Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dark Invasion 1915: Germany's Secret War And The Hunt For The First Terrorist Cell In America

Veteran journalist and author Joseph C. Goulden offers a good review of Howard Blum's Dark Invasion 1915: Germany's Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America for the Washington Times.

As a career diplomat, Count Johann von Bernstorff was not surprised in July 1914 when he was summoned from his ambassadorial post in Washington back to Berlin for “consultations.” Two weeks earlier, he had been dining at the Metropolitan Club when word arrived of the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Austrian heir-apparent, and his wife in Sarajevo. However, von Bernstorff was confident that an intricate mesh of alliances between the European powers would prevent war.

Thus, von Bernstorff was stunned when, upon arrival in Berlin, he was directed to Maj. Walter Nicoli, the spymaster heading the “political section” of Abteilung IIIB, the kaiser’s secret service. The name was misleading: The section had nothing to do with politics. Its agenda was spying, as vomn Bernstorff soon learned from Nicolai.

War was sure to come, Nicolai stated, and he expected a swift Germany victory. However, it was imperative that America not be permitted to send munitions and food to England and France. Such shipments could be stopped only by two means: submarines and sabotage. Given the Royal Navy's  domination of the seas, sabotage was the solution, and he tasked von Bernstorff with “using any means necessary” to carry out the mission.

Such is the backdrop for Howard Blum's engrossing examination of German intelligence efforts in the “neutral” United States long before Washington decided — very reluctantly — to enter the war on the side of the Allies in 1917.

You can read the rest of the review via the below link:

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