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

By P. U. Maddrell | Go to book overview

6
The Scientific and Military Spy
Networks

TARGETS AND METHODS IN THE FIELD OF
SCIENTIFIC ESPIONAGE

A key element of containment was possessing enough military force to deter Soviet aggression. Spying on Soviet and satellite weaponry and war-related scientific research served the policies of containment and deterrence. The British Chiefs of Staff's 'Global Strategy Paper' of 1952 can be used as a guideline. Like all top-level statements of defence policy from this period, American as well as British, it insisted that, to deter the Soviets and Chinese effectively in view of their superiority in numbers, the West had to have better weaponry. In its words, 'The Free World can maintain superior strength, and thus prevent the outbreak of war, only by matching science against man-power.' The essential element in effective deterrence was the capability to launch an airborne atomic strike. To ensure that it could be made, NATO countries had to maintain a scientific and technological lead in many fields, not only atomic science but also 'the right types of aircraft, all the necessary radio, radar, and other scientific aids to accuracy, radio, and radar counter-measures'. The paper called for 'constant endeavour to keep a jump ahead in scientific development, particularly in equipment for offensive and defensive radio warfare'.1 The Chiefs of Staff thought war unlikely in view of the United States's awesome atomic striking power.2 While agreeing with this, the British government maintained that intelligence on Soviet intentions and capabilities was essential in deciding how great the danger of war was, and ruled that 'everything possible should be done to ensure that our intelligence on Russia is of the highest quality'.3 In this chapter, it will be shown that intelligence was obtained on all the main scientific fields.

Scientific spying in East Germany had two sets of targets. The first and most important were Soviet ones: Soviet-sponsored scientific R&D projects, particularly war-related ones; institutions connected with Soviet science and factories producing for the Soviet military; and the scientific and military-industrial installations of

1 Paras. 38–41, COS(52)361, 'Defence Policy and Global Strategy', 15/7/1952, DEFE 5/40.

2 Ibid., paras. 19–21.3 Ibid., note by secretary

-148-

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