Early Cold War:
Occupation Period: Germany and Austria


The end of World War II left the United States with overseas responsibilities. The Army’s role in the occupation of a defeated Germany placed new demands on the Counter Intelligence Corps detachments in the European theater. The denazification program was the top priority. During the first 6 months of occupation duty, CIC personnel focused on rounding up and interrogating individuals on various “wanted” lists. Also high on their agenda was the handling of emerging security issues. A number of Nazi party loyalists went underground to continue the fight through acts of sabotage; for example, one group of 40 Nazis led by a notorious Gestapo officer who disguised himself as a baker planned to dynamite US installations. Fortunately, surveillance by CIC agents exposed their plot.

The CIC faced an unexpected threat to a democratic Germany; this time from a former ally, the Soviet Union. When it became known that Soviet liaison officers were actively engaging in espionage within the US occupational zone, the CIC began an espionage effort of its own. CIC agents were trained in the tools of their trade, such as miniature cameras that were easily concealed and could be skillfully employed to fulfill a variety of intelligence requirements, such as photographing documents. When surreptitious entry was necessary, agents would use a simple, but effective method of duplicating a “borrowed” key by making an impression of the key in a malleable substance.