The Office of Strategic Services (U.S.)

Before she was brought into WorldWarII 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 ImperialJapan, ThoseWackyNazis, and their allies. Headed by [[TheSpymaster "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 [[BloodKnight 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, [[UsefulNotes/HistoryOfTheColdWar it was soon resurrected]] in the form of the {{CIA}}.
!!Tropes from the history of the organization

* BadassBureaucrat: Betty Carp was a secretary in the OSS-Istanbul station. She was famous for her ability at cutting through red-tape and dodging [[ObstructiveBureaucrat Obstructive Bureaucrats]] and [[TheScrounger finding what was needed]]. Though little known on the outside, to the OSS she was considered a very valuable LadyOfWar.
* BadassBookworm: Allen Dulles.
* CanonDisContinuity: It was disbanded then reappeared as the {{CIA}}.
* CityOfSpies: Operated from several of these. Geneva was Dulles' turf.
* FourStarBadass: Wild Bill Donovan.
* GetOutOfJailFreeCard: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Paperclip Operation Paperclip]], where the OSS smuggled Nazi scientists out of Germany and put them to work developing American rockets and other cool science.
* HeyItsThatGuy: Of the thousands of recruits staffing the organization, field agents included Moe Berg, Julia Child, and Creator/JohnFord.
* LaResistance: Often worked with these.
* LargeHam: George Earle who seemed to think he was a [[OvertOperative movie spy]] and was so careless that the OSS just quietly cut him out of any real information and used him as a distraction.
** Oddly enough he did pick up a rumor about the existence of one the five German atomic bomb projects ([[InterserviceRivalry each was headed by a different agency]], [[FascistButInefficient naturally]]). Go figure.
* RecruitingTheCriminal: The OSS borrowed some of the inhabitants of various prisons to teach agents their crafts so that they could be used on ThoseWackyNazis.
* RefugeInAudacity: Allen Dulles did this in Switzerland. Instead of concealing his vocation he practically advertised it in the hope that recruits would come to him. This actually worked.
* RuleOfCool: Some of the schemes of the OSS were more cool then practical.
* ThoseWackyNazis: Who did ''not'' like the OSS. Not ''at all''.
* TrainingThePeacefulVillagers: The OSS did some of this.
* UpperClassTwit: Subverted; they were accused not unjustly of having too many of these, but they did do their job well.
* WorldWarII: The heyday of OSS operations.

!!The OSS in fiction

* Creator/RobertDeNiro's film ''TheGoodShepherd'' 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.
* ''[[Film/IndianaJonesAndTheKingdomOfTheCrystalSkull Indiana Jones]]'' was an accomplished OSS intelligence officer DuringTheWar.
* In ''Film/InglouriousBasterds'', the "basterds" are members of OSS.
* The player character of ''Videogame/Wolfenstein3D'' is a member of the Office of Secret Actions, the OSS by any other name.
* In most ''Videogame/MedalOfHonor'' games, the player is an OSS agent.
* In ''SpyKids'', the titular agents (as well as a lot of others) work for this group.
* The film ''Film/{{Charade}}'' depicts the CIA's efforts to clean up a profoundly botched OSS operation to [[spoiler: 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.