Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Operation Sunrise and Western Perfidy

"My Führer, if it's not possible for you to give me a date for the wonder weapons, we Germans must approach the Anglo-Americans and seek peace."

SS-Gruppenführer Karl Wolff, 
April 1945

"My Führer, I know, it is obvious from interrogations for one thing and from evidence I have from my particular field, that there are naturally differences among these unnatural Allies, but please do not be offended if I say that I do not believe the alliance will split up of itself without our own active intervention. Before that happens we shall be dead or beaten to the ground, and that must not happen — we must do something first."

SS-Gruppenführer Karl Wolff, 
April 1945
Stanley Kubrick (Aged 16)
Look Magazine, April 1945

FDR cabled to the Soviet leader on April 5: “It would be one of the great tragedies of history if at the very moment of the victory, now within our grasp, such distrust, such lack of faith should prejudice the entire undertaking after the colossal losses of life, material and treasure involved. Frankly I cannot avoid a feeling of bitter resentment toward your informers, whoever they are, of such vile misrepresentations of my actions or those of my trusted subordinates.” 
[Abramson, 394]

On the day of his death, in what appears to have been the last political action he took on this earth, FDR repudiated Harriman. 

He sent Stalin a conciliatory cable from Warm Springs in which he dismissed the Italian “secret surrender” controversy as a “minor misunderstanding” between Moscow and Washington. 

This enraged Harriman, who wanted as much mileage out of the incident as he could get. He refused to deliver FDR’s cable to the Kremlin, but rather held it back. He sent a cable to FDR with the following ploy: 

“In the event you are willing to reconsider the wording of your message, may I respectfully suggest that the word ‘minor’ as a qualification of ‘misunderstanding’ be eliminated. The use of the word ‘minor’ might well be misinterpreted here. I must confess that the misunderstanding appeared to me to be of a major character.” 

FDR’s reply showed that he was well aware of the game that Harriman was playing for London: “I do not wish to delete the word ‘minor,’ as it is my desire to consider the Bern misunderstanding a minor incident.” 
[see Abramson]

This was FDR’s overall policy, as he summed it up in a letter he wrote personally for Churchill on April 11, which marks his final recorded view of Stalin:

"I would minimize the general Soviet problem as much as possible because these problems, in one form or another, seem to arise every day and most of them straighten out as in the case of the Bern meeting. We must be firm, however, and our course thus far is correct."

 [Friedel, p. 602]

" Martin Bormann was now the leader in fact of Germany. Hitler, exhausted, drained of the charisma of the glory days of the thirties and the conquest years of the early forties, was going through the gestures of military leadership mechanically as his troops fell back on all fronts. 

Martin Bormann, forty-one at the fall of Berlin, and strong as a bull, was at all times at Hitler’s side, impassive and cool. His be-all and end-all was to guide Hitler, and now to make the decisions that would lead to the eventual rebirth of his country. 

Hitler, his intuitions at peak level despite his crumbling physical and mental health in the last year of the Third Reich, realized this and approved of it. 

Bury your treasure,” he advised Bormann, “for you will need it to begin a Fourth Reich.” 

That is precisely what Bormann was about when he set in motion the “flight capital” scheme August 10, 1944, in Strasbourg. "

Martin Boorman : Nazi in Exile

Analysis of the Name File of Guido Zimmer

Record Group 263: Records of the Central Intelligence Agency

By Professor Richard Breitman, American University 
IWG Director of Historical Research 
Guido Zimmer was a mid-level SS officer involved in the Holocaust in Italy and in Nazi espionage. His notebooks, which are translated in the CIA's file, offer insight into Nazi intelligence activities the last year of World War II, particularly Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) efforts either to negotiate a separate peace with the West or to divide the Allies.
Zimmer's notebooks (the original in German shorthand), which covered his activities from May 1944 until March 1945, contain new information about the intelligence contacts that led to the surrender of German forces in northern Italy arranged by Allen Dulles (May 2, 1945). Dulles's negotiations, codenamed "Operation Sunrise," saved some lives and certainly added luster to his achievements as head of the OSS office in Switzerland. The story of the secret American-German negotiations in Switzerland in March and April 1945 was revealed in 1947 in a series of magazine articles in the Saturday Evening Post. Although the purpose of this publicity was probably to counteract tendentious and inaccurate Italian accounts of the surrender of German forces in Italy, stories about Dulles's wartime successes helped him later to become director of the CIA. Therefore, new evidence about the background of Operation Sunrise is historically quite significant.
Another significant element of Zimmer's file is that he was able to escape prosecution as a war criminal partly through exploiting his wartime intelligence contacts and dealings with OSS officials, who spoke up for him after the war. In that sense his history mirrors the experience of some other Nazi officials.
Born on November 18, 1911 in Buer, Westphalia, Guido Zimmer was a slim, athletic man of average height with dark brown hair and a high-pitched voice.He joined the Nazi Party in 1932 and the SS and SD in 1936. By 1940, as a member of Foreign Intelligence branch of the RSHA, he was assigned to Rome. After Zimmer's cover was blown through a slip, he was recalled to Berlin.
In September 1943, after Mussolini was overthrown and a new Italian government tried to sign an armistice, the Allies landed troops in southern Italy. Germany intervened with its own troops and SS and police, taking control of most of the country. Killings and deportations of Jews in Italy began.
Zimmer was assigned to Genoa, where he tracked Jews down, then to Milan. His commander in Milan was the infamous SS Colonel Walter Rauff, head of the Security Police and SD for Group Northwest Italy (Gruppe Oberitalien West). (Years earlier in the RSHA criminal-technical institute, Rauff had designed gassing vans to poison Jews and other victims.) Zimmer led a small team in Milan that seized Jewish property and lived well off the proceeds. He also obtained political information from abroad and built up a network of agents who could supply Germany with intelligence if the Allies overran Italy. Like Rauff, Zimmer was involved both with war crimes and with espionage in Italy.
By the fall of 1944 espionage specialists were also thinking of ways to involve themselves in high-level diplomacy. RSHA foreign intelligence chief Walter Schellenberg had been eager to initiate discussions with the Western allies in the hope that Germany could conclude an advantageous (or respectable) peace on one front. But there were two huge obstacles: the Allies had demanded unconditional German surrender, and Hitler and his entourage were convinced that the alliance between the West and the Soviet Union was an unnatural bond that could never last. Under these circumstances, Schellenberg had to be extremely cautious in putting out feelers to the West. He had some leeway to operate--he could always claim he was trying to cause trouble among the Allies--but he did not have Hitler's or Himmler's approval.
Schellenberg also wanted his own trusted officials to handle any overtures to the West. He helped to scuttle a proposal from Wilhelm Harster, commander of the Security Police and SD in Italy, to use an Italian industrialist named Marinotti as a secret envoy: Schellenberg and Harster were not on good terms. An operation codenamed West-Wind was rejected at the highest levels of the RSHA.
The idea of using an Italian as an intermediary to launch German negotiations with the West in Switzerland, however, remained alive. In a November 1944 meeting of RSHA foreign intelligence officials in Verona called by the expert on Switzerland Klaus Huegel, Zimmer suggested contacting Allied intelligence in Switzerland through Baron Luigi Parrilli, formerly the representative of the Kelvinator and Nash companies in Italy. Parrilli had worked with Zimmer, but he also had contacts with Italian partisans. Rauff and other regional RSHA officials backed this approach, and after considerable delay they received approval in principle from Berlin. In mid-February 1945 they also got support from Karl Wolff, Highest SS and Police Leader for Italy.
Around that time Zimmer wrote in his notebook:
P[arrilli] was invited to my place for a meal today in order to discuss quietly once more the Swiss trip which he is to begin on the 20th of February. Apart from the tasks already laid down in writing, I went one step further today with reference to the conversation with Mr. Von F(ische) and SS. Col. R(auff), and am having P. make an official visit to the English and American ambassadors. There to set forth our common view on the Communist danger and in this connection to intimate that SS 1st Lt. Zi(mmer) has already tried more than once to make contact with influential Englishmen, since he is of the firm conviction that he has things to say which are most certainly of interest to England. He should further intimate that Zi(mmer), without the knowledge of his office belongs to some circles of influential people who are pursuing a definite political course that is of importance to Englishmen, provided that the decision has not already been settled to destroy Germany at any cost and leave the field open for Russia.
Parrilli's mission was codenamed "Operation Wool."
Another German emissary preceded Parrilli in getting Dulles's attention. In January 1945 Hans Wilhelm Eggen, an SS officer close to Schellenberg, met with an American diplomat Frederick R. Loofborough. Eggen first took a hard line: Germany had no choice currently but to fight to the end, even if all Germans were killed. The result then would be the triumph of Bolshevism over all Europe. But he suggested a meeting in Switzerland between Schellenberg and Dulles to avert such disaster. Schellenberg, he said, could bring Dulles proof that the Russians were not playing fair with the West. Loofborough quickly sent a report of this conversation to Dulles. Although the OSS official did not take this bait, he did muse about the possibility of finding someone within the SS willing to sell out on a big scale.
Dulles believed that German military forces in northern Italy were nervous. There had been some informal talks between Italian partisans and the Germans, with the Germans seeking some assurance that they would not be attacked if they should withdraw from Italy. The Germans offered to refrain from destroying Italian factories and power plants in return. But through his contacts Dulles learned that the Italian partisans firmly opposed such a deal.
This was the general atmosphere when Parrilli showed up in late February 1945. As an Italian with major assets, he had his own reasons for wanting to avoid a German scorched earth policy in northern Italy. In negotiations with Dulles's assistant Gero von Gaevernitz, Parrilli reported that he was working for Zimmer and that German authorities were interested in sparing northern Italy from a horrible fate. Though skeptical, Gaevernitz asked for evidence of high-ranking German support. Zimmer by himself meant little.
On March 3, 1945 Zimmer, Parrilli, and Eugen Dollmann, Himmler's representative in Italy, met with OSS official Paul Blum in Lugano, Switzerland. This meeting set the stage for a visit by Karl Wolff and his adjutant to Dulles himself on March 8. Wolff had not yet concluded that all was lost, but he had convinced himself of the value of opening a line to the West.
The details of on-again, off-again bargaining during March and April 1945 (and the misunderstandings on both sides) have been revealed in previous histories of Operation Sunrise. Wolff was unwilling to take extreme risks, and that in any case he had very little influence on Field Marshal Albert Kesselring and General Heinrich Vietinghoff, who would not agree to surrender army forces until the military situation forced their hand (and after Hitler's suicide had become known). Dulles and Wolff finally brought about a surrender, but it came late: the fighting in Italy stopped on May 2. What might have been a boon to Allied forces in Italy turned out to be a saving of only five days before the end of the war in Europe. According to two historians, the lives saved were limited in number-and mostly Italian and German.
After reviewing Zimmer's notebooks, OSS and SSU officials concluded that Operation Wool preceded Operation Sunrise--in other words, the bargain was as much a German initiative as it was an American intelligence coup.
It is noteworthy that all the German participants in Sunrise negotiations--Zimmer, Dollmann, Wolff's adjutant Wenner, and Wolff himself--survived relatively unscathed in the immediate postwar period. Here let us look at Zimmer and Wolff.
Zimmer manged to escape arrest and detailed interrogation. OSS hired him to penetrate an alleged Nazi resistance movement known as Freikorps Adolf Hitler. Then Dulles tried to assist Zimmer and his family to go to Rome. Army and OSS/SSU officials, including James Angleton, expressed concern that Zimmer was receiving preferential treatment, to which he was not entitled. They at best managed to neutralize those who wanted to do something positive for him.
Zimmer became Parrilli's secretary and applied for Italian citizenship. Zimmer contacted Reinhard Gehlen in December 1948, and he developed ties with former SS officers in 1950. The file does not clarify how deep his involvement in postwar German intelligence activity was, but a CIA evaluation of him concluded that he was not of sufficient stature to become dangerous in connection with right-wing circles.
Zimmer was involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity as well as in intelligence work and negotiations with Allied officials. The very structure of the RSHA, which encompassed the Gestapo and foreign intelligence, made it easy for officials to be shifted from one function to another. Zimmer took advantage of this shift, using his intelligence contacts and functions to earn goodwill on the side of Allied officials in Switzerland. In so doing, he and Allied officials whom he dealt with helped to sanitize his wartime record.
Wolff was a much bigger fish. In a climate where world public opinion was shocked by photos of corpses and survivors from concentration and extermination camps, there was no way for Himmler's former chief of staff--one of the highest ranking SS officers to survive--to escape early imprisonment. Wolff was moved from one internment camp to another and regularly interrogated. He almost was named as one of the major defendants at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, but he lucked out.
It seemed to him that Dulles had failed to carry out a promise or a moral obligation to help him. In early 1946 Wolff was diagnosed as paranoid and was confined in a mental institution: he thought he was pursued by Jewish demons. After considerable American hesitation about prosecuting him because of his participation in Operation Sunrise, the British proposed to try him together with Field Marshal Kesselring. But they changed their plans and instead held a little-publicized trial in Hamburg in 1949, in which Wolff's partners in Operation Sunrise wrote affidavits or testified on his behalf. He was acquitted.
After the Eichmann trial West German prosecutors turned up evidence that Wolff had helped to speed deportations of Jews to Treblinka. Although Allen Dulles's former assistant Gaevernitz came to the National Archives to try to find evidence that would help Wolff, he was convicted in 1962 and sentenced to twenty years, of which he served ten. OSS officials long before had turned up evidence in German records that Wolff was responsible for reprisal killings in Italy-evidence which had never been used against him. Wolff survived his prison term to become a prosperous West German businessman in the 1970s.
Notes of Sources Used Not from Zimmer's Name File
  1.  First Detailed Interrogation Report on Five PW from 'Sipo and SD Aussenkommando Milan, 4 June 1945, p. 27, National Archives (NA), Record Group 226, Entry 194, Box 64, Folder 282.
  2. Sixth Detailed Interrogation Report on SS Sturmbannfuehrer Huegel, Dr. Klaus, 21 June 1945, p. 13, NA RG 226, E 119A, Box 71, Folder 1828. More generally on Schellenberg, see Richard Breitman, "A Deal with the Nazi Dictatorship: Himmler's Alleged Peace Emissaries in the Fall of 1943," Journal of Contemporary History 30 (1995): 411-30.
  3. Sixth Interrogation of Huegel, 21 June 1945, NA RG 226, E 119A, Box 71, Folder 1828.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Meeting of 493 with Hans Ecken [sic] of the SS, 15 January, 1945, and 110 to Sasac and Saint, Washington, London, Paris, 18 Jan. 1945, NA RG 226, E 214, Box 7, Folder 38.
  6. Dulles to General Sibert, Personal and Confidential, 7 December 1944, copy in NA RG 226, E 210, Box 276, Folder 2. Sibert was then head of G-2 for the Twelfth Army Group. Bradley F. Smith and Elena Agarossi, Operation Sunrise: The Secret Surrender (New York, 1979), 57-59.
  7. Smith and Agarossi, Operation Sunrise, 184-85.
  8. Smith and Agarossi, Operation Sunrise, 188-91.
  9. Wolff to Oberbefehlshaber Suedwest, 29 Dec. 1944, copy in NA RG 226, E 92, Box 619, Folder 2.

May 1945: “Operation Sunrise”, Nazi Germany Surrenders, But… on May 7, 8, or 9?

After the Casablanca Conference of January 1943, the Americans, British, and Soviets had agreed that there would be no separate negotiations with Nazi Germany with respect to its capitulation, and that the Germander surrender would have to be unconditional. In the early spring of 1945, Germany was as good as defeated and the Allies were getting ready to receive its capitulation. The expected unconditional German capitulation vis-à-vis all three Allies would have to be concluded somewhere, but where – on the Eastern Front, or on the Western Front? 
If only for reasons of prestige, the Western Allies preferred that this would happen on the Western Front. Secret talks with the Germans, which the British and Americans were holding at that time (i.e. in March 1945) in neutral Switzerland, code-named Operation Sunrise, were useful in that context, not only with an eye on a German surrender in Italy, which had actually led to the talks, but also in view of the coming general and supposedly unconditional German capitulation, of which intriguing details – such as the venue of the ceremony – might possibly be determined in advance and without input from the the Soviets. There were many possibilities in this respect, because the Germans themselves kept approaching the Americans and the British in the hope of concluding a separate armistice with the Western powers or, if that would prove impossible, of steering as many Wehrmacht units as possible into American or British captivity by means of “individual” or “local” surrenders, i.e. surrenders of larger or smaller units of the German army in restricted areas of the front.            
The Great War of 1914-1918 had ended with a clear and unequivocal armistice, namely in the form of an unconditional German surrender, which everybody knows went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. The Second World War, on the other hand, was to grind to a halt, in Europe at least, amidst intrigue and confusion, so that even today there are many misconceptions regarding the time and place of the German capitulation. The Second World War was to end in the European theatre not with one, but with an entire string of German capitulations, with a veritable orgy of surrenders.
It started in Italy on April 29, 1945, with the capitulation of the combined German armies in southwestern Europe to the Allied forces led by Alexander, the British field marshal. Signatories on the German side included SS General Karl Wolff, who had conducted the negotiations with American secret agents in Switzerland about sensitive issues such as the neutralization of the kind of Italian anti-fascists for whom there was no room in the American-British post-war plans for their country. Stalin had expressed misgivings about the arrangement that was being worked out between the Western Allies and the Germans in Italy, but in the end he gave his blessing to this capitulation after all.            
Many people in Great Britain firmly believe even today that the war against Germany ended with a German surrender in the headquarters of another British field marshal, namely Montgomery, on the Luneburg Heath in northern Germany. Yet this ceremony took place on May 4, 1945, that is, at least five days before the guns finally fell silent in Europe, and this capitulation applied only to German troops that had hitherto been battling Montgomery’s British-Canadian 21st Army Group in the Netherlands and in Northwest Germany. Just to be on the safe side, the Canadians actually accepted the capitulation of all German troops in Holland the next day, May 5, during a ceremony in the town of Wageningen, a town in the eastern Dutch province of Gelderland.[1]           In America and also in Western Europe the event on the Luneburg Heath is rightly viewed as a strictly local capitulation, even though it is recognized that it served as a kind of prelude to the definitive German capitulation and resulting ceasefire. As far as the Americans, French, Belgians, and others are concerned, this definitive German surrender took place in the headquarters of General Eisenhower, the supreme commander of all Allied forces on the Western Front, in a shabby school building in the city of Reims on May 7, 1945, in the early morning. But this armistice was to go into effect only on the next day, May 8, and only at 11:01 p.m. It is for this reason that even now, commemoration ceremonies in the United States and in Western Europe take place on May 8.
However, even the important event in Reims was not the final surrender ceremony. With the permission of Hitler’s successor, Admiral Dönitz, German spokesmen had come knocking on Eisenhower’s door in order to try once again to conclude an armistice only with the Western Allies or, failing that, to try to rescue more Wehrmacht units from the clutches of the Soviets by means of local surrenders on the Western Front. Eisenhower was personally no longer willing to consent to further local surrenders, let alone a general German capitulation to the Western Allies only. But he appreciated the potential advantages that would accrue to the Western side if somehow the bulk of the Wehrmacht would end up in British-American rather than Soviet captivity. And he also realized that this was a unique opportunity to induce the desperate Germans to sign in his headquarters the general and unconditional capitulation in the form of a document that would conform to inter-Allied agreements; this detail would obviously do much to enhance the prestige of the United States. 
In Reims it thus came to a byzantine scenario. First, from Paris an obscure Soviet liaison officer, Major General Ivan Susloparov, was brought over in order to save the appearance of the required Allied collegiality. Second, while it was made clear to the Germans that there could be no question of a separate capitulation on the Western Front, a concession was made to them in the form of an agreement that the armistice would only go into effect after a delay of forty-five hours. This was done to accommodate the new German leaders’ desire to give as many Wehrmacht units as possible a last chance to surrender to the Americans or the British. This interval gave the Germans the opportunity to transfer troops from the East, where heavy fighting continued unabatedly, to the West, where after the signing rituals in Luneburg and then Reims hardly any shots were being fired anymore. The Germans, whose delegation was headed by General Jodl, signed the capitulation document at Eisenhower’s headquarters on May 7 at 2:41 a.m.; but as mentioned earlier, the guns were to fall silent only on May 8 at 11:01 p.m. Local American commanders would cease to allow fleeing Germans to escape behind their lines only after the German capitulation actually went into effect. It can be argued, then, that the deal concluded in the Champagne city did not constitute a totally unconditional capitulation.[2]
The document signed in Reims ( see image left) gave the Americans precisely what they wanted, namely, the prestige of a general German surrender on the Western Front in Eisenhower’s headquarters. The Germans also achieved the best they could hope for, since their dream of a capitulation to the Western Allies alone appeared to be out of the question: a “postponement of execution,” so to speak, of almost two days. During this time, the fighting continued virtually only on the Eastern Front, and countless German soldiers took advantage of this opportunity to disappear behind the British-American lines.[3]
However, the text of the surrender in Reims did not conform entirely to the wording of a general German capitulation agreed upon previously by the Americans and the British as well as the Soviets. It was also questionable whether the representative of the USSR, Susloparov, was really qualified to co-sign the document. Furthermore, it is understandable that the Soviets were far from pleased that the Germans were afforded the possibility to continue to battle the Red Army for almost two more days while on the Western Front the fighting had virtually come to an end. The impression was thus created that what had been signed in Reims was in fact a German surrender on the Western Front only, an arrangement that violated the inter-Allied agreements. In order to clear the air, it was decided to organize an ultimate capitulation ceremony, so that the German surrender in Reims retroactively revealed itself as a sort of prelude to the final surrender and/or as a purely military surrender, even though the Americans and the Western Europeans would continue to commemorate it as the true end to the war in Europe.[4]
General Keitel signs Germany’s unconditional surrender in Berlin (right)
It was in Berlin, in the headquarters of Marshal Zhukov, that the final and general, political as well as military, German capitulation was signed on May 8, 1945 or, put differently, that the German capitulation of the day before in Reims was properly ratified by all the Allies. The signatories for Germany, acting on the instructions of Admiral Dönitz, were the generals Keitel, von Friedeburg (who had also been present in Reims) and Stumpf. Since Zhukov had a lower military rank than Eisenhower, the latter had a perfect excuse for not attending the ceremony in the rubble of the German capital. He sent his rather low-profile British deputy, Marshal Tedder, to sign, and this of course took some luster away from the ceremony in Berlin in favour of the one in Reims.[5]
As far as the Soviets and the majority of Eastern Europeans were concerned, the Second World War in Europe ended with the ceremony in Berlin on May 8, 1945, which resulted in the arms being laid down the next day, on May 9. For the Americans, and for most Western Europeans, “the real thing” was and remains the surrender in Reims, signed on May 7 and effective on May 8. While the former always commemorate the end of the war on May 9, the latter invariably do so on May 8. (But the Dutch celebrate on May 5.) That one of the greatest dramas of world history could have such a confusing and unworthy end in Europe was a consequence, as Gabriel Kolko writes, of the way in which the Americans and the British sought to achieve all sorts of big and small advantages for themselves – to the disadvantage of the Soviets – from the inevitable German capitulation.[6]
The First World War had ended de facto with the armistice of November 11, 1918, and de jure with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919. The Second World War came to an end with an entire string of surrenders, but it never did come to a peace treaty à la versaillaise, at least not with respect to Germany. (Peace treaties were in due course concluded with Japan, Italy, and so on.) The reason for this is that the victors – the Western Allies on the one side and the Soviets on the other side – were unable to come to an agreement about Germany’s fate. Consequently, a few years after the war two German states emerged, which virtually precluded the possibility of a peace treaty reflecting an agreement acceptable to all parties involved. And so a peace treaty with Germany, that is, a final settlement of all issues that remained unresolved after the war, such as the question of Germany’s eastern border, became feasible only when the reunification of the two Germanies became a realistic proposition, namely, after the fall of the Berlin Wall. 
That made the “Two-plus-Four” negotiations of the summer and fall of 1990 possible, negotiations whereby on the one hand the two German states found ways to reunify Germany, and whereby on the other hand the four great victors of the Second World War – the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union – imposed their conditions on the German reunification and cleared up the status of the newly reunited country, taking into account not only their own interests but also the interests of other concerned European states such as Poland. The result of these negotiations was a convention that was signed in Moscow on September 12, 1990, and which, faute de mieux, can be viewed as the peace treaty that put an official end to the Second World War, at least with respect to Germany.[7]
[1] German surrenders in Italy and on Lüneburg Heath: Germany Surrenders 1945, Washington, DC, 1976, pp. 2-3. 
[2] Germans want separate surrender or at least gain time: Herbert Kraus, “Karl Dönitz und das Ende des Dritten Reiches”»,in Hans-Erich Volkmann (ed.), Ende des Dritten Reiches- Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs: Eine perspektivische Rückschau, Munich and Zürich, 1995, pp. 4-5, 12; Germany Surrenders 1945, p. 6; Klaus-Dietmar Henke, Die Amerikanische Besetzung Deutschlands, Munich, 1995, pp. 687, 965-67; Helene Keyssar and Vladimir Pozner, Remembering War: A U.S.-Soviet Dialogue, New York and Oxford, 1990, p. 233. 
[3] Germans profit from delay: Henke, op. cit., pp. 967-68. 
[4] Questionable procedures in Reims: Gabriel Kolko, The Politics of War: The World and United States Foreign Policy, 1943-1945, New York, 1968, p. 387; Germany Surrenders 1945, p. 8.
 [5] Ceremony in Berlin: Germany Surrenders 1945, pp. 8-9. 
[6] Kolko-quotation: Kolko, op. Cit., p. 388. 
[7] “2+4 negotiations”: Ulrich Albrecht, Die Abwicklung der DDR: Die «2+4 Verhandlungen »: Ein Insider-Bericht, Opladen, 1991.

Terror's Legacy: Schacht, Skorzeny, Allen Dulles

This article was published as a two-part series in the April 9, 2004 and April 16, 2004 issues of Executive Intelligence Review.
by Michael Liebig

Part I

In response to the March 11 Madrid train bombings, Lyndon LaRouche stated that widely trumpeted assertions that the Basque separatist ETA or "Islamic terrorists" were responsible for the attack, were utterly groundless, and noted that instead, there are parallels to the train station bombing in Bologna, Italy in 1980, which was the high point of the "Strategy of Tension" aimed at Italy during the 1969-82 period.
Years of criminal investigations conducted by Italian authorities have proven conclusively, that neo-fascist terrorist cells were in fact responsible for the "blind terrorism" in Bologna during the "Strategy of Tension" days, and that behind these cells were Licio Gelli's Synarchist Propaganda Due (P2) Lodge networks, along with elements operating within Italian and Anglo-American intelligence services (see EIR, March 26 and April 2, and following article).

A Three-Dimensional Problem

This "Strategy of Tension," however, cannot be understood "two-dimensionally"—i.e., neo-fascist terrorist groups, and intelligence services—because to this we must add a third dimension: the Synarchist financial oligarchy, which, under conditions of grave economic and financial crisis, intends to establish a permanent "state of emergency" managed by authoritarian, or even outright fascist, forms of government. "Normal," more or less republican-democratic forms of government could, in the view of this Synarchist oligarchy, never be induced to permit the depressing of living standards to the degree and duration necessary to prop up the current tottering system.
It was just those considerations, which prompted the establishment of a series of ever more brutal, fascist dictatorships beginning in 1922 and up through 1945. The formal legal groundwork for this Synarchist agenda was established by Carl Schmitt, and its economic policy paradigms were articulated by Adolf Hitler's Economics Minister, Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht. And thus, the terrorist side of the "Strategy of Tension" is intended as a catalyst for the establishment of a "state of emergency" under conditions of systemic financial and economic crisis.
The neo-fascist terrorist cells, and above them, their Synarchist controllers who are responsible for the "Strategy of Tension," did not just come out of nowhere in the 1960s. They were the result of a process that began during World War II, a symbiosis of Synarchist financial interests and their influence within the Anglo-American secret intelligence milieu, with the hard core of the Nazi SS and its non-German fascist collaborators.
After the war, Anglo-American intelligence circles took over and maintained the old SS structures as a useful tool in the fight against Soviet communism. In the event of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe, they were to be deployed as underground guerrillas and secret partisans (code-name: "Gladio") operating within Communist-occupied Europe. The key figure in this strategy was Allen Dulles, a man who uniquely embodied this overlap between Synarchist financial interests and political secret-intelligence operations.
Over the course of the past 60 years, out of this web of Synarchist interests and extended former SS networks, there emerged what is probably the most important terrorist infrastructure of all—and not only in Europe, but internationally. This has included some seemingly strange liaisons, such as with the intelligence services of some communist countries. Within Europe, Spain and Italy have been the main bases of this Synarchist-neo-fascist terrorist infrastructure. This terrorist milieu should not be thought of as a conspiracy with a quasi-military organizational structure, but rather as a flexible network, each of whose components can be deployed separately for particular aims, under specific circumstances. The Bologna bombers can be thought of as the "sons" of this symbiosis, and the Madrid bombers as their "grandchildren" or "great-grandchildren."

A Discussion in Zhitomir

In the early days of August 1942, a remarkable discussion took place in Shitomir in Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union). Partipants included Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler, and the head of Office IV of the Reich Central Security Administration (RSHA), Standartenführer Walter Schellenberg, who later, in 1944, was to rise to chief of the SS Security Service (SD). At this meeting, Himmler, who was second only in power (and criminality) to Hitler himself, was discussing Nazi Germany's political and military situation in the third year of war, with Schellenberg, a 32-year-old "rising star" in the SS hierarchy.
They came to the conclusion that Nazi Germany's strategic situation was rapidly deteriorating. Even before the defeats of Stalingrad and El Alamein, they recognized that with the entry of the United States into the war, Nazi Germany no longer had even a chance of victory. Moreover, the battle of Midway Island in June 1942 had demonstrated that Japan would no longer be able to tie down the bulk of U.S. forces in the Pacific theater. Himmler and Schellenberg agreed that Nazi Germany lacked the necessary forces to successfully conduct a two-front war. Therefore, an "alternative solution" had to be considered: A "compromise peace" was to be sought with Great Britain and the United States, in order to be able to pursue the war against Soviet Russia with some prospect of success. Himmler assigned Schellenberg to make secret overtures to the Western powers to that end, extending an offer that in exchange for peace, Nazi Germany would agree to relinquish the territories it had conquered in Western Europe. As a "token of goodwill," Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop was to be dismissed from his post at the end of 1942. And even though in his memoirs, where he reported at length on his Shitomir discussion, Schellenberg does not go into one final aspect, we can presume that both men envisioned the removal of Hitler, because they knew all too well that as long as he remained in power, no separate peace with the Western Powers would be possible.

Allen Dulles and the SS

In November 1942, Allen Dulles, acting as representative of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the wartime predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency, arrived in Bern, Switzerland. This diplomat, intelligence expert, attorney, financier, and brother of John Foster Dulles was the prototypical representative of the Synarchist Wall Street financial oligarchy. Between 1916 and 1926, he had held diplomatic posts in Vienna, Bern, and Berlin. Later he joined his brother's New York law firm, which began his years-long close contact with leading Germans, including with Reichsbank president Hjalmar Schacht.
Dulles's official 1942 assignment in Bern was to sound out the situation within Nazi Germany, since neutral Switzerland was the most suitable listening-post. But Dulles also had his own agenda: ascertain how Nazi Germany's strategic—and especially its economic—potential, along with all its conquered territories, could be brought under Anglo-American control with the least possible military outlay. (It should also be noted that despite the state of war, the Nazi leadership had never carried out a thorough expropriation of the substantial financial and physical assets held by Anglo-American interests inside Nazi Germany and in the occupied territories.) At the same time, not only was Soviet Russia's access to the Axis powers' potential to be blocked, but Russia itself was to be weakened as much as possible, Dulles thought, in order to erase Bolshevism and Pan-Slavism from the world's political map.
On Jan. 15, 1943, Prince Max von Hohenlohe-Langenburg, acting as first emissary of Himmler and Schellenberg, met with Dulles. Hohenlohe already knew Dulles personally from the latter's stay in Vienna in 1916. They met twice more during the following two months. Hohenlohe later assured his superiors that the talks with Dulles had been constructive, and that Dulles had told him that he preferred such dialogs with representatives of real German power (in other words, with the SS), over those with "deposed politicians, emigrés, and biased Jews." During that time, Dulles also held numerous meetings with Reinhard Spitzy, the SS officer attached to the Foreign Ministry. Himmler's personal attorney Carl Langbehn likewise made contact with Dulles.
For understandable reasons, the SS leadership's contacts with Dulles remain largely shrouded in mystery to the present day. Efforts have been made to make it appear as if Dulles had been taking steps to strengthen the resolve of the resistance groupings within Germany. But a closer examination reveals that Dulles clearly preferred to negotiate with the "real power-brokers"—the SS—over representatives of the anti-Hitler resistance conspiracy. Dulles's negotiations with SS representatives occurred at precisely the same time as the SS was carrying out the most monstrous phases of its extermination and terror measures—and Dulles was by no means unaware of that fact. We can also presume that during this stay in Bern, Dulles was in contact with Hjalmar Schacht via middlemen; ever since 1943, Schacht, as Nazi Minister Without Portfolio, not only knew Dulles, but also continued to maintain his far-flung network of contacts within the British and American financial oligarchy.
By that time, the SS had become the head of a huge economic empire. Not only did it run a gigantic "labor-lending service" with concentration camp prisoners and forced laborers, all the while enriching itself with the seized assets of persecuted Jews; but the SS empire also had enormous financial and industrial assets at its disposal. This included extensive intersecting stock holdings with private financial and economic interests. Leading bankers and economic managers constituted a veritable "advisory council" for the SS economic empire, in the guise of advisory boards, "circles of friends," and through membership in the Allgemeine SS. This latter practice meant that bankers, economic managers, academics, aristocrats, and other members of Germany's "elite," could hold high-ranking positions in the SS, while still continuing their business activities.
The SS was therefore much more than a police-state institution par excellence. It was not only a monstrous apparatus for oppression and a mass-murder machine; but at the same time, it was a huge corporation. And as such, as far as the Synarchist financial circles in the United States and Great Britain were concerned, it was an altogether acceptable partner which one could "do business" with.

The Conference at the `Red House'

On Aug. 10, 1944—as the German People's Court was summarily convicting and executing the leaders of the German Resistance in the aftermatch of the failed assassination attempt on Hitler—Schellenberg's SD organized a conference in the Red House Hotel in occupied Strasbourg, attended by leading bankers and economic managers. Nazi Germany's military defeat was imminent. And what was the SS leadership discussing with the top bankers and economic bosses?
The topic of the Strasbourg SD conference was how to transfer the greatest possible quantity of financial assets held by the SS, into neutral countries abroad, before Nazi Germany collapsed altogether. This prospect, of course, could be expected to strike a resonant chord with the Synarchist financial circles in the United States and Great Britain. Recall that the Nazi leadership had never carried out a thorough expropriation of the huge Anglo-American financial and physical assets in Nazi Germany and in the occupied territories. That was where Hjalmar Schacht's influence had prevailed—and the SS had played along with it.
It was therefore no surprise that the key figure in the mega-transfer of SS assets agreed upon at the Strasbourg SD conference, was none other than Hjalmar Schacht himself, with his unparalleled array of foreign connections, not only with neutral countries, but also with the Western powers. And indeed, Schacht's mentor for many years was Montagu Norman, who until 1944 headed the Bank of England.
Yet another key figure in the transfer of SS assets was Swiss financier and Nazi activist François Genoud, who had an extensive network of contacts in the Arab world. Genoud had been in contact with Allen Dulles since 1943. Large chunks of SS assets were transferred via Switzerland into Spain and Portugal, and from there to Turkey, Sweden, and Argentina, where they were invested.
We can presume that Dulles was well informed about this transfer of SS assets abroad, since it was also Dulles who made sure that after the war, Schacht was appointed as the so-called "trustee" of the SS funds. Preceding this, Schacht had been acquitted of war crimes by the Nuremberg Tribunal.
Another participant in the Strasbourg SD conference was Otto Skorzeny, head of Office VI S ("S" for sabotage) of the RSHA. Skorzeny was head of the SD Jagdkommando, the SS's "special operations" unit. He became world-reknowned for allegedly freeing Mussolini in July 1944, from the Gran Sasso in the Appennines Mountains where he was imprisoned. And in the following post-war period, Skorzeny played a central role in the web of right-wing financial interests, neo-fascist organizations, paramilitary groups, and secret intelligence networks—the true "grandmother" of modern terrorism.

Part II

The "Strategy of Tension," which has entered into a new phase with the terrorist attacks in Madrid, has a long history, extending back to the 1940s.
From May 1944 until just before the conclusion of World War II, secret negotiations were held between the Nazi SS leadership and Allen Dulles, a key figure in Anglo-American synarchism. The subject of the talks was a proposed armistice in the Italian theater of war. In their final phases in late 1944 and thereafter, after Dulles returned to the United States from a two-month stay in Bern, Switzerland, these secret negotiations became known as "Operation Sunrise." Their immediate outcome was a substantial reduction in the intensity of warfare in northern Italy, as compared to other theaters: Beginning in September 1944, the Italian front-line advance which had been moving north of Florence, was frozen, even though a formal armistice had to wait until the following year, a few days after Nazi Germany's total capitulation.
These negotiations afforded both sides an opportunity to develop close ties, which, after the end of the war, played an important role in the formation of an international SS network under the top-level guidance of Anglo-American financial and intelligence circles. On the SS side, the following personnel were involved in the negotiations: SS Gen. Karl Wolff, who for many years had been Himmler's chief of staff; Eugen Dollman, Himmler's personal deputy in German-occupied northern Italy; and Walter Rauff, SD (Security Service) chief for northern Italy. Also working in the background was Walter Schellenberg, who, after the Abwehr/Ausland (foreign counterintelligence) office had been shut down in 1944, became chief of the SD's intelligence service. Wolff, Dollman, and Rauff were high on the list of SS war criminals; and yet, just as with Skorzeny and Schellenberg, they escaped Allied punishment. Indeed, in the years following the war, Dulles even gave public recognition to Wolff—something which he did not do, for example, for Wehrmacht officer Reinhard Gehlen, head of the "Fremde Heere Ost" army intelligence service.

The Immediate Postwar Period

Allen Dulles had hoped that after Nazi Germany's unconditional capitulation on May 8, 1945, he would be appointed head of all European operations of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the predecessor of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. But instead, he was only appointed head of OSS operations in Germany. He appointed Frank Wisner, head of OSS operations in the Balkans, as his deputy—a connection which was to become important later in regard to SS networks in the Balkans. Another person who joined up with the OSS leadership in Germany was Richard Helms, who later rose to the post of Director of Central Intelligence. Allen Dulles also worked closely with James Jesus Angleton, head of the OSS in Italy, and with his former colleague in Switzerland, Paul Blum, who ran the OSS office there.
But Dulles came up against strong resistance from the U.S. Army's Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), which restricted the OSS's field of opportunity. (Space does not permit us to present an adequate picture of the violent conflicts that broke out within the political and intelligence establishments of the United States, between the synarchist interests and their opponents.) The OSS was finally dissolved on Sept. 20, 1945, by an Executive Order issued by President Harry S Truman. Allen Dulles returned to the United States, and re-joined his brother John Foster Dulles's law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell.
But Allen Dulles continued to cultivate his relations with Wisner, Angleton, and Helms. Acting as an advisor to various Congressional committees, by 1947 he was already back in Europe, during which time he also struck up a friendship with the young Sen. Richard Nixon. In that same year, the Central Intelligence Agency was established, and under it, an Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) for "covert operations" was set up, headed by Frank Wisner, Dulles's former deputy in Germany.
In 1948, President Truman summoned Allen Dulles to be part of a working group tasked with making proposals on how the work of the fledgling CIA could be improved. The group's efforts resulted in National Security Report 50 (NCS50), which for the most part reflected Dulles's own vision: covert operations should be one of the CIA's central functions, and Wisner's OPC should be incorporated directly into the CIA. In 1950, Allen Dulles himself became chief of planning for the CIA. Shortly thereafter, he became Deputy CIA Director, and in 1953, was appointed Director of Central Intelligence. At that time, his brother John Foster Dulles was Secretary of State.
Little of substance is known about Allen Dulles's activities in Germany prior to the Autumn of 1945. What can be established, is that those people in the SS leadership who had been involved in the project to declare a separate peace with the Western powers, either were not prosecuted by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, or were let off virtually unscathed. Similarly with Hitler's Economics Minister Hjalmar Schacht. They were taken into custody, and were either interrogated, or were asked to write down their war memoirs for Anglo-American intelligence services to examine; but they were either not tried, or, if their cases actually went to trial, they were acquitted. Schellenberg appeared before the Nuremberg Tribunal as a witness for the prosecution against RSHA chief Kaltenbrunner, whereas Schellenberg himself—former chief of the SD secret service—got off scot-free. Schacht was acquitted in Nuremberg. The trial of Skorzeny, chief of SD commando operations, before a U.S. military court, collapsed when a British intelligence officer stated that the Anglo-American intelligence services would have acted no differently than Skorzeny had, in carrying out commando operations. Similarly, Karl Wolff's trial before a British military court ended with his acquittal.


Less prominent members of the SS leadership, such as Walter Rauff of "Operation Sunrise," were spirited out of Germany via the "Rat Line." They first reached Italy, often aided by corrupt Vatican networks, and thence went to Spain, where they either settled, or slipped into Latin American countries. These "Rat Line" escape routes were run by a secret organization of former SS members known as "Odessa." But Odessa could never have been able to smuggle these people out, if it had been acting alone; on the contrary, its operations were, at the very least, protected, and more likely directed, by factions within Anglo-American intelligence circles. Neither the U.S., British, nor the French governments ever put any serious pressure on Franco's Spain, which had become the hub of SS structures worldwide, to curtail or prohibit activities of former Nazis on Spanish territory.
From 1948 through 1950, Skorzeny lived incognito in Paris. His former superior in the SD, Schellenberg, lived first in Switzerland, and then slipped into Italy, where he died in 1952. Skorzeny's postwar career only began in earnest after he resettled in Madrid in 1950. There he married Hjalmar Schacht's niece, Ilse von Finkenstein; Schacht himself also made frequent visits to Madrid. It is estimated that all told, by 1950, about 16,000 Nazi emigrants were living in Spain.
Schacht, meanwhile, had gone to work consolidating, and making profitable, the widely dispersed SS financial assets which had been transferred out of Germany and into neutral countries following the Aug. 10, 1944 Strasbourg conference convened by Nazi Germany's top economic managers and bankers (see Part 1). The transfer of assets had been originally carried out according to Schacht's own specifications, since back in 1944, Schacht had been the only banker with the know-how and connections to get the job done.

The Synarchist Triangle

The combination of Schacht, Himmler's SS, and the Dulles Brothers, made up a synarchist triangle.
The fact might appear confusing at first, that on July 23, 1944, only three days after the failed assassination attempt against Hitler, Schacht was arrested on Hitler's orders. Later on, Schacht liked to present himself as a member of the anti-Hitler resistance, and would point out that he had done time in the concentration camps at Ravensbrück, Flossenbürg, and Dachau.
But that kind of sophism is typical of Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht, because in fact, his sojourn in German concentration camps bore little resemblance to the lot of "normal" concentration camp inmates, and of actual imprisoned resistance fighters. Not only were Schacht's prison accommodations rather comfortable, but, more to the point, he was under Himmler's and Schellenberg's direct protection. One document that has been preserved, is an "Urgent Mail Message: Secret of the Reich," signed by Gestapo chief Heinrich Müller and addressed to the commander the Dachau concentration camp. It reads in part: "We have instructions from the RFSS" (Reichsführer-SS Himmler) that Schacht "is to be treated well."
And once again, we must never lose sight of Schacht's close ties to the top SS leadership, as well as to synarchist Anglo-American financial circles. In the present article, we cannot go into Schacht's key role in orchestrating Hitler's seizure of power during 1930-33 (see "Delusion and the Road to Dictatorship," New Federalist, July 8, 2002), except to point out the exceptional importance of Schacht's close ties with Baron Kurt von Schroeder, head of the Cologne banking firm J.H. Stein. In December 1932, and again in January 1933, Schacht and von Schroeder played what was probably the decisive role in toppling the von Schleicher government and paving the way for Hitler's coup. Already in 1932, both men were members of the Keppler-Kreis, a group of economic leaders and bankers which had been formed by IG Farben manager Wilhelm Keppler, and which had dedicated its full financial and political resources to backing Hitler.
Von Schroeder's Stein bank in Cologne was the German subsidiary of the Schroeder banking group in New York (L. Henry Schroeder Banking Corp.) and in London (J. Henry Schroder & Co.). John Foster Dulles's law firm Sullivan & Cromwell represented the New York Schroeder bank, and his brother Allen was on the bank's advisory board. Moreover, during the 1930s, Sullivan & Cromwell had two German subsidiaries which the Dulles brothers visited regularly. And during those years, John Foster Dulles did not stint in his public praise of Germany's regained "dynamism" under Nazi rule.

`Freundeskreis Reichsführer-SS'

After 1933, the Keppler-Kreis transformed itself into the "Freundeskreis Reichsführer-SS" ("SS Friends of the Führer"), led by Keppler's nephew Fritz Kranefuss, Himmler's personal adjutant. Reichsbank president (until 1939) and Economy Minister (until 1937) Schacht was no longer himself a member, but his close friends definitely were: the already-mentioned Schroeder; Emil Helfferich and Karl Lindemann from Deutsch-Amerikanische Petroleum AG (DAPAG); and Karl Blessing from the Reichsbank, who later went on to become chairman of postwar Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank, from 1958 to 1969.
The connection to Standard Oil, which was part of the Rockefeller family empire, was also an important banking connection, since the Rockefellers also owned the New York-based Chase National Bank, headed by Joseph Larkin. Larkin played a particularly important role in Nazi-occupied western Europe, because of the fact that Chase National's Paris branch was allowed to operate unhindered from 1940 all the way through 1944. This bank's special concern was the preservation of Anglo-American financial and physical assets in occupied western Europe. And it should come as no surprise that Otto Abetz, the heavily synarchist-leaning Nazi ambassador to occupied France, maintained a personal bank account at Chase National Bank's Paris branch.
Schacht had an additional tie with the Anglo-American financial world through the Basel, Switzerland-based Bank for International Settlements (BIS). Along with the Reichsbank, its members included the Bank of England (which, through 1944, was headed by Schacht's personal mentor, Montagu Norman), and the First National Bank in New York. After 1939, Schacht had yet another connection with the BIS, through his confidant Emil Puhl, a top official at the Reichsbank.
So, now it is perhaps a bit more comprehensible how Heinrich Himmler, through Schacht and the "Freundeskreis Reichsführer-SS," enjoyed excellent connections with Anglo-American circles throughout the war years. Yet another connection with the SS leadership ran through the internationally operating U.S. telephone corporation ITT, headed by Sosthenes Behn. Von Schroeder was ITT's representative in Germany, where it owned the firms Lorenz AG and Mix & Geneste AG. There are indications that Walter Schellenberg's meteoric rise within the SS leadership, had been originally launched and backed by von Schroeder, since Schellenberg owned a sizeable chunk of ITT's stock. In early 1942, Schellenberg, von Schroeder, and Karl Lindemann organized a meeting in Madrid between their plenipotentiary Gerhardt Westrick, and ITT chief Behn. Another member of the top echelons of ITT's German subsidiaries, was Emil H. Meyer, likewise a member of the Freundeskreis Reichsführer-SS. (Himmler's Anglo-American ties via neutral Sweden, and via his influential "personal physician" Dr. Felix Kersten, cannot be gone into here.)

The Hub: Madrid

The fact that after 1948, Schacht became the main "trustee" of SS assets and other financial transfers out of Nazi Germany, proves beyond doubt that he had been intimately involved in the implementation of the 1944 Strasbourg conference's decisions. After all, during his eleven-month VIP imprisonment, he was under the SS leadership's direct control. In his post-1948 work to consolidate the scattered SS assets, Schacht was assisted by Skorzeny, who, in turn, brought the Belgian Waffen-SS leader Leon Degrelle to Madrid, and made him into his chief aide. In the early 1950s, Schacht and Skorzeny made frequent "business trips," criss-crossing Europe and Latin America, and extending into the Arab countries, Iran, and Indonesia.
A portion of the SS money sent abroad, was used to build up the international "Odessa" organization of former SS personnel. Around it, there formed a large number of neo-fascist organizations in Europe and in Latin America.
But Skorzeny's "Odessa" also maintained extensive networks of members and supporters in "bourgeois" parties, government administrations, religious organizations, intelligence services, police organizations, and in the militaries of many European, Latin American, and Arab countries. "Odessa" was also active in the international arms trade, mercenary operations, and a vast array of organized crime.
Over the following decades, connections to Skorzeny's SS structures frequently turned up as part of military coups, police-state "sanitizing operations" against opponents of sitting governments, rebel and low-intensity warfare operations, and spectacular assassinations, such as the "Permindex" organization's involvement in the killing of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Typical is their role both in the Algerian opposition movement FLN, as well as in the Organisation Armeé Secrète (OAS), which sought to topple and murder France's General de Gaulle.

Reshaping the SS Network

With the outbreak of the Cold War, American and British intelligence services' interest in Skorzeny's SS structure grew even more intense. The mentality and war experience of these former SS personnel suited them perfectly for the "covert operations" which Allen Dulles had defined as a major focus of U.S. intelligence-service activity. Many thousands of former German Waffen-SS members, along with Eastern Europeans who had been part of the Waffen-SS and who had later settled in Western Europe, the United States, Canada, or Australia, were recruited for deployment in low-intensity warfare and destabilization operations in the Soviet sphere of influence.
It must be pointed out that the SS, which, up until 1942, believed that its members' "Nordic" racial characteristics qualified them to be members of the elite, became quite "internationalized" later on. Not only were there Western European and Scandinavian Waffen-SS units, but also Baltic, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian, and Caucasian ones.
Former Waffen-SS members who had managed to survive inside Soviet-occupied countries following 1945 by going underground, and others who had emigrated into the West, suddenly became immensely valuable to Anglo-American intelligence services. They were to be utilized, in connection with "covert operations," to build up a secret military and political underground infrastructure capable of destabilizing communist regimes in Eastern and Southeastern Europe.
During the first half of the 1950s, thanks to Kim Philby's defection to the Russian side, among other things, Communist intelligence services were able to break up most of these military and political underground cells. This, in turn, further increased the value of Eastern European emigrants' organizations which had been established in the West, and which harbored no small contingent of former Waffen-SS members.
On Allen Dulles's initiative, funds from SS assets and elsewhere were used to form the National Committee for a Free Europe (NCFE). Nominally a private organization, it was in fact an Anglo-American intelligence operation, assigned to back the activities of Eastern European emigrant groups.
No less important was the Islamic-Arab component of this SS structure. The Albanian Waffen-SS "Skanderbeg" division, and the Bosnian "Handschar" division, had been set up with the active participation of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin Mohamed Al Husseini. After the war, Al Husseini, with the help of Anglo-American intelligence circles, was able to settle in Cairo, where he resumed his collaboration with Skorzeny, François Genoud, and SS structures throughout the Arab world.
At the same time, certain factions within the Anglo-American intelligence establishment set up Skorzeny's network of former SS members in Western Europe itself, as deeply covert partisan groups which could be activated in the event of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. The existence of this network, code-named "Gladio," was first revealed in 1991, in a public statement issued by Italian Prime Minister Guilio Andreotti.
Over the years, the ranks of these "Gladio" structures have been replenished by young people, primarily from the right-wing extremist, neo-fascist milieu. This was a crucial reservoir for recruitment of terrorists for the "Strategy of Tension" during 1969-82. And here, too, we find the mother of the terrorist networks involved in the current phase of the "Strategy of Tension."

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