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The Spy (K.G.B. General Alexander Orlov), the Dupe (Bertram D. Wolfe), and the Documents (The Stalin Resolutions)

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Two-hundred and forty-two consecutive, Soviet Politburo resolutions on foreign policy covering 1934–1936, some built on reports by Stalin with his actual words, and 34 pieces of 1934 espionage correspondence that traveled between the Moscow Foreign Office and its branch in the Soviet Embassy in Vienna, were purchased clandestinely by German intelligence, at the time, and as they were written. A German Sovietologist named Dr. Georg Leibbrandt authenticated them right at the time. Adolf Hitler read them. They influenced his decision to attack the Soviet Union in 1941. Captured by the U.S. Army in Germany (OMGUS) at the close of World War II, they were brought to the United States, to the National Archives and Hoover Institution. Milton Loventhal and Jennifer McDowell translated and authenticated them, using both sets of copies. The story of their authentication sheds light on the 1960–1961 machinations of one of Stalin’s foremost secret agents, master spy K.G.B. General Alexander Orlov, who fled to the United States in 1938 to escape Stalin’s terror. But this “loyal Soviet dropout” (Stanley G. Payne’s term) was in reality a cloaked agent who had never renounced his loyalty to the Soviet state. Asked by Bertram D. Wolfe to comment on the resolutions’ authenticity, Orlov informed Milton Loventhal and Wolfe that these documents were forgeries, using arguments that were proven worthless in their entirety. Untangling the web of deception Orlov wove around these detailed, complex documents is the focus of this article, shining a bright light on the power a mesmerizing secret agent can have when the rules of research are abandoned by influential experts.

Affiliations: 1: Lipstick & Toy Balloons Music, San Jose, CA, USA ; 2: San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, USA


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