1. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    Need help with World War II Russian Intelligence Officers

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Lothgar, Jun 15, 2011.

    I'm looking for some historical info on Russian intelligence services during the second world war for a piece of historical fiction I'm dabbling with.

    I know the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) contributed much to the present day CIA and British Intelligence services, but I'm going to assume that the Russian KGB of the Cold War didn't just magically appear one night.

    I assume that it started with intel roots somewhere and I honestly don't even know what to search for in the case of Russian intelligence operations against the Germans in World War II. I don't even know what it would have been or might have been called, since I don't speak Russian.

    Any suggestions on a starting place to begin such research for the historical precursor to the Cold War KGB era?
     
  2. Terry D
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    Terry D Active Member

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    I did a Google search for "History of the KGB" and "The KGB during WWII". Those retrieved a bunch of websites about the evolution of the organization from its earliest days as the Checka, to the cold war force we all think of. Apparently, during the second world war it was already known as KGB.
     
  3. jo spumoni
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    jo spumoni Active Member

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    I did a search on abebooks.com for "kgb history" and I got this
    http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=5105513770&searchurl=kn%3DKGB%2Bhistory%26sts%3Dt%26x%3D0%26y%3D0

    And this http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=3725403264&searchurl=kn%3DKGB%2Bhistory%2Bwwii%26sts%3Dt%26x%3D0%26y%3D0

    The first one seems to be a history of the KGB based on some sort of documents a guy carried from Russia; there's a description of the book on the link. It doesn't seem to be exactly what you're looking for, but perhaps it will give a general overview of how the KGB started.

    The second link is a personal account by a Soviet intelligence officer. It's published in 1959, so I'm not sure if it talks about WWII or not, but it may be worth a look. Unfortunately there's not a good description of the book on the link.

    Lastly, you might just try a history book on the USSR. There's bound to be at least some info about the KGB in most books.

    Basically, the info is out there, it's just a matter of finding it. Do searches for books on amazon.com and abebooks.com (because those have really big databases) and look at your local library. Make sure you search under both "Russia" and "USSR". I'm doing a project on WWII also, and I went to my library and searched for "Nazi Germany" only to realize that the good stuff was all under "Third Reich". Computers aren't always smart :)
     
  4. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the tips. I appreciate it :)
     
  5. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    Not sure how much this is going to help you, but from what I have read over the past few years on associated topics, in general I believe that the Russians were much less capable of undertaking intelligence operations against Germany than the Western Allies during World War Two. This is due to a number of reasons.

    - While a large number of German communists in the 1930s had very close ties to Moscow and Russian intelligence services, most of these were killed, arrested or fled the country between 1933 and 1941. The remaining population generally was not favourable towards communism and consequently not easy to recruit. This anti-Soviet feeling grew much stronger after 1941, so I would be extremely surprised if the Soviets were shown to be maintaining a large spy network in Germany at this time.

    - Outside Germany, the German security forces were much less capable of eliminating anybody with communist sympathies (despite great efforts to do so), and a great deal of Soviet intelligence operations against Germany were conducted in France, Greece, Spain and Italy. Several cells of the French resistance were controlled by Moscow. Similarly, in the Balkans, there were typically two resistance organizations in parallel, one intending to restore the status quo ante bellum and the other intending to replace the German occupation with a communist state directly linked to the Soviet Union. Heavy fighting between these two groups was common, and some never even cooperated in the fight against the Germans.

    - A prime target for Russian intelligence were captured German POWs, who could be turned to work for the Russians. A good number of people were turned in this way, including several generals. These, I believe, set up several committees concerning the German post-war order and prepared the establishment of the GDR in the post-war world together with civilian German communists living in Russia. Some of these then went on to form the core of the new East German army.

    - At the same time, the Russians had been very successful in their penetration of the British secret services. It might be fair to say that the Russians could get better information on the Germans through their men in SIS and MI5 than through any operations they could conduct against Germany themselves.
     
  6. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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    Lothgar:
    The predecessor of the KGB was the NKVD (from 1934-1954). Start w/ Wiki I wld say: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NKVD

    NKVD as Google word likely pops up far more.

    HTH
     

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