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"Part of our duties in Paris were getting agents to go behind the lines in a way that they wouldn't be compromised." (Audio Interview, Part 1, 35:13)

   Robert B. Springsteen
Image of Robert B. Springsteen
Detail from photo of Robert Springsteen in uniform [undated]
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Detachment Services
Service Location: Camp Grant, Rockford, Illinois; Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri; Duke University, Durham, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; London, England; Paris, France
Rank: Captain
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Robert Springsteen was an Office of Strategic Services (OSS) employee who didn't learn languages or assume disguises. What he did out of his office in liberated Paris was to distribute money to field operatives like Moe Berg, a onetime major league baseball player who went undercover to report on Germany's budding nuclear weapons program. Springsteen arrived in France shortly after D-Day carrying a small fortune in currency, and he kept acquiring money, as well as jewelry and diamonds for agents to hock when they ran low on Springsteen-disbursed cash.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (8 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio(1) | 
Download: audio(2) (91 min.)
  Photos
»Photo Album (2 photos)
 Creative Works
»View Creative Works (2 items)
 Official Documents
»View List (2 items)
 Personal Correspondence
»View List (39 items)
More like this
»Intel:In the Field
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (8 items)
Volunteering for new organization whose mission was secret; made the decision in the face of his wife being ill with Hodgkin's disease; reporting for duty at OSS offices in Washington, DC; off to England on a ship with Glenn Miller and his band. (04:25) Shipping out to France, carrying over a small fortune in various currencies for use in operations; life in liberated Paris. (06:45) Responsibilities of his office in Paris, funding all the agent operations on the continent; details of transferring money. (04:22)
Preparing agents to go behind the lines with jewelry and accessories that could be sold for cash as needed; complaining about a married agent's paltry life insurance compensation; going on a money-buying tour of five countries. (06:02) OSS funds not accountable to general government regulations; visit to the Louvre on an infrequent off-day; financing Moe Berg, former baseball player, who was spying for the U.S. on Germany's heavy water program. (04:09) Tough conditions in Paris: having access to hot water only 30 minutes a week; misunderstanding with a maid over women's clothes in their bathroom. (02:05)
Contrasting wartime conditions in London with life afterwards; flying through Newfoundland to America, seeing Frank Sinatra and Phil Silvers in the airport. (04:09) Uncertainties of his first two years of service contrasted with the focus that OSS provided him, as well as a coveted duty station; the closest he came to seeing real action. (04:06) 
  
 Official Documents (2 items)
Separation Qualification Record Record of assignments 
  
 Personal Correspondence (39 items)
Letter to "Dearest" [6/30/1943] Letter to Joe [7/2/1943] Letter to Joe [7/5/1943]
Letter to Joe [7/6/1943] Letter to Joe [7/7/1943] Letter to Joe [7/9/1943]
Letter to "Dearest" [7/10/1943] Letter to "Dearest" [7/13/1943] Letter to "Dearest" [7/16/1943]
Letter to Joe [7/18/1943] Letter to "Dearest" [7/19/1943] Letter to "Darling" [7/20/1943]
Letter to "Dearest" [7/24/1943] Letter to "Darling" [8/1/1943] Letter to "Dearest" [8/5/1943]
Letter to "Darling" [8/7/1943] Letter to "Darling" [8/11/1943] Letter to "Darling" [8/15/1943]
Letter to "Darling" [8/18/1943] Letter to "Dearest" [8/22/1943] Letter to "Dearest" [8/24/1943]
Letter to "Dearest" [8/29/1943] Letter to "Dearest" [9/2/1943] Letter to "Dearest" [9/6/1943]
Letter to "Darling" [9/11/1943] Letter to "Darling" [9/12/1943] Letter to "Darling" [9/14/1943]
Letter to "Darling" [9/19/1943] Letter to "Joe" [9/23/1943] Letter to "Darling" [9/26/1943]
Letter to "Darling" [9/28/1943] Letter to "My Darling" [9/30/1943] Letter to "My Darling" [10/3/1943]
Letter to "Darling" [10/5/1943] Letter to "Darling" [10/7/1943] Letter to "Dearest" [10/8/1943]
Letter to "Dearest" [10/11/1943] Letter to "Joe" [10/14/1943] Letter to "My Darling" [10/16/1943]
  
 

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  October 26, 2011
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