Synopses & Reviews
After the collapse of Nazi power in 1945, a sweeping change occurred in international relations that would transform the landscape of world politics for the next half-century. Uneasy allies in the war against Germany, the United States and the Soviet Union started secretly mobilizing forces against each other, building intricate networks of spies and digging in for the postwar era.
America's secret action plan was known as Rollback, an audacious strategy of espionage, subversion, and sabotage to foment insurrection in the Soviet satellite countries. The architect of the plan, an enigmatic American diplomat first known to the world under the pseudonym "X," publicly advocated an effort to "contain" communism. But following his legendary Long Telegram, Mr. X -- George Kennan -- devised a program of active confrontation with the Soviets through covert action. Within the secret councils of the Truman administration, hidden from the public as well as from most of the government, Kennan and his colleagues set in motion a series of daring and dramatic, though ultimately failed, secret missions behind the Iron Curtain.
Concealed by all sides for four decades, the dangerous episodes of the Rollback campaign have only now come to light. Peter Grose here untangles the extraordinary, little-known story for the first time, artfully reconstructing a hidden history of intrigue and tragic obsession, of secret plots and larger-than-life personalities. Operation Rollback reveals how and why suspicions and recriminations on both sides drove the world into the Cold War.
"A fascinating chronicle that casts a welcome light on policies and procedures unknown by virtually all Americans."
"A fascinating and well-documented tale of intrigue . . . thorough, thought-provoking and entertaining."
"The last big story of the Cold War finally is being told. The story is the adventurous clandestine effort by the United States right after World War II to reverse communism in Soviet-conquered East Europe and in the Soviet Union too....The book rounds out a grim episode heretofore known only in incomplete bits and pieces and is full of fresh diggings from archival and human sources."
Fascinating . . . well-documented . . . thought-provoking and entertaining” (Publishers Weekly), Operation Rollback is a tale of intrigue and espionage that reveals how and why suspicions on both sides drove the world into the Cold War. In 1945 the United States and the Soviet Union started secretly mobilizing forces against each other, building intricate intelligence networks of spies and digging in for the postwar era. Americas secret action plan, known as Rollback, was an audacious strategy of espionage, subversion, and sabotage. Concealed for four decades by all involved, the dangerous episodes of the Rollback campaign have only now come to light.
About the Author
Peter Grose is the author of the critically acclaimed GENTLEMAN SPY: THE LIFE OF ALLEN DULLES. A long-time foreign and diplomatic correspondent for the NEW YORK TIMES, then an executive editor of FOREIGN AFFAIRS, he is now a fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He resides in Massachusetts.
Table of Contents
Contents Overture: The Vexing Mr. X” 1 The two visions of George F. Kennan I AN IRON CURTAIN OVER EUROPE
1 Nazis and Communists 11 People of whom we know nothing” . . . unilateral disarmament of intelligence . . . the secret of Wild Bill” . . .
Russians: allies or enemies? . . . Germans: enemies or allies? . . . the rat line”
2 Resistance 32 Crackly radio signals from the Baltics to the Balkans . . . the Forest Brothers . . . Romanias load of plenty . . . Hungarys Scarlet Pimpernel . . . bandits” from Ukraine . . .
bothersome Russian émigrés II WASHINGTON AT PEACE
3 Liberals and Conservatives 53 Ideological ferment in a sleepy town . . . an unwelcome visitor . . . unwelcome testimony . . . the FBI .nds new bearings against communism . . . the public perplexed
4 Did I Do Right?” 69 The president perplexed . . . a New Dealer visits Moscow . . .
clandestine operatives in action . . . political operatives in action
III POLITICAL WARFARE
5 Kennans Design 87 The Soviet enemy discovered . . . the Long Telegram . . .
Truman reaches out . . . Kennan conceives a plan . . . NSC10/2
6 The Secret Game 100 A special agency hidden within the government . . . an expansive Frank Wisner . . . money: the heart and soul of covert operations” . . . Congress looks the other way
IV GUERRILLAS, SABOTAGE, AND SUBVERSION
7 Starting with Intellectuals 121 Organization X” . . . émigrés in harness . . . fussing and feuding in exile . . . Mike Josselson and the Congress for Cultural Freedom
8 Into Battle 144 Is there a CIA type”? . . . Frank Lindsay, the businessman . . . William Sloan Cof.n, the divinity student . . . Michael Burke, the entrepreneur . . .
failing the test case in Albania
9 Combat High and Low 164 Blowback from Romania . . . low-.ying unmarked planes . . .
parachute drops . . . arrests, accusations, denials . . .
deception in Poland ... mischief in Ukraine . . . the perils and travails of the NTS
10 Anticommunism on the Hustings 193 Liberating the Captive Nations” . . . the FBI turns against the White House . . . ethnic politics ... the troublesome Congressman Kersten . . . John Foster Dulles takes power . . .
Kennan is moved out
11 Legacy 211 Rollback frays at the edges . . . and at the core . . . restraint in Berlin . . . in Hungary . . . a devastating verdict on covert action . . . Glasnost and Rollback
Notes on Sources 225 Authors Note 241 Index 245