Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Stephenson, Sir William Samuel (1896–1989)

Chief of British security in North America from 1940–1945. Born on 11 January 1896 at Point Douglas, Winnipeg, Canada, William Stephenson was a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I. He became an ace but was also seriously wounded. Between the wars, Stephenson's successful business ventures in radio required extensive travel throughout the world. After trips to Germany in the 1930s, he provided British intelligence with information about German rearmament.

In June 1940, Stephenson arrived in New York to direct British intelligence in the Western Hemisphere for the Secret Intelligence Service. Officially, Stephenson was the passport control office with headquarters in the Rockefeller Center. His counterespionage operation, British Security Co-ordination, worked with MI5, Special Operations Executive, and the Political Warfare Executive.

Before the United States entered the war, Stephenson aided J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, supplying it with information about German, Italian, and Vichy agents in the United States. Stephenson also assisted William J. Donovan's Office of Strategic Services in its organization and training. After U.S. entry into the war, Stephenson's extensive South American operations worked to secure enemy ciphers and expose enemy agents. Stephenson also ran double agents and engaged in propaganda work and special operations.

Stephenson was knighted in 1945, and President Harry S Truman awarded him the Presidential Medal of Merit. Stephenson died in Bermuda on 31 January 1989.

A. J. L. Waskey


Further Reading
Hyde, H. Montgomery. Room 3603: The Incredible True Story of Secret Intelligence Operations during World War II. New York: Lyon Press, 2001.; Stephenson, William S., ed. British Security Coordination: The Secret History of British Intelligence in the Americas, 1940–1945. New York: Fromm International, 1999.; Stevenson, William. A Man Called Intrepid. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976.; Stevenson, William. Intrepid's Last Case. New York: Villard Books, 1983.; Troy, Thomas F. Wild Bill and Intrepid: Donovan, Stephenson, and the Origin of CIA. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996.
 

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