Chatter: World War I and Intelligence in American Memory, with Mark Stout

David Priess, Mark Stout
Thursday, December 7, 2023, 9:00 AM
The development of modern American intelligence just before and during the war have been largely forgotten by the US public

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World War I was a seminal event for American national security and foreign policy, as the United States deployed nearly two million soldiers and sailors to Europe and engaged in the most intense overseas combat in its history up to that point. Yet the development of modern American intelligence just before and during the war, and even the magnitude of the war itself, have been largely forgotten by the US public.

David Priess spoke with historian and former intelligence officer Mark Stout, author of the new book World War I and the Foundations of American Intelligence, about early steps toward peacetime US military intelligence in the 1880s and 1890s, the importance of Arthur Wagner and his late 19th century textbook about information collection, the intelligence impact on and from the Spanish-American War and the Philippine insurgency, how the war in Europe spurred intelligence advances in the mid-1910s, German sabotage in the United States, how General John Pershing and the American Expeditionary Forces used intelligence in combat, the growth of domestic intelligence during the war, the scholarly group gathered by President Woodrow Wilson called "The Inquiry," and why World War I generally fails to resonate with Americans today.

Among the works mentioned in this episode:

Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Megan Nadolski and Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.

David Priess is Director of Intelligence at Bedrock Learning, Inc. and a Senior Fellow at the Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security. He served during the Clinton and Bush 43 administrations as a CIA officer and has written two books: “The President’s Book of Secrets,” about the top-secret President’s Daily Brief, and "How To Get Rid of a President," describing the ways American presidents have left office.
Mark Stout is a former senior lecturer and director of the Master of Arts in Global Security Studies program at Johns Hopkins University.

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