Agent 110

Agent 110

by Scott Miller

Overview: The story of how OSS spymaster Allen Dulles built an underground network determined to take down Hitler and destroy the Third Reich. Agent 110 is Allen Dulles, a newly minted spy from an eminent family. From his townhouse in Bern, Switzerland, and in clandestine meetings in restaurants, back roads, and lovers’ bedrooms, Dulles met with and facilitated the plots of Germans during World War II who were trying to destroy the country’s leadership.

Eventually he was placed in charge of the CIA in the 1950s, where he helped set the stage for US foreign policy. With his belief that the ends justified the means, Dulles had no qualms about consorting with Nazi leadership or working with resistance groups within other countries to topple governments.

Deanna Boe (12/23/17: For those of you who like to read about actual spy stories, this is the book for you. It might not be as fast paced as novels written about spies, but this is the “real” stuff that actually happened during WW II. It is about Allen Dulles and how he organized and led a group of men determined to overthrow Hitler while living in “neutral” Switzerland. These were not your typical spies since they included German officers, Italians, Russians, Americans, etc. plus not only men but women. Dulles worked for the OSS or what will eventually be known as the CIA; he ultimately, in the years ahead, became its leader or the #1 spy. One of the more interesting “spies” working for the OSS during World War II was Julia Child, who later became the famous French chef on TV. The United States considered the spy business “dirty,” and until we were caught literally with our “pants down” with Pearl Harbor, we had not felt a need to indulge in spying.

One of the first lessons that Dulles learned was “never be certain that someone is not betraying you, just because you like and trust them.” Dulles, or Agent 110, worked with those within the Hitler regime. These men wanted the assurance that if they were able to bring down Hitler that Germany would be treated “fairly” after the war. But, as we know, President Roosevelt would only settle for “unconditional surrender.” In meeting with all these various “spies,” Dulles became convinced that Russia was working towards one goal, not only to bring down Hitler, but to also set themselves up in a way that they would control Europe.

Another interesting fact that jumped out at me was how one of Hitler’s former staff members, Ludwig Beck, had left Hitler’s regime early on simply because he did not feel Hitler was capable or was qualified to lead the troops into war. What was true back then could be true today. We all know how Prime Minister Chamberlain gave Hitler a tremendous diplomatic triumph which only set in motion all that followed. Dulles pointed out “that the intelligent Germans had allowed politics to slip out of their hands. As a result they lost their liberties.” One of my favorite sayings is: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We can only hope it won’t be true today.

Spies aren’t necessarily men, as mentioned above with Julia Child; one of Dulles’ spies was a female who became his mistress, Mary Bancroft. She worked with the famous psychologist Jung. He told her that Hitler “reminded him of some of his patients who were so attuned to their own inner voices and visions that they wouldn’t listen to anyone else.” Again, does this sound familiar?

It is fascinating to read how “real” spies operated during that war. The fact that all the countries were allowed to live in “neutral” Switzerland reminded me of the time when I lived in Vientiane, Laos during the Vietnam War. Laos was considered “neutral” and thus in the capital Vientiane you found all the factions of the war living side by side, not unlike Switzerland back then. You never knew who you should be talking to or not. In short, this is an intriguing book to read.
Rating: *****

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