Seeking Influence and Power: Exploiting systemic vulnerabilities along the Danube and across the Balkans
The Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda & Security Studies and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (Berlin) are conducting a research project on foreign actors seeking influence and power in Central- and Southeastern Europe, i.e. Austria, Hungary, and the Western Balkans. As a result of increasing strategic competition between states and the corresponding geopolitical power projection across the region, dynamics have emerged that have decisive impact on regional actors and stakeholders. Together with the recent European crises, these emerging and growing fault lines must be explored and analyzed. To this end, international experts will address systemic and national vulnerabilities, discuss how these are exploited by regional and global actors, and identify the associated risks and threats this poses to the states and people of the region, Europe, and beyond.
The results of this fruitful collaboration will be published in the forthcoming Journal for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies. The contributions will deal with regional vulnerabilities for subversion and power projection, hybrid threats, and the influence of global developments on the region. Leading scholars will tackle the consequences of actors exploiting instability and social tensions, caused by war traumas, border changes, the stagnating EU integration, migration, and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over the course of 2021, ACIPSS and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung are organizing public events in Berlin and Graz. By placing this important region of Europe back into the spotlight, the project seeks to provide a better understanding of current trends as well as forward-looking perspectives on future developments for both policymakers and the general public.
Austrian exiles in World War II military intelligence of the US Army. A collective wartime biography of the „Ritchie Boys“
The Future Funds of the Republic of Austria, Project No. P14-1658; Jubilee Funds of the Austrian National Bank, Project No. 16356
Siegfried Beer (project leader), Robert Lackner, Florian Traussnig
During the Second World War, hundreds of Austrian exiles and refugees served in various military intelligence organizations of the US Army. When US soldiers with crucial skills such as native knowledge of German and detailed local familiarity (geographic, topographic, economic, and strategic) were located, they most often found themselves transferred to the Military Intelligence Training Center in Camp Ritchie, Maryland as well as Camp Sharpe, Pennsylvania. There they were instructed in how to operate as interrogators of prisoners of war and propaganda specialists. Upon graduation, they would primarily see service on the Western Front in Europe, providing as intelligence experts and resistance supervisors an important contribution to the defeat of the Nazi regime.
The purpose of this project is to collect and analyze selected biographies of these exiled Austrians. For the first time it will be determined how many of these Austrian “Ritchie Boys” were trained by the US Army, where they saw action in the war and how they can be typologically, politically and socially assessed.
493 Austrians received an intelligence or propaganda training at the MITC. Their names including further biographical data are available in an online database.
Press Release (June 2018)
JIPSS article on the goals, protagonists and first highlights of the project (2015)