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Before 1941 the United States had no intelligence service worthy of the name. While each military department had its own parochial tactical intelligence apparatus and the State Department maintained a haphazard collection of 'country files' there was no American equivalent to the 400-year-old British espionage establishment or the German Abwehr. No one in Washington was charged with putting the jigsaw puzzle of fact, rumor, and foreign innuendo together to see what pictures might develop or what portions might be missing. Even those matters of vital interest to policy makers remained uncoordinated, unevaluated, uninterrupted, and frequently in the wrong hands. That was in 1941. Four years later the scene was forever altered. The organization which achieved this dramatic turnabout was the Office of Strategic Services, better known by its initials: OSS. Headed by William J. Donovan, a World War 1 hero, Republican politician, and millionaire lawyer, the OSS infiltrated agents into every country of occupied Europe and raised guerillas armies in most. This book examines the small but representative role played by Marines assigned to this country's first central intelligence agency. In so doing, it provides the first serious attempt to chronicle a totally forgotten chapter of Marine Corps history.
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