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Nuclear Spies: America's Atomic Intelligence Operation against Hitler and Stalin

by Vince Houghton Cornell University Press
Pub Date:
10/2019
ISBN:
9781501739590
Format:
Hbk 248 pages
Price:
AU$59.99 NZ$65.21
Product Status: Available in Approx 7 days
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Why did the US intelligence services fail so spectacularly to know about the Soviet Union's nuclear capabilities following World War II? As Vince Houghton, historian and curator of the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC, shows us, that disastrous failure came just a few years after the Manhattan Project's intelligence team had penetrated the Third Reich and knew every detail of the Nazi's plan for an atomic bomb. What changed and what went wrong?


 


Houghton's delightful retelling of this fascinating case of American spy ineffectiveness in the then new field of scientific intelligence provides us with a new look at the early years of the Cold War. During that time, scientific intelligence quickly grew to become a significant portion of the CIA budget as it struggled to contend with the incredible advance in weapons and other scientific discoveries immediately after World War II. As Houghton shows, the abilities of the Soviet Union's scientists, its research facilities and laboratories, and its educational system became a key consideration for the CIA in assessing the threat level of its most potent foe. Sadly, for the CIA scientific intelligence was extremely difficult to do well. For when the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb in 1949, no one in the American intelligence services saw it coming.

"The Nuclear Spies-ádeftly navigates the decisions made, for better or worse, by World War IIGÇôera American intelligence agencies. This book [adds to our] understanding of scientific intelligence as a tool for national security."

Dr. Vince Houghton is the Historian and Curator of the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. He has a PhD in Diplomatic and Military History from the University of Maryland, where his research centered on US scientific and technological intelligence (nuclear intelligence) in the Second World War and early Cold War. Vince is a veteran of the United States Army, and served in the Balkans, where he worked closely with both civilian and military intelligence agencies in several capacities.