The Office of Strategic Services (U.S.)

Before she was brought into World War II the USA's intelligence resources were scattered over a wide variety of government agencies (FBI, State Department, War Department, etc) and conducted on a largely ad hoc basis. On the 13th of June 1942 President Roosevelt ordered the formation of the Office of Strategic Services to conduct covert warfare against Imperial Japan, Those Wacky Nazis, and their allies. Headed by "Wild Bill" Donovan , the OSS conducted sabotage and subversion as well as plain old espionage against their enemies. Initially at something of a disadvantage because of their lack of contacts abroad and general inexperience, they made up for it by representing appealing ideologies and being insanely rich. They undertook their job with ingenuity and what sometimes seems to some to be a curious zest. The OSS had some notable failures but also some remarkable successes. As it had been founded for the specific purpose of prosecuting the war, the OSS was disbanded upon the war's ending. However, it was soon resurrected in the form of the CIA.

Tropes from the history of the organization

The OSS in fiction

  • Robert De Niro's film The Good Shepherd chronicles the transition from the OSS to the CIA.
  • O.S.S, a transparently-tilted 1946 film starring Alan Alad about the Office of Strategic Services. A 1957 ABC TV-series of the same name was also produced.
  • Indiana Jones was an accomplished OSS intelligence officer During the War.
  • In Inglourious Basterds, the "basterds" are members of OSS.
  • The player character of Wolfenstein 3D is a member of the Office of Secret Actions, the OSS by any other name.
  • In most Medal of Honor games, the player is an OSS agent.
  • In Spy Kids, the titular agents (as well as a lot of others) work for this group.
  • The film Charade depicts the CIA's efforts to clean up a profoundly botched OSS operation to deliver a massive shipment of gold to the French Resistance in WWII. The botch arose because the couriers decided they would rather have it themselves, then started killing each other.