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My father was in the O.S.S. in Italy, Austria, and North...

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Question by Judith
Submitted on 5/13/2004
Related FAQ: [soc.history.war.world-war-ii] Frequently Asked Questions
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My father was in the O.S.S. in Italy, Austria, and North Africa...I want articles on this unit..I am making a scrapbook on his army time, and as you might know ,,this was such a secret unit that we don;t have very much information, except what he told us.
I would like to know how it was formed, and how it became the C.I.A.

Answer by Angela
Submitted on 9/27/2005
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In 1942, U.S. Army Private Max Corvo was a 21-year-old Sicilian immigrant who came up with a plan for subversive warfare against Sicily. He wrangled a three-day pass and an interview in Washington, and a few weeks later was transferred to the Office of Strategic Services. For the next seven months he traveled around the U.S. and recruited other immigrants. From 1943 to 1945, Corvo was stationed abroad, in charge of OSS operations in Italy. After the war he retired from intelligence work, and since 1947 has been the publisher of the Middletown Bulletin in Connecticut. Along with other OSS veterans, Corvo remains active in reconstructing the history of the agency from declassified documents.
There were numerous successes, as well as bureaucratic turf and logistical support problems, for the OSS in Italy. It was the Office of Naval Intelligence, for example, that released Mafia chief Lucky Luciano from a U.S. prison and recruited him for their advance work in Sicily, sidelining the OSS. (Corvo says that he made an early decision to avoid Mafia contacts during his recruitment efforts.) After Corvo left Italy, James Angleton took over the work there, and according to other accounts, vigorously encouraged the anti-leftist elements. More often than not, this meant promoting those with masonic, syndicate, or fascist connections.


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