Secret Intelligence in the European States System, 1918-1989

Secret Intelligence in the European States System, 1918-1989

Secret Intelligence in the European States System, 1918-1989

Secret Intelligence in the European States System, 1918-1989

Excerpt

The Role of Secret Intelligence in the International Relations
of Europe in the Twentieth Century

Jonathan Haslam and Karina Urbach

This book takes a look at the role of secret intelligence in the history of the European states system of the twentieth century. The reader may reasonably object that this has been done before. The last serious attempt, Knowing One’s Enemies: Intelligence Assessment Before the Two World Wars, edited by Harvard’s Ernest R. May, appeared some thirty years ago, however, and it was necessarily restricted in scope because of the absence of solid documentation for the Cold War. May later despaired that his book was scarcely ever cited, that the revolution in intelligence studies was largely selfcontained, and that it had not had much effect outside its own inner circle.

If this is true, something can be said for another attempt, and one that reaches into the Cold War. Although limited in impact, three decades of further research have greatly advanced our understanding of intelligence history. Specialist journals have become well established; work of real value has appeared. Traditional perspectives have given ground, and judgments have been revised in the light of new evidence. Progress has nonetheless inevitably been limited. Direct access to the entire torso of secret intelligence, rather than choice cuts, is still well beyond reach.

Yet even though access to information is incomplete, one is struck by just how much attention the history receives from major intelligence agencies: the SVR (Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki, or Foreign Intelligence Service, the KGB’s successor operating abroad) and the CIA both have websites of some significance devoted to the subject. And both MI5 and MI6, neither noted . . .

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