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The Nazis


and the CIA's Quest for Mind Control


My Paper seeks to understand the justifications for legal and ethical transgressions committed by the U.S gov during the Cold War Era. To what extent were protections like the Nuremberg Code Ignored, and manipulated by the CIA.

Evolving Question


Before we begin..

Cold War 1947-1991

  • War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union
  • The CIA believed that the Soviets had developed mind control technologies that could be used against American agents
  • "The Manchurian Candidate"

What is a Truth Serum?

  • A truth drug or serum is a chemical that can break the human consciousness
  • A chemical compound is categorized as a potential truth serum when the person who consumes it spills sensitive information that would be impossible to acquire in a sober state

The Nuremberg Code

  • (1)The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.
  • (4)The experiment should be so conducted as to avoid all unnecessary physical and mental suffering and injury
  • (8)The experiment should be conducted only by scientifically qualified persons.


Consent & Justifications

Main Ideas

"To encourage inmates to ‘volunteer’ for the drug tests Isbell offered them shots of their own particular drug of choice. In this way, addicts incarcerated for using drugs were paid to use drugs—with more drugs” (Streatfeild 66)


  • Voluntary Consent vs Informed consent
  • Consent was often bought


  • Knowledge
  • Protection
  • Depravation(?)
  • Competition


Interesting Material

Operation Paperclip1945

  • This operation brought German scientists to work in the U.S under secret contracts
  • Later, the term scientists changed to specialists to include Germans from other professions that could benefit the country.

The 8 Ball at Camp DetrickAirtight sphere chamber in which controlled doses of toxins would be administered to humans


Project Artichoke 1951 Did not just focus on defensive but also offensive mind control

Camp King-Prisoners would be used as test subjects.-Schreiber and Blome advised the Bluebird agents.

Project Bluebird 1950"investigating the possibility of control of an individual by the application of special techniques"

Project Bluebird+Artichoke

April 13, 1953

  • The CIA was looking for new ways to brainwash people.
  • Allen Memorial Institute and Ewen Cameron


Frank Olson 1953

  • Special Operations Division[CIA +Army Chemical Corps]. Assigned to the program at Camp King involving unconventional interrogation techniques
  • Gotlieb "decided that the first field tests should be conducted on men for the SO Division without them knowing."

Conclusion & Struggles

The CIA has disregarded law and human rights several times throughout history. When I started this paper I thought of only focusing on psychological experiments but there was there was a broader topic to talk about which was consent.


  • Albarelli, Hank P. A terrible mistake: the murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments. Trine Day, 2009.
  • Annas, George J., and Michael A. Grodin. The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code : Human Rights in Human Experimentation. Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • Borchelt Gretchen and Physicians for Human Rights (U.S.). Break Them Down: Systematic Use of Psychological Torture by US Forces. Physicians for Human Rights 2005.
  • Jacobsen, Annie. Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program to Bring Nazi Scientists to America. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2014.
  • Kinzer, Stephen. Poisoner in chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA search for mind control. Henry Holt and Company, 2019.
  • Marks, John. The Search for the" Manchurian Candidate". New York: Norton, 1979.
  • McCoy, Alfred W. Torture and Impunity: The U. S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation, University of Wisconsin Press, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/lib/rutgers-ebooks/detail.action?docID=3445256.
  • Streatfeild, Dominic. Brainwash : The Secret History of Mind Control. 1st U.S. ed., St. Martin’s Press, 2007.
Works Cited