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This video – originally titled as "Undercover" – is a dramatized spy training film produced by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the wartime intelligence agency of the United States during World War 2. It was released in circa 1944.
The film analyzes preparation, arrival, establishment, and "prevalent cover" for secret agents by presenting one movie within another, as introduced by Col. Robertson, chief of Schools and Training at Office of Strategic Services. Gives examples of agents discovered because of inattention to details, good cover versus bad cover. Emphasizes proper attitude, study, and importance of support staff. Explains ways to infiltrate enemy territory. Illustrates effective and ineffective spy methods by comparing two agents. Shows ways to camouflage or dispose of revealing evidence. Explains techniques of blending into enemy culture and preparing for sudden departure, how to choose residence and how to avoid suspicion in enemy country.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND / CONTEXT
On 13 June 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) to centralize the nation's fragmented and uncoordinated intelligence activities during World War 2. An earlier attempt to do so, through the Office of the Coordinator of Information (COI), formed 11 July 1941, had failed to achieve any real success because of unclear lines of authority and bureaucratic jealousies among the various government agencies concerned. As a part of the plan for establishing the OSS, some of the COI functions, such as domestic information activities, became the responsibility of the newly formed Office of War Information. The OSS took on others: the collection and analysis of strategic information and the planning and performance of special operations, particularly in the realms of espionage and sabotage. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were to supervise and direct OSS activities. Col. William J. Donovan became director.
Throughout its existence, the organization of the OSS constantly changed as it grew to an eventual strength of 12,000 personnel. Basically, the OSS consisted of a headquarters and various subordinate offices in and near Washington, D.C., and a series of field units, both in the United States and overseas. Two exceptions were Latin America, where the Federal Bureau of Investigation handled intelligence activities, and the South West Pacific theater, where Gen. Douglas MacArthur refused to accept the OSS.
Three branches of the OSS exemplified the breadth and scope of its operations. The secret intelligence branch dealt with sabotage, spying, demolitions, secret radio communications, and paramilitary functions. The morale operations branch handled the propaganda functions vested in the OSS. The research and analysis office gathered extensive information on all aspects of the areas in which U.S. forces operated. The OSS collected even the most trivial data and used it to further the war effort. All three branches had agents in both enemy and neutral areas.
It is the secret intelligence area from which the OSS gained much of its glamour. Many of its operations were in fact more dramatic than the fictionalized accounts found in books and films. In Burma, for example, a small OSS unit of twenty men operated behind Japanese lines with such success that it likely eliminated more than 15,000 of the enemy. Beginning in 1943, OSS personnel, along with British and other Allied teams, took part in the Jedburgh operation, which sent hundreds of three-man teams into France and the Low Countries to organize and aid underground forces in advance of the invasion of Europe. In 1944, another group smuggled an Italian inventor out of his German-occupied homeland to the United States, where he was able to produce an effective counter-measure to the torpedo he had designed for the Germans.
The end of World War 2 brought the demise of the OSS, by an executive order effective 1 October 1945. The departments of state and war split the functions, personnel, and records of the office. It was the experience gained by the OSS that laid the foundation for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), established in 1947.
World War 2 Spy Training Film: Undercover | OSS Film | ca. 1944
NOTE: THE VIDEO REPRESENTS HISTORY. SINCE IT WAS PRODUCED DECADES AGO, IT HAS HISTORICAL VALUES AND CAN BE CONSIDERED AS A VALUABLE HISTORICAL DOCUMENT. THE VIDEO HAS BEEN UPLOADED WITH EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. ITS TOPIC IS REPRESENTED WITHIN HISTORICAL CONTEXT. THE VIDEO DOES NOT CONTAIN SENSITIVE SCENES AT ALL!