The Kgb Was Far More Skilled At The Espionage Game Essay

The Kgb Was Far More Skilled At The Espionage Game Essay

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One of the main recurring arguments in the book is that the KGB was far more skilled at the espionage game but their intelligence was highly distorted by the time it reached Stalin and the Soviet high command. This was mainly attributed to the notion that the leaders were poorly informed because they rejected what didn’t fit their preconceived notions. However, as the authors clearly demonstrated with many examples, this resulted in tragic missteps on the part of the Soviets that ultimately reduced the effectiveness of their intelligence gathering on policy decisions. The Committee of Information (KI), Soviet foreign intelligence agency, had access to an “impress array of sources … from high levels of British and French governments”; however, the information was often “incomplete and often delayed” due to officer’s fear of Stalin’s reaction to news that did not align with his views. More often than not, the result of this information tampering was often harmful to Soviet policy decisions.
Many instances of Soviet oversight are explored and analyzed throughout the book – especially in the case of the Berlin Airlift and the 1953 uprisings that took Stalin completely by surprise. During the Berlin Blockade, the KI failed to report the success of the Berlin Airlift. The authors advance the argument that this withholding of intelligence directly resulted in encouraging Stalin to drag out the blockade until winter. This is immediately contrasted with the effect of intelligence collected by the BOB, which had a “significant and immediate effect on US decisions about West Berlin and West Germany.” The author makes a strong case in showing how the superior intelligence of the KI was mishandled resulting in the Soviets being less informed t...


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... plan was known by the Soviets from the very beginning but not exposed due to their desire to preserve the identity of their double agent, George Blake. However, the greatest weakness of the book is it often falls short of its claims and commits the act of omission. The book claims to offer a full and balanced perspective, however more often than not the American and Soviet stories focus on completely different aspects, rarely giving us the full perspective on events. Soviet reactions to American exploits are often neglected and the inner structure of the CIA is never as closely examined as that of the KGB. Additionally, its self praising, constant “never before seen” rhetoric gets tiresome fast. Battleground Berlin remains as an invaluable source for any student of Cold War espionage and despite its shortcomings still stands as a valuable contribution to the field.

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