Le monde universitaire dans les filets du renseignement : des cas documentés de professeurs au service de l’OSS, dans un ouvrage publié par l’université Yale

Le livre de Robin Winks Cloak and Gown: Scholars in the Secret War 1939-1961 (1987), chaudement recommandé par Michael Collins Piper, est disponible en téléchargement. Ce livre fait partie de la poignée de livres essentiels mis de l’avant par Piper dans son livre Ye Shall Know the Truth (2013):

Historians as Tools  of the Global Elite

Court Historians Regurgitate New Versions of Prewar and Wartime Propaganda Dressed Up as History
by Michael Collins Piper 


“TO THE VICTOR BELONG THE SPOILS,” the old saying goes. It might be amended to say, “To the victor belongs the privilege of writing history.” Julius Caesar certainly recognized that when he wrote in Commentaries on the Gallic War, Book I, that “It is the law of war for conquerors to deal with the conquered at their pleasure”—and that, of course, included the writing of “court” history. Another writer, a diplomat and scientist, Benjamin Franklin, had his own twist on the subject, declaring in Poor Richard’s Almanac that, “Historians relate, not so much what is done, as what they would have believed [by the people].” This distortion of history is what Revisionists are fighting against.
In the years following both World War I and World War II when real historians such as Dr. Harry Elmer Barnes and his colleague dared to suggest that the postwar histories, written by the victors, were hardly more than the product of “court historians” essentially regurgitating new versions of prewar and wartime propaganda dressed up as “history,” Barnes and his fellow Revisionists were defamed as “conspiracy theorists” and worse.
However, with even the most cursory review of the role that many eminent and “respected” American postwar historians played as top-level intelligence officers during World War II, for example, one cannot help but wonder how reliable their academic accounts of the history of that period were.
In 1987 Yale University professor Robin W. Winks (now deceased) published his award-winning 607-page book, Cloak and Gown: Scholars in the Secret War, 1939-1961 (New Haven: Yale University Press) outlining the very substantial (but until then largely little-known) details surrounding the involvement of American academics in the activities of the CIA and its World War II predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).


“Each government accuses the other
of perfidy, intrigue and ambition, as a
means of heating the imagination of
their respective nations, and incensing
them to hostilities”


In his book, Winks provided readers with an eye-opening list of the names of some—but far from all—American academics (largely historians) who served in the OSS during World War II and were therefore part of (and directing) America’s official covert intelligence operations against the enemy. The list is remarkable and demonstrates that there is reason to suggest the ties between academia and the U.S. government propaganda apparatus are even more profound than Harry Elmer Barnes may have suspected.

Many of the names will be immediately familiar. The names constitute a veritable laundry list of those whom Barnes quite correctly called “the court historians” and whom—by virtue of their wartime roles in the propaganda operations of the OSS—revolutionary statesman Thomas Paine might have been foreshadowing. He wrote of war-time propagandists in The Rights of Man declaring: “Each government accuses the other of perfidy intrigue and ambition, as a means of heating the imagination of their respective nations, and incensing them to hostilities”—not only during wartime but afterward as well. And that is why there is the need for Revisionist scholars to continue fighting to bring history into accord with the facts, wartime and postwar propaganda notwithstanding.

Spies Turned ‘Court Historians’
The World War II-era Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was the forerunner of the modern CIA, and also the spawning ground for a host of American academics who rose to prominence in postwar years. Most of these ex-spies—with little deviation—touted the “official” U.S.-British-Zionist intelligence propaganda version of the events that led up to the war, accounts of the war’s conduct and the twists of history that followed. Not for nothing did such independent historians as Dr. Harry Elmer Barnes refer to these characters as the “court historians.”


Above, Herbert Marcuse: It wasn’t “Hanoi Jane” Fonda or Huey Newton and the Black Panthers who invented the ideas and slogans that came to be identified with the “drop out” generation. It was Marcuse, drawing on Hegel, Marx and Sigmund Freud, who introduced the theory of “the great refusal,” meaning that individuals should reject and subvert the existing social order as repressive and conformist without waiting for a revolution. Marcuse left Germany one step ahead of the Gestapo to bring his “enlightenment” to America. He taught philosophy at various U.S. universities until his death in 1979.

Among the ex-OSS spies who became influential postwar arbiters of “official” history included (1) Arthur Schlesinger Jr., (2) Carl William Blegen and (3) James Phinney Baxter.

What follows is the list of OSS-spawned academics taken from Winks’s book, including the sometimes-glowing descriptions that Winks provided:

    • James Phinney Baxter III, president of Williams College;
    • Carl Blegen, professor of history, University of Cincinnati, and a leading authority on American immigration and ethnic history;
    • Crane Brinton, professor of history, Harvard University, perhaps the leading historian of ideas on the European front;
    • Dr. Frederick Burkhardt, director of the American Council of Learned Societies;
    • John Christopher, professor of history, University of Rochester, who with Brinton and Robert Lee Wolff wrote an extremely influential (and extremely successful) textbook, History of Civilization, immediately after the war, a text that became one of two that dominated the market for the immediate postwar generation of undergraduate students. “Brinton, Christopher and Wolff,” as the text was known, reflected the synoptic view the authors developed while in the OSS, and it would not be totally revised until 1983;
    • Dr. Ray Cline, who wrote a first-rate volume in the official history of World War II and then returned to the intelligence profession. He became the CIA’s deputy director for intelligence from 1962 to 1966;
    • John Clive, professor of history, Harvard University, a major figure in 19th century British studies;
    • Gordon Craig, professor of history, Princeton and later Stanford universities, author of the leading books on the role of the military in German history;
    • John Curtiss, professor of history, Duke University, an authority on France;
    • Harold C. Deutsch, professor of history, University of Minnesota, also an important figure in the development of modern German history in the United States;
    • Donald M. Dozer, professor of history, University of California, Santa Barbara, a Latin Americanist;
    • Dr. Allan Evans, a medievalist from Yale who remained with the Department of State at the end of the war;
    • John K. Fairbank, professor of Chinese history at Harvard University, the leading sinologist of his generation;
    • Franklin L. Ford, professor of history, Harvard University, and the dean of Harvard College during the student disorders of the late 1960s;
    • Felix Gilbert, historian at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, an elegant diplomatist;
    • S. Everett Gleason, who worked with William Langer in the OSS and after, and returned to become the State Department’s historian;
    • Moses Hadas, professor of classics, Columbia University, who wrote on the expansion of the Roman empire;
    • Samuel W. Halperin, professor of history, University of Chicago, and after the war editor of The Journal of Modern History;
    • Henry B. Hill, professor of history, University of Kansas, who developed British history there and later at Wisconsin;
    • Hajo Holborn, Sterling professor of history, Yale University, who worked on occupation policy for Germany at the end of the war and wrote on the history of military occupation, becoming a dominant figure in the training of postwar Germanists;
    • H. Stuart Hughes, professor of history, Harvard University, who moved on from where Crane Brinton had left off in European intellectual (and especially Italian) history, and unsuccessfully ran for the House of Representatives in Massachusetts;
    • Sherman Kent, who left Yale to preside over ONE, the Office of National Estimates, at the CIA;
    • Clinton Knox, who also left the historical profession, becoming ambassador to Guinea;
    • Leonard Krieger, who returned from the OSS to become a professor at Yale and then of German intellectual history at the University of Chicago;
    • William L. Langer, the outstanding European diplomatic historian of his generation;
    • Val Lorwin, professor of history, University of Oregon, and the nation’s leading authority on the Low Countries;
    • Herbert Marcuse, who moved from history to philosophy at Brandeis and the University of California, and from the contemplative life to that of guru to the student revolt during the war in Vietnam;
    • Henry Cord Meyer, professor of history, Pomona College, another leading Germanist who left Yale for the West Coast;
    • Saul K. Padover, professor at the New School for Social Research, authority on Jefferson and democratic thought, and a pioneer lecturer on American history at a wide range of universities overseas;
    • Michael B. Petrovich, professor of history, University of Wisconsin, who developed Russian studies there;
    • David H. Pinckney, professor of history, first at the University of Missouri and then the University of Washington, a major force in French history and, like Brinton, Craig, Fairbank, Holborn, Langer, and Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., a president of the American Historical Association, perhaps the highest honor the discipline can bestow on one of its own;
    • David M. Potter, professor of history, Yale University (and later at Stanford), who with Ralph Gabriel and Norman Holmes Pearson firmly established American studies at Yale;
    • Conyers Read, professor of history, University of Pennsylvania, an authority on Elizabethan England and the prime mover behind the Council on Foreign Relations in Philadelphia;
    • Henry L. Roberts, professor of history, Columbia University, who followed Geroid Robinson in developing a front-rank Russian studies program at that institution;
    • Elspeth D. Rostow, University of Texas, who with her husband,
    • Walt Whitman Rostow, worked out major interpretations on American foreign policy;
    • John E. Sawyer, economic historian who left Yale to become president of Williams College and then of the Mellon Foundation;
    • Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., professor of history, Harvard University, polymath, adviser to and historian for the Kennedys before his transition to a Schweitzer chair at the City University of New York;
    • Bernadotte E. Schmitt, who after the war lived in retirement, lauded as the leading historian of the causes of WWI;
    • Carl E. Schorske, professor of history at Wesleyan and then Princeton University, an authority on European intellectual history;
    • Raymond Sontag, professor of history, University of California at Berkeley, the first of the old OSS team to publicly remind the student generation of the 1960s of his service and of why academics had felt it appropriate to engage in intelligence work, which he had
    • Wayne S. Vucinich, professor of history, continued to do as a consultant to ONE;
    • L.S. Stavrianos, professor of history, Northwestern University, who carried the idea of global history further than any other scholar, in a series of notable texts;
    • Richard P. Stebbins, a man Sherman Kent felt could turn out more work of high quality than anyone else in his shop, who became director of the Council on Foreign Relations;
    • Paul R. Sweet, who also remained with the State Department, in change of its official histories and archives.
    • Alexander Vucinich, professor of history, San Jose State University, a leading authority on Eastern Europe; Stanford University, who covered the same waterfront;
    • Paul L. Ward, who became the executive director of the American Historical Association;
    • Albert Weinberg, technically a political scientist, although the author of a fine historical analysis of American imperial expansion, who remained in government work after the war;
    • Robert Lee Wolff, professor of history, Harvard University, that institution’s outstanding authority on Eastern Europe;
    • John H. Wuorinen, professor of history, Columbia University, who covered Scandinavia and in particular Finland;
    • T. Cuyler Young, professor of archeology, Princeton University, who, with Richard Frye at Harvard (who also was in the OSS), pioneered Iranian studies in the United States.


This list, needless to say, is highly revealing, if only because it demonstrates how closely American academics have been linked to the intelligence community, and in this case, during wartime. The truth is that—despite the passing of decades—nothing has changed. The American academic community has consistently been influenced by—and in many respects, has been a part of—the high-level policy-makers, war-planners, and other elements of the high level ruling elite.

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