US Covert Operations and Cold War Strategy : Truman, Secret Warfare and the CIA, 1945-53 book cover
1st Edition

US Covert Operations and Cold War Strategy
Truman, Secret Warfare and the CIA, 1945-53

ISBN 9781138873476
Published June 8, 2015 by Routledge
256 Pages

USD $59.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Based on recently declassified documents, this book provides the first examination of the Truman Administration’s decision to employ covert operations in the Cold War.

Although covert operations were an integral part of America’s arsenal during the late 1940s and early 1950s, the majority of these operations were ill conceived, unrealistic and ultimately doomed to failure. In this volume, the author looks at three central questions: Why were these types of operations adopted? Why were they conducted in such a haphazard manner? And, why, once it became clear that they were not working, did the administration fail to abandon them?

The book argues that the Truman Administration was unable to reconcile policy, strategy and operations successfully, and to agree on a consistent course of action for waging the Cold War. This ensured that they wasted time and effort, money and manpower on covert operations designed to challenge Soviet hegemony, which had little or no real chance of success.

US Covert Operations and Cold War Strategy will be of great interest to students of US foreign policy, Cold War history, intelligence and international history in general.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Covert Operations and National Security  1. Dancing on the Roof of the St. Regis Hotel: The Donovan Tradition, 1942-45  2. A Strategic Monstrosity: The Search for a Cold War Policy, 1945-47  3. The Inauguration of Political Warfare: George Kennan and Political Warfare, 1947-48  4. An Elucidation of Imponderables that Defy Close Analysis: Negotiating Cold War Policy, 1948-49  5. A Few Martyrs: Penetrating the Soviet Bloc, 1950  6. The Psychological Strategy Board, 1951  7. The War of the Potomac: The Election, 1952.  Conclusion: Eisenhower a New National Cold War Strategy

View More



Sarah-Jane Corke is Assistant Professor, Department of History, Dalhousie University, and has a PhD from the University of New Brunswick [2000].


'It is clear that Corke has done a great job marshalling documentation from many different sources—her research in this incredibly murky area adds tremendously to our knowledge, illuminating how departments responsible for psychological warfare during the conflict were reorganized or eliminated ... [Corke] has prepared a very important book that all scholars of the early cold war era must consult—especially those that are interested in the intelligence bureaucracy where the literature is quite thin.'Gregory Mitrovich, H-Diplo Roundtable Reviews, Vol. XI, No. 29 (2010), 14 

'Corke's work makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of Cold War policymaking, adding insightful depth as well as breadth.' - Mark Montesclaros,, April, 2010