Office of Strategic Services 1942–45

The World War II Origins of the CIA

Office of Strategic Services 1942–45 cover

Office of Strategic Services 1942–45

The World War II Origins of the CIA

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Osprey's elite series title for the origins of the CIA during World War II (1939-1945). The Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency, was founded in 1942 by William 'Wild Bill' Donovan under the direction of President Roosevelt, who realized the need to improve intelligence during wartime. A rigorous recruitment process enlisted agents from both the armed services and civilians to produce operational groups specializing in different foreign areas including Italy, Norway, Yugoslavia and China. At its peak in 1944, the number of men and women working in the service totaled nearly 13,500.

This intriguing story of the origins and development of the American espionage forces covers all of the different departments involved, with a particular emphasis on the courageous teams operating in the field. The volume is illustrated with many photographs, including images from the film director John Ford who led the OSS Photographic Unit and parachuted into Burma in 1943.

Table of Contents

Establishment of the OSS, June 1942 - founding director William J.Donovan * Size and composition * OSS branches and operations: secret intelligence, special operations, operational groups, maritime units, morale opeations, counter-espionage (X-2), Detachment 101, research & analysis, research & development, field photographic * Weapons * Equipment - communications, documentation, parachute gear, underwater gear, sabotage devices, clothing, miscellaneous kit * Transportation - 'Carpetbagger' B-24 Libeators, RAF Special Duty squadrons, USN PT-boats * Summary and conclusions

Product details

Published Aug 18 2009
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 64
ISBN 9781846034633
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations 39 b/w; 9 col
Dimensions 10 x 7 inches
Series Elite
Short code ELI 173
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Richard Hook

Richard Hook was born in 1938 and trained at Reiga…


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