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Review Essay

The Frankfurt School at War

The Marxists Who Explained the Nazis to Washington

In This Review

Secret Reports on Nazi Germany: The Frankfurt School Contribution to the War Effort
Secret Reports on Nazi Germany: The Frankfurt School Contribution to the War Effort
By Franz Neumann, Herbert Marcuse, Otto Kirchheimer
Princeton University Press, 2013, 704 pp. $45.00 Purchase

Secret Reports on Nazi Germany: The Frankfurt School Contribution to the War Effort. by FRANZ NEUMANN, HERBERT MARCUSE, and OTTO KIRCHHEIMER. edited by RAFFAELE LAUDANI. Princeton University Press, 2013, 704 pp. $45.00.

War makes for strange bedfellows. Among the oddest pairings that World War II produced was the bringing together of William “Wild Bill” Donovan, head of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS) -- a precursor to the CIA -- and a group of German Jewish Marxists he hired to help the United States understand the Nazis.

Donovan was a decorated veteran of World War I and a Wall Street lawyer linked to the Republican Party. In 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt tapped him to create the United States’ first dedicated nonmilitary intelligence organization. At that time, many in the foreign policy establishment saw intelligence and espionage as somewhat undignified, even unimportant. So Donovan cast a wide net, recruiting not only diplomats and

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