Abstract

In 1949, two executives at the Hungarian subsidiary of the U.S. conglomerate International Telephone & Telegraph (ITT), Robert Vogeler of the United States and Edgar Sanders of Great Britain, along with five Hungarian nationals, were arrested, tortured, given peremptory trials, and imprisoned for espionage and economic sabotage. This article reexamines the case in light of the diplomatic efforts to secure their release. The case needs to be understood in the context of U.S. intelligence agencies’ policies during the early Cold War. Numerous organizations that were not necessarily well coordinated embarked on intelligence-gathering and a variety of covert operations, some of which were undertaken with the cooperation of multinational corporations such as ITT. Vogeler and Sanders were indeed guilty of many of the charges leveled against them, and their ordeal was significant because it revealed the ineffectiveness of Cold War policies to influence behavior behind the Iron Curtain during the Stalin era.

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