Students in this “Battleground Berlin” summer course will compare the origins and evolution of US and German national intelligence regimes throughout the latter half of the twentieth century. Students will explore how intelligence practices have shaped political and security outcomes such as World War II, the Cold War, the Global War on Terror, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Using these events, students will probe for the ways intelligence is conducted – through collection, analysis, and covert action– and the implications for democratic and autocratic societies.
Berlin is the ideal place to compare intelligence regimes over the past 80 years. Democratic and autocratic societies leveraged intelligence operations, analysis, and covert action to seek an upper hand during major conflicts. For example, students will visit the Cold War US-UK listening post Teufelsberg, which sits atop a former Nazi compound. Moving across regime types, students will contrast this to “Romeo” operations run by the Stasi, during which East German case officers targeted female West German administrators to spill secrets. The Stasi Museum in Berlin is unique in its unclassified examples of domestic surveillance.