On May 8, 1945, U.S. President Harry S. Truman declared to the world: “The Allied armies … have wrung from [Nazi] Germany a final and unconditional surrender. The western world has been freed of the evil forces which for five years and longer have imprisoned the bodies and broken the lives of millions upon millions of free-born men. … Our Armies of Liberation have restored freedom to these suffering peoples, whose spirit and will the oppressors could never enslave.”
But recently discovered documents have shown that instead of bringing many of these defeated forces to justice, the CIA under the leadership of Allen Dulles and the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover recruited more than 1,000 Nazis as spies and informants in the new so-called Cold War against the Soviet Union. Many of these fascists were evident war criminals from the highest ranks of the Nazis command, and received government protection from anyone who attempted to uncover these facts. The actual number of Nazis employed by U.S. intelligence is likely much higher as much documentation remains classified.
Though this enlistment of Nazis by U.S. intelligence had started to come to light in the 1970s, thousands of recently declassified government files, along with Freedom of information Act requests and interviews with official insiders, uncovered the fact that this recruitment and concealment went much deeper than previously believed. The government covered up this fact all the way up until the 1990s, dismissing fascist “war crimes” perpetrated by these individuals as “moral lapses” in light of their anti-communist intelligence value.
In 1980, the FBI concealed the identities of 16 people believed to be ex-Nazis living in the United States from a Justice Department “Nazis Hunter” investigation. All had been FBI informants, five still active at the time of the investigation.
The CIA recruited high-ranking Nazis like SS officer Otto von Bolschwing, top aide to “Final Solution” mastermind Adolf Eichmann. After spying for the bureau in Europe following the war, the U.S. government moved him, along with his family, to New York City in 1954 as a reward for his services, where he lived under CIA protection until his death in 1981. The agency in 1994 again stepped in to save an investigated former Gestapo officer, Aleksandras Lileikis, even though the agency itself had evidence of his involvement in the machine-gun deaths of 60,000 Jewish people.
The CIA hired him in 1952 to spy on socialist East Germany and helped him immigrate to the United States in 1956. Facing prosecution in 1994, the CIA helped Lileikis strike a deal with the Justice Department, and he was able to fly free.
The history of World War II as taught on U.S. television and in schools embellishes on the United States’ involvement at the expense of telling the story of the Soviet fight against Nazi Germany. Despite suffering 27 million deaths, the Soviet Union rallied to defend its homeland against Nazi Germany and the biggest war machine in history up to that point and pushed it all the way back to Berlin. The Soviet Red Army delivered the final and decisive blow.
The uncovering of U.S. intelligence enlistment of Nazi officers dispels the rhetoric of freedom and democracy espoused by U.S. officialdom. The murderous Nazi regime under Hitler and his officers was one of the most viciously repressive regimes in human history. The recruitment of these fascists could never be used for the advancement of freedom and democracy. Instead, they were put at the service of capitalism against the growing wave of socialist revolution that was sweeping the world. To this day, the U.S. government uses fascists and former Nazis in the service of Wall Street and European Banks in places like Ukraine.
But the fight against fascism and the struggle for socialism’s triumph over capitalism are one and the same. Revolutionary socialists must fight racism, sexism, homophobia and anti-laborism at all times and attack fascism where it organizes. Through independent organization and struggle, the working class and oppressed can defeat fascism, as well as its parents, capitalism/imperialism and racism.