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The Cold War 2 Essay Research Paper

The Cold War 2 Essay, Research Paper


When World War II in Europe finally came to an end on May 7, 1945, a

new war was just beginning. The Cold War: denoting the open yet restricted

rivalry that developed between the United States and the Soviet Union and

their respective allies, a war fought on political, economic, and

propaganda fronts, with limited recourse to weapons, largely because of

fear of a nuclear holocaust.1 This term, The Cold War, was first used by

presidential advisor Bernard Baruch during a congressional debate in 1947.

Intelligence operations dominating this war have been conducted by the

Soviet State Security Service (KGB) and the Central Intelligence Agency

(CIA), representing the two power blocs, East and West respectively, that

arose from the aftermath of World War II. Both have conducted a variety of

operations from large scale military intervention and subversion to covert

spying and surveillance missions. They have known success and failure. The

Bay of Pigs debacle was soon followed by Kennedy’s ft handling of the Cuban

missile crisis. The decisions he made were helped immeasurably by

intelligence gathered from reconnaissance photos of the high altitude plane

U-2. In understanding these agencies today I will show you how these

agencies came about, discuss past and present operations, and talk about

some of their tools of the trade.

Origin of the CIA and KGB

The CIA was a direct result of American intelligence operations during

World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized the need to

coordinate intelligence to protect the interests of the United States. In

1941, he appointed William J. Donovan to the head of the Office of

Strategic Services (OSS) with headquarters in London. Four departments made

up the OSS: Support, Secretariat, Planning, and Overseas Missions. Each of

these departments directed an array of sections known as ‘operation groups’.

This organization had fallen into the disfavor of many involved in the

federal administration at this time. This included the director of the

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), J. Edgar Hoover, who did not like

competition from a rival intelligence organization. With the death of

Roosevelt in April of 1945, the OSS was disbanded under Truman and

departments were either relocated or completely dissolved. Soviet

intelligence began with the formation of the Cheka, secret police, under

Feliks Dzerzhinsky at the time of the revolution. By 1946, this agency had

evolved into the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), and the Ministry of

State Security (MGB) both ruled by Lavrenti Beria. This man was undoubtedly

the most powerful man in the Soviet Union with a vast empire of prison

camps, and informants to crush any traces of dissent. Of considerable

importance to Beria was the race for the atomic bomb. The Soviet Union and

the United States both plundered the German V-2 rocket sites for materials

and personnel. In 1946 the MVD was responsible for the rounding up of 6000

scientists from the Soviet zone of Germany and taking them and their

dependents to the Soviet Union.2 The political conflicts of the 1930’s and

World War II left many educated people with the impression that only

communism could combat economic depression and fascism. It was easy for

Soviet agents to recruit men who would later rise to positions of power

with access to sensitive information. ‘Atom spies’ were well positioned to

keep the Soviets informed of every American development on the bomb. Of

considerable importance was a man by the name of Klaus Fuchs, a German

communist who fled Hitler’s purge and whose ability as a nuclear physicist

earned him a place on the Manhattan Project. Fuchs passed information to

the Soviets beginning in 1941, and was not arrested until 1950. Also

passing secrets to the Soviets were Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed in

the United States in 1953. The latter two were probably among the first who

believed in nuclear deterrence, whereby neither country would use nuclear

weapons because the other would use his in response, therefore there would

be no ssible winner. It is generally believed that with such scientists as

Andrei Sakharov, the Soviets were capable of working it out for themselves

without the help of intelligence. (better transition) The National Security

Act of 1947 gave birth to the CIA, and in 1949 the CIA Act was formally

passed. “The act exempted the CIA from all Federal laws that required the

disclosure of ‘functions, names, official titles, and salaries or number of

personnel employed by the agency’. The director was awarded staggering

powers, including the right to ’spend money without regard to the

provisions of law and regulations relating to the expenditure of government

funds’. The act also allowed the director to bring in 100 aliens a year

secretly.”3 The 1949 charter is essentially the same one that the CIA uses

to carry out covert operations today.

The U-2 Incident

In 1953, the CIA contracted Lockheed Aircraft Corporation of Burbank CA

to build a plane that would go higher and farther than any yet produced.

Kelly Johnson came up with the design for the U-2, a plane that would fly

with a record high ceiling of 90,000 ft. and a range of 4,000 ft. The U-2

flights are possibly the greatest triumph achieved by the CIA since its

founding. This is because of the planes success at evading detection for

such a long time and the vast amounts of information gathered. “We’ll never

be able to match that one. Those flights were intelligence work on a mass

production basis.”4 On the fateful day of May 1, 1960, Gary Powers was sent

up in his U-2 over the Soviet Union from the United States Air Force Base

at Peshawar, Pakistan. His mission was to photograph areas of military and

economic signifigance and record radio transmissions. The plane he flew was

equipped with cameras, radio receivers and tape recorders to accomplish

this mission. In addition to these devices, the plane was also equipped

with self destruction capabilities to blow up the U-2 if it was forced to

land, and a blasting mechanism fitted to the tape recorder to destroy any

evidence of the CIA’s monitoring of radio signals. As his plane flew over

the Soviet Union, the cameras recorded ammunition depots, oil storage

installations, the number and type of aircraft at military airports, and

electric transmission lines. When the plane did not return to its base

after a reasonable allowance of time, it was assumed it had crashed for

some reason or another. The circumstances surrounding the crash of the

plane Powers flew on this is a still a mystery today, depending on whether

you believe the Soviets or the Americans. The Soviets claim that “in view

of the fact that this was a case of the deliberate invasion of Soviet

airspace with hostile aggressive intent, the Soviet Government gave orders

to shoot down the plane”5, and that they shot it out of the air with an SA-

2 missile at 8:53 A.M. at the altitude of 68,000 ft. The Americans declared

that the U-2 was disabled by a flameout in its jet engine. Whatever the

truth maybe, or combination of truths, the fact remains that Powers

survived the encounter by parachute in the vicinity of Sverdlovsk. Upon

landing, he was apprehended, disarmed, and escorted to the security police

by four residents of the small town. The fault of the incident lay with the

American administration’s handling of the situation, not with the flight

itself. It was assumed that Powers had died in the crash, and this was the

mistake. The initial story released was not widely reported and only told

of a missing pilot near the Soviet border who’s oxygen equipment was out of

order. “From an intelligence point of view, the original cover story seemed

to be particularly inept… A cover story has certain requirements. It must

be credible. It must be a story that can be maintained [no live pilots

knocking about] and it should not have too much detail. Anything that’s

missing in a cover story can be taken care of by saying the matter is being

investigated.”6 The further lies the State Department released about the

incident only strained U.S. and Soviet relations. These included reports of

an unarmed weather research plane, piloted by a civilian, that had trouble

with oxygen equipment going down over the Soviet Union. Under questioning

by the press, Information Officer, Walt Bonney, admitted that the U-2 had

cameras aboard, but they were not reconnaissance cameras. Rather, the

cameras were “to take cloud cover”. When it became publicly known that

Khrushchev had known what had taken place all along and had known for some

years, President Eisenhower justified the presence of a spy plane over the

Soviet Union with it being “in the interest of the free world.” Khrushchev

saw through the ploy and revoked his invitation for Eisenhower to visit the

Soviet Union for a summit.

Bay of Pigs

By 1959, Fidel Castro and his rebels were able to establish their own

regime in Cuba. Americans soon became hostile to this new government when

it became apparent that Castro endorsed the Soviets. He declared his

intentions of supporting guerrilla movements against US backed

dictatorships throughout Latin America and seized US assets in Cuba. He

also established friendly relations with the Soviet Union although he was

not communist. The US recognized this threat to their interests and

proceeded to form a special CIA task force that was create an armed force

of exiled Cubans, form a subversive organizations within Cuba, and if

possible assassinate Castro. The initial plan was to discredit the

charismatic man in front of his nation. Some ideas that were considered to

accomplish the task were ludicrous in the least. The first was to spray

Cuban TV studios with LSD prior to Castro broadcasting a speech in hopes of

him making a complete fool of himself. The agency had been experimenting

with the acid for some time. However, the idea was quickly abandoned

because no one could guarantee with any certainty that the drug would have

the desired effect. Further attempts were stabs at the look of Castro

himself. One idea was to doctor his famous insignia, the cigars he is

always seen with. This idea was discontinued because no one could figure

out how to get the cigars to him. From an angle of more a chemical nature,

the agency planned at one time to make his beard fall out. Scientists at

the agency knew that when thallium salts contact skin, they act as a

depilatory and make hair fall out. The idea goes further into reasoning

that when Castro aveled he would leave his shoes outside of his hotel

bedroom and the salts could be sprinkled in then. This idea became

impossible when Castro announced that all forthcoming foreign trips were to

be cancelled. With these failures, the US felt that it had no choice but to

continue with the organization of partisans and help them usurp the

dictatorship of Cuba. By the time John F. Kennedy was elected President in

1960, the development of the invasion was already in full force. Eisenhower

had earmarked $13 million and a force of 1300 men had been assembled.7

Cuban pilots were being trained how to fly B-26 bombers by National

Guardsmen. The operation was massive, enough so that the public took notice.

Kennedy was extremely wary of any direct US involvement and set about a

series of compromises for the Cuban exiles. The air cover was reduced and

the landings were shifted from a more favorable site to the Bay of Pigs

where it was determined that the landing force could get ashore with a

minimum of naval and air force back up. Escorted by US naval vessels, the

force landed in the Bay of Pigs on April 17, 1961. The six B-26s assigned

to the operation were clearly inadequate and the support from within the

country never fully materialized. Completely exposed to counterattacks of

the Cuban air and land forces, the whole invasion force was either killed

or taken prisoner. When Kennedy’s statement that “the armed forces of this

country would not intervene in any way” was an outright lie. The exiles

uses American equipment. They were trained by American servicemen, and the

planes flown were Americans. The ships that carried the men to the invasion

were American, with American naval units for support. Americans were killed

in operation. When caught in his lie, Kennedy was forced to cover the US by

extending the Monroe Doctrine to cover communism. He declared that the US

would remain free of all Central and Latin American affair as long as they

were not communist. This fiasco undoubtedly led to Khrushchev’s belief that

he could deploy missiles to his newfound ally without any tangible reprisal

from the Americans.

Practices of Spies

Some of the devices used seem to come straight from a James Bond movie.

Hollow rings or talcum powder cans with false bottoms were some of the

items used for hiding microfilm. An interesting method involves the use of

a microdot whereby pages of information is reduced to the size of a colon

and used in an appropriate place on a document. The process is reversed for

the extraction of information and the dot is enlarged to display all the

information. Hiding places for secret packages were imaginative to say the

least and ranged from trees, to ruined walls, to mail boxes. Listening

devices were not restricted to telephone bugs, and on one occasion there

was a handcarved Great Seal of the United States presented to the US

ambassador in Moscow by the Soviet Union. It turned out that hidden inside

was a listening device. Microwave receivers exist all over the world for

the interception of messages, the Soviet embassy in San Francisco has its

own battery of dishes erected on top of its building. In 1978, a Bulgarian

exile by the name Georgi Markov who was working for the Radio Free Europe

was fatally poisoned with a pellet most likely hidden in an umbrella.

Vladimir Kostov was killed under very similar circumstances in 1978, and it

is believed that the toxin used was ricin. This is an extremely toxic

substance derived from castor oil. Political and intelligence related

assassinations have abounded in the twentieth century with the advent of

the Cold War. The public will never know when one of murders takes place by

reason of secrecy unless it is a public figure.


The agencies discussed above are integral to the peace that exists

today. There is no other way in the age we live in today to monitor the

enemy and ally alike so as to be able to understand their capabilities and

shortcomings without intelligence agencies. The CIA and KGB by themselves

cannot assure peace. With the knowledge supplied by each to its leaders,

intelligent decisions can be made in the world’s best interest. Moreover,

the status quo and power base remains relatively stable with the East and

West on opposing sides. There can never be true and utterly complete peace,

these organizations will continue to exist contrary ignorant ideals of the

public for peaceful coexistence.

1Encyclopedia Britannia index page 237 2KGB/CIA, Jonathon Bloch page 12

3KGB/CIA, Jonathon Bloch page 21 4CIA: The Inside Story, Andrew Tully page

113 5CIA: The Inside Story, Andrew Tully page 119 6General Thomas R.

Phillips, U.S. Army, retired. 7Bay of Pigs, Peter Wyden page 59 ??

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