Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis, and Its Destructive Impact on Our Domestic and Foreign Policy (Paperback, Collier Books - Macmillan) 5 stars

Even before the final shots of World War II were fired, another war began—a cold …

A sober approach to US use of former Nazi SS / SD & collaborators in the early Cold War & its consequences

5 stars

This book shows the work that Simpson did to dig through FOIA-available documentation of US security agencies, particularly the CIC (Counter Intelligence Corps) of the US Army during & after WWII, as well as the OSS & it's successor the CIA, conducting interviews with former agents and researching the whereabouts of former Waffen SS & SD and extremist anti-Communist (read usually fascist) agents who were hidden by the US security state after the war, were spirited out of Europe via Vatican ratlines, were armed and employed in Soviet-occupied parts of Eastern Europe. Simpson touches on parts of Operation Paperclip (the US operation to employ Nazi & Axis scientists, often helping them avoid international war crimes tribunal convictions, obfuscating their status as war criminals and giving them access to US citizenship by manipulating the rules set by US immigration), the Gehlen Organization (the ex-Nazi intelligence-staffed, US-funded post-war network that became the West German intelligence / BND), Operation Bloodstone (the employment, training, arming of former Nazis & collaborators in eastern Europe to undermine the Soviety-controlled sphere) and some of the consequences. Beyond the consequences of impunity to anti-Semitic mass murders, the influence of these machinations also led to neo-Nazi organizing among some of these parties in various parts of the world (including among emigre populations in the US through groups organized by under the auspices of ACEN [Assembly of Captured European Nations] / ABN [Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nation]) and the pushing of a strategy in US international policy paid for & by front organizations allied with Radio Liberation and Radio Free Europe (via CIA funding). That influence pushed an increasingly antagonistic approach toward the Cold War moving to a hot war with USSR, China, North Korea and other states in alignment at the time [from Containment strategy of the Eisenhower regime to Liberation strategy pushed by Joe McCarthy and many others]. Phew. The author does a good job, in my opinion of not pulling a Campist perspective on this, noting that mass killings and the use of former Nazi & collaborationist agents happened on the USSR & Eastern Bloc side as well (though likely to a much less consistent degree, but also not the focus of the book). The book, taking the tone of civil dialogue, notes that the subsidizing of former Waffen SS/SD & collaborators was performed under the auspices of anti-Communist / anti-Totalitarian/ anti-Stalinist reaction and the assumption that a war was impending with the communist bloc, as opposed to Agency-wide valorization of Nazi atrocities. And we see a feedback cycle of positive re-enforcement and confirmation bias as the spy organizations purged any but the more reactionary anti-Communist elements of their own roster, paid per gig the anti-Communist Nazis to tell their handlers just how immanent the threat of Soviet invasion was or how likely the countries under Soviet control were to revolt, and then used Sen. McCarthy to challenge this looming threat by bullying politicians into a more hawkish war footing. A problem with this was, the ex-Nazis were often feeding lies to get the CIA to line their pockets and the US intelligence agencies got high on their own supply. The book was published in 1988, so it had the benefit of being near the tail of the Soviet Union and all of that hindsight, plus the Church Committee and the discovery of what documents could be saved before the agencies involved could employ their shredders. Plus, a number of the people involved were still alive and available for interview (those who didn't decline). I appreciate the author's professional tone (doesn't get in the weeds of presuming intentions or flying down conspiracy rabbit-holes). Definitely a book I'll be holding on to for reference.