Holocaust-Era Assets

Military Agency Records RG 243

Interallied and Interservice Military Agencies Records

Records of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey
(RG 243)

The United States Strategic Bombing Survey, known also as USSBS, as the Strategic Bombing Effects Committee, and as the Combined Bombing Offensive Survey, was organized in November 1944 by the Secretary of War at the request of the President.  They Survey inherited the functions of the United States Bombing Research Mission to London, which had been sent in July 1944 to initiate the Bomb Damage Analysis Project in collaboration with British military authorities, the Office of Scientific Research and Development, the Office of Strategic Services, the Economic Warfare Division of the American Embassy in London, and other interested United States and Allied organizations.

The Strategic Bombing Survey, composed of civilian and military experts headed by a civilian Chairman, studied the direct and indirect effects of Allied strategic bombing programs in Europe, partly in order to develop a more efficient campaign against Japan.  The Survey investigated the extent of physical destruction caused by bombings and the effects of bombing on industry, utilities, transportation, medical care, social life, morale, and the will to fight on the part of bombed populations.  Although the Survey undertook preliminary research during the period of hostilities, it was most active after the fighting stopped in May 1945.  Its representatives, working as field teams, followed the occupying troops and studied the results of bombings at first hand by observation, collection of documentary evidence, and interviews with residents of bombed areas.

The overseas headquarters of the Survey in London consisted of a Chairman, a Military Advisory Board, and a panel of civilian Survey Directors.  In addition there were several operations units that engaged in the work of research and compilation.

The London office of the Survey, which had set up regional headquarters in Belgium, France, and Germany in the course of its operations, was closed in October 1945, and the staff returned to the United States to prepare its reports.  Following the survey of aerial bombardment in Europe, the United States Strategic Bombing Survey, up to that time largely a War Department enterprise, shifted its attention to the Pacific theaters and became a joint Army-Navy survey organization. The Survey was discontinued about August 1946. (Note 62)

For additional administrative information and a complete description of the records of the USSBS researchers should consult the various finding aid in the consultation area in Room 2400.

Office of the Chairman

Published Reports of the European and Pacific Surveys 1945-1947 (Entry 2)

The first three European Survey reports are general analyses of the results of strategic bombing in the European war. Most Europe reports, however, concern either the physical damage done to key industrial plants in Germany and German-occupied Europe or the economic consequences of aerial attacks on the plants. A number of more general studies discuss the consequences of Allied aerial attacks on one or more German industries, such as the oil, chemical, and rubber industries. Besides the general economic studies, industrial reports, and plant reports, other studies cover the effects of bombing on certain urban areas, on German health, and on civilian morale. Arranged in two subseries: European Survey (212 reports) and Pacific Survey (108 reports), thereunder by office of origin, and thereunder in two numerical sequences.  For a list of reports researchers should consult in the consultation area in Room 2400 Appendix 1 of the published finding aid for this Record Group.  Boxes 47-139

Index to Records of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey (Entry 5)

The Index is a volume containing a detailed list of all the textual records created or collected by the European and Pacific Surveys. It was prepared by the staff of the Office of the Chairman at the time the records were transferred to the National Archives.  It is arranged in eight sections, of which Section 1 deals with European Documents (entry 6), Section 3 deals with the European Intelligence Library

(entry 36), Section 4 deals with European Target Intelligence (entries 11-30), and Section 5 deals with European Survey Publications (entries 7-10, 31, and 32). Box 157

European Survey

General Records

Published Reports and Supporting Records 1937-1945 (Entry 6)

Copies and drafts of the 1945 edition of the published European Survey reports described in entry 2, and the records collected to prepare them. These supporting papers, filed with the reports to which they pertain, comprise most of the series and include unpublished USSBS industrial plant reports, similar in format and content to the published reports; preliminary field team reports, logs, and writeups, prepared by USSBS units; mimeographed reports of the Military Analysis Division; transcripts and reports of interrogations of German industrial, political, and military leaders on the effects of Allied aerial bombings on the German war effort; transcripts of interviews of hundreds of German citizens and displaced persons on the effects of Allied aerial bombing on civilian morale; copies of German documents; German, British, and American manuals and studies on civilian defense measures against bombing attacks; German dictionaries, phone books, railroad time schedules, and industrial plant catalogs; charts and statistical tabulations on German industrial production, food supplies, labor, population, and casualties; drawings and sketches of German industrial plants, hospitals, and airfields; aerial and ground photographs of targets; and maps of German cities and damage maps of target areas.  Arranged alphabetically by division and thereunder by branch that prepared the report; the reports prepared by the Office of the Chairman are filed first. For a listing of the arrangement of the reports see Appendix 1 of the published finding aid for this Record Group located in the consultation area in Room 2400. For a list of contents, see pages 7-63 of the USSBS Index (entry 5). Boxes 158-175   Boxes 176-675   Boxes 676-717   Boxes 718-1059 Boxes 288-1060

European Surveys, Published Reports 1945-1947 (Entry 7)

Mainly 1947 reprints of reports of the European Survey first published by USSBS in 1945 and described in entry 2. A few of the volumes are dated 1945 and 19 volumes are missing in this series, but can be found in entry 2 or entry 6. Arranged alphabetically by division and thereunder by branch that prepared the report; those prepared by the Office of the Chairman are filed first. The reports have been numbered in numbered in numerical sequence, 1-208. For a list of these see Appendix 1 of the published finding aid for this Record Group located in the consultation area in Room 2400. Boxes 1-18