OSS against the Reich: The World War II Diaries of Colonel David K.E. Bruce

OSS against the Reich: The World War II Diaries of Colonel David K.E. Bruce

OSS against the Reich: The World War II Diaries of Colonel David K.E. Bruce

OSS against the Reich: The World War II Diaries of Colonel David K.E. Bruce

Synopsis

OSS against the Reich presents the previously unpublished World War II diaries of Colonel David K.E. Bruce, London branch chief of America's first secret intelligence agency, as he observed the war against Hitler. The entries include eyewitness accounts of D-Day, the rocket attacks on England, and the liberation of Paris.

Excerpt

On the afternoon of August 25, 1944, an American jeep careened down the sunlit Champs Elysées as its driver tried to avoid the double menace of Wehrmacht tanks still prowling the boulevards and mobs of joyful Parisians celebrating liberation. The jeep's occupants included Colonel David Bruce and Ernest Hemingway, the latter buoyant in his role as self-appointed head of a very irregular band of French partisans. The two men had just ascended the Arc de Triomphe for a panoramic view of the City of Light on the day of its deliverance. With the monument still under fire from German artillery, the colonel and the novelist could see armored vehicles dueling and crowds cheering in alternate streets. Leaving the monument, the Americans and their party hurried to the Travellers' Club and then on to the Ritz Hotel, by then deserted by its German patrons. In the lobby the manager, accustomed in quieter times to receiving the cream of European society, looked with alarm as this band of heavily armed men approached. He relaxed when he recognized the two Americans as prewar guests of the hotel and asked if he could be of any help. With a glance at their ragged but euphoric troops, they replied eagerly, "We would like fifty martini cocktails."

This vignette from that tumultuous day -- soon to be recounted with dubious embellishment by Hemingway and others as the "liberation" of the Ritz bar -- was captured in the diary kept by Colonel Bruce. David K. E. Bruce was no ordinary officer, but the London branch chief of the Office of Strategic Services, the main American intelligence agency of the war. Spanning much of his tenure with OSS and published here in their entirety for the first time, Bruce's diaries reveal in an understated, self-deprecating style the wartime experiences of an exceptional American. Before he witnessed the liberation of Paris, Bruce wrote of the lengthy preparations for victory-of the early days as OSS tried to learn espionage tradecraft . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.