Allen Dulles Biography

Allan Dulles was an America lawyer and diplomat who later became the head of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). This biography profiles his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline.

Quick Facts

Birthday: April 7, 1893

Nationality: American

Famous: Diplomats American Men

Died At Age: 75

Sun Sign: Aries

Also Known As: Allen Welsh Dulles

Born in: Watertown, New York

Famous as: Former Diplomat & Head of CIA


Spouse/Ex-: Clover Todd

father: Allen Macy Dulles

mother: Edith

siblings: Eleanor Lansing Dulles, John Foster Dulles

children: Allen Macy Dulles, Jr.

Died on: January 29, 1969

place of death: Georgetown, D.C.

U.S. State: New Yorkers

More Facts

education: George Washington University, Yale University, Princeton University

awards: 1966 - James Madison Award

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Allen Welsh Dulles was the first civilian Director of the CIA and its longest-serving director till date. Since a very young age, Dulles took a keen interest in the political issues plaguing his country by being an active participant of the ‘American Whig-Cliosophic Society’. Allen’s years as a diplomat, and a member of the CIA were some of the most challenging times of his career since he lived in a time when the world was torn apart by the World Wars. He played an important role in helping the United States gather information about Adolf Hitler and his plans, in a bid to end his atrocious administration. The efforts of Dulles played a key role in the capture of German troops stationed near Italy. He has also penned his experiences of being a diplomat and an employee of the CIA in the book ‘The Craft of Intelligence’. He was quite popular among some of the greatest leaders of his times such as Benito Mussolini and Vladimir Lenin.

Childhood & Early Life
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  • Dulles was appointed to the American Diplomat Service in 1916. It’s claimed that while he was posted at the U.S Embassy at Istanbul, Turkey, Dulles had apparently exposed the infamous document ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, a text which glorifies the atrocities of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
  • Dulles changed career from diplomacy to that of a lawyer in 1926. He pursued a degree in Law from ‘George Washington University Law School’. After finishing his graduation, Dulles took up a job at the firm ‘Sullivan and Cromwell’ based in New York.
  • Dulles worked as a legal adviser to the delegation of arms limitations associated with the ‘League of Nations’, in the late 1920s. During his tenure, Dulles also interacted with great leaders of the world such as Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
  • Dulles was disturbed by the cruelties against Jews in the Nazi dominated Germany, after he made a short visit to the country. He also initiated a movement to request the management of ‘Sullivan and Cromwell’ to shut their concern’s branch in Berlin. The company had no choice but to oblige to this demand.
  • Dulles was appointed to work with the American intelligence agency named ‘Office of Strategic Services’ at the time of World War-II. Dulles mission was to gather military intelligence from Germany’s war strategies from various anti-Nazi sources in the country.
  • Dulles was closely associated with the people who planned to assassinate Hitler. In 1944, these individuals also gave Dulles details regarding the ‘V1’ and ‘V2’ missiles which the dictator wanted to use during the war.
  • The highlight of Dulles career was the year 1950, when he joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as the Deputy Director of Plans. The same year he was promoted to the position of Deputy Director of Central Intelligence.
  • Dulles played a pivotal role in the project ‘Operation Ajax’, where he teamed up with Frank Wisner, the head of the Office of Strategic Services, to plan a coup against the then Iranian President Mohammad Mosaddegh. The leader was overthrown as a result of this effort by the CIA.
  • Post his CIA tenure, the American President at the time, Lyndon Baines Johnson appointed Allen Dulles to be one of the panel members of the ‘Warren Commission’ in 1963. This team, consisting of seven members, including Dulles, was formed to investigate the death of President John F Kennedy.
Major Works
  • One of the works for which Dulles is remembered is his role in ‘Operation Sunrise’. The mission was to negotiate with German forces and convince their troops stationed in Northern Italy to surrender.
  • Based on his experience as an intelligence agent, Dulles published the book ‘The Craft of Intelligence’ in 1963. He has also edited another work called ‘Great True Spy Stories’.
Awards & Achievements
  • Allen Dulles was awarded the ‘James Madison Award for Distinguished Public Service’ by his alma mater Princeton University’s American Whig-Clisophic Society’ in the year 1966.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Dulles married Clover Todd in 1920. The couple had three children together, a son named Allen Macy Dulles Jr., and daughters Clover Jebsen as well as Joan Buresch.
  • Dulles also had a nephew ‘Avery Dulles’, who worked as the Cardinal of the Catholic Church. From 1998 to 2008, Avery Dulles taught at the Forindham University.
  • On January 29, 1969, Allen Dulles succumbed to Influenza, which was further complicated by Pneumonia. He was buried at the Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • The life of this former American diplomat and CIA officer has been portrayed in various movies - notable among these are ‘The Good Shepherd’ and ‘Nick and Jake’. Noted actor William Hurt had played the character based on Dulles in ‘The Good Shepherd’.

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