist leader does not deny. Moreover, several of Boldyreff's ghostwriters-including James Critchlow, who co-authored the article quoted above-have since become known as career executives of the CIA's political warfare projects such as Radio Liberation, a fact that strongly suggests that the agency also had a hand in Boldyreff's publicity tours in the United States.

According to Boldyreff's CIC dossier, U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force intelligence arranged a job for him at the prestigious Foreign Service Institute at Georgetown University in Washington. There, he taught psychological warfare techniques to pilots engaged in clandestine air missions into the USSR. As Boldyreff himself put it in an interview, the air force assignment involved training "about 120" U.S. pilots responsible for cross-border flights into the USSR. "This was the cold war," he says. "Air force officers were more frequently captured, [because] their planes would be shot down, and they needed to know what to do, how to survive. That sort of thing was much more open then than it is today.'

But that was only the beginning. Next came radio interviews, then lucrative speaking engagements at Daughters of the American Revolution and American Legion conventions. The powerful Henry Holt publishing company issued a book made up largely of Boldyreff's commentaries exposing both real and imagined Stalinist assassination plots. Last but not least, Boldyreff made the circuit in Washington of congressional investigating committees, which sought out his advice on fighting communism, psychological warfare, and spotting supposed Red agents inside U.S. government agencies.

Whatever one may think of Boldyreff's politics, none of his personal actions in this country are known to have been illegal. At the same time, however, the actions of the CIA and other intelligence agencies in promoting his entry into American politics were, on their face, an apparent violation of U.S. law and of the CIA's charter. Legal questions aside, it is clear that Boldyreff was only one of a long train of more or less similar ex-Fascist leaders whose publicity work on behalf of "liberation" during the late 1940s and early 1950s was underwritten at least in part by the U.S. government.

The emigre anti-Communist movement continued to accelerate. Soon there emerged in the United States "one vocal and not uninfluential element that not only wanted war with Russia, but had a very clear idea of the purposes for which, in its own view, such a war should be fought," as Kennan noted later in a discussion of his views on the possibility of war with the USSR during the early 1950s. "I have in mind the escapees and immigrants, mostly recent ones, from the non-Russian portions of the postwar Soviet Union, as well as from some of the Eastern European satellite states.

"Their idea," he writes, "to which they were passionately and sometimes ruthlessly attached, was simply that the United States should, for their benefit, fight a war against the Russian people to achieve the final breakup of the traditional Russian state and the establishment of themselves as the regimes of the various 'liberated' territories." Kennan is referring here to the spokesmen of the so-called "Captive Nations" movement, particularly Ukrainian and Baltic nationalists.

"These recent refugees were by no means without political influence in Washington," Kennan adds. "Connected as they were with the compact voting blocs situated in the big cities, they were able to bring direct influence to bear on individual Congressional figures. They appealed successfully at times to religious feelings, and even more importantly [sic] to the prevailing anti-Communist hysteria." Among the countries the Captive Nations movement represented were several that the diplomat admits had been "invented in the Nazi propaganda ministry during the recent war."

Agitation by these émigrés became a part of dozens of CIA-sponsored exile operations in the United States during the early 1950s. Almost all these affairs were sponsored by the CIA covert operations directorate's International Organizations Division, which was then administering the NCFE, the CFF, and similar overlapping projects. This division organized and bankrolled the CFF with an initial grant of $180,000, according to former RFE/ RL chief Mickelson. The agency, working through the NCFE, then went on to pour at least $5 million into CFF propaganda work inside the United States over the next five years.

... the CIA's $5 million direct contribution to anti-Communist education through the CFF can serve, at least, as a yardstick for comparing the scope of the crusade promotion to other political propaganda efforts undertaken in this country at about the same time. That $5 million contribution exceeds, for example, the combined total of all the money spent on the Truman/ Dewey presidential election campaign of 1948. It establishes the CIA (through the CFF) as the largest single political advertiser on the American scene during the early 1950s, rivaled only by such commercial giants as General Motors and Procter & Gamble in its domination of the airwaves.

The crusade was only one part of a much broader CIA-sponsored effort to shape U.S. (and world) public opinion. Related programs included book publishing, scholarly studies of the USSR by carefully selected researchers, and bankrolling hundreds of rallies, commemorations, and other media events. The principal political point of this program was to provide extensive publicity for all available evidence that the USSR was a dangerous imperial power. The agency went on to emphasize news of the "liberation" movements of the exiles as an important morale booster and an illustration of the resistance to Soviet expansion.

The CIA financed a literary campaign explicitly designed to promote former Nazi collaborators as appropriate leaders of liberation movements among their respective nationalities...

This broad-based, multifaceted effort legitimized for many Americans what the extreme-right-wing emigre movement had been saying since the end of World War II. The United States could easily liberate Eastern Europe from the Soviet Union and even dismember the USSR, the theory went, by bankrolling stepped-up subversion programs in the East.

"It became an article of faith that the USSR was going to fall apart at any time," notes scholar Vladimir Petrov. "The idea was that communism was a small conspiracy of men sending out the revolution, that it was hated by the people, [and so] naturally they wanted to overthrow it right away. Communists killed people to maintain their power, so the first chance [the people] had there would be a rebellion."

John Foster Dulles articulated this myth neatly in congressional testimony that went entirely unchallenged at the time. "Some dozen people in the Kremlin," he proclaimed, "are seeking to consolidate their imperial rule over some 800,000,000 people, representing what were nearly a score of independent nations." With those kinds of odds-800 million against 12-the overthrow of communism from within would seem like a fairly simple task.

"That was the theory at the time," Petrov says. "There was a lot of enthusiasm. Many people thought that communism could be very simply gotten rid of." But in reality, Petrov reflects with a sigh, "this just wasn't true."

The liberation message struck an extraordinarily responsive chord in the United States, one which reverberated far beyond the relatively narrow community of Eastern European exiles. Its potent blend of anti-Communist paranoia, American patriotism, and the self-perceived generosity of doing something practical to aid people seen as suffering from persecution abroad appealed to millions of Americans.

It is probably impossible today to determine the impact that the CIA's emigre programs and domestic propaganda efforts had on the election of 1952 or other mainstream political events of the period with any degree of scientific certainty. The information detailing the full extent of the agency's efforts to shape domestic public opinion remains buried in classified files, if it has not been purged from the record altogether. The carefully controlled surveys of public opinion that might enable scholars to disentangle the specific effects of the CIA's immigration and propaganda programs from the broader political impact of the media's day-to-day coverage of international events were not taken at the time, and it would be pointless to try to take them today, thirty-five years later. It is not surprising that sociologists and political scientists of the period failed to make use of surveys and other statistical tools to examine the impact of CIA clandestine action campaigns in the United States; after all, the fact that a systematic propaganda effort even existed was a state secret at the time.

But the anecdotal evidence concerning the significance of these programs is strong. The role of former Nazi collaborators and U.S. intelligence agencies in promoting the penetration of liberationist political thinking into the American body politic may be traced through several clear steps. First, the rhetoric and the detailed strategies for the "liberation" of the USSR and Eastern Europe were originally generated before World War II by pro-Fascist emigre organizations enjoying direct sponsorship from Nazi Germany's intelligence agencies, which were intent on using these groups as pawns in their plans to exterminate European Jewry and to achieve a military victory in the East. The Nazis significantly developed both the liberation strategies and their exile constituencies during the war, despite the Germans' own internal factional fighting over how to make best use of collaborators.' Secondly, after the war U.S. intelligence agencies brought leaders of a number of these pro-Fascist groups-the Ukrainian OUN, the Russian nationalist NTS, the Albanian Balli Kombetar, certain of the Baltic Nazi collaborators, etc.-into the United States through programs the specific purpose of which was, in part, the generation of effective anti-Communist propaganda. Next, these same exile leaders aggressively promoted essentially the same liberation propaganda in the United States that they had advocated under Nazi sponsorship, though now with a new appeal to American values, such as democracy and freedom, rather than the earlier open advocacy of racial politics and fascism. The CIA gave these domestic publicity campaigns multimillion-dollar clandestine backing during the 1950s by providing operating cash, salaries, and logistic and publishing support and-not least-by facilitating endorsements from respected mainstream politicians.

Neither the Eastern European exile community in America nor, still less, the minority of former Nazi collaborators among them had the political muscle to force adoption of a liberation agenda on the American public by themselves. But they could, and did, often serve as catalysts that helped trigger the much bigger political "chemical reaction," so to speak, that was then under way, the primary ingredients of which were East-West disputes over economic and military spheres of influence. The first and in some ways most credible spokesmen in the United States for liberationist thinking were exiled activists who were, like NTS executive Constantine Boldyreff discussed above, "well known to American intelligence [and] vouched for by high American officials." Their message and slogans caught on with millions of Americans during the first half of the 1950s, especially among conservatives and others alarmed by the spread of communism abroad. In 1952 the public support in the United States for threats to liberate Eastern Europe and the USSR from their Communist governments was sufficiently broad that the Republican party adopted an explicit call for liberation as the main foreign policy plank in its party platform and as a central theme in its presidential and congressional election campaigns.

The Republicans' campaign platform demanded "the end of the negative, futile and immoral policy of 'Containment,' " as the New York Times reported, "which abandons countless human beings to a despotism and godless terrorism." The GOP pledged to "revive the contagious, liberating influences that are inherent in freedom" and to mark the "beginning of the end" for Communist party rule in Eastern Europe and the USSR. America, the Republicans' primary foreign policy spokesman, John Foster Dulles, wrote in Life magazine, "wants and expects liberation to occur." This anti-Communist revolution, he claimed disingenuously, would come about "peacefully." The Republicans used this liberation rhetoric as a means of distinguishing their promises of a new, tougher foreign ,' policy from the program of the Democrats. What exactly Eisenhower intended to do to promote the liberation of Eastern Europe once the election campaign was over, however, was usually left vague.

Arthur Bliss Lane, who had been U.S. ambassador to Poland during the Truman years, became the point man in the Republican party's effort to swing the enthusiasm created by the Crusade for Freedom into the GOP's column during the 1952 election.

The gradual merging of the Republicans' election campaign and the Crusade for Freedom reached its logical culmination on the eve of the 1952 election. The party's ethnic division under Lane approved and allocated money for a psychological warfare tactic that had earlier been used by the CIA in Italy and Eastern Europe. Millions of yellow leaflets were slated to be dropped from airplanes "over places such as Hamtramck," the large immigrant community near Detroit, plugging Eisenhower and blaming Democrat Adlai Stevenson for the "betrayal" of the Slavic "Fatherland and relatives" to the Communists. The yellow paper was to dramatize the leaflet's conclusion. "If you men and women of Polish and Czech descent can, after reading the above, vote for the Democratic candidate," the handbill proclaimed, "you are as yellow as this paper." Everything was ready to go "within 48 hours," according to correspondence in Lane's archives, but Eisenhower's inner circle of election advisers canceled the plan at the last minute.

Eisenhower's election campaign was successful in any event. Lane's "ethnic" campaign produced mixed results: The Republicans did draw substantially more votes from ethnic districts than they had been able to do previously, according to contemporary reports, although the Democratic party's influence in these wards was by no means extinguished. In any case, the majority of American voters backed Eisenhower, at least in part because of his proliberation, "let's get tough with the Communists" foreign policy stance. In January 1953 the first Republican administration in twenty years entered Washington with a grand inaugural parade and a rhetorical commitment, at least, to a mission to liberate Eastern Europe from Communist rule.

Former Nazis and collaborators combined with right-wing elements within the U.S. intelligence community to bring another sort of pressure to bear on the U.S. political scene. The flood of government and private money flowing into anti-Communist political warfare programs during the early 1950s created a cottage industry, of sorts, for informers, professional ex-Communists of varying degrees of reputability, and "information bureaus" specializing in the blacklisting of Americans viewed as politically suspect. One of the least known but most important of these entrepreneurs was John Valentine ("Frenchy") Grombach. He was, it will be recalled, the former military intelligence agent whose leaks to Congress had led to the purge of Colonel Alfred McCormack and McCormack's team of skeptical intelligence experts back in 1946 and 1947.

During the late 1940s Grombach had become a businessman who specialized in selling political and economic intelligence derived in large part from old boy networks of German SS officers, former Hungarian Axis quislings, and Russian nationalist NTS men to the State Department, the CIA, and corporate customers in the United States and Western Europe. Grombach's espionage network operated through, and was partially financed by, the N. V. Philips Gloeilampenfabrieken corporation of the Netherlands and its American affiliate, Philips North America, according to records found in his CIC dossier. This was the same major electronics manufacturer that had provided a channel for his clandestine wartime operations. One of Grombach's most important assets, according to U.S. naval intelligence records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, was SS General Karl Wolff, a major war criminal who had gone into the arms trade in Europe after the war. A second primary component of Grombach's private intelligence apparatus was a large group of Hungarians loyal to the former royal privy councilor Tibor Eckhardt, according to Ray Ylitalo, who handled liaison with Grombach's undercover service for State Department intelligence.

Grombach worked simultaneously under contract to the Department of State and the CIA. The ex-military intelligence man succeeded in creating "one of the most unusual organizations in the history of the federal government," according to CIA Inspector General Lyman Kirkpatrick. "It was developed completely outside of the normal governmental structure, [but it] used all of the normal cover and communications facilities normally operated by intelligence organizations, and yet never was under any control from Washington." By the early 1950s the U.S. government was bankrolling Grombach's underground activities at more than $1 million annually, Kirkpatrick has said.

As the cold war deepened, Grombach had wheeled and dealed and tried to slide himself into a position where he would have a shot at the top spot in the American intelligence complex. He wanted to be director of the CIA or, better yet, chief of an entirely new U.S. espionage machine built on the ruins of that agency. "Grombach," says Ylitalo, "never could figure out whether he was an employee [of the CIA] or a competitor. That was the problem in a nutshell."

Grombach promoted himself as the most pro-"liberation," most anti-Communist of all of Washington's competing spy chiefs. His organization stood ready, he said, to purge the State Department and the CIA of Communist dupes, homosexuals, and liberals of all stripes. High on the list of his targets were the men who had articulated and implemented Truman's containment strategy: George Kennan, Charles Thayer, Charles Bohlen, and their allies at State and the CIA. In Grombach's eyes, these officials were like his old nemesis Colonel McCormack: too soft on communism and the USSR, too favorable to liberal elements in the CIA; too closely tied to the elitist eastern establishment that had been running the State Department for generations.

Grombach banked on his close connections with Senators Joseph McCarthy, William Jenner, and other members of the extreme Republican right to propel him to national power. He believed that the McCarthyite right was on its way to the White House, and he intended to be there when it arrived. Grombach's outfit effectively became the foreign espionage agency for the far right, often serving as the overseas complement to McCarthy's generally warm relations with J. Edgar Hoover's FBI at home.

Through a quirk of fate Frenchy Grombach found himself in a position where he could exercise enough influence in Washington to help derail the government careers of his rivals. U.S. government contracts bankrolling a network of former Nazis and collaborators gave him much of the ammunition he needed to do the job. Grombach used his networks primarily to gather dirt. This was the American agent's specialty, his true passion: political dirt; sexual dirt; any kind of compromising information at all. "He got into a lot of garbage pails," as Kirkpatrick puts it, "and issued 'dirty linen' reports on Americans." Grombach collected scandal, cataloged it, and used it carefully, just as he had done during the earlier McCormack investigation. He leaked smears to his political allies in Congress and the press when it suited his purposes to do so. Grombach and congressional "internal security" investigators bartered these dossiers with one another almost as though they were boys trading baseball cards.

One of Grombach's most important weapons in his struggle for power was a series of blackmail type of dossiers that his men had compiled on his rivals inside the U.S. intelligence community. He had retailed much of this data piece by piece to the CIA over the years but by 1952 had decided to make use of his network of former SS men and collaborators on behalf of Senator Joseph McCarthy.

The popular support for liberation that was so carefully nurtured during the early 1950s provided fertile ground for entrepreneurs like Grombach to put down roots. Regardless of its "American" and patriotic trappings, liberation's paranoid anticommunism made it easier for some U.S. politicians to make common cause with a former Goebbels propagandist such as Bogolepov or with public spokesmen for prewar anti-Semitic terrorist groups such as NTS leader Boldyreff.

As was seen in the case of the Bogolepov affidavit, private intelligence apparats like John Grombach's organization formed one of the important linkages between the careful politicians in Washington and the former Nazis and collaborators who were occasionally thought to be useful to them. Such unofficial clandestine action groups have long played a sporadic but sometimes important role in American political life; witness G. Gordon Liddy's Watergate burglary team or the more recent scandal surrounding Colonel Oliver North's activities inside the National Security Council. The extralegal status of Grombach's group permitted him to hire and exploit former Nazis and Axis officials for intelligence-gathering purposes, then secretly to put the products of his work to use in partisan political battles in the United States. Perhaps in some other decade John Grombach would have hired persons from other failed regimes as agents; the continuing intrigues among anti-Castro Cubans and the former South Vietnamese police suggest that a new generation of espionage entrepreneurs in the Grombach mold is still at work. But in the early 1950s it was former Nazis and collaborators who were in the most abundant supply for such affairs. It is they who formed much of the heart of Grombach's overseas network and they who gave him much of the ammunition he needed to participate in McCarthy's purges.

At the same time that McCarthy and his allies were battling in the Senate for the dismissals of Thayer, Davies, and Bohlen, the Republicans' election year pledge to liberate Eastern Europe also fueled a rapid expansion of clandestine destabilization operations. A special series of foreign policy conferences code-named Solarium reaffirmed that the new administration would engage in "selected aggressive actions of limited scope, involving moderately increased risks of general war," as Eisenhower's top national security adviser, Robert Cutler, put it, in order "to eliminate Soviet-dominated areas within the free world and to reduce Soviet power in the Satellite periphery." U.S. policy aimed at "a maximum contribution to the increase in internal stresses and conflicts within the Soviet system."

But despite the Republicans' public attacks on Truman's containment policy, Eisenhower's election had been a victory for the Republican establishment, not for the radical right. The Republicans did not have a substantially new strategy for dealing with the Soviets, beyond a tendency to use harsher rhetoric than the Democrats. George Kennan's containment theories may have seemed like part of the problem to most liberation advocates, but his thinking on clandestine political warfare against the Soviets was most welcome to Eisenhower and dominated the scene at the Solarium strategy conferences. Eisenhower himself personally endorsed Kennan's stratagems, his analysis of East-West affairs, and the former diplomat himself.

The president and his advisers decisively renewed the ongoing program of harassment and destabilization inside Eastern Europe that had given birth to the Nazi utilization efforts in the first place. Further efforts to "reduce indigenous Communist power" through clandestine CIA action were approved in both Western Europe and the third world. Guatemala and the Middle East were also singled out for CIA attention, while agency Director Allen Dulles promoted a renewed attempt to overthrow the government in Albania.

The clandestine action provisions of Solarium were later codified in NSC 5412, a slightly revised version of Truman's NSC 10/2 covert warfare decision. NSC 5412 again affirmed that the United States was fully committed to a broad campaign of political war against the USSR. It again affirmed that "underground resistance movements, guerrillas and refugee liberation groups"-obviously including the various surviving collaborationist organizations from

Eastern Europe-were still at the center of U.S. covert paramilitary programs.

In the meantime, however, the existing threads of clandestine operations, liberation politics, and the abandonment of war crimes investigations and prosecutions were woven together into a new and more disturbing tapestry. By 1953 the CIA was willing to finance and protect not simply former Nazis and Gestapo men but even senior officers of Adolf Eichmann's SS section Amt IV B 4, the central administrative apparatus of the Holocaust.

Blowback - CSimpson

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