3.3 It worked for decades – Reinhard Gehlen and the Cold War

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It worked for decades – Reinhard Gehlen and the Cold War

The political division of Germany is consistently attributed to the Cold War between the United States of America and the Soviet Union. Much has been said about the effects of this division, yet its origins remain unclear. It is well-known that Winston Churchill largely contributed to that development as he saw the Soviet Union, where they had tortured and killed unbelievable lots of people only a decade before, as the next threat to mankind after Hitler was defeated. And we can imagine well that quite a lot of people in other countries in the world felt the same way, too. Despite that, questions remain, e. g. why it was not possible to stop the Cold War, once America under Eisenhower and Kennedy tried to do so.

The term Cold War is partially used as a framework to describe events that occurred between 1945 and 1948 and refers to the historical explanations for the emerging confrontation between the Soviet Union and the democracies in the West. Yet, it is difficult to determine which detrimental policy followed by either side or the other might have caused the Cold War and the political division of the world that followed it in the first place. Historians normally concentrate on the notable change in American foreign policy that occurred soon after the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt und the inauguration of President Harry Truman in the spring of 1945. 

It is highly notable, however, that the German journalist Marion Gräfin Dönhoff describes a much earlier date. In an article published by Die Zeit on July 26, 1963, she stated that her compatriot Reinhard Gehlen, who she described as thinking with the accuracy of a computer, foresaw the Cold War as early as 1944. At that time 42-year-old Reinhard Gehlen was head of German military espionage and later he became the first head of the West-German secret intelligence service, BND [Bundesnachrichtendienst].

Gehlen’s belief in 1944, namely that conflict would develop between the West and the Soviet Union should cause surprise, given journalist Sebastian Haffner’s statement in the London Observer on February 1, 1959: “From 1945 to 1948 the Western Allies and Russia were attempting to solve the German question together.” How did the German general know, long before the Americans did, that the anti-Hitler alliance would not exist in a few years’ time?

Let us consider a possible solution to this mystery of 20th century history with the same methods as „Geheimdienste in der Weltgeschichte – Von der Antike bis heute“ [Secret Services Throughout History - From Ancient Times to the present]. Author Wolfgang Krieger describes in vague terms what was occurring at the end of World War II: “The situation at the [German] Eastern Front was even worse. This is why Gehlen, who in the meantime had become a Major General, was preparing for the period that would follow the defeat of Adolf Hitler. And yet he was doing this more carefully than others in the German elite. He had several chosen colleagues fill fifty waterproof boxes with espionage material and transport it to southern Germany. One cannot say whether he did so dreaming of continuing the war on the Eastern Front with the support of British and American troops. He would certainly have destroyed THE evidence later – if any of it remained. (In his later capacity as head of the West-German intelligence service, BND, he did everything he could to prevent any historical research regarding his job at the Eastern Front.)

Once again, these revelations should astonish, considering Gehlen did not want an investigation into his actions at the Eastern Front despite the fact that he was nothing less than a conspirator to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Erich Schmidt-Eenboom raised a similar concern in „Geheimdienst, Politik und Medien“ as recently as 2004, fifteen years after the end of the Cold War.

Despite the fact that Reinhard Gehlen intentionally thwarted research into his actions at the Eastern Front, he complained bitterly in his memoirs (published under the title Der Dienst [The Service] in 1971] that hardly anybody was aware that he had really taken part in this conspiracy. But how could anybody know this interesting fact when he himself never publicly declared his participation and in fact prevented others from conducting research into his actions? His role in the attempt on Hitler’s life was not revealed after World War II, even though this precise detail could have led to widely different notions concerning the intentions of the West German government, which was established some years later in 1949. As an expert on the West German intelligence service, Erich Schmidt-Eenboom must have been trying hard to sound surprised when he stated that Gehlen was a close friend of Marion Gräfin Dönhoff, the journalist who wrote that Gehlen had already foreseen the Cold War in 1944. Schmidt-Eenboom saw only one possible explanation for the friendship between Gehlen and Dönhoff, which was related to the opposition to Adolf Hitler that existed within the German military in the early 1940s.

Indeed Gehlen’s memoirs should be regarded as extremely useful towards solving the mystery of the origins of Germany’s political division. He states: “For many years we have been compelled to see this war with our enemy’s eyes and have attempted to think about the way events were occurring in order to find out what the Soviet Union was up to. Even in the early stages, we had to state the Soviet Union was confident that they would win this war. At the same time we expected a great catastrophe for us in future. People will one day understand why we came to certain policy conclusions in the wake of the collapse of Germany.” Which ideas were these? Gehlen wrote that he and his colleagues did not want to “put up with the thought that now for Germany the end had finally come. Therefore I considered what I could do in my position, in consideration of what might occur after the war.”

This was Gehlen’s way of taking audacious action. Major General Gehlen did not dream about continuing the war with the help of Britain and America. His position within German intelligence allowed him to convince the Americans that he knew about Soviet plans to introduce communism outside of their own country as well as military actions they would take to realise these alleged plans. If he could convince the Americans of this, Germany would no longer be the centre of attention and Gehlen could watch the former allied countries fight each other somewhere else.

At the beginning of the 1970s, the Cold War was going so well that Gehlen must have believed now he could show off by saying that he himself had told the Americans about this alleged Soviet threat in the first place. At that time it was not at all clear whether there would ever be any communication between Americans and Soviets about their military plans after the war – and whenever the Russians protested their innocence, nobody believed them, as one might certainly recall.

“Of course, such considerations did not occur suddenly. They matured in the course of a long and painful thought process interrupted by periods when we were fully preoccupied with our everyday needs. Most of the time I discussed my thoughts with my deputy Wessel. Later, Gerhard Wessel became my successor as head of the Bundesnachrichtendienst [BND]. It was rather useful that the team spirit among the colleagues in my department averted every crisis and that our thoughts could be kept secret; as we could strongly rely on each other in these respects. Even the former Nazi officer who was responsible for my department was no exception to the rule. As you can imagine, things were different in other departments.“

“In order to make sure the necessary personnel for our later work would be available, three groups were formed. They were to wait in three prepared places in the Alps for about three weeks, until the war was really over. Then these groups were to register with the nearest local American headquarters to be taken prisoner there. As it had to be expected that the Americans themselves would attempt to utilize these excellent, experienced personnel, they were instructed not to collaborate in any way until they had received my personal orders.”

This is when the fun really began. One day in spring, the soldiers took their rucksacks and made their way to the American headquarters. Gehlen wrote that he could recall his exact feelings at that moment quite well. On the one hand, he experienced a flash of gallows humour. He – a high-ranking officer of the Deutsche Wehrmacht – had been taken prisoner by some young American officer. And there was no way back. According to Gehlen, the young American was excited that a general and four high-ranking officers had registered with him. “I couldn’t explain to him who he had captured since he did not speak German, nor did we speak English at the time. He called his superiors and was instructed to transport us one at a time to a place called Wörgl. I was the first to be transported in a Military Police Jeep.” Upon arrival, the high-ranking intelligence officer who received him immediately realised Gehlen’s importance and interrogated him on the spot. “I was questioned in the presence of a secretary, who kept the minutes. The most important questions did not refer to my specialized field, but to the circumstances of life in Germany during the Nazi years.” Unsurprising though it may be, it indicates what the Americans were initially concerned with in the wake of their victory.

Up to that moment, Gehlen wrote, he had only met American officers who had viewed the world situation under the influence of official American “propaganda”, as Gehlen called it. “Almost everybody I had talked to until then believed that the Soviet Union was developing from communism towards liberalism. Stalin was referred to as ’Uncle Joe’. Nobody had any idea of the actual far-reaching aims of the Soviets.” Under these circumstances it was certainly possible to reach some sort of agreement regarding Germany and Europe as well as the repatriation of the German prisoners of war who had been captured in Russia. Yet nothing came of it. Gehlen was first taken to America, where he was interrogated further.

“Already on the day after my arrival I was led down into the garden, where one Captain Hallstedt welcomed me and sat down beside me on a bench in the sun. Captain Hallstedt was a sharp-looking officer and seemed likeable. He might have been 35 and his overall behavior and attitude corresponded well with our German ideas of how an officer should comport himself. He was, as I would soon learn, a second generation American of German origin. Captain Hallstedt was the first American officer who seemed knowledgeable on Russia, and who saw the political developments to come without any illusions. In this respect, he began to contemplate these issues in the same way as I had. This meeting turned out to be the decisive one for the further development of my plans.” Here we go! Gehlen had found his first victim. Those who see the world as I would like them to are „knowledgeable“ and have „no illusions“. How perfect. Just like a German officer. Only some days after World War II. Sigmund Freud sends his loving regards: This meeting turned out to be the decisive one for the further development of my plans. Let’s go on listening to what Gehlen had to say.

“We were having a long talk about the political and military situation. He made thorough inquiries about my former job. After he had gone, I had one night to consider whether or not to lay my cards on the table. First we tested one another. This way I had the opportunity to gradually reveal my thoughts about the future, as well as about my intentions and aims. The Captain’s reaction was positive. I assume Hallstedt informed his superior, General Sibert, as well as General Bedell Smith, about our conversations and was asked to continue these talks, as he became more open with each meeting. Eventually we agreed to assemble a small group of eight of my former colleagues, among them my former deputy Wessel. They would show the Americans what special capabilities and knowledge we had. I gave Hallstedt a series of letters for each chosen officer so that he could find them in the POW lists and transport them to Wiesbaden. It took several days until they arrived. Upon his return Hallstedt told me with an amused smile on his lips that he had addressed each officer without first presenting my letter. None of them were willing to say a word until he pulled out my letter, which worked in each case like a secret charm. He admitted how impressed he was with this attitude.” Isn’t it lovely that the American was amused at that moment. That was how Gehlen made sure his plan would work. He took his time to see whether it would and once everything was prepared he had the other players taken to the gambling table. I noticed that Gehlen accused the Germans of being bad conspirators. In his book at page 58. I can’t imagine why, considering how masterfully Gehlen (and his subordinate officers) made poor Captain X swallow the whole plot from start to finish.

“Gehlen offered his new friends ’good Germans’, as he called them, who would be ideologically on the side of the West.” If this ruse managed to convince the Americans, I have reason to believe they had no idea what a real Nazi thought about the West in general and about America in particular. But it is wonderful that the Americans were happy with their apparent success.

“The first step had been taken. A small group of close colleagues was there. This enabled us to talk about different questions and to co-ordinate our future efforts. We spent some weeks speaking about both past and future. With Hallstedt we kept talking about the same topic over and over again, namely that it will only be a matter of time when the Anti-Hitler-alliance breaks up, leading to conflict between East and West and endangering the security of both Europe and the United States. How can we come to terms with each other facing such expectations for the future? The two of us were convinced of the need for such cooperation, despite the fact that this cooperation would present serious challenges. At the time, it was unclear whether my proposal to share my intelligence with the US authorities would be approved of by the American government, however our new partners were aware that they did not know much about “Uncle Joe” Stalin and his regime. At the very least, the Americans would understand the meaning of our support and expertise, in fact it was likely to be an attractive proposal for them; approval of this proposal would save them a lot of work. They would receive information which it would take them years to gather on their own. Yet in the eyes of the American public, the Soviet Union was still a victorious allied partner and the number of Americans who still believed in the Soviet Union’s friendship and continuing democratic development was sizeable. It was true — the Americans had gone to war against so-called Prussian-German militarism. In the face of the horrid crimes committed by the Nazis and currently coming to light, it would certainly be problematic to tell military and intelligence officers, let alone the American public, that they should cooperate with the intelligence service of the now-defunct Nazi regime.”

At the end of the day, the American newcomers in world politics had their compatriots bite off more than they could chew. The Germans were declared good, the Russians declared bad. In the meantime, the Germans whom Gehlen had recommended as reliable personnel were being recruited. Certainly he had expected some naivety, but he could not really foresee this: Handsome officer Sibert did not organize these Germans within an existing intelligence unit. Instead he decided to make lieutenant colonel John Deane responsible for that job. Though he may have been a top-notch parachutist, he would find these skills of little use, as he did not have any experience in the intelligence field. What’s more, he didn’t speak German. Even better, a decision was made to allow Gehlen’s network (under former deputy Gerhard Wessel, with headquarters at Oberursel in Germany) to operate without supervision. This order was not written but some smirking German, but rather officer James H. Critchfield, whose only knowledge of intelligence services was that they existed. Deane was now in charge of the organization and supervision of Gehlen’s clan.

Reading James H. Critchfield’s book, one might be led to believe that the Americans genuinely wanted to be fooled. “For some reason Sibert seemed determined not to inform the commander of the 970th unit of the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) about this project. Even when he extended Deane’s operation in the American Zone in Germany in spring 1946, he ignored both the section that was responsible for counter-intelligence of his own unit and the responsible section within the 970th. This was a fundamental error and the decision not to involve the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) only made things worse.”

It took quite some time before the majority of Americans had changed their mind about the Soviets and Germans. Gehlen well recalled that even in the winter of 1945/46, nothing was clear. He had been told he would have to wait until the public had calmed down regarding the Germans and learned to see the Soviets the way they should be seen. America was of course a democratic country, a fact which could entail major complications if the public disagreed with decisions taken by the government. “In July 1946, Gehlen and his group left Fort Hunt and returned to Germany. He and his family were given homes near »Blue House« and Oberursel. Gehlen and Wessel worked closely together in leading this group.”

Before brigadier general Edwin Sibert’s service ended in August 1946, Gehlen wanted explicit approval of his plans, an American “Yes” he could point to later on. Sibert was quite right in noticing that Gehlen had not fully understood American guidelines when it came to building a new German secret intelligence service – Gehlen had different ideas. Edwin Sibert seriously believed he could integrate Gehlen’s men into a new American intelligence service, making them and their families American citizens. But why should people not be allowed to dream? Sibert convened a meeting on August 30, 1946, his last day of service in Germany, and put forth proposals that appear ill-advised in hindsight. Gehlen summarized Sibert’s dreams as follows: 1. This unit would become a purely American organisation. 2. The Americans would be allowed to supervise it. 3. The organisation would become part of an American intelligence service yet remain an independent operator with the authority to undertake intelligence tasks using only German personnel. Once Sibert was gone, Gehlen acted according to his own plans. He worked according to what he called “Gentlemen’s Agreement”. It became part of post-war history. Critchfield wrote that none of the responsible Americans at Third Army headquarters in Heidelberg, ninety kilometres away, knew what had been agreed on. In this special case, they should have signed a contract of some sort, considering this agreement was of vital importance to the development of American foreign policy.

Dear friends! I urge you not to laugh while reading how the cooperation between the Americans and the West Germans eventually worked. Imagine you want to sign a contract with someone, which will deal with the problem how to defend against a third party, using each other’s support. Your partner, however, does not offer to work under your guidance, nor will your partner work for you directly. Instead, he wishes to work together with you. The problem is that as soon as he is sovereign, you are not allowed to set tasks for him any more, and you’re the one who is going to be stuck holding the bill. In return your partner offers to give you information which you are unable to check in any reasonable timeframe. Once your partner is sovereign, he reserves the right to decide whether or not to continue this work. You are only allowed to supervise your partner until the moment of independence. Should your partner ever be in a situation in which his and your interests differ, he will be free to follow his own interests, despite the fact that you are footing the bill. If you would sign this contract, you might well have been an American intelligence officer during the post-war period. You can find this text on pages 149 and 150 in Reinhard Gehlens The Service (Der Dienst).

1.) A German intelligence organisation will be created using existing personnel and resources. Its task shall be to gather information about Eastern Europe, essentially continuing the work this personnel had previously done. The basis of this American-German cooperation will be the common interest in the defence against communism.

2.) This German organisation will not work “for” or “under” the Americans, it shall “cooperate” with them.

3.) This organisation shall work exclusively under German guidance and receive its missions and policy from the Americans until a new German government is formed.

4.) This organisation will be financed by the Americans. It is agreed upon that the resources for that purpose will not be taken from the fund for the occupation of Germany. In return this organisation will hand the results of its work to the Americans.

5.) As soon as there is a sovereign German government, this government shall reserve the right to decide whether or not to continue this work. Up to that moment the Americans will have the right to supervise this organisation (later called “trusteeship”)

6.) In situations where American and German interests do not coincide, this organisation shall be free to follow its own interests.

Gehlen comments on his successes: “The last point is particularly astonishing; one might think the Americans granted the Germans too much. Yet this is precisely an indication of General Sibert’s foresightedness. He clearly saw that US interests and the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany would be identical over the long term.” If a doctor finds out that a patient is foresighted, he will make sure this patient gets glasses. Reading such paragraphs, I wonder if Gehlen’s memoirs have been read by somebody in the CIA and whether this reader noticed Gehlen’s uncontrolled cynicism. Just look at the words “the last point is particularly astonishing.” These words do not leave the slightest doubt that he absolutely knew what an impudence he was trying to have Sibert accept. It is not even clear that every point was discussed, considering Sibert must have been busy packing his suitcases. It might well have been advantageous if Sibert had decided to convene this meeting for August 29 instead.

Critchfield is a sweetheart. He saw that Gehlen could largely realise what he was up to, he also saw that „not few of those responsible in the CIA“ believed „that the decision to take over the supervision of this operation could threaten the Agency and American interests in general“. Without one more word about this, he was glad to point out: „At the end of the day this step became a crucial turning point of my career.“ That was marvellous on the one hand and on the other it really became the grave for the American dream to introduce democracy all over Europe and if possible in the Soviet Union too.

I do admit that Critchfield was in two minds regarding one important decision. But although being new in the CIA and not one of the OSS veterans, that is he was not part of the intelligence during the war, he was ordered to assess the Germans’ acitivities, a challenge he found „extremely exciting“. When they met for the first time, he informed Gehlen that he wanted to get to know the identity of every single member of his organisation and the structure of this organisation itself, as Critchfield wrote. Gehlen replied he wanted to save the independence of his group. Critchfield admitted, it would be sufficient if the Americans were satisfyingly informed. He added that his targets as he had pointed them out did not necessarily contradict those of the CIA. However this could be the case if they were not informed about everything. „On saying that, I noticed a slight tension on Gehlen’s face for the first time. After a longer pause in which he was smoking his cigar and sipping his tea, he leaned back and explained his thoughts why he wanted to save the independence and the German features of his organisation.“ Yet this was not what Critchfield was talking about. Gehlen was to reveal the identity of all the members of his staff and to give a comprehensive description of his operations. I just do not understand how Critchfield came to say sentences like the following one after scenes like the one mentioned: „I do not believe that Gehlen was ever thoroughly considering the question whether he really wanted a trustful and honest relation to the CIA.“ Rather not.

After only some years time, a (West-) German government was introduced. There was an order of December 21, 1949, saying that Gehlen was not permitted to have any contacts with this government. There was fear this could be harmful to US interests. In two sentences Gehlen stated how he reacted to this: „This prohibition contradicted our agreements. Tacitly, I did not accept it.“ That is to say, I am doing what I want to. Who the hell are you?

Half a century later, New York Times journalist Tim Weiner, twice winner of the Pulitzer Award, attempted to give an overall presentation of the history of the CIA. It was published under the title „Legacy of Ashes“. A year later a translation into German was released containing a foreword whose author remains unmentioned. This by itself is interesting enough. It emphasises how keen Americans were to get hold of the „information“ their new friend Gehlen had to offer. The funniest piece was the idea that this newly discovered friendship worked on the basis that the enemy of your enemy is your friend. I would not know why an enemy of my enemy should be my friend. He can just be another enemy. I can have plenty of them. In this special case we speak about Germans who had just been defeated and who had good reason to think about what to do next if they wanted to have a nice life afterwards. For some reason the anonymus author says that the Americans met Gehlen in Berlin, but in spring there were fights going on in Berlin, fights between German and Soviet troops. The first Americans after the war appeared in Berlin only in July. At that time Gehlen had already been taken to America. Gehlen himself wrote that he had left the Eastern front and gone to Bavaria via Austria. Not a word was said about a place called Berlin.

At first I had found it rather unlikely that one single person could have made the Americans change their mind regarding the Soviets. However this was apparently not necessary at all. In 2004, the German intelligence expert Erich Schmidt-Eenboom published his „Geheimdienst, Politik und Medien“ saying that it was not Gehlen alone who was involved in the 1944 attempt on Hitler’s life. He wrote that „a lot of his friends and subordinates“ were part of this conspiracy. What’s more – a lot of those who were in leading political positions in West-Germany after World War II belonged to its supporters. There is no doubt, it would have changed the ideas about what these Germans were up to if only politicians abroad had known this interesting detail. They did not know and there is plenty of proof that they really did not. They knew about Adenauer’s role, but Konrad Adenauer was only one of them.

In 1989 the Berlin Wall came down, in 1990 Germany was unified, and in 1991 a first book containing interviews with former intelligence from America was published under the title „Die Rattenlinie – Fluchtwege der Nazis“. It was intended to reveal how leading Nazis could flee from Germany after the war. One who was regarded an old Nazi general was Reinhard Gehlen. In some of these interviews Americans pointed out that in the late 1940ies Gehlen had given them „information about chemical and biological weapons of the Russians“ and that this information was dangerously imprecise. That was why the Americans had come to believe the Soviets had weapons of mass destruction. Does this word remind you of anything? The information about weapons of mass destruction in Iraque came from Germany too, half a century later. Why not try this trick a second time? You could read this in a book written by Erich Schmidt-Eenboom in 2004, in the German magazine Der Spiegel in 2006 and in Legacy of Ashes in America in 2007.

You must not believe however that the Americans said one bad word against the Germans. According to them, Russians had infiltrated camps for German prisoners of war in 1945 and under the 1950ies I will tell you about a spy who was said to have given wrong information to the CIA. When the Americans wanted to look into that matter at last, they were told that the man had suddenly died. Thank you very much for such partners. Gehlen’s information seemed to be so useful because the Americans did not have an espionage net behind the so-called Iron Curtain, which has been confirmed by both the journalist Weiner and different CIA agents. Later the Russians would not let anyone see what they really had, especially because they did not have anything interesting. Their first weapon of mass destruction was a nuclear bomb in 1949 – for which they did not have a missile. Using it would only have been possible by carrying it somewhere by aircraft. So it was no more than a symbol of at least some threat. Obviously nobody in America had the idea of just asking the Russians if they were allowed to check the places Gehlen’s group had described.

Anyway, according to Murat Williams, US-ambassador to Hungary in the 1950s, Gehlen managed to influence the way America pictured the military opportunities the Soviet Union had. He pointed out that „the Cold War was not necessary“. Absolutely right. It was as much as a hole in the head and it was inconsistent with US-interests both economically and regarding its desire to achieve a democratic development worldwide and not only in Bavaria, where US-troops were stationed then.

Günter Gaus pointed out that the West-German public possibly did not notice one contradiction. The media made people believe two things: on the one hand the Russians might be there in the near future and on the other the (West)Germans would soon conquer East Germany including its parts now belonging to Poland, supported by Brits and Americans. Yet was Günter Gaus not editor of „Der Spiegel“, the leading West-German magazine? He was, and it remains unclear why neither he nor any other journalist indicated that this really was a contradiction.

For 45 years Washington, D.C., obviously has been lead on by Bonn, the capital of former West-Germany. Therefore it is not astonishing that the anonymus author of the foreword to the German edition of Legacy of Ashes quoted that countries did not have friends – countries only have interests. Right again. It was not that difficult to fool the Americans though. Up to World War II, they regarded it unnecessary to maintain an intelligence service. I assume Gehlen knew this. After the war, the Americans considered building up such an intelligence service – and accepted help from Great Britain, a very good idea indeed, and from Germany, which was no good idea at all. They asked those for help who had lost this war. I cannot laugh about this.

In the 1950s, the head of Gehlen’s counter-intelligence, Heinz Felfe, gave away every single big action the CIA had planned to carry out in the Soviet Union. The foreword says among them there were nearly 70 bigger secret operations, the identity of about a hundred secret agents followed by torture and death for them and approximately 15,000 pieces of top secret information. This meant that the CIA could not manage to achieve anything in the 1950s and it took another decade to try and repair the damage. From the early 1950s onwards, CIA-agents informed Gehlen that his colleague Felfe seemed to be a spy, but only in 1961, Felfe was really arrested. Of course, the author leaves no doubt that everybody in the West was bitterly disappointed of what that man had been doing. This included Felfe’s colleagues in the West-German intelligence service. I am not quite certain in this respect as you can guess.

Tim Weiner offers every but one idea how Heinz Felfe came to betray the CIA. Weiner does not say, Felfe could have worked for Gehlen and not for the Americans. I mean, Weiner was doing research on this topic after the Wall had come down. After that the opening of East German archives revealed that, from the 1950s onwards, West German services knew that American embargos on the delivery of high-technology products were defied by West German companies. It does not sound good at all that in 1990 the former BND agent Oscar Reile wrote, his CIA-colleagues had become suspicious regarding Felfe already in the winter of 1952/53. In 1990! That was one and a half decades before Weiner’s book was published. Reile pretended he was totally astonished that at this crucial point Felfe did not get the sack. Vice versa he was made head of counter-intelligence. Even better, charming earl Dönhoff wrote: „Only if you understand how long it takes to convict a spy, you will get an idea of how difficult this is.“ This does not sound convincing to me.

Gehlen on his part had written in 1971: „Knowing the context and background of this affair, I believe Felfe was by far not as successful as his eastern partners had expected him to be and the way it will seem in the book he is up to write.“ How did he know Felfe was going to write? In fact, Felfe wrote his book only in the 1980s. On the other hand, how did Gehlen come to say Felfe was not successful? Maybe, nearly 70 bigger secret operations, the identity of about a hundred secret agents and approximately 15,000 pieces of top secret information were still no catastrophy in Gehlen’s way of thinking. The court did not share the same opinion. They spoke of an immense guilt because of a huge betrayal and the giving away of highly important material. They attributed high intelligence and an unbelieveable unscupulousness to Felfe.

Tim Weiner on his part did not find answers to his questions which does not surprise at all – he was looking for them in Eastern Asia, in the Soviet Union and back home in America. He did not do intensive research in Germany. However the information about a dangerous Soviet Union after World War II came from Germany. Every analysis needed to begin and to end there. Regarding this information he did not come to the conclusion, there might have been a conspiracy among the Germans. By far not. He attributed their giving false information to their desire to get American cigarettes and stuff. He added, this information was given to Americans who were not able to differenciate between right and wrong. What a pity.

Now, what did Jossif Wissarjonowitsch Stalin in far away Moscow want? Quite a number of countries had invaded his empire after the communist coup of 1917. In 1941 Germany invaded the country. In the first place Stalin certainly wanted security for his empire and cash for the wilful damages caused by Hitler’s troops. He is likely to have wished to achieve a peace treaty and legal confirmation of post-war borders. Further aims like an enlargement of Soviet domestic policies to Germany or parts of it certainly were not part of his agenda as that would have contradicted his aims of prime importance. Reading Western propaganda about plans of a bolshewisation of Germany makes me wonder how this could have worked. There were troops of different western countries in West Germany. If he had done any harm to them, he would not have had to wait for trouble very long. Real trouble considering he did not have the means of mass destruction Gehlen’s men had spoken of. What’s more – after the beginning of World War II and huge Soviet losses at that time, guns and tanks had been built to work for only a couple of weeks. They were destroyed then anyway. Armaments built like this just were not fit to conquer lands. Yet this was exactly the fear American foreign policies were built on for decades. Strictly speaking, this has shaped American foreign policies till the present day. Since 1945, America has been defending against a world in which everybody else was weaker. If only they had known. Later Stalin even accepted a non-communist development of Finland and Austria after these countries had guaranteed him security for the Soviet Union. This is exactly what he offered as a solution for Germany too and this was offered by his successors still in the 1950s.

Seeing, he had not achieved anything either regarding a peace treaty or any safety guarantee for both Soviet and Polish borders, Stalin could certainly do nothing but wait and leave his troops longing for something to happen in Germany. Dictator or not, this is what anybody else in a democratic country would have done as well. It remains true that under these circumstances a group of communists in Germany fulfilled their dream to form a communist society there. Now, there are authors saying that the Soviets did not enforce this development in East Germany. One of them is Jörg Friedrich. Very detailled, he points out that Stalin was trying to prevent a communist development in Germany. Stalin wanted money from Germany, this is true. According to West German figures mentioned by former chancellor Helmut Kohl, East Germany had to pay 727 billion Deutsch-Mark. If Stalin had hoped to see one part of Germany become a seperate and communist country, he would not have taken that much from it. This was missing then. Journalist John Dornberg published a book in Vienna in 1968 saying that former communist leader Walter Ulbricht only got allowance to build up East German economy after the Geneva Conference of 1955. That is what it was really like. By the way, Stalin would also not have been able to leave his troops in Poland and the Czecho-Slovak Republic if Germany-West had recognised their borders. Poles and Czechs also only accepted foreign troops in their countries as a defence against the Germans like West-Germans only accepted western troops only as a defence against the Russians. Just ask somebody who was young then.

Only after the Cold War was over, Tim Weiner found out: „The speculations of secret agents concerning the Soviets were like pictures reflected by a distorting mirror. Stalin neither had a comprehensive plan to rule the world nor the means to realise such a plan. Nikita Chrushtschov, who took over power after him, remembered later the time, thinking about a world-wide fight with America, Stalin was »trembling«.“ No sooner than in 1949 Stalin had one first nuclear bomb available, but no means to take it far. It is interesting by the way how the Russians came to own such weapons at all. One of the leading German scientists who had helped them was Manfred von Ardenne from a group that had developed such weapons for Hitler before. What has he got to contribute to the historic truth? „In the summer of 1944, Dr. Hermann von Siemens visited our team for the last time.“ Dr. Siemens was head the well-reputated company which was delivering high-technology to Eastern Europe after the war defying western embargos. Manfred von Ardenne wrote: „On this occasion we were speaking frankly. The war was lost. We were considering how to save our staff in the chaos at the end of the war best.“ Although he had been given papers allowing him to leave Berlin together with his family an most devices and documents and to go to a place somewhere in West Germany, he decided to remain in Berlin – even in a place the Americans came to only half a year later. This meant this group of specialists decided to work for the Soviets as he added. That was nice. He did not mention any motive for this awkward decision. Remember, this was what they had agreed on with Dr. Hermann von Siemens. Johannes Weyer who wrote a biography about Wernherr von Braun, the man who was developing missiles for the Americans after the war, pointed out that Braun did also not give any good reason why he came to work for the Americans then. I say this is how the Germans split this world in two.

Fine, but if the Soviet Union was no threat to America, some spy must have noticed that in the course of the years. I have searched for those people as well as for some East-German spy who must have noticed that by no means it can have been an aim of any West-German government to “incorporate” Our Socialist Republic, as Our propaganda used to call it. Whereas I could not find proof for such a brilliant idea with any East-German spy in the west, in a Tim Weiner book, I found an American who trusted his reason more than customary anti-Soviet propaganda in America. In 1985, the year of the inauguration of Gorbatchev in Moscow, Aldrich Hazen Ames became Head of counter-intelligence against the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Tim Weiner pointed out: “He would not believe that the Soviet threat was immense and that it was still growing. He was strongly convinced to know better. He remembered thinking: »I know the Soviet Union like the back of my hand and I can say what is best for the national security [of the United States] and I will act according to what I believe.«” Tim Weiner learned this during a visit to jail as the poor fellow pays for his independent thinking for the good of his country with life imprisonment. In Wikipedia it says he is in the United States Penitentiary in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, now.

Five years after World War II, two German states had been founded and from then on every (West-German) government in Bonn was taking care of the Cold War. No, I am no communist. However, I am no anti-communist either. This has helped me to see this world without prejudice. In a 1953 article for example, journalist Sebastian Haffner saw two different positions concerning the country’s foreign relations in Bonn. Some individuals wanted to finish the Cold War and bear the consequences of World War II that is to pay for the damage and acknowledge new borders. The others believed it was in their interest to forget a unification of Germany and to pour oil into the frying pan. I was pretty astonished to find such frank words in a 1953 newspaper. Did nobody read such texts? I found plenty of them. Altogether I found material to write six books on how Germany (and the world) were split. I am proud to say, I wrote more than 1,900 pages. Former politicians like Willy Brandt (SPD) and Franz Josef Strauß (CSU) confirmed that it never was chancellor Adenauer’s aim to have the Superpowers, as they were usually called, come to terms in any respect.

None of the allied countries ever left the slightest doubt whether or not there would be any chance for Germany to get back the territories it has lost even if the western powers protested against the acknowledgement of the new German-Polish border by the communist government in East-Berlin in 1950. This way they attempted to avoid German reactions like the ones after the Treaty of Versailles, which was signed in 1919. Thus the Russians were the ones to be blamed for the loss of German eastern provinces alone. At the Potsdam Conference the four allied countries had only agreed to finally settle the border question in a peace treaty and that was exactly the point where West-German governments set about from 1949 till 1990. Right now, documents about 1989/90 negotiations of British politicians with politicians abroad have been made public saying exactly this. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher feared, Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who pretended to be extremely keen on a unification as soon as possible, could gain more territory than Germany had under Adolf Hitler! Now, that amazes you, does it not? It amazed me.

At least for those who lived in West-Germany this was a good strategy. Franz Josef Strauß, who was a leading politician from 1945 until 1988, explained in his book: „If we conclude a peace treaty, they will demand reparation payments. Yet, as we are neither willing nor capable of paying them, we also do not want a peace treaty. This is what our policies are all about – keeping the German question open and preventing huge reparation payments.“ Published by Wolf Jobst Siedler in the summer of 1989. Don’t none of them ever read damned books? What were they all worried about? Thatcher, Mitterrand, Jaruzelski, Gorbatchev. Maybe for the first time in history, the Americans remained calm and searched for a solution. I am very grateful to people like George Bush (the real one) and Condoleeza Rice to mention only two important names. If Helmut Kohl had really been willing to unify Germany, he would not have remained chancellor longer than Willy Brandt.

Regarding the end of the Cold War, the journalist Ferdinand Kroh wrote: „However there was no conspiracy going on [among the Soviet Union and the United States] but a very complicated process whose target it was to abolish the Cold War although the interests of both countries were totally different. Whereas the Americans wanted to demolish the Soviet empire this way, the Soviets wanted to save it with the same strategy.“ And charming Lady Dönhoff commented on Reinhard Gehlen, who had caused the whole trouble in the first place, she was fairly astonished „that a man whose job it was to see the East as West-Germany’s potential enemy was completely free from anti-communist complexes.“ Then what were the Americans fighting for – or against?