By Marco Pizzorno
It all started in room 3603 of the Rockefeller Center, where the one who Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower, cited as “the last hero,” created an intelligence program that would later become the world’s largest security services agency and US information source.
It was 1941, the Second World War had revealed the atrocities and shame of racial policies that continued to destroy innocent lives. Europe was stunned. In an attempt to block the perpetration of genocide, and to safeguard the protection of people and their dignity, President Roosevelt signed an order appointing an Assistant Attorney General to Information Coordinator (COI).
The name of this hero was William J. Donovan, who history will remember as the protagonist of countless operations aimed at restoring freedom and democracy to many western nations. Donovan worked hard to train the information service and was the source of important international collaborations. His efforts were so effective that the government changed the name of the COI to the Office of Strategic Service.
Today, the official website of the US Department of Justice clearly explains the moment of that transition, that is when the US presidency declared the existence of the OSS.
The Office of Strategic Service turned out to be an extraordinary organization committed to the fight against evil, which worked assiduously for international justice and subjected criminals to the law, even paying with their own blood, thanks to the sacrifice of the lives of many of its agents.
The text of the official website of the Department of Justice, in fact, quotes verbatim:
“President Roosevelt issued an order to replace the COI with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and appointed Mr. Donovan as its director.
During World War II, the OSS focused on gathering crucial information on members of the Third Reich. Mr. Donovan’s knowledge and experience was vital to the initial investigation into the Nuremberg Trials, where he was appointed Assistant Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson”.
The battle of William J Donovan and the OSS to bring war criminals to justice.
When the war ended, the British and American governments did not seem intent on prosecuting war criminals. It would seem, in fact, that it was Donovan himself who insisted so much on the establishment of criminal proceedings that led President Truman to then give the order to collect all the technical elements useful for organizing these trials.
Supreme Court Justice of the time R. Jackson was in charge of war criminals. The magistrate’s office realized that the OSS was the only agency to have worked on the matter, so much so that it invited Donovan to be part of the court’s work.
Donovan’s extraordinary work made it possible to gather information from Auschwitz survivors. This fact traced sensitive documentation on the SS and the Gestapo.
The Office of Strategic Service moves 172 officers into the Judge’s investigation team who proved instrumental in the indictment evidence and what went down in history as the most important war trial.
The OSS continued its relentless work of safeguarding human rights even after the Second World War. It can be referred to, in fact, when we research the history of the United Nations emblem. The architect Lundquist, captained the OSS team that created the emblem while different sources explain, instead, that Donal McLaughlin, also an OSS official, worked on the graphics of the conference and finalized the design of the pin and currently the logo United Nations official.
Today, as then, history repeats itself and American intelligence still seems to work tirelessly to ensure the West and the whole world those guarantees that make peoples free from autocratic regimes. These efforts go well beyond a departmental service, in fact they allow peoples the freedom to express themselves, but above all to exist and be able to “disagree”, the possibility of hoping and dreaming of a better future and pursuing happiness because it is in its inspiring principles and it is an inalienable right declared by the Congress of Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.
For this reason, it would be important to reflect on how precious the work of the OSS has been and how much that of the current US agencies that monitor respect for human rights is today. and on the attacks against that democracy that makes everyone equal without any distinction of race, ethnicity, political affiliation, birth and religion.