Exposing the Third Reich
Colonel Truman Smith in Hitler's Germany
Publication Year: 2013
As World War II recedes from living memory, there remain untold stories of important behind-the-scenes operatives who provided vital support to the leaders celebrated in historical accounts. Colonel Truman Smith is one of the most compelling figures from this period, but there has never been a biography of this important and controversial man. In Exposing the Third Reich, Henry G. Gole tells this soldier's story for the first time.
An American aristocrat from a prominent New England family, Smith was first assigned to Germany in 1919 during the Allied occupation and soon became known as a regional expert. During his second assignment in the country as a military attach? in 1935, he arranged for his good friend Charles Lindbergh to inspect the Luftwaffe. The Germans were delighted to have the famous aviator view their planes, enabling Smith to gather key intelligence about their air capability. His savvy cultivation of relationships rendered him invaluable throughout his service, particularly as an aide to General George C. Marshall; however, the colonel's friendliness with Germany also aroused suspicion that he was a Nazi sympathizer.
Gole demonstrates that, far from condoning Hitler, Smith was among the first to raise the alarm: he predicted many of the Nazis' moves years in advance and feared that the international community would not act quickly enough. Featuring many firsthand observations of the critical changes in Germany between the world wars, this biography presents an indispensable look both at a fascinating figure and at the nuances of the interwar years.
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Download PDF (512.0 KB)
Throughout the nation’s history, numerous men and women of all ranks and branches of the U.S. military have served their country with honor and distinction. During times of war and peace, there are individuals whose exemplary achievements embody the highest standards of the U.S. armed forces. The aim of the American War-...
Download PDF (33.8 KB)
Download PDF (28.1 KB)
Download PDF (22.2 KB)
...cord as an infantry officer commanding a company and later a bat-talion in combat. After the war he served in the occupation troops stationed in Coblenz. Then, in the twenty years between the world wars, he spent two four-year tours in Germany as an assistant mili-tary attaché and, then, as the military attaché. During the first tour ...
Preface and Acknowledgments
Download PDF (40.2 KB)
This book began with several straws blowing in the wind that land-located. Another was readiness for a new project. Yet another was appreciation of the personal story of Truman Smith’s dedicated ser-vice to this country, which parallels the general decline of the pa-trician class, sometimes called “the northeastern establishment,” in ...
1. Patrician Heritage
Download PDF (2.1 MB)
Truman Smith, born to a prominent family at West Point in 1893, was well educated, confident, and responsible, and, while he never used these words to describe himself or his class, he was an Ameri-can aristocrat. Like European gentry, his Yankee patrician class knew without saying that the price of economic well-being and high ...
2. Over There
Download PDF (1.9 MB)
The war years of 1917–1918 were a formative time for Truman. His marriage to Kay began a long and loving relationship that was also a professional partnership. Her charm, wit, and high intelligence enabled her to keep pace with her talented husband as he matured and became first a good soldier and later a skilled reporter and ana-...
3. Deutschland and Yearning
Download PDF (471.8 KB)
Smith had distinguished himself in a campaign that was brief, in-diplomats engaged in the preliminaries to peacemaking, Truman’s regiment remained in Europe to become part of the occupation force in Germany. His letters to his wife during this time reveal a new affinity to things German and his disenchantment with the French. ...
4. Civil Affairs and Romance on the Rhine
Download PDF (67.0 KB)
...act to occupation by foreign soldiers, nor did they know how long the occupation would last. The first question was answered early on as the Germans accepted the American presence without incident, despite the general anxiety that pervaded Germany, now defeated, hungry, and leaderless. The duration of the occupation would de-...
5. Berlin, Munich, and Hitler in Weimar Germany
Download PDF (745.0 KB)
It is better for America and England that the decisive struggle probability of a patriotic, nationalistic Germany of the future The Smiths arrived in Berlin in June 1920, when both they and the uous, provisional, improvised, and ad hoc, including the American representation in the German capital. The small staff they joined had ...
6. Years of Preparation
Download PDF (1.1 MB)
The Smiths’ European adventure of the early 1920s was a rich per-sonal and professional experience; the same cannot be said of their next assignment. Truman later wrote, “The ensuing year and a half spent at Fort Hamilton was altogether the dullest and least profes-sionally rewarding of my whole army career. The only relief from ...
7. Marshall's Men
Download PDF (649.1 KB)
The people and the work made Smith’s Benning assignment “most pleasant.” Kay was relaxed, and Truman thoroughly enjoyed his job. Many of their friends, colleagues, and students became the top army leaders during and after World War II, and there was an un-expected bonus. Truman’s already close connection to the German ...
8. Army War College and Command
Download PDF (383.9 KB)
...hell of a lot about it. It was the one place where you could sit Smith’s gratifying years at Fort Benning with Marshall, Schell, and other first-rate professionals were focused on training and tactics. That assignment was followed by a year at the Army War College, where his focus was on national strategy, military strategy, and an ...
9. Hitler Takes Power
Download PDF (50.0 KB)
The chief of staff’s enigmatic pronouncements must have puzzled Smith as he prepared to take up his post as military attaché. After all, MacArthur had been a brigadier general when just thirty-eight and superintendent at the United States Military Academy a year later. Smith was about to turn forty-two in 1935 when he had his ...
10. Hitler's Germany
Download PDF (1.7 MB)
...people as gifted scientifically, industrially, and militarily as Smith had thought through Hitler’s influence and Germany’s future in his 1924 article, “The German Fascisti,” which remained unpub-lished until 1984. In it he warned that “critics and scoffers” who pro-claimed Hitler’s doctrines as artificial “bunkum” “may well be too ...
11. Kay, Germany, and Ambassador Dodd
Download PDF (370.8 KB)
Katharine Alling Hollister Smith used Alling, her mother’s maiden name, and Hollister, her own maiden name, on the title page of her memoir, “My Life,” presumably to make it clear that she was not just another Smith. She describes her and her husband’s second tour ings of gossip, but always evocative of the drama of Hitler’s Ger-...
12. Hitler Arms, Smith Reports
Download PDF (1.9 MB)
In 1935, Smith knew with absolute clarity that he was in Berlin in Hitler’s time to observe and report on German rearmament. In ret-rospect, he realized that he had been close to the center of world-altering events in the decade after 1935, a period covering his assignments in Berlin and in Washington from 1939 to 1945. Never-...
13. Smith's Trojan Horse
Download PDF (2.4 MB)
In the summer of 1953, seven years after his retirement from ac-tive military duty, Smith was approached by the Intelligence Divi-sion of the General Staff with the request that he furnish them all pertinent facts regarding the connection of then-Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh, Army Reserve, with Smith’s office in Berlin between ...
14. The Lindbergh-Smith Friendship
Download PDF (738.0 KB)
...the air intelligence gained by the aviator’s visits to Germany in 1936 and 1937. Later Lindbergh visits in 1938 and 1939 were icing on the cake, but Smith singled out his 1 November 1937 report on Nazi air power as his crowning achievement. Lindbergh’s visit had validat-ed and fleshed out what were Smith’s unsubstantiated 1935–1936 ...
15. Hitler Is Ready
Download PDF (68.9 KB)
Truman Smith’s promotion to lieutenant colonel in 1938 was good news, as were two more visits to Berlin by Charles and Anne Lind-bergh, during which they were once more guests of the Smiths. The visits were a source of personal pleasure for both couples. Anne wrote on 1 April 1938 that living in England for two and a half years ...
16. Welcome Home
Download PDF (71.9 KB)
Interior Harold Ickes] had suggested to the president that I be Despite the discovery of diabetes in the course of his physical exam-ination, Smith was promoted to lieutenant colonel with a backdated effective date of rank of 1 July 1938. Date of rank in the interwar U.S. Army of slow promotions was important to Regulars. Retention on ...
17. Smith as "Strategicus"
Download PDF (515.2 KB)
...subject to relocation on receipt of orders from duly constituted mil-itary authority. They showed no hesitation in selecting their place 1 September 1941 they settled on four acres on Greenfield Hill in Fairfield, Connecticut. The Smiths had been New Englanders from there, and so was their social network. “Northeastern establish-...
18. Wartime Washington
Download PDF (595.6 KB)
It is inconceivable that Truman Smith could have chosen to sit on the sideline as friends and comrades from twenty-six years of military service marched off to the great crusade, many to serve with distinc-tion. One imagines the visceral reaction of the professional soldier the bombing of Pearl Harbor, so close to Schofield Barracks, where ...
19. The Road to German Rearmament
Download PDF (1.1 MB)
I think the present outlook for the world is scarcely better than The Smiths’ 1945–1946 transition from active duty to retirement—again—was bridged by a year of sick leave at home in Connecticut. General Marshall’s appreciation of Truman’s decade of outstand-ing performance of duty in Berlin and Washington accounts for the ...
20. Politics, Travel, and Writing
Download PDF (774.0 KB)
Smith had some creative notions about the U.S. Army’s personnel policies, at least one of which came to fruition in part due to his nalist-playwright-congresswoman-ambassador in the course of her life. She was also the wife of Time magazine publisher Henry Luce. Kay once remarked of her good friend that she had a woman’s body ...
21. Retrospective and a Graceful Exit
Download PDF (1.3 MB)
Germany remained a magnet to Truman Smith to the end of his life. October 1963, the best time of year to be in that part of the world, moon on the Rhine; the loss of a child; the Germanies of Weimar and Hitler; close observation of Germany as an enemy during the war; and, in the 1950s, Truman’s liaison between American and Ger-...
Download PDF (40.3 KB)
Download PDF (20.0 KB)
Download PDF (20.5 KB)
Download PDF (30.9 KB)
Download PDF (32.7 KB)
Download PDF (39.2 KB)
Download PDF (22.0 KB)
Download PDF (51.8 KB)
Download PDF (26.1 KB)
Download PDF (21.4 KB)
Download PDF (32.9 KB)
A Note on Sources
Download PDF (48.7 KB)
Berlin Alert, Robert Hessen’s collection of Truman Smith’s writings, is an excellent source. It provides a good selection of Smith’s writ-ings throughout his life and is easily accessible to the general reader. Hessen deleted “purely personal” passages from what he intended to be a documentary record. His book is drawn from writings and ...
Download PDF (78.1 KB)
Download PDF (66.6 KB)
Download PDF (76.0 KB)
Page Count: 400
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: American Warriors Series