Why German spies blew up this US island

541 088
Next
37 days – 2 850 2045:41
What makes Delhi's air so deadly
Popular
14 days – 1 650 85521:01
Is it Wrong to Fly? - Glad You Asked S1
Published on 12 Dec 2019, 13:00
And how they almost got away with it.

Become a Video Lab member! bit.ly/video-lab

In the years leading up to the United States’ entry into World War I in 1917, the nation was neutral, profiting from the war by manufacturing munitions and selling them to both sides. But a British naval blockade around Germany made it impossible for the Central Powers to acquire American arms. As a result, Imperial Germany established a ring of saboteurs and spies within the US, secretly destroying munitions factories and ships, and trying to make it look like an accident.

The signature attack of this campaign occurred on July 30, 1916, when saboteurs set fire to a massive stockpile of munitions ready to ship from Black Tom Island, a munitions depot in New York Harbor. The explosion was felt for miles around, but because the US had no infrastructure of domestic intelligence at the times, it took decades to prove that it wasn’t just an unfortunate accident. This German sabotage campaign ultimately laid the groundwork for the establishment of domestic intelligence agencies specializing in counter-espionage in the US.

Sabotage at Black Tom, by Jules Witcover: worldcat.org/title/sabotage-at-black-tom...

The Detonators by Chad Millman: littlebrown.com/titles/chad-millman/the-...

Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out vox.com.

Watch our full video catalog: goo.gl/IZONyE

Follow Vox on Facebook: goo.gl/U2g06o

Or Twitter: goo.gl/XFrZ5H
news