It started innocently. A factory fire in New Jersey at an anti-submarine steel cable manufacturer. Then another at a Dupont powder plant. Dozens more in the next twelve months. Rumors about German sympathizers possibly sabotaging munitions orders for the Allies. Mysterious fires on ships carrying war materials to England and France. A labor strike in Connecticut.
Newspaper headlines in the spring of 1915 brimmed with ever new suspicions of what was going on. British propaganda fanned the flames of suspicion. Investigators tapped the phones of German officials in the US. Yet the results of the investigations were meager. Were the incidents terrorism? Lone wolfs or state sponsored? While the American public went into panic mode in the summer of 1915, sabotage agents continued their deadly work, most undetected. The war in Europe had spilled onto the shores of the United States. It took decades to prove that Germany was behind it. 100 years later, we finally have records that identify foreign misinformation campaigns and clarify the questions of who, what, when, why, and how.
2016 is not much unlike those trying days 100 years ago. A stabbing here, a pipe bomb there. Suspicions of all people of Mid-eastern descent, immigrant, resident, and citizen. The wars in the Middle East have spilled onto our domestic soil. Now, just like then, the United States is ill equipped to deal with terrorism in the homeland. We have a hard time identifying the potential perpetrators, we have to balance requirements of order with the individual freedoms granted in our founding documents. An insecure public is prone to foreign propaganda that fans the flames of suspicion, racism, and anti-foreign sentiment. British and German propaganda was then disseminated through the mass media of the day, newspapers like the Providence Journal (owned by the British) or The New York Evening Mail (owned by the Germans). Hundreds of editorial boards across the nation received bribes, misinformation, and planted stories to support the efforts. Does that sound familiar?
In my book, The Secret War on the United States in 1915, I have laid out the facts of a clandestine terrorism campaign that Germany organized, financed, and executed in 1915. Much of what I analyzed shows eery parallels to today, especially after we have now learned that agents of ISIS are operating in this country and are creating havoc. Who is behind this? Are there command and control structures of terrorists in this country? In 1915, US officials hopelessly underestimated the extent of the German operation on American soil. Today, investigators are struggling and the government tries to calm a nervous public. However, lone wolfs are rare and the explanation most often is the result of a dead-end investigation. If you read my book, you will understand the tell-tale sign of a multi-faceted, foreign terror campaign being unleashed on this country as we speak. No need to panic! But a need to learn from the past.