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Information HuntersWhen Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe$
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Kathy Peiss

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190944612

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190944612.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 October 2021

The Wild Scramble for Documents

The Wild Scramble for Documents

(p.68) Chapter 3 The Wild Scramble for Documents
Information Hunters

Kathy Peiss

Oxford University Press

Intelligence gathering and assessment took on increased importance after D-Day. OSS librarians and information specialists were now part of a military operation as members of US Army documents teams called T-Forces. They scoured targets for operational or strategic information, records documenting German war crimes, and scientific reports. Books and other publications were often swept up in these collecting efforts. POW interrogations provided information about the removal of endangered German collections, many of which were found by Allied troops in caves and mines. The army teams and OSS agents engaged in mass confiscations and removals, even of materials with few intelligence-related uses. Americans distinguished their behavior from Nazi pillaging and Soviet trophy loot, respecting university and public research libraries and rescuing European cultural heritage. Despite ethical questions, the logic of collecting extended to books, periodicals, and even whole libraries.

Keywords:   T-Force, OSS, military intelligence, archives, document center

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