Home » A Cold War Catastrophe: The Defection, Investigation, Trials, and Fate of West Germanys Counter-Intelligence Chief: Otto John by David Meier
A Cold War Catastrophe: The Defection, Investigation, Trials, and Fate of West Germanys Counter-Intelligence Chief: Otto John David Meier

A Cold War Catastrophe: The Defection, Investigation, Trials, and Fate of West Germanys Counter-Intelligence Chief: Otto John

David Meier

Published May 23rd 2009
ISBN :
Kindle Edition
327 pages
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 About the Book 

Since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, Americans have been plagued by the difficulties of prosecuting traitors in its mist and checking its enemies abroad. Serious questions remain concerning the links betweenMoreSince the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, Americans have been plagued by the difficulties of prosecuting traitors in its mist and checking its enemies abroad. Serious questions remain concerning the links between various terrorist groups and their state sponsors. Questions also remain regarding the details of how the attacks were even possible. Given the technologies available in the West today, it seems almost incomprehensible that any question would remain unanswered. Upon closer evaluation, however, it appears that our expectation of incontrovertible evidence is simply pie in the sky. What we can say about the larger picture of the attackers is based upon more a preponderance of the evidence than the smoking-gun we would all like to see.The author received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1990 and currently teaches at Dickinson State University.The problem is not new. Histories of the Cold War are replete with them. The various spy stories ranging from John Le Carré (originally David John Moore Cornwell of the British Foreign Service), Rebecca West’s The New Meaning of Treason (1964), accounts of the life of Allen Dulles, Rudolf Abel, Klaus Fuchs, and Oleg Penkovsky represent a beginning forray into this realm. The title chosen for this work, A Cold War Casualty: TheDefection of West Germany’s Counter-Intelligence Chief, similarly, provides the reader with only a slight clue as to what is to come.In this case, the central focus rests on Otto John, the head of West Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution known in German as the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz or BfV. This agency had been created for the express purpose of protecting the new West German state from political radicals seeking to destroy the young democracy. Otto John had the job of gathering evidence on their activities. German police agencies would use the information for further investigations often leading to an arrest. Otto John’s BfV, however, focused its attention on active elements from the political extremes, the civil service, and the emerging West German military. Over the course of its early existence in the 1950s, the BfV would accumulate over 40,000 files on various individuals. Otto John, consequently, sat in the unique position of potentially knowing more about the key figures in the West German state than any other person at the time. The problem? On July 20, 1954, Otto John attended a special ceremony in Berlin to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the July 1944 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Before dawn the next day, Otto John disappeared and resurfaced in East Berlin. The evidence at hand strongly suggested that he had defected.