ACIPSS experts on the the latest spy case in Austria

On Friday, November 9th, two ACIPSS intelligence experts appeared on the Austrian news Zeit im Bild within less than two hours. Assessing the case of a former officer of the Austrian Armed Forces who allegedly was a Russian spy for 20 years, ACIPSS founder and intelligence historian Siegfried Beer spoke out for self-criticism and realism  in Austria (“all countries spy”). His ACIPSS fellow, the intelligence expert Thomas Riegler once more emphasized the persistence of “human intelligence”. Both experts unanimously called for a bigger effort in counter-espionage. (TV Interviews are in German)

Beer_ZiB 2

Riegler_ZiB 24

Austria during the 1950s as “highway of intelligence services”

Dieter Bacher, historian and researcher on the history of intelligence services in Austria at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Research of Consequences of War and since many years also associated with ACIPSS, recently co-organized together with the Historical Archives of the State Security Services of Hungary (ABTL) an international conference in Budapest on the topic “Hungarian intelligence services in Austria during the Cold War”. Now the Austrian newspaper Der Standard has published an article on these research attempts  and about staff and networks of Hungarian secret services in neutral Austria. One thing seems already clear, states Bacher: The human factor in intelligence was and is a key factor. “Today we believe”, said Bacher, “the computer is the most important tool. But that’s not true. Human Intelligence, that means gathering intelligence via human beings as source, for example during conversations, is still the backbone of intelligence work.”

Foto: (c) ATBLPhoto: (c) ABTL

The German equivalent to “Ultra”: Signal Intelligence in Yugoslavia 1943-1944

Trifkovic, Gaj

Gaj Trifkovic, who is a longstanding ACIPSS contributor and military historian, recently developed a facet of the Second World War in the Balkans for the Journal of Intelligence History, which to date had been left largely ignored: the extensive use of Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) in the conflict. On the basis of newly accessed files he proves for the first time that the widespread use of SIGINT by the Wehrmacht was a successful method – albeit limited in its power – within their “counterinsurgency” efforts against Yugoslavian partisans.

“A thought-provoking and sensible analysis” – Study of ACIPSS  Fellow Jeremy Stöhs draws international praise

The recently published study,  The Decline of European Naval Forces: Challenges to Sea Power in an Age of Fiscal Austerity and Political Uncertainty (Naval Institute Press, 2018), by ACIPSS Fellow Jeremy Stöhs has received significant attention and praise from renowned historians and political scientists alike.


Chris Parry calls it “urgent and persuasive”, Neil Baird a “thought-provoking” work, Anthony Wells an “outstanding analysis”, and the Australian Naval Institute “would certainly recommend this book to those with an interest in contemporary naval affairs”. Way to go, Jeremy!

The Austrian daily Kleine Zeitung gives an insight into the current ACIPSS changes & challenges

No more money for Graz spy centre

Founded by historian Siegfried Beer, intelligence research centre ACIPSS (Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda und Security Studies) will no longer receive financial support from the university

By Norbert Swoboda (Kleine Zeitung) | 05.50, 14 July 2018

Reshuffling continues within the History department based in the University of Graz’ school of Humanities. Two years ago there was turmoil surrounding the replacement for contemporary historian Helmut Konrad, and now another institution is bound to disappear: the intelligence research centre will no longer receive financial support through the university as founder and driving force, historian Siegfried Beer (70) is due to retire. A new board including Paul Schliefsteiner (chairman), and deputy chairman Florian Traussnig (academic director) was elected last week.

For the past decades, this unique but unpronounceable centre (ACIPSS – Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda und Security Studies) had been supported by the university. Grants towards their extravagant magazine amounted to approximately EUR 15,000, and money was made available to pay a secretary for a couple of hours per week. In the upcoming days, Schliefsteiner wants to recommence discussions on how to continue with principal Christa Neuper.

Michael Walter, Dean of the School of Humanities, regrets this development but states that “We cannot fund everything.” His task is not an easy one – there is continuous criticism, that vacancies predominantly go to German lecturers, predominately in the field of contemporary history. As has been mentioned before, this harsh criticism lead to a delay in replacing Konrad. An interim solution fell apart, and the process is due to reopen in early autumn with the factor of migration to be borne in mind. However Walter, who has only been Dean for half a year, does not want to leave these allegations uncommented.

At the moment, Börries Kuzmany’s pathway towards a professorship is taking shape. The highly talented young historian from Vienna, who has received a lot of grants from the EU and works at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, focuses on central Europe/the Habsburg Empire/and the 19th century, and would bring an entire working group with him. In addition, famous historian Dieter A. Binder is also about to retire at the moment.

And how are things going to continue with the “spy centre”? The club still has hopes, that in times like these some money could come from the Austrian Armed Forces or the Interior Ministry. And there is a chance that a private patron could still emerge, as has happened once before.


Siegfried Beer on “Intelligence Studies in Austria”

Siegfried Beer gave his presentation on “Intelligence Studies in Austria” at the Flemish Parliament in Brussels. It was part of the Belgian Intelligence Studies Centre’s conference on “International Collaboration regarding Intelligence Services and Intelligence Studies”, which took place on June 29th.

8.-10.6. 24th Annual Conference: New Perspectives on the Role of Intelligence in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe

The 24th Annual Conference of the International Intelligence History Association (IIHA) was held in Graz in cooperation with the Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies (ACIPSS) and the Centre for Southeast European Studies (CSEES).

Here you can find the program and the photos.


ZIB-24: “Secret Service expert on staged murder”

Interview with Siegfried Beer on the Babchenko-Affair. You can watch the video in German here (04:51; available until June 5th).

19. 4. Neue Forschungen zur Rolle von Widerstand und Geheimdiensten im Zweiten Weltkrieg

At the upcoming 27th ACIPSS conference, Christopher Turner will shed light on the rise and fall of the Maier-Messner Group (codename CASSIA). Before the group’s disastrous end, it gave the U.S. Office of Strategic Services—the forerunner of the CIA—a wide range of intelligence, organized resistance cells in war-related industries, and disseminated anti-Hitler and antiwar propaganda. The remarkable founders and key figures were an Austrian priest and a merchant.

Thursday, April, 19th, at the Landesverteidigungsakademie, Vienna.
For further information, see the invitation. (German)

New Book Release

Jeremy Stöhs’ book, The Decline of European Naval Forces, based on his 2015 master thesis, gives an “insight into the evolution of Europe’s naval forces since the end of the Cold War.”

You will find the full description on the U.S. Naval Institute’s homepage here.


ACIPSS-experts Siegfried Beer and Thomas Riegler have been interviewed on the current affair concernig the BVT (Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism) on Radio Ö1 Mittagsjournal.

Radio Ö1 Mittagsjournal (German)

Ab sofort erhältlich: JIPSS Jahrgang 11, Nummer 2


26. ACIPSS-Arbeitstagung an der LVAk

Am 25. Jänner 2018 fand die 26. ACIPSS-Arbeitstagung an der Landesverteidigungsakademie (LVAk) in Wien zum Thema “Terrorismus: Akteure – Methoden – Bekämpfung” statt.



ÖAW-Auszeichnung für Florian Traussnig

ACIPSS-Forscher Florian Traussnig ist für seine Dissertation “Geistiger Widerstand von außen. Österreicher in US-Propagandainstitutionen im Zweiten Weltkrieg” von der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften mit dem Jubiläumspreis des Böhlau Verlages Wien ausgezeichnet worden.

Bilder der Preisverleihung vom 21. November 2017 finden Sie hier.

Publikation: “Geistiger Widerstand von außen”

Nach “Militärischer Widerstand von außen” ist nun auch die Dissertation von ACIPSS-Projektmitarbeiter Florian Traussnig im Böhlau-Verlag erschienen: “Geistiger Widerstand von außen: Österreicher in US-Propagandainstitutionen im Zweiten Weltkrieg.”

Details zum Buch finden Sie auf der Homepage des Böhlau-Verlags.