The Cold War Essay

When World War II in Europe finally came to an end on May 7, 1945, a
new war was just beginning. The Cold War: denoting the open yet restricted
rivalry that developed between the United States and the Soviet Union and
their respective allies, a war fought on political, economic, and
propaganda fronts, with limited recourse to weapons, largely because of
fear of a nuclear holocaust.1 This term, The Cold War, was first used by
presidential advisor Bernard Baruch during a congressional debate in 1947.

Intelligence operations dominating this war have been conducted by the
Soviet State Security Service (KGB) and the Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA), representing the two power blocs, East and West respectively, that
arose from the aftermath of World War II. Both have conducted a variety of
operations from large scale military intervention and subversion to covert
spying and surveillance missions. They have known success and failure. The
Bay of Pigs debacle was soon followed by Kennedy’s ft handling of the Cuban
missile crisis. The decisions he made were helped immeasurably by
intelligence gathered from reconnaissance photos of the high altitude plane
U-2. In understanding these agencies today I will show you how these
agencies came about, discuss past and present operations, and talk about
some of their tools of the trade.

We will write a custom essay sample on
The Cold War Essay
or any similar topic only for you
Order now

Origin of the CIA and KGB
The CIA was a direct result of American intelligence operations during
World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized the need to
coordinate intelligence to protect the interests of the United States. In
1941, he appointed William J. Donovan to the head of the Office of
Strategic Services (OSS) with headquarters in London. Four departments made
up the OSS: Support, Secretariat, Planning, and Overseas Missions. Each of
these departments directed an array of sections known as ‘operation
groups’. This organization had fallen into the disfavor of many involved in
the federal administration at this time. This included the director of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), J. Edgar Hoover, who did not like
competition from a rival intelligence organization. With the death of
Roosevelt in April of 1945, the OSS was disbanded under Truman and
departments were either relocated or completely dissolved. Soviet
intelligence began with the formation of the Cheka, secret police, under
Feliks Dzerzhinsky at the time of the revolution. By 1946, this agency had
evolved into the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), and the Ministry of
State Security (MGB) both ruled by Lavrenti Beria. This man was undoubtedly
the most powerful man in the Soviet Union with a vast empire of prison
camps, and informants to crush any traces of dissent. Of considerable
importance to Beria was the race for the atomic bomb. The Soviet Union and
the United States both plundered the German V-2 rocket sites for materials
and personnel. In 1946 the MVD was responsible for the rounding up of 6000
scientists from the Soviet zone of Germany and taking them and their
dependents to the Soviet Union.2 The political conflicts of the 1930’s and
World War II left many educated people with the impression that only
communism could combat economic depression and fascism. It was easy for
Soviet agents to recruit men who would later rise to positions of power
with access to sensitive information. ‘Atom spies’ were well positioned to
keep the Soviets informed of every American development on the bomb. Of
considerable importance was a man by the name of Klaus Fuchs, a German
communist who fled Hitler’s purge and whose ability as a nuclear physicist
earned him a place on the Manhattan Project. Fuchs passed information to
the Soviets beginning in 1941, and was not arrested until 1950. Also
passing secrets to the Soviets were Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed in
the United States in 1953. The latter two were probably among the first who
believed in nuclear deterrence, whereby neither country would use nuclear
weapons because the other would use his in response, therefore there would
be no ssible winner. It is generally believed that with such scientists as
Andrei Sakharov, the Soviets were capable of working it out for themselves
without the help of intelligence. (better transition) The National Security
Act of 1947 gave birth to the CIA, and in 1949 the CIA Act was formally
passed. “The act exempted the CIA from all Federal laws that required the
disclosure of ‘functions, names, official titles, and salaries or number of
personnel employed by the agency’. The director was awarded staggering
powers, including the right to ‘spend money without regard to the
provisions of law and regulations relating to the expenditure of government
funds’. The act also allowed the director to bring in 100 aliens a year
secretly.”3 The 1949 charter is essentially the same one that the CIA uses
to carry out covert operations today.

The U-2 Incident
In 1953, the CIA contracted Lockheed Aircraft Corporation of Burbank CA
to build a plane that would go higher and farther than any yet produced.

Kelly Johnson came up with the design for the U-2, a plane that would fly
with a record high ceiling of 90,000 ft. and a range of 4,000 ft. The U-2
flights are possibly the greatest triumph achieved by the CIA since its
founding. This is because of the planes success at evading detection for
such a long time and the vast amounts of information gathered. “We’ll never
be able to match that one. Those flights were intelligence work on a mass
production basis.”4 On the fateful day of May 1, 1960, Gary Powers was sent
up in his U-2 over the Soviet Union from the United States Air Force Base
at Peshawar, Pakistan. His mission was to photograph areas of military and
economic signifigance and record radio transmissions. The plane he flew was
equipped with cameras, radio receivers and tape recorders to accomplish
this mission. In addition to these devices, the plane was also equipped
with self destruction capabilities to blow up the U-2 if it was forced to
land, and a blasting mechanism fitted to the tape recorder to destroy any
evidence of the CIA’s monitoring of radio signals. As his plane flew over
the Soviet Union, the cameras recorded ammunition depots, oil storage
installations, the number and type of aircraft at military airports, and
electric transmission lines. When the plane did not return to its base
after a reasonable allowance of time, it was assumed it had crashed for
some reason or another. The circumstances surrounding the crash of the
plane Powers flew on this is a still a mystery today, depending on whether
you believe the Soviets or the Americans. The Soviets claim that “in view
of the fact that this was a case of the deliberate invasion of Soviet
airspace with hostile aggressive intent, the Soviet Government gave orders
to shoot down the plane”5, and that they shot it out of the air with an
SA-2 missile at 8:53 A.M. at the altitude of 68,000 ft. The Americans
declared that the U-2 was disabled by a flameout in its jet engine.

Whatever the truth maybe, or combination of truths, the fact remains that
Powers survived the encounter by parachute in the vicinity of Sverdlovsk.

Upon landing, he was apprehended, disarmed, and escorted to the security
police by four residents of the small town. The fault of the incident lay
with the American administration’s handling of the situation, not with the
flight itself. It was assumed that Powers had died in the crash, and this
was the mistake. The initial story released was not widely reported and
only told of a missing pilot near the Soviet border who’s oxygen equipment
was out of order. “From an intelligence point of view, the original cover
story seemed to be particularly inept… A cover story has certain
requirements. It must be credible. It must be a story that can be
maintained [no live pilots knocking about] and it should not have too much
detail. Anything that’s missing in a cover story can be taken care of by
saying the matter is being investigated.”6 The further lies the State
Department released about the incident only strained U.S. and Soviet
relations. These included reports of an unarmed weather research plane,
piloted by a civilian, that had trouble with oxygen equipment going down
over the Soviet Union. Under questioning by the press, Information Officer,
Walt Bonney, admitted that the U-2 had cameras aboard, but they were not
reconnaissance cameras. Rather, the cameras were “to take cloud cover”.

When it became publicly known that Khrushchev had known what had taken
place all along and had known for some years, President Eisenhower
justified the presence of a spy plane over the Soviet Union with it being
“in the interest of the free world.” Khrushchev saw through the ploy and
revoked his invitation for Eisenhower to visit the Soviet Union for a

Bay of Pigs
By 1959, Fidel Castro and his rebels were able to establish their own
regime in Cuba. Americans soon became hostile to this new government when
it became apparent that Castro endorsed the Soviets. He declared his
intentions of supporting guerrilla movements against US backed
dictatorships throughout Latin America and seized US assets in Cuba. He
also established friendly relations with the Soviet Union although he was
not communist. The US recognized this threat to their interests and
proceeded to form a special CIA task force that was create an armed force
of exiled Cubans, form a subversive organizations within Cuba, and if
possible assassinate Castro. The initial plan was to discredit the
charismatic man in front of his nation. Some ideas that were considered to
accomplish the task were ludicrous in the least. The first was to spray
Cuban TV studios with LSD prior to Castro broadcasting a speech in hopes of
him making a complete fool of himself. The agency had been experimenting
with the acid for some time. However, the idea was quickly abandoned
because no one could guarantee with any certainty that the drug would have
the desired effect. Further attempts were stabs at the look of Castro
himself. One idea was to doctor his famous insignia, the cigars he is
always seen with. This idea was discontinued because no one could figure
out how to get the cigars to him. From an angle of more a chemical nature,
the agency planned at one time to make his beard fall out. Scientists at
the agency knew that when thallium salts contact skin, they act as a
depilatory and make hair fall out. The idea goes further into reasoning
that when Castro aveled he would leave his shoes outside of his hotel
bedroom and the salts could be sprinkled in then. This idea became
impossible when Castro announced that all forthcoming foreign trips were to
be cancelled. With these failures, the US felt that it had no choice but to
continue with the organization of partisans and help them usurp the
dictatorship of Cuba. By the time John F. Kennedy was elected President in
1960, the development of the invasion was already in full force. Eisenhower
had earmarked $13 million and a force of 1300 men had been assembled.7
Cuban pilots were being trained how to fly B-26 bombers by National
Guardsmen. The operation was massive, enough so that the public took
notice. Kennedy was extremely wary of any direct US involvement and set
about a series of compromises for the Cuban exiles. The air cover was
reduced and the landings were shifted from a more favorable site to the Bay
of Pigs where it was determined that the landing force could get ashore
with a minimum of naval and air force back up. Escorted by US naval
vessels, the force landed in the Bay of Pigs on April 17, 1961. The six
B-26s assigned to the operation were clearly inadequate and the support
from within the country never fully materialized. Completely exposed to
counterattacks of the Cuban air and land forces, the whole invasion force
was either killed or taken prisoner. When Kennedy’s statement that “the
armed forces of this country would not intervene in any way” was an
outright lie. The exiles uses American equipment. They were trained by
American servicemen, and the planes flown were Americans. The ships that
carried the men to the invasion were American, with American naval units
for support. Americans were killed in operation. When caught in his lie,
Kennedy was forced to cover the US by extending the Monroe Doctrine to
cover communism. He declared that the US would remain free of all Central
and Latin American affair as long as they were not communist. This fiasco
undoubtedly led to Khrushchev’s belief that he could deploy missiles to his
newfound ally without any tangible reprisal from the Americans.

Practices of Spies
Some of the devices used seem to come straight from a James Bond movie.

Hollow rings or talcum powder cans with false bottoms were some of the
items used for hiding microfilm. An interesting method involves the use of
a microdot whereby pages of information is reduced to the size of a colon
and used in an appropriate place on a document. The process is reversed for
the extraction of information and the dot is enlarged to display all the
information. Hiding places for secret packages were imaginative to say the
least and ranged from trees, to ruined walls, to mail boxes. Listening
devices were not restricted to telephone bugs, and on one occasion there
was a handcarved Great Seal of the United States presented to the US
ambassador in Moscow by the Soviet Union. It turned out that hidden inside
was a listening device. Microwave receivers exist all over the world for
the interception of messages, the Soviet embassy in San Francisco has its
own battery of dishes erected on top of its building. In 1978, a Bulgarian
exile by the name Georgi Markov who was working for the Radio Free Europe
was fatally poisoned with a pellet most likely hidden in an umbrella.

Vladimir Kostov was killed under very similar circumstances in 1978, and it
is believed that the toxin used was ricin. This is an extremely toxic
substance derived from castor oil. Political and intelligence related
assassinations have abounded in the twentieth century with the advent of
the Cold War. The public will never know when one of murders takes place by
reason of secrecy unless it is a public figure.

The agencies discussed above are integral to the peace that exists
today. There is no other way in the age we live in today to monitor the
enemy and ally alike so as to be able to understand their capabilities and
shortcomings without intelligence agencies. The CIA and KGB by themselves
cannot assure peace. With the knowledge supplied by each to its leaders,
intelligent decisions can be made in the world’s best interest. Moreover,
the status quo and power base remains relatively stable with the East and
West on opposing sides. There can never be true and utterly complete peace,
these organizations will continue to exist contrary ignorant ideals of the
public for peaceful coexistence.

1Encyclopedia Britannia index page 237
2KGB/CIA, Jonathon Bloch page 12
3KGB/CIA, Jonathon Bloch page 21
4CIA: The Inside Story, Andrew Tully page 113
5CIA: The Inside Story, Andrew Tully page 119
6General Thomas R. Phillips, U.S. Army, retired.

7Bay of Pigs, Peter Wyden page 59 ??


Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out