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Old 07-30-2016, 09:02   #1
Divemaster
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100th Anniversary of the Black Tom explosion

On July 30th, 1916, over one million pounds of munitions exploded on Black Tom Island, New Jersey. This was no accident. The blast, which pelted the Statue of Liberty with shrapnel and was heard as far away as Maryland, was caused by a German spy ring operating out of New York City.

Most Americans have no idea that German agents were active in the U.S. prior to our entry into WWI. While we were a declared neutral party, Germany certainly did not see it that way. We were supplying munitions, food, and other necessities to the Allies. In other words, in spite of what was being said publicly, we had definitely taken sides. Imperial Germany desperately wanted us to stay out of the war, and they needed to hinder the supply lines allowing their enemies to stay in the fight.

Black Tom was just the most spectacular act of sabotage in a multi-year campaign. The Germans also had an effective covert operation that placed bombs on munition ships bound for Europe, and even detonated a bomb inside the U.S. capitol building. Then there was biological warfare lab in a basement, and the attempt to infect horses and mules bound for France with anthrax. They even tried to assassinate J.P. Morgan, shooting him twice. All of this took place on U.S. soil.

America was totally unprepared for this type of warfare. Remember, we didn’t even have an intelligence service at the time, and the precursor to the FBI, the Bureau of Investigation, was in its infancy and nothing like what we have today. The lead agency, mostly the only agency, investigating these acts was the NYPD Bomb Squad, led by Inspector Tom Tunney.

Actions by the German spy ring influenced the passage of the Espionage Act in 1917, and the more controversial Sedition Act in 1918.

I highly recommend Dark Invasion: 1915: Germany's Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America by Howard Blum. It is available on Amazon and is scheduled to be made into a Bradley Cooper movie in the near future. This book offers a detailed look at the people and events on both sides of what is largely a forgotten part of our history.

—Divemaster

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Old 07-30-2016, 10:04   #2
akv
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TY, Kindled it.
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Old 07-30-2016, 12:05   #3
TrapperFrank
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Thank you, you have increased my knowledge today.
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