Professional baseball player Moe Berg also led a shadowy existence as a spy for the U.S. government.

William “Wild Bill” Donovan

Moe Berg: Baseball Player in the OSS

By Peter Kross

In 1920, a young, handsome Jewish boy from New Jersey took the train from Grand Central Station to Princeton, New Jersey, where he would enroll that fall. Read more

William “Wild Bill” Donovan

Opening the Venona Files

By Peter Kross

On February 1, 1943, a group called the U.S. Army Signal Intelligence Service, the forerunner of the modern-day National Security Agency (NSA), began a project to intercept and analyze diplomatic signal traffic sent by an ally of the United States: the Soviet Union. Read more

William “Wild Bill” Donovan

“John Ford’s Navy”: A Filmmaker in the OSS

By Michael D. Hull

With such award-winning films as Stagecoach, Young Mr. Lincoln, Drums Along the Mohawk, The Grapes of Wrath, The Long Voyage Home, and How Green Was My Valley behind him, John Ford was one of Hollywood’s most respected directors by the time World War II broke out in 1939. Read more

William “Wild Bill” Donovan

Colonel Bernt Balchen’s Secret Air Force

By Patrick J. Chaisson

The Bug was in deep trouble. On a top-secret flight over occupied Norway, this ancient, war-weary C-47 Skytrain transport aircraft became the helpless target of German antiaircraft guns, all firing desperately to bring down the transport and its precious cargo. Read more

William “Wild Bill” Donovan

Inside the OSS: An Interview With Elizabeth P. McIntosh

by Bob Bergin

The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was America’s first strategic intelligence organization. President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized its establishment on June 13, 1942, six months after World War II began, to collect and analyze strategic intelligence and to conduct special services, including subversion, sabotage, and psychological warfare. Read more

The U.S. Office of Strategic Services recruited Germans to infiltrate the Third Reich.

William “Wild Bill” Donovan

OSS in Germany

By John Mancini

By the autumn of 1944, most of Nazi-occupied Europe had been liberated by Allied forces. The conquering armies now faced the invasion of the German homeland. Read more

Heinz Lüning, a reluctant spy for the Third Reich, served as inspiration for British writer Graham Greene.

William “Wild Bill” Donovan

The Abwehr’s Man in Havana

By Peter Kross

In espionage fiction, there are three types of spies. The first is the suave, dapper James Bond, 007, license to kill, a hit with the ladies. Read more

Franklin D. Roosevelt employed a network of friends and contacts in covert roles, which inspired the creation of the OSS.

William “Wild Bill” Donovan

Creating the OSS: FDR’s Network of Personal Spies

by Peter Kross

One of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s longtime interests was the hidden world of espionage. In the months before the United States entered World War II, the commander-in-chief was dabbling in the covert world of intelligence-gathering, using a number of trusted personal friends as his own private eyes and ears around the globe. Read more