Spying on Science: Western Intelligence in Divided Germany 1945-1961

By P. U. Maddrell | Go to book overview

Introducation

This book concerns the acquisition of intelligence on current and future Soviet weaponry by Western—chiefly British—intelligence agencies in Germany during the period between the end of the Second World War and the building of the Berlin Wall. This was the phase of the Cold War in which fear of actual war was greatest; intelligence on weaponry was therefore desperately needed. Though entitled Spying on Science, the book examines the collection of intelligence from all human sources: spies, defectors, refugees, released prisoners-of-war, contacts, and attachés. It also examines systematic efforts to diminish the scientific potential of East Germany by inducing the defection of scientific personnel to the West. It argues that the scientific units of the Western intelligence services played a significant part in their governments' efforts to maintain their superiority over the Soviet Bloc in war-related science and technology. This was a strategy of scientific warfare. Since it was secret, it has received too little attention up to now. The book demonstrates that the Western secret services adopted a strategy of inducing defection both to obtain scientific intelligence and to hamper scientific development. It was a way of trying to stay ahead in the arms race; the Americans briefly saw it as a way of bringing about the collapse of Communist power in East Germany. The scientific intelligence obtained from human sources was consistently used to ensure that NATO's weaponry was superior to that of the Warsaw Pact.

Intelligence on current and future weaponry has a military name, which is 'scientific and technical intelligence'. This term will be used throughout this book. During the Cold War, it meant intelligence of the arms race between the Soviet Union and the West, which got underway as soon as Nazi Germany was defeated. NATO military strategy made its collection a high priority because the alliance intended to wage war with superior weapons. Scientific intelligence is intelligence of research projects, scientific ideas, or capabilities (so future weapons). A great variety of research projects and scientific ideas can be relevant to war even though that is not the original intention behind them. Technical intelligence is intelligence of weapons in being, whether at the planning stage or in production. The distinction between the two is the drawing board: once plans exist for a weapon, intelligence of it is technical intelligence.1 Often, scientific intelligence will be used as a short form for both. Inevitably, such intelligence influenced the weapons development and military strategy of both sides throughout the Cold War. The breakneck development of technology after 1945, much of which was relevant to

1'Preliminary Notes for Dr Blount', 29/7/1949, DEFE 40/26.

-1-

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