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Agent 110: An American Spymaster
Agent 110: An American Spymaster and the German Resistance in WWII
A review essay by Steven Christopher Ippolito, Ph.D.

Agent 110: An American Spymaster and the German resistance in WWII.
Miller, S. (2017).

New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
ISBN 978-1-4516-9338-6; ISBN 978-1-4516-9340-9 (e-book)
List Price: $28.00
Canada: $37.00
342 pages

Table of Contents, Preface, Timeline, Forty-Five Chapters,
Character Listing, Acknowledgments' Page, Bibliography, End-notes,
Photographs, Illustration Credits,Index


Veteran Wall Street Journal reporter, Scott Miller, has written an interesting history of the World War II espionage activities of Allen Dulles (1893-1975), the future Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Dulles, the son of Presbyterian minister, was once described by British intelligence agent, Kenneth Strong, as the “'last great Romantic of Intelligence,' a man whose stock-in-trade consisted of secrets and mysteries” (Miller, 2017, p. xiv). Born into a patrician American family that boasted at least two Secretaries of State, it is, perhaps, no surprise that Dulles would later gravitate toward government work. President Benjamin Harrison appointed Dulles grandfather, John Watson Foster (1836-1917), a Civil War veteran of the Union Army, Secretary of State, where he served between 1892 and 1893; and Allen's brother, the well-known, John Foster Dulles would also serve as Secretary of State, under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, beginning in 1953, serving at a critical time during the Cold War era. Additionally, both Dulles brothers were the nephews of another Secretary of State, Robert Lansing, who served in the State Department between 1915 and 1920. Robert Lansing was an uncle to Allen and John Foster Dulles through marriage, having married John Watson Foster's daughter.

Miller has focused his biography of Dulles, primarily, from the early to mid-1940s, when Allen Dulles, whose agency designation was Agent 110, was posted to Switzerland by General William (Wild Bill) Donovan (aka, Agent 109), head of the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) (Messenger, 2015). Though it is not likely that Switzerland, at this period of history, will be thought of as a kind of intrigue-filled European Casablanca, in the minds of most observers, it was, nevertheless -- as a result of its professed, political neutrality and geographic location – a critical hub of wartime activity, a veritable home to “a thriving community of spies” (Miller, 2017, p. 1). Thus, the purpose of this review essay is to discuss the essentials of Miller's book, Agent 110, amplified by insights and facts from the literature.

Allen Dulles and the Casablanca of Europe

In the film, Casablanca, virtually all clandestine activity occurred in “Rick's Place,” an American-style night-club run by a mysterious, American ex-patriate, Richard Blaine, whose cynical philosophy was expressed in a defensive meme: “'I stick my neck out for nobody'” (Biskind, 2017, para 2). Dulles, by contrast, throughout his Swiss adventure, did precisely what Rick Blaine said he never would do: he (Dulles) exposed himself to potential danger, for duty, country, and the survival of freedom, and liberal democracy. In 1945, at the end of the war, Dulles, himself, described his reactions to the situation of post-war Germany in an article written for the journal, Foreign Affairs (Dulles, 1945). In examining this article, today, it is clear that the future spy chief of the United States had already moved past the idea that Germany was the enemy (Dulles, 1945). Of concern to Dulles, at this time, was the post-WWII International Order (Hughes-Wilson, 2016). The defeat of the Axis powers occasioned the rise to a new strategic confrontation, the clash of liberal, parliamentary democracy and international Communism, as articulated in the Marxist-Leninist program of 1917 (Bobbitt, 2002). Thus, students of grand strategy, military history, and intelligence matters relating to World War II in Europe will appreciate journalist Scott Miller's exposition of these matters -- the strategic trajectory World War II (1939 -1945) as it gave way to the Cold War (1945-1991). Author Miller has spun this true, war-time yarn rather well, focusing the reader's view through the lens of Allen Dulles and the redoubtable Wild Bill Donovan, operating through the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Special Force military community, the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S) (Messenger, 2015).

Scott Miller: Prior Writings

Scott Miller, a native of Washington State, where he lives with his wife and children, earned a Master's degree in International Relations from the University of Cambridge. His subsequent journalistic career would span a twenty-year period and extended into twenty-five countries. In this period, he also wrote a previously well-received book, The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century, released in 2011. In this work, Miller examined the history of turn-of-the-century America, the so-called Progressive Era, during the administration of President William McKinley, at a time the United States was beginning its ascent to super-power status. In his most recent work, Agent 110: An American Spymaster and the German Resistance in WWII, Miller has explored, once again, the intersection of war, history and strategic thinking.

Operation Valkyrie: Author's Thesis and Purpose

By way of thesis, Agent 110 is predicated on a singular reality: “Dulles made the [Swiss O.S.S.] station arguably the most valuable of America's intelligence-gathering outposts” (p. xiv). In the opening pages of Agent 110, Scott Miller introduces the reader facts surrounding Operation Valkyrie, the case of German Wehrmacht officer, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg and other co-conspirators, who attempted to assassinate none other than the infamous Chancellor of Germany, Adolf Hitler – a conspiracy that would cost most of them their lives. The attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler, in order to liberate Germany from fascist tyranny, was the point of departure for Scott Miller's book.

Unfortunately, Operation Valkyrie failed to attain its strategic end. By some malevolent luck, Adolf Hitler managed to survive the explosion from a bomb planted by Stauffenberg in Der Fuehrer's otherwise secure headquarters. The discovery of Stauffenberg's treachery by German security forces resulted in his rather brutal execution, together with other identified co-conspirators. Scott Miller became interested in this military history when he visited Stauffenberg's execution site, as a journalist, finding his historical imagination stirred by the heroic lyricism of Operation Valkyrie and the martyrdom of Stauffenberg and his fellow German patriots. At the time, a number of historical facts were not yet available to Miller, depriving Miller of an adequate narrative thread, as it were. However, with the discovery of Allen Dulles' role in Switzerland, and the future Central Intelligence Agency's Director interactivity with some of the surviving co-conspirators of Stauffenberg's mission, Miller found he could now craft a more coherent work that would integrate Stauffenberg's action with the United States' espionage work conducted by Allen Dulles (Agent 110), and the legendary O.S.S., America's first special force-espionage agency.

Amongst the facts that the author found were the following: Claus von Stauffenberg was hardly the only -- or even the most critical -- piece on the chessboard of conspiracy against Hitler, though his case probably has more dramatic recognition than others. Secondly, as the Third Reich rolled over Europe – and Germany as well -- a considerable underground, an interconnected and networked system of real complexity, had emerged fairly early on in opposition to Hitler and his government. It was this network of German patriots with whom Allen Dulles would work, a fact that was – and remains -- virtually unknown (Willmetts, 2015). These included a number of Stauffenberg's colleagues, military personnel in the German Army, including a former Gestapo, all of whom risked their lives in an attempt to save Germany from the Adolf Hitler and the nightmarish dreams of the Third Reich.

In conjunction with the book's thesis: how Allen Dulles, at the behest of Major William Joseph Donovan, created an O.S.S. intelligence-gathering station in Switzerland that was, perhaps, “the most valuable of America's intelligence-gathering outposts” (p. xiv), Miller's purpose (primary) in writing Agent 110 was to explore Dulles' Swiss activities in connection with the German underground's efforts to depose and eliminate Hitler and Hitlerism from the German homeland. A secondary purpose is to describe Dulles' awareness of the gathering strategic storm that would emerge in the geo-political tensions of the Cold War, the ideological clash of the United States and the Soviet Union. This is significant, in that, some in the German resistance to Hitler thought the Soviet Union would be a better alternative for post-war Germany to ally with, rather than the United States. Despite the invasion of Russia by Hitler, Stalin harbored considerable mistrust of the Allies. He even toyed with the idea that despite the Reich's depredations against Mother Russia, Germany might be a better partner than England or the United States. The violent antagonism between Moscow and Berlin, notwithstanding, many Germans thought Russia might be a better choice for strategic ally than the United States, as a result of President Roosevelt's insistence that any surrender by Germany had to be unconditional (Miller, 2017). Dulles, in his cables home, advised that American policy makers drop the all-or-nothing terms of German surrender. The matter would eventually come to a rather turbulent climax in a critical O.S.S. operation, Operation Sunrise.

Operation Sunrise

Despite the fact that Moscow and Washington, ostensibly, were allies during World War II, the imminent emergence of the Cold War was already evident in World War II. Allen Dulles, an operative with diplomatic experience, was fairly sensitive to the gathering storm between Moscow and Washington, an ideological-political conflict that would separate East and West for nearly half a century (1945-1991). As a result, Allen Dulles, tried, rather strenuously, and against considerable bureaucratic resistance, to get the Nazi Wehrmacht forces posted in Italy, to surrender to the Americans, after no less a figure than S.S. General Karl Wolff, contacted Dulles through intermediaries, to discuss surrender to the Allies, rather than be swallowed by Russian forces. Both Dulles and General Donovan were of one mind on this matter. As a result, both men made every attempt to orchestrate this result, and in the process, score a major coup for the Allies, as well as the O.S.S. Unsurprisingly, however, Operation Sunrise was a source of considerable diplomatic and strategic tension between Stalin and Roosevelt. In 1943, Roosevelt had met with Stalin in the famous Casablanca Conference, where the American president had insisted his policy for Germany and German military forces was unconditional surrender or nothing. In the process, Operation Sunrise went through stops and starts, but in the end, as a result of the Dulles-Wolff meetings, German troops surrendered to the allies on 2 May 1945, handing the Roosevelt Administration and Wild Bill Donovan a great military and strategic success (Miller, 2017).

Upon reading this part of Dulles exploits in Switzerland, it is rather clear that already in the 1930s, Allen Dulles came to distrust Adolf Hitler. Equally, he had developed a contemptuous opinion of Joseph Stalin, Communism, as an ideology and political system, and the Soviet Union. Thus, by the time the Second World began, Allen Dulles was not simply anti-Hitler and anti-Nazi, he was a fledgling Cold Warrior. Of like mind was Donovan who, in April 1945, met with his subordinate in Paris, to discuss Operation Sunrise and its numerous logistical problems (Waller, 2011). At this time, the Soviets were more concerned about “grabbing real estate than the prospect of the Americans cutting a deal behind their backs (Miller, 2017, p. 234). Stalin wanted to seize Trieste in Yugoslavia and Northern Italy, where there was a large group of communist sympathizers, and in order to gain “military control of the region around Trieste [that] was of vital [strategic] importance (Miller, 2017, p. 235). The failure of Sunrise would insure that rather than surrendering to Allied custody – thus contributing to the end of the war in Europe – the German Army would withdraw, and, in the process, a strategic vacuum would be created. Such a vacuum would allow Soviet, Yugoslav, and Italian, communist partisans to occupy the areas of northern Italy and Trieste, in effect, giving the Soviets a foothold in northwestern Europe, in addition to Eastern Europe, as well. This is Miller's secondary purpose in writing Agent 110. It is to elucidate Dulles' strategic exertions, labors informed by the stark realization that the nation that controlled these geo-strategic spheres of influence “would likely dictate the come of post-war influence, or even occupation” (Miller, 2017, p. 235). Unfortunately, despite Wolff's willingness to surrender to the Americans, his superior, General Kesselring, initially refused to join him. In time, this would change, however, when it was obvious to Kesselring that the die was cast, and surrender to the United States was the only rational response. Thus, Operation Sunrise was a success, ultimately, and on American terms, thanks to Dulles, Donovan, and the Office of Strategic Services (Waller, 2011).

Allen Dulles: Early Years

Operation Sunrise took place toward the end of Dulles' work in the O.S.S. However, his life and activities, prior to his entry into the O.S.S. and his posting to Switzerland are also of significance. Somewhat like Thomas Jefferson and other distinguished Americans who comprised America's patrician “aristocracy,” Dulles rightfully could be defined as a child of America's ruling class, a man whose political orientation would always be reliably conservative in approach. Dulles, for example, remained a lifelong member of the Republican Party.

Born 7 April 1893, in Watertown, New York, Allen Dulles was educated at Princeton University, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Graduating in 1914, Dulles entered George Washington University, where he obtained a law degree. By 1916, he was working in the American Diplomat Service. In 1918, the future spy was posted to Istanbul, Turkey; there, he began to explore, through his everyday work, a theme that would characterize not simply his own approach to government work, but that of his celebrated brother, John Foster Dulles, some years hence, in the decade of the 1950s and the Eisenhower Administration: this theme was the integration of diplomacy and secret operations (espionage). In 1921, Dulles, in a creatively ad-hoc fashion, learned to intercept short-wave radio traffic between Moscow and its Communist bases, using the communication capabilities of an American warship moored near Istanbul, Turkey. As a result, Dulles was a multi-dimensional diplomat-spy. At the same time, he never completely strayed from his legal education. Indeed, in the aftermath of World War I, Dulles was a legal adviser for the League of Nations in the 1920s, working in such areas as post-war arms limitation.

Allen Dulles, worked for the State Department till 1926, when he left government service to work in the private sector. At his brother, John Foster Dulles' urging, Allen entered the prestigious law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, on Wall Street, New York City. Despite his separation from federal service, Dulles continued to stay close to matters of diplomacy and what is called today, grand strategy. He remained a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and he also wrote articles for diplomatic publications, including Foreign Affairs. At the same time, Dulles, the Wall Street lawyer, helped arrange U.S. banking loans to Germany, reeling under the punitive provisions of the Versailles Treaty, that would come to virtually strangle Germany, post- 1918. In his legal capacity, the skill-set of Dulles the diplomat was also evident; in arranging for loans to Europe, Allen was required to interact, to greater or lesser degree, with such figures as Benito Mussolini and Vladimir Lenin. In 1933, Dulles was in Germany, representing his firm, where, for the first time, he met Adolf Hitler, who became Chancellor in that year. His sense of the new Chancellor was that of a man who was neither impressive or of any particular political significance; in short, Adolf Hitler, for Dulles, was not a man that anyone necessarily had to fear. However, by 1935, Dulles' view of the new Chancellor changed radically. The sinister aura that permeated Hitler's being was now abundantly clear to the perceptive Dulles. So much so, Dulles immediately advised the Sullivan & Cromwell leadership (partners) to close their office in Berlin.

With Europe and the Hitler's of the world out-of-sight and out-of-mind, for the time being, Allen Dulles, in 1938, made his first attempt to enter American politics, running as a Republican, unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives. Whether his support for Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, contributed to his political loss is unknown. In any event, this loss would soon be overshadowed by the eruption of war in Europe in 1939. The Adolf Hitler whom Dulles once underestimated, now showed his predatory claws to the world. Then, in December 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese military forces. Rather quickly, the war would come to Dulles' front door, a New York City townhouse located on East 61st Street, where Allen lived with his wife Clover and his daughter, Joan. In short order, the emergence of war would reignite Dulles' espionage career. Thereupon, the patrician, aristocratic, pipe-smoking, tennis-playing, Allen Dulles became Agent 110 in the employ of the redoubtable Major William J. Donovan, commanding officer of the Office of Strategic Services, the O.S.S. (Waller, 2011).

The Spy

Major General William (Wild Bill) Donovan, a World War I Medal of Honor recipient who, like Allen Dulles, followed his government service with employment as a white-shoe, Wall Street lawyer (Miller, 2017; Waller, 2011). It was in this way that Donovan became acquainted with Dulles, prior to the war. After President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Donovan as America's first intelligence czar, as it were, with the title of Coordinator of Information (COI) -- adumbrating a career that Allen Dulles (unlike Donovan) would one day hold, beginning in 1953, as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) – the World War I veteran was determined to lead American espionage into “a new age” (Miller, 2017, p. 7). Thus, after Donovan's initial organization, the COI, was dissolved in June 1942, replaced by the O.S.S., with Roosevelt's patronage, and by the assistance of a somewhat vaguely worded Executive Order (Waller, 2011). Donovan established his O.S.S. headquarters in Washington, D.C., on 25th and E Streets, in Washington's Navy Hill area; he eventually persuaded Dulles to join his fledging organization (Hughes-Wilson, 2016).

As an O.S.S. operative, Dulles, Agent 110, was posted to Bern, Switzerland, in January 1943. There, he was tasked with setting up an O.S.S. station, focused on waging the intelligence war against Nazi Germany. Dulles' cover story was that of special assistant to Leland Harrison, the 49-year old U.S. State Department diplomat and Chief-of Station in Bern. Officially, Dulles was a financial attaché to the U.S. mission. Clandestinely, however, Dulles' task was “to get a Swiss (O.S.S.) station up and running to spy on Nazi Germany (Miller, 2017, p. 2). Thereafter, Donovan expected Dulles to interact with business and intellectual figures in Europe. To that end, Dulles established a safe-house near the U.S. Embassy at Herrengasse (Gentleman's Way). In time, this location would become ground-zero of the German Resistance against Hitler in Switzerland, aided by the Americans (Miller, 2017).

As part of his overall intelligence mandate, Dulles engaged in what is called, today, psy-ops, psychological operations designed to destabilize Nazi war efforts, including demoralizing German troops. Dulles was also tasked with uncovering intelligence about Nazi Germany's secret weapons, and he was also ordered to attempt to steal the German Orders of Battle. In seeking to accomplish these goals, Dulles never shrank from risk-tasking, or whatever was necessary to complete the mission (Miller, 2017). Though externally, Dulles' persona was that of a patrician, academically-inclined lawyer, an image that was reinforced by his pipe-smoking mien, in reality, Dulles possessed the soul of a modern swashbuckler. At the same time, Dulles' presence in Switzerland was not a secret to Berlin, and, not surprisingly, the Nazi authorities, well aware that Dulles was in Europe, began a secret investigation of his activities in Switzerland. Fortunately, the Nazis misjudged the nature of his work, and his anti-Nazi operations. Thereafter, they paid less attention to him in Switzerland, an oversight that allowed him and the O.S.S. to make contact with the anti-Hitler, German underground, an accomplishment that would benefit the American war effort.

Never one to stand down rather than take risk, Dulles' work in engaging patriotic Germans was successful, much of the time. According to Miller (2017), Dulles's risk-taking may be due to a specific problematic experience he had many years before. Early on, in the 20th century, when he worked as an American diplomat, Dulles, declined to see a Russian gentleman who very much wanted to see him. Miller has related that Dulles declined the request for reasons that were not very significant – he had a tennis appointment with an attractive woman. As a result, Dulles, who did not think the Russian man seeking an appointment was anyone of consequence, went instead to play tennis. Unfortunately, for Dulles, as well as the United States and world history, the Russian who never got an appointment was none other than Vladimir Lenin. What Lenin wanted would be forever unknown. No matter. Dulles never forgave himself for this injudicious decision-making. From that point on, Dulles made it his business to see virtually anyone who might be of help in attaining his purposes, even when advised by others not to do so.

This strict, new policy of seeing all manner of potential sources of information, regardless of his colleagues' opinions, or whether or not the meeting was a possible source of danger to Dulles, personally, would remain a reliable characteristic of Dulles' modus operandi, ever after, even when the persons he was seeing were individuals suspected of begin double agents. This was the case with a man of suspect and inscrutable intentions, Hans Bernd Gisevius, a literal giant of a man, at 6 feet, four inches tall. Agent 110 called him, Der Lange (The Tall One), and in meeting the massive Teuton, Dulles summarily ignored the advice of a number of individuals, in the hope of learning something of value. Absent this, in his view, he would not fulfill his mission to function as an intelligence interlocutor of any significance. This intuitive decision would ultimately bear fruit. Gisevius, defined by Miller as one of “many brave souls in Germany who wanted to rid their country of Adolf Hitler and were ready to take action” (p. 3) would prove to be a veritable gold mine of intelligence for Dulles and the Allies in the course of the wall. It was in this way that Dulles made inroads with the German Underground – the Resistance, as it were (Dyson, 2014).

The German Resistance – Dulles' Network

Hans Bernd Gisevius, the son of a high court judge in Germany, had served, in 1933, in The State Secret Police of Prussia, popularly known by the acronym, Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei). Perhaps for this reason, the long, tall German was suspect in the eyes of some Allied intelligence operatives. In truth, Gisevius had become disenchanted with Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. By 1938, Der Lange was working with a number of anti-Hitler conspirators, including military personnel like Claus von Stauffenberg, and General Ludwig Beck, former chief of the German General Staff. By 1938, Beck, too, had soured on Hitler and his plan to invade Czechoslovakia, fearing that such a provocative move would incite France and England to declare war against Germany.

By 1943, Dulles was meeting with other important German nationals, including Gero von Schulze Gaevernitz and Eduard Schulte. From the latter, Dulles began to learn of forced deportations, the genesis of a rocket program. It was at this time that the German Foreign Ministry learned of Dulles' activities in Bern. A report was sent to Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. However, as indicated above, the authorities in Berlin incorrectly assessed Dulles' activities; Nazi analysts assessed Dulles' activities in Bern as that of a “'personal mission for Roosevelt…and [that] he (Dulles) was eager to return home'” (Miller, 2017, p. 48). German's misunderstanding of Dulles' espionage mischief making insured that the diplomat-lawyer-turned spy would make real real progress in Switzerland.

Additionally, the German underground, also called the Resistance, included such figures as Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, Chief of the Abwehr, German military intelligence (the word, Abwehr, according to Schaub [2006] is literally translated as “defense”). Canaris who had supported, initially, the Nazi Party, fairly early, on later became opposed, inexorably, to the party and the Third Reich. According to Miller (2017), Dulles hypothesized that approximately five percent of the Abwehr, at any given time, were actively seeking to undermine Hitler's Reich. Amongst them were individuals on Canaris' payroll, included general officers, such as Erin von Lahousen, head of the Abwehr's Department II, also called Sabotage and Subversion (Schaub, 2006). Already a general, Lahousen was assigned to the Abwehr, effective 11 April 1938 by Canaris, himself. Indeed, when Admiral Canaris became the Chief of the Abwehr, effective 2 January 1935, he was already a vigorous opponent of National Socialism and its overall program (Schaub, 2006). Lahousen would reveal these facts in 1945, when he was a witness for the prosecution at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal (Schaub, 2006). Amongst them, when he reported to Canaris' office and offered the Nazi salute, Canaris actually pushed his saluting arm down without interrupting the discussion” (Schaub, 2006, p. 544). A similar scene played itself out when Lahousen reported to one of Canaris' subordinates, Lt. Col. Hans Oster. Here, General Lahousen, again, offered the Nazi salute, whereupon Oster responded: “'Is it, then, your intention to serve willingly the greatest criminal of all times?'” (Schaub, 2006, p. 545).

As it viewed National Socialist foreign policy, the Abwehr Resistance was convinced that Hitler was a reckless high-stakes gambler with very limited assets who would sooner or later lead an unprepared Germany into a two-front war which could not be won and which could result only in the destruction of Germany (Schaub, 2006, p. 545).

Nuremberg, 1945

General Major Erwin von Lahousen testified against the Third Reich on Indictment Count 1, conspiracy to wage aggressive war on 30 November 1945. According to Schaub (2006), “Hermann Goering was particularly incensed, calling Lahousen a traitor whom they had forgotten about in the blood bath after the 20 July 1944 assassination attempt” (p. 553). Interestingly, the testimony of Lahousen was largely orchestrated by Major General William J. Donovan, himself, who served on the American prosecution team (Waller, 2011). It was Donovan who was able to convince Robert Jackson, the American prosecutor to allow Lahousen to testify. “Colonel John Harlen Amen, Associate Trial Counsel for the United States, conducted the examination” (Schaub, 2006, p. 553).

Indeed, it was individuals like Canaris, Oster, and Lahousen who were pursued, often unsuccessfully, as sources of information by Allen Dulles in Switzerland. Not all, however, were military personnel. There were others who would prove valuable to Dulles and the United States. Some of these were neither professional spies, nor warfighters, nor diplomats. These individuals were both men and women who helped Dulles and Donovan wage war and gather intelligence by socio-cultural, psychological and scientific means. They included medical doctors, socialites, psychologists, and psychiatrists, who are were already famous at the time of the Second World War (Miller, 2017). Through some of these individuals, Dulles would succeed, rather literally, in succeeding in his attempts at conducting psychological operations, or psy-ops. In the process, Dulles, Donovan, and the O.S.S. would pioneer some new techniques that would continue to be utilized and refined, on into the present time (Fulero & Wrightsman, 2009).

Psychological Warfighting: The Profiling of Adolf Hitler

Amongst this memorable array of actors who helped Dulles succeed in this latter task were the American socialite, turned adjunct spy, Mary Bancroft, with whom Dulles had an extra-marital affair (Miller, 2017). Bancroft was the daughter of Hugh Bancroft, publisher of the Wall Street Journal. Perhaps the most intriguing was the famous Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Gustav Jung, M.D. (1875-1961), one-time disciple of Sigmund Freud, who was forced out of the orthodox psychoanalytical movement by Freud and his disciples, for theoretical disagreements of significance. Jung would ultimately found his own approach called analytical psychology. Dulles made the acquaintance of Jung through Mary Bancroft who was both a patient and a disciple of Jung. Thus:

At Dulles request, he [Jung] had prepared a psychological analysis of Hitler that was used for profiles the OSS was preparing on senior Nazis. Among other things, Jung predicted Hitler might commit suicide if his fortunes took a turn for the worse (Miller, 2017, p. 68).

Thus, it was Jung and others, prompted by Donovan and Dulles, who helped initiate the practice of psychological profiling by constructing a here-to-fore unknown profile of Adolf Hitler, for the O.S.S. (Fulero & Wrightsman, 2009; Miller, 2017). In this regard, the O.S.S., under Donovan was not averse to seeking out multiple opinions by outside specialists, in regard to psychological opinions of foreign leaders (Dyson, 2014). Two additional American figures who were also retained by Donovan to “analyze” Hitler from afar were Dr. Henry A. Murray, Harvard University and, later, Dr. Walter Langer, brother of O.S.S. operative William L. Langer, who ran the Research & Analysis Division for General Donovan (Dyson, 2006; Fulero & Wrightsman, 2009). Initially, it was intended that Murray and Langer would work together, but eventually they separated, writing individual profiles. In part, this was due to theoretical differences in how to approach the task. Murray, who also worked with psychologist, G. W. Allport, called his approach personology.

Like Jung, Murray was not a disciple of Freud; he was actually closer to the more ego-based psychologies and theorists like Carl G. Jung, and a later generation of therapeutic theorist-practitioners. Langer, on the other hand, was a rather orthodox Freudian who approached Donovan and had offered his services to Donovan before being asked (Dyson, 2014). Walter Langer had studied in Germany and Austria with both Sigmund Freud and his daughter-disciple, Anna Freud. Like Jung, Langer was obliged to profile Hitler, not through a personal interview or therapy session, but by gleaning information and insights through the literature; he also, with Donovan's approval, tracked down those witnesses that were present in North America (Dyson, 2014). The ultimate conclusion offered by Langer was that Hitler was “a neurotic psychopath” (Dyson, 2014, p. 658), and somewhat unstable. Like Jung, he, too, believed that Hitler could end his days as a suicide victim.

Henry A. Murray eventually sent Donovan 30 copies of his own profile to O.S.S. headquarters. Murray later accused Langer of plagiarizing “his most insightful conclusions” (Dyson, 2014, p. 661). However, Dyson (2014) has hypothesized that allegations of plagiarism cannot be verified. Murray's profile depicted Hitler as a man who compulsively strove to attain “an idealized version of the self and repression of the despised elements” (Dyson, 2014, p. 663). Hitler, in Murray's view, was seeking to attain dominance by aggression, “and the projection onto other groups and individuals of the despised elements of the self” (Dyson, 2014, p. 663). Langer's view is more classically psychoanalytic, that is, filled with orthodox Freudian themes of sexuality and aggression, something Murray avoided (Dyson, 2014). Thus, there were differences in the findings of Langer, Jung, and Murray. However, what is of greater importance is that Donovan and Dulles were open enough to be willing to utilizing these, as yet, untested forensic psychological and psychiatric techniques (Fulero & Wrightsman, 2009). This was at a time when the so-called profile was not yet a formally accepted part of the therapeutic or theoretical armamentarium. As techniques, the profiles were an intuitive, ad-hoc undertaking; nevertheless, they would, thereafter, become part of both police and intelligence agencies tool-box, as it war, to obtain understanding, but also as a means of waging war. The out-of-the-box approach to espionage and warfighting show a versatility and a creativity of thought that speaks well for both Dulles and Donovan. For Donovan, however, these intuitive gifts, and creative accomplishments, would not sustain either Donovan or the O.S.S., politically, in the final analysis. Opposing him, and, by extension, Allen Dulles, at this time, were politics, jealousy, and issues of power (Miller, 2017; Waller, 2011).

In a biography of the O.S.S. commanding officer, Waller (2011) has pointed out that over the years, Donovan had racked up a considerable list of political enemies. This was inherently dangerous for Donovan and his creation, the O.S.S.. Donovan had struggled to survive almost from the day the O.S.S. had been created by a rather vague Executive Order by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Waller, 2011). The War Department, at the time, and the various military branches especially disliked Donovan and his organization. Equally, the State Department did not think very highly of Donovan. Similarly, the future governor of New York, Nelson Rockefeller and Donovan clashed over Latin America (Rockefeller played a large role in America's Latin American policy). Donovan's truculent, street-fighting response once was to threaten to throw Rockefeller out a building window (Waller, 2011). If this wasn't diplomatically suspect enough, Donovan also clashed with British intelligence and Winston Churchill, no less, on intelligence matters. Waller (2011) has written that the British and Donovan both spied on each other during the war, as did J. Edgar Hoover and the F.B.I., who were especially bitter enemies of Donovan and the O.S.S.. Waller (2011) has written that Hoover surveilled Donovan, illegally, it seems, literally until the day Donovan died many years later. Hoover also spread some especially slanderous calumnies against Donovan to President Truman, such that, he, Donovan, had engaged in an incestuous affair with his daughter-in-law, a story that Waller (2011) investigated and determined to be untrue. Another enemy of Donovan, the O.S.S., and, by extension, were elements of the United States Army, through its own intelligence unit, G-2. The Army leadership also tried to bring the O.S.S. into its own camp. Indeed, an Army colonel, B. A. Dixon, from G-2 once described Donovan's unit in curious terms:

The O.S.S. is the most fantastic damned organization in all of our armed forces. Its people do incredible things. They seduce German spies. They parachute into Sicily one day and two days later they're dancing on the St. Regis roof. They dynamite aqueducts, urinate in Luftwaffe gas tanks, and play games with I.G. Farben and Krupp, but ninety percent of this has not a goddamned thing to do with the war (Miller, 2017, p. 227).

Sunset of the Office of Strategic Services

It was this kind of resistance and political opprobrium by too many individuals and organizational heads that would eventually cripple Donovan, politically, and stop both Dulles and the O.S.S.. Donovan had hoped to one day to create a more extensive, officially-sanctioned intelligence organization, operating in both war and peace, in order to coordinate all secret operations, including intelligence gathering, with himself in the role of Chief Executive. This dream would be realized; unfortunately, it would be realized without Donovan at the helm. Problematically, President Roosevelt died while the war was still in progress. Like Donovan's enemies, Roosevelt's vice-president, Harry Truman, unfortunately, Truman had little regard for Donovan. On 14 May 1945, Truman and Donovan met face-to-face for a total of 15 minutes (Miller, 2017). The news, not surprisingly, was hardly shocking, but it was a fatal prognosis.

Shortly after the meeting between President Truman and General Donovan, Allen Dulles received a cable from Donovan on 18 September 1945. In that communication, Donovan advised Agent 110 that the White House had decided to terminate Donovan's command and the O.S.S. charter. Under the auspices of the National Security Act (NSA), the O.S.S. would be officially terminated on 1 October 1945. The Research & Analysis branch would go to the State Department, and the Strategic Services Unit (the military component) was reassigned to the War Department, under General John Magruder. As a result of the National Security Act, the O.S.S. would be replaced, first by the Central Intelligence Group, and, later, the Central Intelligence Agency. Rear Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter was the first Director, though John Foster Dulles lobbied considerably for Allen Dulles to become the first Director, that would not occur until the Eisenhower Administration (Waller, 2011).

Dulles – Post-O.S.S.

After the Second War, the Soviet Union's behavior proved that Dulles' fears about Moscow were borne out in reality. As he had predicted, the post-war environment would not prove harmonious for U.S.-U.S.S.R. relationships, or the world, at large. This view would be echoed on 5 March 1946, when Winston Churchill and President Truman went to Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. There, Churchill offered his iconic image of the post-war, Soviet reality in Europe to the college audience, declaring, ruefully, “'From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the Continent'” (Miller, 2017, p. 272) (emphasis added). Similarly, around the same time, U.S. Ambassador in Moscow, George Kennan, submitted his famous “Long Telegram,” warning the Truman Administration of Moscow's aggressive intentions.

These predictions had been made earlier by Allen Dulles. Nevertheless, Agent 110, Dulles left government service in autumn 1945. He returned to his law practice at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City, where, according to Miller (2017), Dulles routinely regaled his legal colleagues with his activities as a spy in Switzerland. Dulles also resumed his connection with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), located at the Harold Pratt House, East Sixty-Eighth Street. There, he was elected president of the Council, and also was appointed as the Chair of Western European Affairs for the CFR. As such, he regularly chaired meetings on the Soviet strategic planning, and the future of German, post-World War II.

Parenthetically, on 14 April 1946, Hans Gisevius testified at the Nuremberg War Trials for a three-day period; the questioning was conducted by the American Chief Prosecutor, Robert Jackson. When asked by Jackson to summarize the factors that sustained the German underground, Gisevius replied simply that it was an issue of human rights and there were Germans ready to die for this reality, as, indeed, a fair number eventually did. For a time, William Donovan worked with Jackson at Nuremberg, but, eventually, the two clashed over trial policy, and Donovan submitted his resignation (Waller, 2011).

In 1947, Dulles had been consulted by the Truman Administration on the development of the CIA. Then, in 1951, he was hired as Deputy Director of Plans in the CIA, and in 1953, President Eisenhower appointed him as Director, the same year that his brother, John Foster Dulles was appointed as Secretary of State. There was considerable coordination between the Dulles brothers in the attempt to counter Russian influence in the world, though American espionage as well as diplomacy. This included a number of coups (regime change). However, the decades of the 1950s and 1960s were complex times for the Dulles family.

In 1952, Allen Dulles' son, Allen Macy Dulles was seriously wounded in the Korean War, while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps; unfortunately, the young officer would never recover from his wounds. Then, in 1959, John Foster Dulles died of colon cancer, and, finally, in 1961, President John F. Kennedy, fired Allen Dulles as Director of the CIA, for the debacle in Cuba, known as the Bay of Pigs, a curious decision, given that the overall situation was exacerbated by Kennedy's failure to support the Cuban troops trained by the CIA. Interestingly, after Kennedy's assassination, Dulles was appointed as a member of the investigative, Warren Commission. More or less fully retired from public service after the Warren Commission, after a life-time of service that encompassed some of the most turbulent history of the 20th century, Allen Dulles would often reminisce about his service in the O.S.S. In this regard, Allen Dulles “'the last great Romantic of Intelligence [full] of secrets and mysteries'” (Miller, 2017, p. xiv) might well have paraphrased fictional movie personage, Rick Blaine Casablanca: “We'll always have Bern, Switzerland.”

Allen Dulles was an American original. His activities and career suggest a powerful destiny that came to surround him and other members of his family over the generations. In this view, Allen Dulles was born to serve. By an act of Providence, perhaps, he was born into the perfect family for public service, at the right time and place -- service that he carried out to the full and never shrank from undertaking, in many instances with great success. That he was not a perfect man is evident from his personal history. Yet, when one considers that perfection is a quality is found in virtually no one, perhaps, one cannot criticize him, excessively, for that. Until his death, on 29 January 1969, controversy would cling to him. But what cannot be denied is that in his long years of public service to God and Country, Allen Dulles earned his fame and earned it well.


The present review essay is an exposition of Scott Miller's interesting exploration of diplomat-spy, Allen Dulles work in Agent 110: An American Spymaster and the German Resistance in WWII. Allan Dulles, whose espionage harkened back to the Romantic Age was educated in the Law. His career encompassed not simply working as an attorney for a white shoe law firm in New York City, Dulles also worked for the State Department, where he combined diplomacy with espionage. This background would stand him in good stead when, in the 1940s, he was approached by a fellow attorney to resume his espionage career, in an interesting organization, The Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.). Dulles' new boss, soldier-lawyer, William (Wild Bill) Joseph Donovan, a decorated veteran of World War I, who also held the rank of Major General in the United States Army, was a trusted associate of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, despite their political differences. Donovan had also received the Medal of Honor, serving with a New York Regiment in Europe (The Fighting 69th). He knew Dulles from the Wall Street legal community and sent him to Switzerland, a thriving community of spies and international intrigue.

Author, Miller's thesis in writing Agent 110 is that under Dulles' leadership, the O.S.S. station in Switzerland would soon become the most significant of all American spy stations in World War II. Consequently, Miller's purpose in writing this work was two-fold: 1) to explore Dulles' Swiss activities in connection with the German underground's efforts to depose and eliminate Hitler and the Third Reich from Germany; 2) Miller's purpose was to describe Dulles' awareness of the gathering strategic storm clouds that would crystallize into the East-West divide – the Cold War, with its heavy emphasis on intelligence operations (Hughes-Wilson, 2016). That this is so is evident from Dulles' involvement in the successful operation where Dulles was able to frustrate Soviet intentions in Western Europe (Italy) by negotiating a surrender with German military forces on the Italian Peninsula in 1945, known as Operation Sunrise.

Operation Sunrise reflected a strategic judgment on the part of Allen Dulles, a view that was shared by General Donovan. This was the judgment that the Soviet Union and international Communism would be the principal grand strategic antagonist of the post-war era. Allen Dulles' understanding of the International Order was honed in his earlier experience as a diplomat, a field of study that would always be his principal interest. For Dulles, like William Donovan, military operations, espionage, and strategic thinking were all inter-related activities. This was especially evident in his work with the Resistance, the German underground, acting in opposition to Hitler and the Third Reich. Dulles' work in this regard resulted in a highly-effective network that provided very powerful intelligence to Donovan's O.S.S., and the American war effort. The creativity of the O.S.S., that under Donovan was never averse to risk-taking and outside the box thinking, created, in ad-hoc fashion, the practice of psychological profiling. This was long before anyone used that term, or before it became a regular feature of law-enforcement and intelligence agencies, and the study of forensic psychologists. However, these successes, notwithstanding, together with effective and innovative war-fighting practices, the Office of Strategic Services did not survive the political and bureaucratic wars at home.

The death of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the ascent of Harry Truman to the presidency insured the demise of a brilliant period of military and espionage experimentation. Yet, if the O.S.S. was destined to be immolated in the fires of political warfare, its first-born son, the Central Intelligence Agency, was destined to rise, phoenix-like, from the ashes of the O.S.S.' funeral pyre. Moreover, in its new incarnation, first as the Central Intelligence Group, and, later, as the Central Intelligence Agency, the influence of Agent 109, William J. Donovan, and the labors of effective agents like Agent 110, Allen Dulles, could not be denied, then or now. As the Cold War replaced World War II, Allen Dulles returned to his law-practice in Manhattan. Yet, the discipline of espionage would return to his life during the rock-and-roll decade of the 1950s.

At that time, Dulles would be appointed to the top leadership of the Central Intelligence Agency. Interestingly, this period of strategic history can be defined, sub-textually, as the decade of the Dulles Family, and the ascent of John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles. Perhaps, this fraternal conjunction can be interpreted as significant as that of another pair of brothers, John and Robert Kennedy. Whether it was or was not, the 1950s were the time period in which two siblings, from their respective perches atop the realms of espionage and diplomacy, would bring America's enemies to battle, literally and politically.

To be sure, it was a period of great activism in strategic-security affairs, a time when American intelligence and diplomacy functioned in a coordinated, highly muscular fashion, albeit clandestinely, a virtual Age of the American Hammer wielded with unabashed force in the shadows for nearly half-century of Cold War. Indeed, it was a time where Ops, Intel, and Diplomacy, enjoyed a grand coming together, in various theaters of operation (Hughes-Wilson, 2016). Notwithstanding, opinions on the results of this phase are mixed. But they were usually consistent with the values, experience, and battle-tested skills of a rather unique individual, Allen Welsh Dulles (1893-1969).

This talented human being, equipped with bona fide Seven League Boots, a Traveler-in Time, as well as space, who skirted America's Gilded Age, the end of Romanticism and Age of Victoria, the experience of two World Wars, and the shadowy clash of the Cold War, would profit from his understanding and experience of the Law, diplomacy, espionage, and war, in a life that encompassed the end of one historical age, and the emergence of another- a life wholly given to love and service of country. Honed by the culture of Romanticism, the horrors of the trenches and the Great War, and on into the greatest generation of World War II, and the post-war period, Allen Dulles would integrate this variegated experience, applying its lessons into the subsequent Cold War. His experience, therefore, is the tale of a life well-lived, a biography well worth the retelling, now and in the future. In Agent 110, Scott Miller has told the story well; the present researcher, therefore, recommends it highly.

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© 2024 Steven Ippolito Written by Steven Christopher Ippolito, Ph.D. If you have questions or comments on this article, please contact Steven Ippolito at:

About the author:
Dr. Steven Christopher Ippolito, Ph.D., who spent most of his life in Manhattan and the Bronx, New York (Go Yankees!) is a retired law enforcement officer for the State of New York with nearly twenty years experience. A full-time professor of Criminal Justice and Homeland Security at Monroe College, New York City, Steve has two Masters Degrees, one from New York University; the other, from Norwich University, VT., in the very first Military History class of 2007. In August 2017, he earned his Ph.D. from Northcentral University, from the School of Business Administration and Technology, with a specialization in Homeland Security, under Committee Chair, Kimberly Anthony, Ph.D, and Committee member, Meena Clowes, Ph.D. His dissertation was based on mixed-methodological research into the phenomenon of convergence, the intersection of crime, terrorism, war, and other forms of conflict (the crime-terror nexus; crime-terror pipeline), as both a homeland security and educational problem. All his professional research is dedicated to God, Country, and Family, including the wider family of students and academic colleagues. To all of these, and to all first responders, police, fire-fighters, military personnel, emergency medical personnel, homeland security and emergency management operatives, Steve sends best wishes. May God bless America, now and forever!

Published online: 09/24/2017.
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