KMMANLY (1951–53) was a multi-pronged CIA project that was “originally designed to counter the actions of pacifist and neutralist groups in West Germany” opposed to Germany’s re-armament, according to a US National Archives research aid.1 To that end, KMMANLY supported several military organizations and publications, such as the Society for Military Science (Gesellschaft für Wehrkunde, GfW) and its journal Wehrkunde; The German Soldiers’ Newspaper, (Deutsche Soldaten-Zeitung); the European Defense Newsletter (Europäische Wehr-Korrespondenz); and the Military Science Journal, (Wehrwissenschaftliche Rundschau). The various sub-projects of KMMANLY included a long list of former Wehrmacht and SS leaders.
Some of the personnel involved in KMMANLY sub-projects were also employed by the Gehlen Organization, the precursor of the German foreign intelligence service BND; with its head, Reinhard Gehlen (1902-1979) serving initially as head of one of KMMANLY's components, the Society for Military Science.
Although KMMANLY was active from 1951 to 1953 only, at lest one organization that it sponsored lived on: the former Society for Military Science (Gesellschaft für Wehrkunde, GfW), now called the Society for Security Policy (Gesellschaft für Sicherheitspolitik).
Sub-projects of KMMANLY and their development over time.
Gesellschaft für Wehrkunde (QKSNITCH)
The Society for Military Science (Gesellschaft für Wehrkunde, GfW) in Bonn was a CIA-funded psychological warfare project of the early 1950s, initially chaired by none other than Reinhard Gehlen (1902-1979) - head of the Gehlen Organization.2 The GfW was officially registered in Munich as Wehrkundegesellschaft e.V. on January 5, 1952.3
The GfW was supported by the CIA’s covert action branch, the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), which financed the organization in the framework of project QKSNITCH until the beginning of 1953 with around 240,000 DM.4 The GfW also received federal funds.5 According to Lars Westerlund, “The enterprise was supported by the U.S. Military Academy West Point,” stating that “The society became crucial in preparing the eventual establishment of the Bundeswehr in 1955.”6 Badis Ben Redjeb, who has researched KMMANLY, remarked that the GfW also appeared as a publisher of anti-communist and military propaganda.7
GfW's principal agent, Wilhelm Classen, “was a professor of philosophy and a former member of the Abwehr and of the propaganda staff of the OKW who was placed at the head of the association by the OPC.”7 In the CIA archives are dozens of files available on Classen.8 His short biography in a 1952 CIC report recounts his Nazi past:9
Doctor Wilhelm CLASSEN ... former professor at the University of Heidelberg, who joined the Auslandsorganisation of the NSDAP in 1934, while residing in Japan. CLASSEN's career from 1942 to 1945, is as follows: 1942 - drafted into the Intercept COY of LN Regiment LC 3, DEAUVILLE, France. 1942-October 1944 - transferred to the OKW Department Army Propaganda, Section Far East. October 1944-April 1945 - transferred to RSHA Amt Mil, and assigned to Abt VI C4. CLASSEN was considered to be an expert on Japanese affairs.
The GfW included notably Prince Burchard von Preussen;10 the former Wehrmacht Colonel and Gehlen Org employee, Count Eberhard Von Nostitz (1906-1983)11 ; and the former SS General Felix Steiner (1896–1966), the founder of the SS Division Viking, which was responsible for barbaric murders in Ukraine.12 1 After the war, Along with other former high-ranking Waffen-SS personnel, Steiner was a founding member of HIAG, a lobby group of Nazi apologists formed in 1951 to campaign for the rehabilitation of the Waffen-SS.
Felix Steiner in 1942, then SS group leader and Lieutenant General of the Waffen-SS.
About the employment of Steiner a 1952 CIA document had the following to say - which leaves no doubt whether his American benefactors knew about his SS past:11
Felix Martin STEINER, born 23 May 1896 in Stallupoenon East Prussia is not a ZIPPER [cryptonym for the Gehlen Organization1 ] connection. Subject is a former Lieutenant General in the SS, he served as commander of the Viking Division. Since the war he was active in the formation of an officers group "for possible disposition within the German army". STEINER maintains contact with one Guenther REINECKE, who is a ZIPPER special connection. N73LA-3101 of 22 August 1950 gives ZIPPER's evaluation of STEINER, as "a bad character. HGLA-6613 of 23 May 1951 contains a report of [illegible] in which he again advises the Americans to keep away from STEINER„ A carded entry in our files, source unknown, date about 1948, states that it is believed that STEINER was Connected with Dr. Willi HOETTL and working for an unidentified American Intelligence Agency. BGLA-653 contains information on STEINER's present activities in Munich.
Logo of the Gesellschaft für Sicherheitspolitik
Today, the GfW survives as Society for Security Policy (Gesellschaft für Sicherheitspolitik e.V.), which tries to hide its Nazi past by only citing one founding member that was involved in the July plot.3
The GfW had an unofficial Munich discussion circle, the Munich Round Table (Münchner Tafelrunde, MTR). Founded in 1951, the MTR was an exclusive group of around 80 people largely “made up of former Wehrmacht soldiers, members of the SS and aristocrats.”13
Bavaria, and particularly Munich, the place where the Nazi movement was launched, became the favorite gathering place of former Nazi functionaries following WWII. Under American occupation, it became the home of the Gehlen Organization, which offered ample employment opportunities in the multiverse of anti-communist intelligence projects that emerged in collaboration with the bourgeoning CIA.
Front page of Wehrkunde from April 1960.
The MTR is scarcely documented, with the historians Wilfried Loth and Bernd Rusinek stating that the GfW “emerged from this circle.”14 Armin Mohler, in a letter to Carl Schmitt, stated that the Round Table was officially organized as the GfW.15 The future New Right pundit, Caspar von Schrenck-Notzing, was responsible for the coordination of lectures at the MTR.
The GSW also published a journal, the Notes of the Society Society for Military Science (Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Wehrkunde), launched in 1952; and also issued unofficial brochures. From issue 12 onward, the journal was simply called Military Science (Wehrkunde).16 According to Badis Ben Redjeb:7
The CIA propaganda efforts appeared in the Mitteilungen Gesellschaft für Wehrkunde, the bi-monthly newsletter of the association. The Mitteilungen Gesellschaft für Wehrkunde was printed in 1000 copies per issue after its creation in the beginning of 1952, with the number quickly rising to 1,500 under the impetus of the OPC. Individual study groups of the Gesellschaft für Wehrkunde also published special brochures that counted around 30,000 copies per issue. … Along with the financial support provided to press organs and veterans’ groups, the OPC distributed black letters, leaflets, and handbills through obscure sub-groups that were included in the project. Thus, 153,000 propaganda handbills targeting the Eastern Bloc were printed by one of these groups in 1951 only.”
Front pages of issues 9 and 10 of Europäische Wehrkunde (1979), the successor of Wehrkunde.
Wehrkunde was published by the Europäische Wehrkunde publishing house in Munich, but from 1952 to 1954 by Bouché in Munich. From 1976 the magazine was continued as Europäische Wehrkunde (European Military Science), which in 1983 merged with the Military Science Review (Wehrwissenschaftliche Rundschau) (1951-1982) to form European Military Science - Military Science Review (Europäische Wehrkunde - Wehrwissenschaftliche Rundschau) (1983-1990).17
Front page of the March 1958 issue of the Wehrwissenschaftliche Rundschau.
The Military Science Review (Wehrwissenschaftliche Rundschau, WR) was a German monthly military magazine that ran from 1951 to 1982. It served as the organ of the Working Group for Defense Research (Arbeitskreis für Wehrforschung). Its predecessor was the Military Science Review (Militärwisschenschaftliche Rundschau), which had appeared during the Nazi era, between 1936 and 1944. The magazine was initially published by Mittler-Verlag in Darmstadt, later by Mittler in Frankfurt am Main and Berlin, and finally by the Offene Wort publishing house in Herford and Bonn.
The Wehrwissenschaftliche Rundschau (Europaische Sicherheit) (Scientific-military Outlook, European Security) was published in 3,000 copies during the reporting period. The magazine is written in order to arouse the interest of former German officers in factual military history and the present military situation in Europe, This particular issue stresses the superiority of the West over the East and expounds on the possibility of an armed conflict in which Germans must take part. The magazine's editors continue to support United States' policy aims, and readily accept the guidance of the OPC case officer.
In 1983, WR merged with the journal European Military Science (Europäische Wehrkunde), and from then on appeared as European Military Science - Military Science Review (Europäische Wehrkunde - Wehrwissenschaftliche Rundschau, EW), which appeared from 1983 to 1990. It was the official organ of the Society for Defense Studies (Gesellschaft für Wehrkunde), the Clausewitz Society, the Working Group for Defense Research and the Society for Security Policy and Arms Control. The first three organizations were also the publishers.
EW was published by the European Military Science (Europäische Wehrkunde) publishing house in Herford. After EW ceased publication in 1991, it was continued as European Security (Europäische Sicherheit), which ran from 1991 to 2011.
Front page of a 1956 issue of the Deutsche Soldaten-Zeitung.
The German Soldiers' News (Deutsche Soldaten-Zeitung, DSZ) was launched in 1951 by former SS and Wehrmacht officers with American support. The DSZ was the official organ of the Defense League of Former German Soldiers (Schutzbund ehemaliger deutscher Soldaten).18 The League had formed in 1951 around the former Wehrmacht general August Krakau in Northern Germany.19
Geared at former Wehrmacht soldiers, the DSZ's line was staunchly nationalist, militaristic and anti-Soviet, rallying for Germany's rearmament, and rallying for the country's accession to NATO. Furthermore, the paper frequently published historical revisionist and anti-Semitic articles.20 21
Former Waffen-SS colonel and Head of the Operational Department in the Führer headquarters, Joachim Ruoff.
The DSZ was originally devised in 1950 in an American internment camp by the former NSDAP district Leader of the Netherlands, Helmut Damerau; the former Wehrmacht colonel and district administrator of Stendal, Heinrich Detloff von Kalben;20 the former Waffen-SS colonel and Head of the Operational Department in the Führer headquarters, Joachim Ruoff; and the former Waffen-SS general Felix Steiner. Money for the endeavor came from the CIA, among others.22 The notorious far-right publicist Gerhard Frey became an active freelance writer for the DSZ.
The Gehlen Organization was well aware of the presence of Nazis among DSZ's ranks, and liaised with some of its main figures. Steiner and Ruoff were mentioned in an internal report titled "The political activities of the former SS and SD leadership" from 1953, mentioned by Agilolf Kesselring:23
While Steiner was used to keep [the former Commander of the SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, Otto] Kumm quiet, he was also observed himself. He was regarded as "one of the most striking figures of the former Waffen-SS," who, together with Ruoff, exerted great influence on the Gesellschaft für Wehrkunde as well as on the Europäische Wehrkorrespondenz and the Deutsche Soldatenzeitung. His contacts with [SS-Obergruppenführer Paul] Hausser were also emphasized.
Logo of the Schild-Hefte war novel series by the Schild-Verlag publishing house.
The DSZ was until 1957 published by the publishing house Schild-Verlag, based in Munich, which also published the German Soldiers' Yearbook (Deutsches Soldatenhandbuch) and the Schild-Hefte war novel series. In the early years of the Federal Republic, the publishing house was financially supported by American intelligence and the Federal Government's Press and Information Office. In 2004 the publishing program of the Schild-Verlag was taken over by the VDM Heinz Nickel publishing house.
The journalists Thomas Assheuer and Hans Sarkowicz count the Schild-Verlag among the publishers that specialize in “memoirs of Nazi officials and officers, with scientifically disguised justification literature and with illustrated books that glorify or at least trivialize the 'Third Reich.'”24 With publications that stylize the Second World War as a positive experience, these publishers “are primarily aimed at members of the traditional military associations and at the (often young) readers of the so-called 'Landser' booklets.”25
The European Defense Correspondence (Europäische Wehr-Korrespondenz, EWK) ran from 1951 to 1961 or 1962,26 27 and was issued by the publishing house Wehrpolitischer Verlag in Bonn-Bad Godesberg. According to the German Federal Archive, the publication merged with the Bundes-Wehr-Korrespondenz in 1958,28 edited by Jürgen Hahn-Butry.29 Incidentally, Hahn-Butry was also the president of another CIA-sponsored project which supported the Volksbund für Frieden und Freiheit. Also the EWK was under the heavy influence of former SS big wigs, such as Felix Steiner and Joachim Ruoff.23
CIA file on project KMMANLY covering the period 1950-1953: Source: https://archive.org/details/KMMANLY.
- CIA documents on KMMANLY (filed under KIMMANLY)
- 1 a b c “Research Aid: Cryptonyms and Terms in Declassified CIA Files Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Disclosure Acts” (National Archives, n.d.), https://www.archives.gov/files/iwg/declassified-records/rg-263-cia-records/second-release-lexicon.pdf.
- 2Rolf-Dieter Müller, Reinhard Gehlen: Geheimdienstchef im Hintergrund der Bonner Republik (Berlin: Ch. Links Verlag, 2017), 551.
- 3 a b “Geschichte Der GSP,” Gesellschaft für Sicherheitspolitik, accessed November 3, 2023, https://www.gsp-sipo.de/wir-ueber-uns/willkommen-1.
- 4“QKSNITCH Final Report” (Central Intelligence Agency, April 14, 1953), https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/CLASSEN,%20WILHELM_0042.pdf.
- 5Axel Schildt, Medien-Intellektuelle in der Bundesrepublik (Wallstein Verlag, 2020), 747, https://www.google.de/books/edition/Medien_Intellektuelle_in_der_Bundesrepub/.
- 6Lars Westerlund, The Finnish SS-Volunteers and Atrocities against Jews, Civilians and Prisoners of War in Ukraine and the Caucasus Region 1941–1943 (Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura – Finnish Literature Society Kansallisarkisto – The National Archives of Finland, 2019), 73.
- 7 a b c Badis Ben Redjeb, “Project KMMANLY: U.S. Intelligence and the Subversion of Media in Post-War Germany,” International Journal of Culture and Humanity Studies 2, no. 4 (2016), 390.
- 8Search results for “Wilhelm Classen,” Central Intelligence Agency, accessed November 3, 2023, https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/search/site/wilhelm%20classen.
- 9“Report on Wilhelm Classen” (Central Intelligence Agency, March 1952), https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/CLASSEN%2C%20WILHELM_0021.pdf.
- 10Presumably Burchard Friedrich Max Werner Georg, Prinz von Preussen (1917-1988). See: https://de.rodovid.org/wk/Person:101285 & https://www.geni.com/people/Burchard-Prinz-von-Preussen/6000000003852072351.
- 11 a b “Name Trace Reply on Vollrath von HELLMANN, et Al” (Central Intelligence Agency, November 12, 1952), https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/CLASSEN%2C%20WILHELM_0034.pdf.
- 12Peter Lieb, “Steiner, Felix,” Deutsche Biographie (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek), accessed November 3, 2023, https://www.deutsche-biographie.de/gnd122354036.html#ndbcontent.
- 13Cenk Akdoğanbulut, “Der Erfinder Der «Konservativen Revolution»,” Republik, October 6, 2021, https://www.republik.ch/2021/10/06/der-erfinder-der-konservativen-revolution; Darius Harwardt, Verehrter Feind: Amerikabilder deutscher Rechtsintellektueller in der Bundesrepublik (Campus Verlag, 2019), 161, https://www.google.de/books/edition/Verehrter_Feind/Owm1DwAAQBAJ.
- 14Wilfried Loth and Bernd-A. Rusinek, Verwandlungspolitik: NS-Eliten in der westdeutschen Nachkriegsgesellschaft (Campus Verlag, 1998), 151, https://books.google.de/books?id=9rSShKt5GKgC&pg=PA151.
- 15Carl Schmitt and Armin Mohler (ed.), Carl Schmitt - Briefwechsel mit einem seiner Schüler (Walter de Gruyter, 2019), 118.
- 16Peter E. Uhde, “Geschichte Der GSP - Grussworte Zum 70. Geburtstag,” Gesellschaft für Sicherheitspolitik, accessed November 3, 2023, https://www.gsp-sipo.de/aktivitaeten/70-jahre-gsp.
- 17“Europäische Wehrkunde - Wehrwissenschaftliche Rundschau,” Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, n.d., https://portal.dnb.de/opac.htm?method=simpleSearch&cqlMode=true&query=idn%3D010009159.
- 18 a b Central Intelligence Agency, KMMANLY, accessed November 3, 2023, http://archive.org/details/KMMANLY.
- 19Beate Baldow, “Episode oder Gefahr?: Die Naumann-Affäre” (PhD thesis, Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, 2013), 56, https://refubium.fu-berlin.de/handle/fub188/9139.
- 20 a b "Deutsche National Zeitung: Sprachrohr des Volkes," Der Spiegel, March 13, 1963, https://www.spiegel.de/politik/sprachrohr-des-volkes-a-496b78ce-0002-0001-0000-000045142623.
- 21Dietrich Strothmann, "Angeklagt: die National-Zeitung," Die Zeit, September 8, 1967, https://www.zeit.de/zustimmung?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zeit.de%2F1967%2F36%2Fangeklagt-die-national-zeitung%2Fkomplettansicht.
- 22KMMANLY case file, Central Intelligence Agency, https://archive.org/details/KMMANLY/mode/1up.
- 23 a b Agilolf Kesselring, Die Organisation Gehlen und die Neuformierung des Militärs in der Bundesrepublik (Ch. Links Verlag, 2017), 202, https://books.google.de/books?id=YFFADwAAQBAJ&pg=PA202&lpg=PA202.
- 24Thomas Assheuer and Hans Sarkowicz, Rechtsradikale in Deutschland (Munich: Beck-Verlag, 1990), 64.
- 25Assheuer and Sarkowicz, Rechtsradikale in Deutschland, 66.
- 26“‘Europäische Wehrkorrespondenz’ (O’ Daniel), Bonn: Bd. 1- 2,” Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek, accessed November 2, 2023, http://www.deutsche-digitale-bibliothek.de/item/EQC53NJPD45UBTNPJWAZQZEAYXXZ4PG7.
- 27“Bundes-Wehr-Korrespondenz,” Zeitschriften Datenbank, accessed November 3, 2023, https://zdb-katalog.de/title.xhtml?idn=019587112&view=brief#DE-Bo110;DE-101b.
- 28"Europäische Wehr-Korrespondenz: EWK ; Unabhängiger Spezialdienst Für Alle Deutschen Und Europäischen Sicherheits- Und Wehrfragen," Bundesarchiv, https://bibliothek.bundesarchiv.de/F/HECUSEDIA8YII5CLMSA5MC4PDDDJNG9QGS79M69X1X56NYED74-14779?func=full-set-set&set_number=000787&set_entry=000002&format=999.
- 29Klaus Körner, “Erst in Goebbels’, Dann in Adenauers Diensten,” Zeit Online, August 24, 1990, https://web.archive.org/web/20161222060942/http://www.zeit.de/1990/35/erst-in-goebbels-dann-in-adenauers-diensten/komplettansicht.