Devoir de Philosophie

Donovan, William

Publié le 22/02/2012

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Donovan, William (1883–1959) leader of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS) "Wild Bill" Donovan headed the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during 1942–45. Born in Buffalo, New York, he was trained in law and began practicing in his hometown in 1907. He served with General John J. Pershing in the Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa in 1916 as a member of the New York National Guard. After this, he saw combat in France during World War I with the 165th Infantry Regiment. He fought with great bravery and distinction, earning not only promotion to the rank of colonel but also the Medal of Honor. After the war, in 1922, Donovan became U.S. district attorney for western New York, then served as assistant attorney general in the Justice Department from 1924 to 1929. He returned to the private practice of law in the 1930s but never severed his many connections to both the civil government and the military. On the eve of American entry into World War II, in 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called on Donovan to outline plans for the creation of a national central intelligence service at a time when the nation had no such body. Roosevelt formally appointed Donovan coordinator of information on July 11, 1941, and on June 13 of the following year he was named chief of what was now the OSS. The OSS was a military, not a civilian, agency. Its wartime mission was threefold: to gather foreign intelligence, to conduct propaganda and counterpropaganda campaigns, and to conduct covert actions. Donovan had OSS operatives active in all theaters of the war except for the Pacific. The Latin American nations were also, for reasons of hemispheric diplomacy, exempted. The OSS became a valuable source of intelligence during the war, especially in Europe. It also served as the foundation for the postwar Central Intelligence Agency, an entity Donovan enthusiastically supported, though he declined to take any role in its creation or operation. Donovan remained in government service after the war, serving as ambassador to Thailand in 1953–54.

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