Before I dive in head first, I feel it's important to start with some background. What was happening in the world at this time? What led up to this? What was the state of America? Let me take some time and set the stage for the story ahead.
Our story begins in the early 1950s, but we need to back up a little bit further than that. World War II had ended on September 2, 1945 and while it was a relief to have the horrors of what war over, there was still a great amount of tension all around. The Soviet Union had been founded in the end of 1922 and was still going strong. In fact, there was a great divide that was created as a result of the end of WWII that is commonly known as the Iron Curtain.
In August of 1945, America dropped atomic bombs on Japan which was ultimately the clincher of the war. While this quickly brought an end to the war, the choice to use these bombs were questioned all around the world. It wasn't long before the Soviet Union made it known that the United States weren't the only ones that had that kind of power.
By 1947, there was no denying that the United States and the Soviet Union were in, what author George Orwell called, a cold war. In other words, these two large world powers were in the most dangerous game of chess. The two were studying their opponent carefully, planning their moved meticulously, and trying to anticipate the other person's strategy.
With tension growing, President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act on September 18, 1947. With that, the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA, was created. The immediate goal when the CIA was created was for it to be an organization focused solely on foreign policy intelligence and analysis.
There had been similar organizations prior to that. On June 13, 1942, the United States created the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS, following the attack on Pearl Harbor. It served as an intelligence agency during WWII. After the war was over, the organization was no longer needed and stopped operations on September 20, 1945.
The Cold War and tension between the United States and the Soviet Union wasn't the only issue that the United States were facing. On June 25, 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea. President Truman decided that this invasion too closely resembled the actions of Adolf Hitler. Having just recently watched how that played out, officials did not want to make the same mistake twice. They felt that the only option was to go right away and defend South Korea. By July 1, just days later, the first of the US troops arrived in South Korea.
With the Soviet Union being an ally to North Korea and the United States being an ally to South Korea, this further complicated an already very tense situation. More than that, there was nothing simple or clear cut about the Korean War. This dangerous game of chess was that much more touchy.
In the beginning of 1953, President Truman's term was up and newly elected Dwight D. Eisenhower was now in office. Another big change was within the CIA. A man named Allen Dulles, who had worked for the CIA since January of 1951, became the first civilian Director of Central Intelligence within the CIA. All prior Directors of Central Intelligence had been military men.
When Dulles took his new position, he approached President Eisenhower about what had been communicated to the general public about the tension between the United States and the Soviet Union. He argued that people deserved to know the severity of the situation at hand should things take a more serious turn.
Which led Dulles to give a speech to the public in April of 1953. Which will be where I pick up in part 2.
**Please note that I will cite my sources in a later post. I don't want to spoil what is ahead with the sources I've used. But I promise that I will list the sources where I received all of my information.**