I must confess I love anniversaries. Particularly, I should add, the historical kind. And 2022 was a banner year, in this regard. Not only was it the 50th anniversary of the Watergate burglary, the 60th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the 75th anniversary of the passage of the National Security Act and the formation of the Central Intelligence Agency, but it was the 80th anniversary of the formation of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Each of these events was celebrated with scholarly conferences, public events, and the publication of new books.
H-Diplo | Robert Jervis International Security Studies Forum
Roundtable Review 14-20
Nicholas Reynolds, Need to Know: World War II and the Rise of American Intelligence (New York and Boston: Mariner Books, 2022). ISBN: 9780062967473
Editor: Diane Labrosse
Commissioning Editor: Sarah-Jane Corke
Production Editor: Christopher Ball
Copy Editor: Bethany Keenan
I must confess I love anniversaries. Particularly, I should add, the historical kind. And 2022 was a banner year, in this regard. Not only was it the 50th anniversary of the Watergate burglary, the 60th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the 75th anniversary of the passage of the National Security Act and the formation of the Central Intelligence Agency, but it was the 80th anniversary of the formation of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Each of these events was celebrated with scholarly conferences, public events, and the publication of new books.
In some cases, anniversaries provide us with an opportunity to catch up the historiography surrounding the event. Other anniversaries, however, force us to reflect on the historiography that might have been. Indeed, one would think that the history of American wartime intelligence operations would be a well-developed field of study, given the scholarly interest in the history of World War Two. Yet this is not the case. This is somewhat surprising because most of the records of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) are available at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. And they have been there for decades. Indeed, the CIA began transferring OSS records to the archives in the 1980s. Subsequently declassifications occurred in 2000 when the Nazi War Criminals Interagency released 400,000 pages on both the OSS and the Strategic Services Group (SSU), the little-known forerunner to the CIA. In 2008, the CIA released another 750,000 pages of documents. These included the official personnel files of the men and women who served in the OSS. Even more important than the sheer numbers of pages available, however, is the quality of the documents. According to one scholar, “Seventy-five percent of these documents met the test of records having enduring value, as opposed to two to three percent of most government records created.” Thus they are a treasure trove for researchers who are interested in both the history of World War Two and the early years of the CIA, because many of the men (and women) who served in the CIA also served in the OSS. Yet, scholars have, for the most part, stayed away. Those studies that have appeared, as Sara Castro notes, are tightly focused narratives on a particular aspect of OSS history.
Indeed, as Command Historian (still the best job title I have ever come across) Michael Warner tells us, prior to 2022 there was “still only one scholarly, comprehensive history of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), and it was published more than half a century ago.” More importantly, perhaps, he goes on to note that previous histories of American intelligence have failed to acknowledge that American intelligence was “not a system before 1947.” Instead, he argues “it was a factious and overlapping congeries of functions, offices, authorities, and personalities, all of which supported the war effort but was not—in an overall sense—what would later be dubbed an ‘Intelligence Community.’” A “shape-shifting blob,” an apt description as I have ever heard, is how he described the OSS to me in an email last year. “This near-chaos” according to Warner, “has, for three generations now, fostered caution and overspecialization among historians, amateur, professional, and official.” Thus, the historiography of American intelligence in World War II, Warner concludes, “comprises mostly a catalog of works describing individual leaders, organizations, and operations, instead of seeking synthesis and holistic understanding.”
Into the weeds, and just in time for the 80th Anniversary of the formation of the OSS, steps historian Nicholas Reynolds, a former intelligence officer and the author of several books on the US Marine Corps. There is no doubt that Reynolds is a gifted writer. His most recent work, Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Adventures, 1935-1961 became a New York Times best seller. And true to form, according to Castro, Reynolds’ new “book offers the rare combination of illuminating scholarship and great readability.”
His book also addresses the primary weakness in existing OSS historiography that Warner and Castro allude to. As Castro points out, Reynolds’ work is an attempt to move away from “the foreward edge of the foxhole” to a “view from thirty-thousand feet” (xxi). She concludes that his “novel big-picture approach offers a subtle, fresh perspective” that illustrate the “warts-and-all evolution that took US intelligence from these fragmented, insular efforts toward a coordinated national security regime with global reach.”
However, Castro also acknowledges the traditional nature of Reynold’s history. She draws our attention to his tendency to privilege external over internal causal forces in his account. Reynolds believes that the development of American intelligence was “a reaction to world events rather than the result of pre-emptive domestic motivations.” His account also takes a “top-down” rather than “bottom-up” approach, which some have argued offers a new way forward for intelligence historians. However, while men like William “Wild Bill” Donovan appear throughout the book, Reynolds does downplay their agency. As Castro suggests, he allows “Donovan’s actions and words to deflate his image, bringing Donovan back to the human realm.” Yet, she also picks up¾as did my graduate students who read the book last year¾on the fact that all the “protagonists in this book are American elites—‘male, pale, and Yale.’” As Reynolds, himself writes in his response, “change came more slowly to history of wartime intelligence.”
While traditional in several key respects, Reynolds work does break important new ground, however. In his review, James Lockhart, the author of a well-regarded transnational history of the CIA in Chile, highlights the ways in which Need to Know adds a new dimension by offering an account that is not solely confined to the history of the OSS, but instead focuses on both Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and “the professionalization of intelligence analysis,” two topics that are not always considered by intelligence scholars. As a result, he concludes that Reynolds’ book is “a sound work of history.” Warner, for the most part, agrees. He argues “there is real value in Reynolds’ approach, partly because (amazingly) no one else has attempted it on a book-length scale. Need to Know thus adds perspective that is missed in looking at any of these agencies, leaders, and operations in comparative isolation.” Yet, he also suggests Reynolds has also “left plenty of space as well as guidance for future scholarship.”
Reynolds himself notes this in his response, stating that the OSS is one of the few intelligence agencies from around the world where scholars can examine almost every document from the organization. It is a gold mine for graduate students who are interested in the study of intelligence both during World War Two and the Cold War. Students interested in pursuing the history of the OSS would do well to begin their quest by starting with Reynolds’ Need to Know.
Nicholas Reynolds served in the US Marine Corps and the CIA, after obtaining a PhD in modern history from Oxford University. He held two of the best niche jobs in the US government: officer-in-charge of field history for the Corps and historian for the CIA Museum at Langley, tantalizingly styled “The Best Museum You’ve Never Seen.” Now retired, he is an independent scholar. His major publications include Treason Was No Crime, General Ludwig Beck, Chief of the German General Staff (London: William Kimber, 1976); Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy, Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Adventures, 1935-1961 (New York: William Morrow, 2017); and most recently Need to Know, World War II and the Rise of American Intelligence (New York: Mariner, 2022).
Sarah-Jane Corke, PhD, is the co-founder and past-president of the North American Society for Intelligence History (NASIH). She is an Associate Professor of History at the University of New Brunswick. Her first book US Covert Operations and Cold War Strategy: Truman, the CIA and Secret Warfare was published by Routledge in 2008. Her second book, an edited collection with Mark Stout, Adventures in Intelligence History: Stories from The International Spy Museum and Beyond is under contract at the University Press of Kansas. Her third monograph, The Nine Lives of Patricia and John Paton Davies was awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant in 2022.
Sara B. Castro is Assistant Professor of History at the US Air Force Academy. She is President of the North American Society for Intelligence History. She is the author of Mission to Mao: American Intelligence and the Chinese Communists in World War II (forthcoming Georgetown University Press).
James Lockhart is Associate Professor of Defense and Security Studies at Rabdan Academy/Zayed Military University in Abu Dhabi. He was born and raised in the American Southwest, earning a PhD in American foreign relations and global/comparative history from the University of Arizona in 2016. His research has been published in the Marine Corps University Journal, the International History Review, International Affairs, and Intelligence and National Security. His first book, Chile, the CIA and the Cold War: A Transatlantic Perspective, was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2019. His current book project explores the career of Lt. Gen. Vernon Walters and southern South American intelligence during the Cold War, from the coup in Brazil to the conflict in the Falklands.
Michael Warner has a PhD in American History. He is currently the Command Historian at the US Department of Defense. He is the author of several books, including The Rise and Fall of Intelligence: An International Security History (Georgetown University Press, 2014) and a co-author with John Childress: The Use of Force and State Power: History and Future (Palgrave, Macmillan, 2020). He is currently working on a history of strategy in cyber conflict.
Review by Sara B. Castro, US Air Force Academy
In Need to Know: World War II and the Rise of American Intelligence, Nicholas Reynolds does a great service to the field of intelligence history by producing a narrative on this essential topic that is as accessible to general readers as it is insightful for scholars. The book offers the rare combination of illuminating scholarship and great readability. A small wave of new studies on intelligence during the Second World War have appeared in the past few years as the subfield of intelligence history has grown and new sources and methods have become available. Reynolds notes the specialization of most recent works and the lack of any book that documents the changing role of intelligence for the United States as a unified, global, and chronological narrative. Intelligence, in Reynolds’s use, refers broadly to “the collection and processing of secret information about the enemy” and “special operations against the enemy,” definitions which notably include both human and technical intelligence collection and a range of operations (xviii). The gap that Reynolds addresses is as significant as he suggests, and his book makes an excellent start at filling it.
Reynolds recognizes the challenge of writing a new book on the topic of the Second World War, which is already one of the most popular topics for historians and readers alike. He explains early in Need to Know that while the quantity of studies of the war far exceeds what any one scholar can reasonably hope to consume, many works on the topic are also quite narrowly focused and parochial in their emphasis, which limits some of the questions they can answer. Drawing upon his career as an intelligence officer and professional historian, Reynolds highlights the problem in particular for the intelligence history of the war for the United States, which is often divvied up into studies on individual agencies, operations, or technologies. Need to Know convincingly argues that thinking across these artificial boundaries illustrates important and underappreciated changes that took place from 1940 to 1945 in how the US government perceived, pursued, and consumed foreign intelligence. The book ultimately is what Reynolds calls a “crossover” book, “more about strategy than tactics, the view from thirty-thousand feet rather than from the forward edge of a foxhole” (xxi). He achieves this crossover effect by emphasizing historical context and the views of practitioners, building a narrative of representative examples that serve to map out major trends across organizations from a global perspective.
Even a project as ambitious as this one must have boundaries, and Reynolds confines the scope of his inquiry to the intelligence activities of the US government, focusing on the White House (mostly the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, with a late chapter on that of President Harry S Truman), executive branch agencies, and the military. Reynolds relates the stories of these government organizations mainly through the actions of their leaders. The book relies on a wide-ranging and meticulously cited review of declassified government documents, archived correspondence, oral histories, personal papers, diaries, and memoirs left behind by those involved, and which are now collected in archives in the United States and the United Kingdom. Reynolds weaves these primary sources into a curated synthesis of both classic and recent scholarly works of intelligence history. The narrative takes readers around the world, including stories of cryptology in the Pacific War as well as short vignettes on the China-Burma-India campaign and operations in north Africa. Most examples set a broad focus on Britain and the European theater, which is consistent with the priorities of Reynolds’s American protagonists. The book includes useful reference tools for anyone who seeks further reading on the issues, such as a comprehensive and up-to-date bibliography of relevant secondary sources on World War II intelligence history, a practical abbreviation list of the evolving intelligence agencies and organizations during the war, and a separate cast of characters with short biographies of the main people involved in the actions the book describes.
The trends in intelligence history that the book exposes are ones that scholars focused on intelligence history will recognize from ongoing debates in the subfield, but Reynolds’s novel big-picture approach offers a subtle, fresh perspective. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts in the way that a completed jigsaw puzzle offers more than any individual piece. Reynolds’s kaleidoscopic view emphasizes two important conclusions. First, the stakes of the war pushed Americans to achieve their strategic objectives by any means, which opened a door for American officials—both civilian and military—to develop new norms and precedents for the use of intelligence. Individual American spies, codebreakers, and guerrillas who were doing their jobs around the world created a new, ad hoc system during the war. The US government came to rely on these systems as the American role in the global order changed after 1945. Reynolds notes at the outset that, “[b]efore the war, American intelligence was a cottage industry, with a handful of craftsmen working on their own, mostly isolated from one another” (xix). The chapters in the book show the warts-and-all evolution that took US intelligence from these fragmented, insular efforts toward a coordinated national security regime with global reach.
Through its broad scope, Need to Know demonstrates how this process was sufficiently effective but also far from smooth, and that the idiosyncrasies of the people involved influenced the outcome. Readers see how the leadership style and motivations of Roosevelt altered the development of institutions and encouraged interagency rivalry between military branches, between civilian and military organizations, and between the newly hatched Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and just about everyone else. Roosevelt’s preferences resulted in conflicting administrative directions that trickled down into legitimate disagreements between such well-known World War II strategic leaders as: OSS Director William J. Donovan; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director J. Edgar Hoover; Henry L. Stimson, who served as secretary of war twice and secretary of state once; General George C. Marshall, US Army chief of staff during the Second World War; and US Navy Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who commanded the Pacific Fleet during World War II. Reynolds shows how these men saw the changing role of intelligence as a zero-sum game that had personal repercussions for them in terms of both legacy and future organizational budgetary resources. Meanwhile, individuals at lower levels of federal agencies and military branches were using the resources they could secure to find new intelligence methods to support the achievement of American strategic objectives in the field. The current US intelligence regime was forged through this fierce competition for funding and influence from 1940 to 1945.
The second significant conclusion of the book is that the organizations and capabilities that the US government developed were a reaction to world events, rather than the result of pre-emptive domestic motivations; global events awakened American intelligence, and, absent the war, domestic resistance might have prevented it. Two global events in particular stand out in Reynolds’s account: the British call for help, and the demands of the Pacific War after the Pearl Harbor attack. Britain emerges in Reynolds’s global narrative as a uniquely influential ally for the United States. The first three chapters document the British assessment that success in defeating German fascism would require assistance from the United States, including in the form of intelligence support. Reynolds traces the deliberate diplomatic actions of British officials to influence the United States to expand its intelligence operations, organize its capabilities, and share the results with the Allies. One of these actions involved exerting specific and determined influence over Donovan, who became the director of the OSS.
Reynolds explains how the war against Japan energized the use and expansion of signals intelligence and cryptography within the US government. Integrating the institutional history of technical intelligence capabilities with broader US national security history during the war and humanizing the story of this development is a major insight and contribution of Need to Know. The history of American signals intelligence and codebreaking has been relatively well documented within the context of individual institutions or World War II operations. Few other authors, however, have attempted to link this history to broader evolutionary processes that unfolded within the US government in the 1940s the way that this book does.
Reynolds demonstrates that the importance of intercepting and decoding enemy communications incited rivalry between the Army, Navy, and OSS over who would control the resources. The central chapters of the book narrate the process by which the military came to control codebreaking technologies in the war. The dispute between Army, Navy, and OSS over technical intelligence collection and codebreaking is only one interorganizational feud that emerged at the time. Reynolds details how the combination of the lack of clear leadership from Roosevelt on the administration of intelligence organizations and the demands of the war, which forced individual US officials to innovate intelligence methods, led to several kinds of squabbles at the agency-leadership level. For example, Reynolds offers examples of how the FBI fought with the OSS over privileges to lead counterintelligence efforts against Soviet agents in the United States. The OSS similarly argued with Roosevelt and the Office of War Information to gain control of propaganda and influence operations. Intelligence personnel who operated in the field frequently disagreed with headquarter managers. Narrower studies of the institutional history of wartime US intelligence organizations have uncovered these examples, but the value of Need to Know is in exposing these rivalries as part of a consistent broader historical process. This book reveals these rivalries to have been growing pains in an emergent system.
In addition to these two significant conclusions, a notable strength of Need to Know is the book’s ability to capture the humanity and complexity behind the wartime evolution of what the world now knows as the US national security regime, without bogging down readers with more details than they need. This strength is most apparent in Reynolds’s treatment of Donovan, who is a protagonist in roughly half of the book’s twenty-one chapters. Many historical narratives of World War II intelligence portray so-called ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan as a larger-than-life bureaucratic hero who led an organization that is frequently glossed as the ‘precursor’ to the Central Intelligence Agency. Reynolds allows Donovan’s actions and words to deflate this image, bringing Donovan back to the human realm. Need to Know successfully complicates the image of ‘Wild Bill,’ portraying him as an ambitious, upwardly mobile public official who massaged his elite personal network out of a genuine commitment to a strategic vision that he thought was necessary to the war effort, but which also happened to be convenient for his career. This view of Donovan is consistent with the archival record, and Reynolds’s approach exposes it in a matter-of-fact way.
A consequence of the book’s high-altitude view of events is that the narrative ends up taking a top-down perspective most of the time. Aside from a few discussions of women codebreakers, rare female spies such as Virginia Hall, and active-duty military servicemen who found themselves in the midst of guerrilla operations, the protagonists in this book are American elites—“male, pale, and Yale” as the saying goes. The ambitious goals of this monograph leave little space for reflection on how these groups may have influenced or limited the resulting national security regime. The success of Need to Know in revealing that a global, whole-war, cross-institutional study of intelligence history is possible and worthwhile should serve as a call to action for other scholars to create deeper studies of the social and cultural intelligence history of this period.
As of today, the American intelligence community consists of eighteen organizations led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). All are found within the executive branch of government in the United States, in six departments (State, Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, Energy, and Treasury). Their activities encompass clandestine and open-source collection; counterintelligence; communications and signals intelligence, and cryptanalysis; overhead surveillance and reconnaissance; covert and cyber operations; and analysis, estimates, and reporting, among others. These activities reach every corner of the globe through a vast network of satellites, embassies, bases, and stations, and liaison relationships with other governments.
The history of this intelligence community—the context of its creation and the continuing evolution of its institutions, its approaches to defining what intelligence is and what it should do, its practices concerning the production and consumption of processed intelligence, the divisions of labor and responsibilities within it, how well its component parts cooperate, and how effective it is—remains a critical part of intelligence studies in the US. Most historical accounts of the community begin in 1947, with its formal reification by the Truman administration and Congress via the National Security Act. These accounts tend to foreground the CIA and the defense and security imperatives of the early Cold War. There is frequently some acknowledgment and even interest in the precursors to the Agency: the Coordinator of Information (COI), the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the personality of Major General William ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan, and, less often, the National Intelligence Authority (NIA) and Central Intelligence Group (CIG), as what we might call the warm-up act to the appearance of the more permanent, postwar intelligence community, emphasizing the formative importance of the Second World War.
When I read Nicholas Reynolds’s book, Need to Know: World War II and the Rise of American Intelligence, I expected to find another account that highlighted the OSS and Donovan—which I would have welcomed, as, like Reynolds, the Second World War “has always been in my blood.” (xvii). And indeed, the book covers the OSS, Donovan, and their problems in bureaucratic Washington, especially those deriving from troubled relations with Major General George Strong, who commanded G-2, or military intelligence. It also deals with OSS operations in the European, North African, and China-Burma-India (CBI) theaters, including the collection and liaison activities of OSS Chief of Station Bern Allen Dulles, who was famously in contact with the German opposition to the Nazi dictatorship. But it soon became clear that Reynolds’s book is more ambitious than this.
Across twenty-one chapters, bracketed by an introduction and epilogue, Reynolds identifies the main threads of the organization and institutionalization of the intelligence community, offering “a useful overview for specialists and generalists alike” (xix-xx). He argues that World War II forged the organizations that emerged afterward, and that several crucial decisions were made and precedents set during this time, changing the landscape forever. He clarifies that he has written a synthesis, one that “stands on the shoulders of many,” particularly those of David Kahn, who has published much on cryptanalysis in the United States (351). He conducted supplementary research into more than a dozen archives and other primary sources as well, and his notes make clear that he has painstakingly confirmed and reconfirmed all of his facts. This is a sound work of history. Of the main threads and changes to the landscape that Reynolds illuminates, I will showcase the three that struck me as most important here: the OSS as the prototype for an American intelligence service; the rise of institutionalized cryptanalysis in the Army and Navy, which laid “the foundation for an industrial codebreaking enterprise of hitherto unimaginable proportions” (340); and the professionalization of intelligence analysis and increasing sophistication of the presentation and consumption of processed intelligence.
Concerning the OSS as prototype, Reynolds narrates a well-known story of the British cultivation of Donovan and, through him, influence on President Franklin Roosevelt’s decision to create the COI in 1941, then the OSS in 1942; that is, a centralized, national authority on intelligence rather than a collection of uncoordinated voices from the Army, Navy, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which was running intelligence operations in the western hemisphere. Donovan eventually formed a single organization that housed intelligence collectors: a counterintelligence branch, paramilitary forces, and a research and analysis staff headed by historians like James Phinney Baxter, William Langer, and Sherman Kent. In September 1945, when the war ended, President Harry Truman summarily dissolved the OSS. But, as Reynolds explains, the prototype endured. After a few years of bureaucratic conflict, the CIA, with its Clandestine Service (which handled espionage, counterintelligence, and covert action) and Directorate of Intelligence were formed. There was no turning back to the way things had been before the war.
With respect to institutionalized cryptanalysis in the United States, there had been starts and stops before the Second World War, most notably, the efforts of Herbert Yardley, who ran the so-called Black Chamber. However, this activity, which, like intelligence itself, had deep roots in global history, was perceived as inappropriate and even ungentlemanly in early twentieth-century Washington, and it was discontinued. Reynolds shows how this attitude changed as war with Japan became imminent, especially after the attack at Pearl Harbor.
By the late 1930s, Army intelligence had broken Tokyo’s diplomatic codes. It had developed a machine that was fed encrypted intercepted communications at one end, and then produced plain text, like magic, at the other. Thus, these intercepts were codenamed “Magic.” While naval intelligence labored in wireless and radio traffic analysis, radio direction-finding, and other traditional methods of studying the movements and intentions of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), a separate group endeavored, initially without much success, to decipher the IJN’s codes. Both the Army and Navy were hampered by their bureaucracies’ inclination to characterize cryptanalysis as “an adjunct to communications, not intelligence” (138). This is part of the change described by Reynolds. In mid-1942, as the strategic importance of cryptanalysis became apparent, the Army and Navy moved to restrict access to it to the military while excluding the OSS (Donovan was attempting to create a new black chamber) and other civilians. This set the precedent that remains in place today: cryptanalysis, in the form of the National Security Agency (NSA), remains in military, not civilian, hands.
On the professionalization of intelligence analysis and the more sophisticated consumption of it, Reynolds documents dramatic changes during the war. At the outset, there was simply no analysis worth mentioning, and Roosevelt’s and other policymakers’ consumption of intelligence was crude and rudimentary. The president relied on friends such as Vincent Astor, who sailed his yacht into Japanese-controlled areas to see what he could learn there, and John Franklin Carter, who penned spy novels, for information and analysis. When the Army began sending intercepts from Magic to him, he insisted on reading them raw and unprocessed.
After Pearl Harbor, the Army recruited lawyer Alfred McCormack and others from Wall Street. As trained attorneys, they were skilled in critically assessing sources, cross-referencing information, and presenting the whole of it as a coherent case, in narrative style. They framed the intercepts from Magic within larger issues, linking them with other intercepts and information on the same subject, adding still more insight from the historians, economists, and speakers of Japanese and other foreign languages who joined them. “This was,” Reynolds concludes, “the country’s best strategic intelligence during World War II” (134).
Meanwhile, naval intelligence became more effective at strategic and tactical analysis. As the Navy and Marines prepared to fight across the Pacific, the Navy formed what may have been the first ‘fusion center’ of American intelligence. Such centers brought together different departments, agencies, and disciplines to work with all available sources bearing on particular problems. Scholars of intelligence studies remain familiar with instances of this, starting with Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Richard Helms’s decision to empower a special assistant for Vietnam Affairs (SAVA) to reach across directorates and outside of the Agency to produce the best available information on the war in Southeast Asia. Later, in the early 1970s, DCI William Colby explicitly built upon this idea when he inaugurated National Intelligence Officers (NIOs). Most recently, centers for counterterrorism and China appeared in Washington. Decades before all of this, the Navy’s Intelligence Center, Pacific Ocean Areas (ICPOA) set the precedent for performing this all-source mission.
Reynolds intended to write an overview for specialists and generalists, and he succeeds. In my own library, I have placed it next to Christopher Andrew’s For the President’s Eyes Only and the books and published primary sources I gather on the emergence of the intelligence community. I would assign this book in both undergraduate courses and graduate seminars on intelligence. Certainly, the reading public would enjoy and benefit from reading it, too, as it is well informed, perceptive, and a pleasure to read.
Historians of World War II have heard some bold claims about the importance of intelligence in that conflict. These claims gained clarity and heft in the 1970s, with the declassification of British codebreaking successes. The historiography since then has rightly debated the real impacts of intelligence in the Allied victory. While clearly important, what difference did it make in the final analysis? And what difference did the war make for intelligence itself, especially in America?
Into this long-running debate steps Nicholas Reynolds with his new volume, Need to Know: World War II and the Rise of American Intelligence. Reynolds, a retired CIA officer and Marine who also worked as an historian for both the Agency and the Corps, is well-qualified to assess the technical aspects of wartime American intelligence.
Reynolds offers a fresh perspective on the importance and the evolution of the intelligence system that served leaders and commanders in the United States, which was perhaps the most important of the three powers that proved indispensable to defeating the Axis in 1945. Need to Know is not a work of primary source analysis as much it is an interesting and overdue synthesis of previous histories, memoirs, and journalistic accounts. The gap that Reynolds seeks to fill in the literature is the lack of an overview of the “main threads of American intelligence in World War II and how they were developed, particularly how they related to each other, and where they were positioned at the end of the war” (xix). Filling that gap, Reynolds explains, can illuminate the “how things got to be the way they are” in the modern US Intelligence Community (xix).
Need to Know rightly notes an issue that previous histories of American wartime intelligence have neglected. The basic problem for scholars of the US intelligence system, both then and now, was and is that that intelligence effort was emphatically not a system before 1947. Instead, it was a factious and overlapping congeries of functions, offices, authorities, and personalities, all of which supported the war effort but was not—in an overall sense—what would later be dubbed an ‘Intelligence Community.’ This near-chaos has, for three generations now, fostered caution and overspecialization among historians, amateur, professional, and official.
Thus, the historiography of American intelligence in World War II comprises mostly a catalog of works describing individual leaders, organizations, and operations, instead of seeking synthesis and holistic understanding. Scholarly articles on fine-grained aspects of American intelligence abound, as do book-length treatments that are mostly sensational or journalistic in quality. Yet there is still only one scholarly, comprehensive history of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), and it was published more than half a century ago. Amazingly, that worthy volume, by R. Harris Smith, appeared before the bulk of the Office’s records were released to the public. Official histories and declassifications have since made scholarship easier, even with regard to what were (during the war) some of the nation’s most closely guarded secrets. Happily, the last twenty years have seen broader overviews of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) defense of the home front against the Axis as well as the military’s codebreaking efforts abroad—both of which together were more important than the OSS for American intelligence. Researchers have even managed to examine the work environments in which some codebreakers labored. Still, scholars continue to craft book-length treatments of various personalities, missions, and spy capers; they are certainly important, but do not provide the holistic examination of the intelligence system that has long been lacking.
Reynolds’s solution is a “crossover” history that “tackles more than one kind of intelligence or agency, asking how each relates to the other, and what, together or separately, each contributed to victory” (xix). Need to Know thus concerns itself “more about strategy than tactics,” viewing the war mostly from perspectives of the headquarters of the well-known OSS and the lesser known Army and Navy codebreaking shops (xxi). “One of the most important threads,” he explains, “is the organization of intelligence, and how institutions developed. Especially in Washington, who were the main decision-makers and how did they organize (or fail to organize) the work” (xx)?
There is real value in Reynolds’s approach, partly because (amazingly) no one else has attempted it on a book-length scale. Need to Know thus adds perspective that is missed in looking at any of these agencies, leaders, and operations in comparative isolation.
It is important here to acknowledge that Reynolds did not seek to write a comprehensive history of US intelligence in World War II. His subtitle, World War II and the Rise of American Intelligence, promises something related but more modest. Need to Know in that sense reads like a history of the performance of Union forces in the Civil War that discusses primarily the operations of the Army of the Potomac and the Army of the Tennessee. Those were key formations, to be sure, but there is a much larger story to be told if one would understand how the US Army and Navy (and Marines) helped win that conflict.
What then, does Need to Know omit? For starters, much of the tactical- and operational-level intelligence that served commanders, as well as much of the FBI’s aforementioned work, especially in counterintelligence, and the key innovations that advanced intelligence work in imagery, electronic, and atomic intelligence. Need to Know, for example, presents virtually no discussion of intelligence for the Combined Bombing Offensive in Europe, or for the strategic bombing of Japan. A reader could come away with the impression that airpower, and hence air intelligence, played only minor roles in the war’s outcome.
Indeed, it can be tough at points to find Reynolds’s focus even in the areas that he narrates in detail. Need to Know takes a mostly chronological approach that is not chronological enough. Time and again events in the middle of the war are narrated before other events that occurred early in or even before the start of the conflict. Some of this choppiness cannot be helped in a work of narrative history, of course, but Need to Know holds so many instances of it that this reader wondered if the narrative—and Reynolds’s case—would have been improved with closer attention to events as they were happening in 1939, and then in 1940, and then in 1941…
In addition, one wonders about the selection criteria behind the episodes discussed in more detail. Reynolds ably explains certain operational and analytic successes (like the codebreaking triumph behind the Battle of Midway), but not others (like Lieutenant General George Patton’s signals-intelligence-enabled romp across France, or General Douglas MacArthur’s island-hopping campaign, both in 1944). He discusses some counterintelligence failures at home (like Duncan Lee, an aide to OSS head William Donovan who doubled as a Soviet spy), but not others (like the far more important Soviet theft of A-bomb secrets, ).
This is not just for lack of space. The reader wonders why one example received copious attention while another was seemingly ignored. Indeed, the lack of a clear principle of selection relates to the ambiguity that Need to Know offers as its verdict on the “rise” of American intelligence in World War II.
Clearly the intelligence system grew in scale and sophistication; from a craft to (in some ways) an industry, as Reynolds suggests (340). Yet this is not an original argument, and it needed no new book to say it again. But why then, was that system so quickly, in key ways, dismantled literally days after the Japanese surrender?
Need to Know does not really answer such questions. Witness its hurried concluding narrative of the debates and events that followed the war’s end leading into early 1946. Things just seem to end, with bureaucrats fighting over what is next and worried leaders (especially President Harry Truman) figuratively throwing the dice in a weary desire to get something, anything, that will end the inter-agency bickering. Happily, and indeed almost accidentally, Reynolds suggests, the new arrangement for American intelligence happened to preserve enough of the useful ideas and capabilities hatched in the now-defunct OSS and the Army and Navy codebreaking shops to outfit the US Intelligence Community for the Cold War.
Perhaps this is what really happened. Reynolds thus presents one valid perspective on the evolution of American intelligence as a result of World War II. There are other explanations, however, which a fuller account of the system’s activities and performance could well illuminate.
To wit, a history of American intelligence in World War II must explain why, and not just how, the US government, having just won the biggest conflict in history with one intelligence system, nonetheless decided between 1945 and 1947 that it urgently needed to blow up that very system and build something new in its place. The answer lies in two issues that Need to Know mentions but does not fully address. First is the lack of organized intelligence support to the president, as Truman himself found on taking office (and publicly decried in his memoirs). The second is the need for some official in Washington to coordinate or at least deconflict operations in the field.
Both of those duties promptly went to the new Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) position that Truman created in January 1946. Successive DCIs fixed the intelligence system well enough to guard American security and interests in the early Cold War, yet Truman’s 1946 settlement still left other gaps that the US Intelligence Community would spend decades seeking to fix. In particular, the OSS had helped to provide intelligence for theater-level command in World War II, but that support was abandoned by the OSS leaders who had been left in place by Donovan when his Office went out of business in September 1945. Another gap is the lack of a comprehensive counterintelligence capability, which the FBI was building in Latin America (on President Franklin Roosevelt’s orders), and which again was set aside by the Truman administration when it imposed a firm, domestic-foreign intelligence divide between the FBI and the new Central Intelligence Group (later Agency), respectively.
Need to Know mentions evidence of these problems, without explaining their origins or importance for the later Intelligence Community. Reynolds could have examined the missions and expectations that leaders had for intelligence in World War II; specifically, the overall tasks that they wanted the secret services to fulfill. That in turn would have explained much about organizational decisions, and naturally provided a metric for assessing the key strategic contributions to final victory. In specific, American leaders and commanders needed intelligence to keep their government, forces, and homeland clear of Axis spies and saboteurs; to understand the capabilities and intentions of their British, Soviet, and other allies; to know whether and when the Axis might devise and employ weapons of mass destruction; and, finally, to spot vulnerabilities in the Axis military and economic strength that Allied forces could exploit. How well did American intelligence meet these expectations, and how did it do so?
Had Reynolds queried his material for answers to these fundamental questions, he might have been better positioned to tie together the many clues that Need to Know mentions but leaves unexamined. He may also have been able to assess the ways in leaders in the changed circumstances of the Cold War levied new strategic questions on American intelligence, and reorganized the intelligence system to meet those new requirements.
In a sense, however, such criticism might be a little unfair. Need to Know should be read and appraised as the book it is, not as the book that Reynolds did not write. It holds value for students of World War II, and especially for scholars of American intelligence, in bringing together so much of the intelligence story in a way that is insightful, reliable, and readable. Nicholas Reynolds’s “crossover” approach should inform all future work on the history of the wartime American intelligence system. Indeed, it has left plenty of space as well as guidance for future scholarship.
I would like first to express my thanks to Sarah-Jane Corke for proposing and introducing this roundtable, and then to Sara Castro, Michael Warner, and James Lockhart for reading through this longish history and composing essays that extend far beyond the average book review, to say nothing of the work of our editor, Diane Labrosse. I very much appreciate the time and expertise all have shared.
To recap the backstory: World War II has long been the gift that keeps on giving to historians. The procession of memoirs, histories, official histories, and collections of documents and photographs that started in 1945 shows no sign of ending. Over the years the focus shifted as veterans passed from the scene and new sources emerged. Governments declassified files, voluntarily or involuntarily. When the Berlin Wall came down, official Communist historians found themselves unemployed from one day to the next. Secret files saw the light of day, and new histories were written. Perspectives changed in the west as well. By the turn of the century, historians were looking at different aspects of the war, exploring what victims, minorities, and women had experienced. Would twenty-first century histories continue to be written from the top down—from the perspective of the “Yale, male, and pale” in the corridors of power, or from the bottom up, asking what the war meant to the men and women whose lives it changed forever? And would awkward and unwelcome questions now be asked?
Change came more slowly to the history of wartime intelligence. Partly it was the secret nature of the subject. Many veterans of the spy wars of the 1940s went to their graves without telling their stories. David Kahn’s The Codebreakers, which devotes hundreds of pages to World War II, broke new ground when it first appeared in 1967, airing a hitherto unexplored topic. In his words, “[codebreaking] has never had a chronicler [but] badly needs one.” Even after 2000, it was not uncommon to encounter veterans who still considered themselves bound by the oaths that they had sworn to silence 60 years earlier—although virtually all World War II records in the West had been declassified.
Throughout, historians tended to stay in their lanes. This was as true of official histories as unofficial histories. The few early historians of intelligence did not, by and large, write anything like the sweeping histories that emerged from the pens of generalists like Gerhard Weinberg, Allan Millett, or Richard Overy. Himself a synthesizer at heart, Kahn lamented in Codebreakers that “the [general] intelligence history of World War II has never been written.” At the time, he was right. In the following decades, some gaps were filled. Appearing between 1979 and 1990, F. H. Hinsley’s exhaustive five-volume history looked at almost every imaginable kind of British intelligence operation in the Second World War. Hinsley set the standard for one nation’s history, and mentored the next generation of students. Twenty-five years later, another British writer, journalist-cum-historian Sir Max Hastings, wrote a worldwide overview. He did not aspire to write “a comprehensive narrative, but to “explore…[the secret war between 1939 and 1945] in a global context.”
Still, few books crossed boundaries in search of a broader perspective on American intelligence history in World War II. Focusing on the United States, I staked out territory between Hinsley and Hastings. On the one hand, I did not want to write a comprehensive history, but to create a work that would be accessible to the general reader. At the same time, I wanted to be true to my academic roots and write a well-sourced work that could serve as a springboard for anyone who wanted to dig deeper. (The publisher understandably drew a deep breath when he first saw the 100-plus pages of endnotes.) I relied on a mix of secondary sources, memoirs, and primary sources. Nor would I stray far from my somewhat conventional roots as a decades-long Federal employee who has wondered, for almost as long, how institutions and leaders develop, and what made them flourish or fade.
Since I did not intend my book to be exhaustive, I had to choose what to include and what to omit. I needed to include a certain amount of context, even if already well-known, for the story to make sense. I could not omit pivotal events like Pearl Harbor, Midway, or D-Day. Other topics were chosen to exemplify important themes. I intentionally omitted events that would have been grist for a comprehensive treatment, but mentioned them in endnotes along with sources for further investigation.
Sometimes a bit pointedly, Michael Warner raises good questions about my choices. Regarding the role of air intelligence, especially in the Allied bombing campaign in Europe, he cites an excellent study that I did not consult before reading his review. I mention air intelligence in two contexts, but not in the depth it deserves (262, 264). It is fair for Warner to ask why I did not explain some choices more clearly, or post chronological road signs more prominently. In a crossover work, there will inevitably be some back and forth as the focus shifts from topic to topic, and theater to theater. I do not agree that a strictly chronological treatment of this vast topic would improve matters. But I do agree that more signposts would have been better, and I certainly don’t dispute his reasonable call for reviewers to review the book that the author actually wrote: “Need to Know should be read and appraised as the book it is, not as the book that Reynolds did not write.”
With some of Warner’s other points, I have to disagree. I am puzzled that he takes me to task for not spending more time on J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, a subject to which I devote nearly two full chapters. Hoover emerges as a would-be pioneer who tried to develop the FBI into both a counterintelligence (CI) and foreign intelligence (FI) service, making some progress in the CI realm but falling short when it came to FI. (Like Donovan, he flooded the White House with “intelligence” reports, many of dubious quality .) In the end, he ran into the wall that Truman erected against an all-encompassing foreign and domestic intelligence service. The President famously said that he did not want an American Gestapo, a point that invites a discussion of the role of intelligence in a democracy (323, 333-34). This was not something that the characters in this book troubled themselves with overmuch; their main concern was to win the war against two evil empires. But it is a topic that any history of postwar intelligence should address.
An important point of disagreement between us concerns the end of the war. Warner asks why, after the US had developed the sophisticated intelligence machinery it needed to win the war, “was that system so quickly, in key ways, dismantled literally days after the Japanese surrender?” That was hardly the impression I intended to give (335-37, 339-40). 1945 was the first time that the country did not send everyone home after the guns fell silent. Signals intelligence, the widely acknowledged king of the intelligence battlefield, was downsized but not dismantled. On the contrary, the relationship with the British deepened. Yes, OSS was disbanded. This is because its uniformed members were bound to be demobilized, and its overall record was uneven. As my narrative shows, OSS founder Donovan was better suited to wartime than peacetime service. Nevertheless, the Truman administration made a point of heeding his call for central intelligence and preserved parts of OSS under different management. As the president’s chief of staff William D. Leahy argued, the need for central intelligence was more pressing than ever now that the atomic age had dawned (327).
Sara Castro begins with a general review of my arguments that is as good as anything I could have written about my own work. She brings out two important points that any student of modern American intelligence would do well to ponder. The wartime system (if it was a system) was an emergency response; that response was to external events. As Castro writes, “the stakes of the war pushed Americans to achieve their strategic objectives by any means, which opened a door for American officials—both civilian and military—to develop new norms and precedents for the use of intelligence.” These points raise some intriguing questions. If American Intelligence had grown up in different circumstances, how might it have been different? Would it have been more orderly and coordinated? Would there have been less emphasis on special (paramilitary) operations? Would it still have partnered so closely with the British?
Castro addresses what my book does not do on account of my choices. It does not devote much attention to women and minorities; it does not fill gaps like Liza Mundy’s Code Girls or Brian Hayashi’s Asian American Spies do. This reflects my top-down approach. I describe how traditional elites ran the war from Washington. Mundy and Hayashi have found a different way to look at the secret war: how it changed the lives of women and minorities who made long-overlooked and undervalued contributions. Castro concludes that “the ambitious goals of this monograph leave little space for reflection on how these groups may have influenced or limited the resulting national security regime. The success of Need to Know in revealing that a global, whole-war, cross-institutional study of intelligence history is possible and worthwhile should serve as a call to action for other scholars to create deeper studies of the social and cultural intelligence history of this period.”
Like Sara Castro, James Lockhart identifies the major themes in my book that he considers most important: OSS as a prototype for an American central intelligence agency; the rise of Army and Navy cryptanalysis as institutions; and “the professionalization of intelligence analysis and the increasing sophistication of the presentation and consumption of processed intelligence.” The first is the primary legacy of OSS. While the startup made a respectable contribution to victory, that contribution pales when compared to signals intelligence. This was because the cryptanalysts had a head start over OSS and because consumers who mattered in Washington came to appreciate its value. That value was tied to the third theme: the professionalization of intelligence. Thanks to the senior leadership of the War Department, the product morphed from raw decrypts to something like finished intelligence. By the end of the war, one thing almost everyone could agree on was that, going forward, the country needed to sustain its codebreaking capabilities.
I was gratified to learn that Need to Know will occupy a prominent place on Lockhart’s shelf; that my colleagues find the book useful is what I hoped to hear at the end of the day.
 A fantastic conference on Watergate was hosted by Dr. Melissa Graves and Dr. Shane O’Sullivan between June 9th-10th, 2022. It was a free virtual conference that featured twenty-one eighteen speakers. The full program can be found here (https://www.watergateat50.com/about). A recording of the conference can be found here: https://www.watergateat50.com/recordings
 Both the Belfer Center at Harvard University and the Hayden Center, part of the Schar School of Public Policy and Government at the George Mason University, hosted events celebrating the 75th anniversary of the formation of the CIA: See: https://www.belfercenter.org/publication/report-marking-cias-75th-anniversary-reflections-past-visions-future and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ6Hhb2UqeA.
 On the Cuban Missile Crisis see: Max Hastings, Abyss: The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962 (United Kingdom: William Collins, 2022). On Watergate see Garrett M. Graff, Watergate a New History (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2022). On the CIA see Rhodri-Jeffrey Jones, A Question of Standing: The History of the CIA (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022).
 A great, albeit now somewhat outdated, place to start exploring the historiography of World War Two is: Justus D. Doenecke, “The United States and the European War, 1939-1941: A Historiographical Review,” in Michael J. Hogan, ed., Paths to Power: The Historiography of American Foreign Relations to 1941 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 200) 224 – 268, and Michael A. Barnhart, “The Origins of the Second World War in Asia and the Pacific,” in Hogan, Paths to Power, 268-297; Mark A. Stoler, “A Half-Century of Conflict: Interpretations of World War II Diplomacy,” in Michael Hogan, ed., America in the World: The Historiography of US Foreign Relations Since 1941 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996): 166- 206.
 Like the records of the OSS the records of the Strategic Services Unit (SSU) are available at the National Archives in College Park. Yet, to date there is only one book on the unit. See David Alverez and Eduard Mark, Spying Through a Glass Darkly. American Espionage Against the Soviet Union, 1945-1946 (Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2016).
 Name searches for individuals who served in the OSS can be found online in the Archival Research Catalogue listing for the OSS Personnel Files posted as ARC # 1593270 at http://www.archives.gov/research/military/ww2/oss/. Please type the number listed above (1593270) into the search box to find the OSS personnel records. Click on “personnel files” and then “search within this series” to conduct a name search. https://www.osssociety.org/national_archives_oss.html
 Jennifer Davies Heaps, “Tracking Intelligence Information: The Office of Strategic Services,” The American Archivist, 61 (Fall 1998): 287-308.
 To her list I would add: Kirk Ford, OSS and Yugoslav Resistance, 1943-1945 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1992); Troy Sacquerty, The OSS in Burma, (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2014); Maochun Yu, The OSS in China: Prelude to the Cold War (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2001); Nelson MacPherson, American Intelligence in War-Time London: The Story of the OSS, (London: Routledge 2014); and Peer Henrick Hansen, Second to None: US Intelligence Activities in Northern Europe 1943-1946, (St. Louis, MO: Republic of Letters Publishing BV, Dordrecht, 2011).
 Michael Warner to Sarah-Jane Corke, February 14, 2022.
 Nicholas Reynolds, Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Adventures, 1935 -1961, (Boston: Mariner Books, 2017). His earlier histories include: Reynolds, A Skillful Show of Strength: US Marines in the Caribbean, 1991-1996, 2 vols. (Boston: Generic, 2018); Reynolds, Just Cause: Marine Operations in Panama, 1988-1990 (South Carolina: Create Space Independent Publishing, 2013); and Reynolds, Basra, Bagdad and Beyond: US Marine Corps in the Second Iraq War (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2005).
 Christopher Moran and Andrew Hammond, “Bringing the ‘Social’ in from the Cold: Towards a Social History of American Intelligence,” Cambridge Review of International History 35:4 (2021): 616-636.
 James Lockhart, Chile, The CIA and the Cold War: A Transatlantic Perspective (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019).
 The views expressed in this review are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense, the US Government, US Air Force Academy, or US Air Force.
 There are too many of these new studies of World War II intelligence to list comprehensively, but a small and reflective sample of books published by academic and commercial presses since 2021 includes: Helen Fry, Spymaster: The Man Who Saved MI6 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2021); Brian Masaru Hayashi, Asian American Spies: How Asian Americans Helped Win the Allied Victory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021); Peter Hore, Bletchley Park’s Secret Source: Churchill’s Wrens and the Y Service in World War II (Barnsley, S. Yorkshire: Greenhill Books, 2021); Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, The Nazi Spy Ring in America: Hitler’s Agents, the FBI, and the Caste That Stirred the Nation (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2020); Larry Loftis, The Princess Spy: The True Story of World War II Sy Aline Griffith, Countess of Romanones (New York: Atria Books, 2021); and James Stejskal, No Moon as Witness: Missions of the SOE and OSS in World War II (Philadelphia: Casemate, 2021).
 For example, just thinking of recent releases that take a narrow scope and go deep, John Lisle’s The Dirty Tricks Department: Stanley Lovell, the OSS, and the Masterminds of World War II Secret Warfare (New York: St Martin’s Press, 2023) focuses specifically on the Research and Development Branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), and Sonia Purnell’s A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II (New York: Viking, 2019) sought to bring a well-sourced version of the story of American spy Virginia Hall to broad audiences.
 Reynolds’ “Select Bibliography” includes both older books that have become part of the canon of studies of U.S. and UK intelligence in World War II, such as Richard Harris Smith, OSS: The Secret History of America’s First Central Intelligence Agency (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1972), to newer books that are achieving classic status, such as John Ferris, Behind the Enigma: The Authorized History of GCHQ, Britain’s Secret Cyber-Intelligence Agency (New York and London: Bloomsbury, 2020) and Michael Warner, The Rise and Fall of Intelligence: An International Security History (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2014).
 Reynolds’s approach to these leaders is reminiscent of other studies that have analyzed US intelligence leaders and practitioners as an informal social network, such as Hugh Wilford, America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East (New York: Basic Books, 2013) and Evan Thomas, The Very Best Men: Four Who Dared: The Early Years of the CIA (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995).
 For example, see Stephen Budiansky, Battle of Wits: The Complete Story of Codebreaking in World War II (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2002) and Thomas L. Burns, The Quest for Cryptologic Centralization and the Establishment of NSA: 1940-1952 (Ft. Meade, MD: National Security Agency, Center for Cryptologic History, 2005).
 The view of Donovan as a hero of U.S. intelligence history may have started with CIA’s first official historian, Arthur B. Darling, who portrayed Donovan as founder of a precursor to CIA in The Central Intelligence Agency: An Instrument of Government to 1950, written at the bequest of the U.S. government and republished in 1990 by Pennsylvania State University Press. However, this view of Donovan carries over into more recent biographies of Donovan, such as Douglas C. Waller, Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage (New York: Free Press, 2011).
 Loch K. Johnson uses the phrase “male, pale, and Yale” and paraphrases of it in describing a lack of diversity that led to groupthink in the early CIA in his Spy Watching: Intelligence Accountability in the United States (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 323.
 For example: Arthur Darling, The Central Intelligence Agency: An Instrument of Government to 1950  (University Park and London: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1990); Ludwell Lee Montague, General Walter Bedell Smith as Director of Central Intelligence: October 1950-February 1953  (University Park and London: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992); Michael Warner, ed., The CIA under Harry Truman (Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1994); Department of State, Office of the Historian, Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1945-1950: Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1996); Department of State, Office of the Historian, FRUS, 1950-1955: The Intelligence Community, 1950-1955 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2007); and Richard H. Immerman, The Hidden Hand: A Brief History of the CIA (West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, 2014).
 For instance, Richard Harris Smith, OSS: The Secret History of America’s First Central Intelligence Agency (Berkely: University of California Press, 1972); Ray Cline, Secrets, Spies, and Scholars: Blueprint of the Essential CIA (Washington, DC: Acropolis, 1976), 1-118; William Casey, The Secret War against Hitler (Washington, DC: Regnery Gateway, 1988); Douglas Waller, Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage (New York: Free Press, 2011); and Immerman, Hidden Hand, 9-19.
 For Allen Dulles and the German opposition, also see Allen Dulles, Germany’s Underground: The Anti-Nazi Resistance  (New York: Da Capo, 2000).
 For example: David Kahn, The Codebreakers (New York: Macmillan, 1967); and David Kahn, The Reader of Gentleman’s Mail: Herbert O. Yardley and the Birth of American Codebreaking (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004).
 There are many accounts of this. For an example of one cited by Reynolds, see Christopher Andrew, For the President’s Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush  (New York: Harper Perennial, 1996). As Andrew phrased it, “Never before had one power had so much influence on the development of the intelligence community of another independent state (102).”
 See Herbert Yardley, The American Black Chamber (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1931); and Christopher Moran, Company Confessions: Secrets, Memoirs, and the CIA (New York: Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s, 2015), 23-51.
 For cryptanalysis in global history, consult Christopher Andrew, The Secret World: A History of Intelligence (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018).
 Robert Hathaway and Russell Jack Smith, Richard Helms as Director of Central Intelligence (Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1993), 73-74.
 Harold Ford, William E. Colby as Director of Central Intelligence, 1973-1976 (Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1993), 41-52.
 Office of the Director of National Intelligence, National Counterterrorism Center, at https://www.dni.gov/index.php/nctc-home; and Shane Harris, “CIA Creates New Mission Center to Counter China,” Washington Post, 7 Oct. 2021, at https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/cia-china-mission-center/2021/10/06/fd477142-26d4-11ec-8d53-67cfb452aa60_story.html.
 See notes 1, 2, and 3, above.
 The views expressed above are mine alone and in no way represent official positions of the Department of Defense or any US Government entity.
 For opposing views on the overall importance in the Allied victory—one laudatory, and one skeptical, respectively—see F.W. Winterbotham, The Ultra Secret (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1974) and John Keegan, Intelligence in War: Knowledge of the Enemy from Napoleon to Al-Qaeda (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003).
 For disclosure’s sake, he is also a colleague and friend.
 R. Harris Smith, OSS: The Secret History of America’s First Central Intelligence Agency (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972)
 See, for instance, David Alvarez, Secret Messages: Codebreaking and American Diplomacy, 1930-1945 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000), and Raymond J. Batvinis, Hoover’s Secret War against Axis Spies: FBI Counterespionage during World War II (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2014).
 Liza Mundy, Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II (New York: Hachette, 2017).
 Douglas Waller has contributed two of the best. See Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage (New York: Free Press, 2011); also his Disciples: The World War II Missions of the CIA Directors Who Fought for Wild Bill Donovan (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015).
 For a corrective overview, see Robert S. Ehlers, Jr., Targeting the Third Reich: Air Intelligence and the Allied Bombing Campaigns (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2009), and Bradford J. Shwedo, XIX Tactical Air Command and ULTRA: Patton’s Force Enhancers in the 1944 Campaign in France (Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University Press, 2001).
 I offer a brief summary of these events and debates in The Rise and Fall of Intelligence: An International Security History (Washington: Georgetown University Press, 2014), 139-144.
 Winston Churchill set a high bar with his six-volume history of the war that combined his memoirs with lengthy quotations from official documents, as well as appendices with additional documentation. Winston S. Churchill, The Second World War, six vols. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1948-1953). An intriguing look at this series that shows how perspectives changed is David Reynolds, In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War (New York: Random House, 2005).
 A classic example is Diane P. Koenker and Ronald D. Bachman, eds., Revelations from the Russian Archives, Documents in English Translation (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1997). East Germany provided an especially interesting case study. See for example Kristie Macrakis, Seduced by Secrets: Inside the Stasi’s Spy-Tech World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)
 The many works of British historian Sir Martin Gilbert exemplify these trends as he shifted from collaboration with Churchill’s son Randolph on a biography of the prime minister to focusing on the Jewish experience. See for example Martin Gilbert, Holocaust Journey: Travelling in Search of the Past (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999).
 David Kahn, The Codebreakers (New York: Macmillan, 1967), ix.
 See for examples Gerhard Weinberg, A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994); Allan Millett and Williamson Murray, A War to be Won: Fighting the Second World War (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2000); and Richard Overy, Why the Allies Won (New York: Norton, 1996).
 Kahn, Codebreakers, ix.
 F. H. Hinsley, et al., British Intelligence in the Second World War, five vols. (London: HMSO, 1979-1990). A sixth volume is F. H. Hinsley, British Intelligence in the Second World War, Abridged Version (London: HMSO, 1993).
 One of those students was Christopher Andrew, whose book For the President’s Eyes Only (New York: HarperCollins, 1995) remains the best overview of American intelligence in print. Andrews in turn helped to launch other intelligence historians such as Richard Aldrich.
 Max Hastings, The Secret War: Spies, Ciphers, and Guerrillas, 1939-1945 (New York: Harper, 2016), xv.
 Robert S. Ehlers, Jr, Targeting the Third Reich: Air Intelligence and the Allied Bombing Campaigns (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 2009).
 Liza Mundy, Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II (New York: Hachette, 2017); Brian Hayashi, Asian American Spies: How Asian Americans Helped Win the Allied Victory (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021).