Sabotage! The Secret War Against America
by Michael Sayers & Albert E. Kahn
Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1942
(notes of the book)

Front cover (photo)

Back cover (photo)

Cover flap (photo)

Vice President Wallace quote, May 8, 1942: ...Hitler and Japan will cooperate to do the unexpected...fifth columnists in the U.S will sabotage not merely our war material plants, but our minds.

Forward by the authors:

Nazi Germany is the creation of spies and saboteurs.

The burning of the Reichstag by Hermann Goerings’s arsonists is history’s supreme act of sabotage that consolidated Nazi power.

At the home of Cologne banker Baron Kurt von Schroeder a secret bargain was struck with arch-saboteur Franz von Papen that brought ex-Reichswehr spy Hitler to power.

Leaders of the Nazi state are:

The same ganster types head Italy under Mussolini and Japan. In Japan, political murders by the secret Black Dragon Society paved their way to power.

The Axis’ saboteurs are like a second army operating on a world scale, wrecking: industry, agriculture, transport, the press, finance, labor, the armed forces, politics.

Even some Americans play a part.


Chapter 1 - "The Ghosts That Walk Again"

March 1941, sabotage caused the Pittsburgh Express to derail, 5 killed, 121 injured. Fascist Ukrainian saboteurs working for the Nazis were suspected.

The Hour, an anti-fascist newsletter in New York City revealed:

Fiodore Wozniak ("the Firebug")

June 1939, Supreme Court Justice Roberts handed down the decision which said Germany waged undeclared war by sabotage on the U.S. between 1914-1917.

Capt. Franz von Papen

Baron Manfred von Killinger

Capt. Fritz Wiedeman

Baron Edgar von Spiegel

Dr. Herbert Scholz

Col. Walther Nicolai (called the "Silent Colonel")

Guenther Gustav Rumrich

Frederick Joubert Duquesne.

Paul Scheffer

During WWI, a team traveled around the U.S. infecting mules, horses and cattle with diseases. Thousands of soldiers also died.

Chapter 2 - "Saboteurs At Work"

September 1941, FBI established:

William G. Sebold was a German-American whom the Nazi secret police trained in sabotage & espionage not knowing he was an FBI informant. The Gestapo trained him at a school in Hamburg, Germany:

Sebold was trained as a "Transmitter."

School chief was Dr. Nicolaus Adolf Fritz Ritter. He sent Sebold to the U.S. using the name William G. Sawyer.

Another group worked in NYC area under Kurt Frederick Ludwig.

Ludwig’s real leader was Ulrich von der Osten, high officer in German Military Intelligence, killed by a taxi cab in Times Square, March 1941. He had a report on the defenses of Pearl Harbor and Hickham Field.

June 28, 1941, the FBI rounded up the entire Duquesne ring, and later Ludwig’s group.

Devices for fire setting, explosions or cause wreckage of machinery:

Special acids deteriorates cloth

Poisons during WWI in canned foods for the Allies.

Wrecking military equipment.

The German American Bund

Nazi agents have long wanted to take over the American labor movement so they could sabotage production.

Chapter 3 - "Sabotage By Cartel"

1915, Dr. Heinrich Albert created a fake munitions concern, the Bridgeport Projectile Company. $$ came from the German Foreign Office. Said it was a British-financed corp.

Large scale economic sabotage by creating artificial scarcities, tied up machinery & supplies.

Exposed by U.S. Secret Service and expelled from U.S. along with von Papen.

During WWI von Papen’s associate and rival was Capt. Franz von Rintelen.

But the tactic of economic sabotage would become the official policy of the Third Reich. Bought up whole industries and achieved colossal economic sabotage through manipulation of international partnerships, cartels and patent pools.

According to the Senate Truman Committee:

Chemnyco, Inc. of NY

Bendix Aviation

April 22, 1942, Pres. Roosevelt ordered the seizure of all patents controlled directly or indirectly by the enemy.

Chapter 4 - "Tokyo Terrorists"

Los Angeles and its war industries would be crippled if the aqueduct system that supplies the water was sabotaged.

In Los Angeles, a member of the Black Dragon, a secret Japanese terrorist society, was found with a short-wave radio, maps of Hawaii’s fortifications, plans of the LA water supply system.

The Japanese Intelligence Service

The manager of the San Francisco branch of Mitsubishi tried to get info from the trade journal Petroleum World in 1940.

February 20, 1942, they were set back when President Roosevelt issued an executive order evacuating anyone alien or citizen from military areas, and throughout the West Coast area a mass evacuation of Japanese and Japanese-Americans. They were forced to rely on mostly non-Japanese agents and the Nazi underground.

White Russian Fascists

Important Japanese, German & Italian functionaries visited regularly Vonsiatsky’s Thompson, Conn. headquarters. Discussed fascist coup in the U.S.

150,00 White Russians living in Japanese territory, headed by saboteur-spy Lt. Gen. Gregory Semenoff, an ex-Czarist.

One week before Pearl Harbor they joined the Japanese Army under the command of Major Batase.


Shortly before Pearl Harbor in Chicago a secret meeting with:

Vonsiatsky helped finance Nazi agents in U.S. but wanted Berlin to guarantee him a high post in Russia when the Nazi armies take over.

Pelypenko later reported all he knew about Vonsiatsky to the FBI.

Summer of 1941, Fiodore "The Firebug" Wozniak asked Pelypenko to get him a sabotage job, he needed the work.

Chapter 5 - "Bombers and Killers"

The Ukrainian National Home, "a mutual benefit society" at East 6th Street, NYC.

William Piznak, Ukrainian-American arrested for having sabotage equipment in his basement at 225 E. 95th St. His brother, Michael Piznak, had also lived in the house.

The Hetman


Both have built their cells in American industrial centers. Have branches throughout Europe, Asia, N. & S. America. In regular communication with German, Japanese & Italian agents.

The Ukrainian fifth column is the most important auxiliary of the international Nazi espionage & sabotage machine, and the only place it can’t function is in the Ukraine because in 1938 the Soviet authorities shot its chief ring-leaders.

Baltic German Dr. Paul Rohrbach helped establish an "Independent Ukraine" under German rule (Ukrainians were then under the Russian Czar). Kaiser Wilhelm liked the idea because of the Ukrainian wheat and oil.

1918, the Kaiser established an "Independent Ukraine" under German "protection."

But the newly-formed Red Army & guerrilla bands crushed them, so they returned to Berlin, where they became the protégés of The German High Command and began plotting with the Nazi Party to overthrow the Weimar Republic.

The "Hetman Organization" was placed under Dr. Alfred Rosenberg.

Ukrainian fifth column in the U.S., known as OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists)

1938, Soviet Gov. smashed the entire OUN in the Ukraine. Hitler and Nicolai thought Col. Konovaletz knew too much about German Government’s secrets so they blew him up with a bomb disguised as a gift.

1933, Col. Nicolai selected Omelian Senyk-Gribiwisky ("Salesman of Terror") to organize the Nazi-Ukrainian network in the U.S.

ODWU front organizations mushroomed in industrial cities where Ukrainian-Americans lived.

May 1934, Senyk-Gribiwisky founded the "Ukrainian Aviation School" at Montgomery, NY.

By 1935 more than 100 ODWU units in the U.S in important industrial centers.

Vassil Avramenko

1941, Senyk-Gribiwinsky was to receive a high gov. position in the Nazi-occupied Ukraine but was shot while marching into the Soviet Ukraine with Hitler’s armies.

Svoboda, newspaper of the Ukrainian Nationalist Association – 40,000 members.

Chapter 6 - "How Many Were Sabotaged?"

February 9, 1942, the great liner Normandie (name changed to S.S. Lafayette) burned and sank at the pier in the North River (NYC).

8 ships headed for Russia with supplies either sank or were forced back to port from shifting cargo, wasn’t properly secured. This has never been a problem before. Probably sabotage.

1941, industrial disasters caused American production a loss of 1.5 billion man-hours.

Spring 1942, Forest Fires

In New Hampshire the German sabotage device the "Zepplinite" was found but the candle had burned out.

Chapter 7 - "Counter-Sabotage"

Agencies for fighting sabotage in U.S.:

Sept. 6, 1939, Roosevelt put FBI in supreme charge. Later that same month a General Intelligence Division was established in Wash. under FBI direction.

Summer of 1942 in NY area 49 members of two large Nazi espionage-sabotage rings were arrested.

June 1942, another ring was smashed by the FBI when they raided Anastase Vonsiatsky’s headquarters at Thompson, Connecticut. Arrested:

June 1942, 8 saboteurs landed by German subs in Florida & Long Island were arrested by the FBI.

Following America’s entry into the war, the FBI successfully raided homes and hideouts in every part of the country. U.S. defense plants organized anti-sabotage units and cooperated with the FBI, Military & Naval Intelligence.


"Psychological Sabotage"

Undermining morale, warping public opinion. It is a secret war directed against the mind and spirit of the people. Nazi "strategist of terror" Dr. Ewald Banse: "The enemy’s nation’s originally solid, powerful and well-knit fabric must be gradually disintegrated, broken down, rotted, so that it falls apart like a fungus treaded upon in a forest."

Weapons of the Axis psychological saboteurs include:

Their job is to soften up the people, and to make them easy prey for the Gestapo hangmen.

In the U.S. the psychological saboteurs have had 5 major objectives:

1) race hatred to disrupt the American people.
2) undermine the confidence in the government & Roosevelt Administration.
3) isolate & prevent U.S. from joining any anti-Axis alliance
4) keep the U.S. unprepared for the Second World War.
5) build an American fascist party as a fifth column ally to the Axis attack.

Chapter 8 - "The Secret Offensive"

1940, Hitler’s 5th column of psychological saboteurs were at work in each country before the Nazis invaded: Holland, Norway, Poland, France.

August 1940, George Sylvester Viereck, one of the leading Nazi agents in the U.S., head & brains of the propaganda machine.

Hitler, Dr. Colin Ross (Nazi ideologist of the "Germanization" program), and Dr. Joseph Paul Goebbels wanted to "Germanize" America. Goebbels: "Nothing will be easier than to produce a bloody revolution in North America. No other country has so many social and racial tensions. We shall be able to play on many strings there."

After 1933, Nazi-controlled German-American organizations on U.S. soil popped up all over. Supervised by Ernstt Wilhelm Bohle from Berlin.

According to a Swiss newspaper Bohle had 548 groups in 45 countries under him. 25,000 propaganda agents and 2,500 special Gestapo men.

The Psychological Laboratory

The German American Bund didn’t appeal to non-Germans, so they looked for other groups. 1933-39 more than 750 of these organizations sprang up. Set Gentile against Jew.

By 1937 their anti-Semetic propaganda was successful but they still needed a leader that people could look up to, like Hitler in Germany. One candidate was Father Charles E. Coughlin:

The Christian Front, the German American Bund, the Christian Mobilizers, Silver Shirts, and others roamed the streets of NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Akron & other cities attacking men & women. Campaign of psychological sabotage.

January 13, 1940, FBI caught 17 members of the Christian Front red-handed planning to kill about a dozen Congressmen, kill Jews, seize Post Offices, the Customs House, and armories in NYC. Much of their ammo had been stolen from the National Guard. They hailed Coughlin as their leader.

Because the trial was rigged, they were all found not guilty, but Coughlin’s organization never really grew into a mass movement.

Hermann Schwarzmann, leader of the Astoria, Long Island unit of the German American Bund, thought Charles Lindbergh would make a great leader.

Col. Walther Nicolai’s Section IIIB had personality-analysis of hundreds of leading statesmen throughout the world. (bribe, blackmail)

Goebbels, the Nazis and their fifth column allies in the U.S. called for the impeachment of Roosevelt. Said he was a traitor.

The American Fellowship Forum (published a magazine called Today’s Challenge)

With the outbreak of war in Europe, committees similar to the American Fellowship Forum sprang up overnight in America with a hands off policy toward the war in Europe.

Rep. Hamilton Fish’s committee "National Committee to Keep America Out of Foreign Wars."

Isolationist businessman Avery Brundage’s "peace" group, Citizen’s Keep America Out of War Committee.

3 other important Committees formed under the sponsorship of certain isolationist Senators & Representatives:

Oct. 21, 1940, all these Committees attempted to unite into a single powerful anti-Administration and isolationist bloc, called the No Foreign Wars Committee.

The America First Committee

Chapter 9 - "The Head and Brains"

George Sylvester Vierek

Flanders Hall, Inc. in New Jersey

The Franking Privilege

To avoid direct contact with Rep. Fish’s office Viereck had Prescott Dennet set up a special propaganda "committee" in Wash. D.C. in spring 1940.

German propaganda objectives:

Chapter 10 - "America First!"

The America First Committee rally in Philadelphia 5/29/41

At Charles Lindbergh’s suggestion, Douglas Stuart, Jr. asked General Robert E. Wood (Chairman of the Board of Sears, Roebuck & Co.) to lead America First.

Stuart met with wealthy ex-diplomat William R. Castle.

America First Committee financed by:

The original committee included:

Main objective - Keep America out of the War!

Many were probably sincere, not knowing they were dupes of Nazi & Japanese agents.

Jan. 22, 1941, Short-wave radio broadcast by Dr. Joseph Paul Goebbels, Propaganda Minister for the Third Reich: "The America First Committee is truly American and truly patriotic!"

Members of he German American Bund moved quietly into the chapters of the America First Committee. Other supporters were: William Pelley’s Silver Shirts, The Christian Fronters, the KKK, White Russian Fascists, Christian Mobilizers, & others.

The American Legion in California found that the entire fifth column in the U.S. had joined the America First movement.

Laura Ingalls

Frank B. Burch, distinguished member of the Akron, Ohio community.

1939 Hollywood, a screenwriter takes a trip to Nazi Germany. His list:

He came back with $$, some of it he gave to G. Allison Phelps.

A year prior to the Welt-Dienst issue Hitler spoke out against Hollywood. Said it was a center of anti-Nazism, democracy and communism, can’t be tolerated any longer.

Shortly after, Fritz Kuhn, Fuehrer of the German American Bund, demanded a "thorough cleansing of the Hollywood film industry of all alien, subversive elements."

William Dudley Pelley printed an article: "Who’s Who In Hollywood - Find the Gentile!"

Early 1941, G. Allison Phelps began broadcasting demands for an investigation of the movie industry. He then went to Washingon D.C. & worked out of the office of Sen. Robert Rice Reynolds of N. Carolina.

Returned to the West Coast and broadcasted that his efforts in Washington would soon be apparent.

At the request of Senator Gerald P. Nye of N. Dakota, on Aug. 1 1941 Sen. Bennett Champ Clark of Missouri introduced Senate Resolution No. 152, which said that movies & radio have been used for propaganda for participation in the war. Therefore, the Committee on Interstate Commerce will investigate any propaganda by the movie industry.

The Committee on Interstate Commerce was headed by Senator Burton K. Wheeler of Montana, leader of the America First Committee congressional bloc.

The America First "investigators" objected to the anti-Nazi films:

but not the Nazi-produced films, like Victory In The West.

Wendell Willkie made public statements exposing the anti-Hollywood witch-hunt and the "investigation" was dropped.

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

In August 1941 Stewerd & Eggleson published the 1st issue of their newspaper The Herald.

Later, when facing the Washington Federal Grand Jury for Axis propaganda, they said they got $100,000 from Charles S. Payson, NY millionaire & admirer of Linbergh, but the money mostly went to finance Scribner’s Commentator. They said the $30,000 that financed The Herald was given to them anonymously, they didn’t know who it was. The source of The Herald’s foreign news came straight from the Propaganda Ministries of Berlin, Rome, & Tokyo, via short-wave radio.

Their publications were distributed throughout the country for free.

Also mailed out copies to the U.S. armed forces.

This was psychological sabotage.

Sept. 11, 1941 - Lindbergh declared that only 3 groups wanted war: "The British, the Jewish, and the Roosevelt Administration."

The German American Bund proposed Lindbergh for President of the U.S.

Col. Joseph M. Patterson’s Daily News called for the formation of an "American First Party."

Col. Robert R. McCormick’s Chicago Tribune called for an "America First Party."

Nov. 1941 secret meeting in Wash. to discuss political plans for the America First Committee.

Their plans:

1) launch campaign to impeach Sec. of Navy Frank Knox.
2) align the clergy against aid to the Soviet Union by stressing the "Bolshevik menace."
3) non-interventionist propaganda, more than before.
4) set up an America First Party in time for the 1942 elections.

Dec. 7, 1941 - Japan bombs Pearl Harbor.

Chapter 11 - "America At War"

Dec. 12, 1941 - The America First Committee officially disbanded.

Dec. 17, 1941 - secret meeting at the home of Edwin Sibley Webster Jr., wealthy Wall Street broker and former Exec. Director of the NY Chapter of the American First Committee.

Haase said they would come to power later, with Lindbergh the leader.

A few weeks later Haase set up an organization called "Americans for Peace."

3 days before Pearl Harbor the Chicago Tribune printed highly confidential military information. Sec. of War Henry L. Stimson denounced it saying they revealed military secrets to the enemy.

The psychological sabotage continued after the war:

Chapter 12 - "America Strikes Back"

The Axis powers underestimated America’s response to the war.

Many of the psychological saboteurs were sentenced to prison.

Special Grand Juries were set up in many parts of the U.S. to investigate enemy propaganda activities.

Archibald MacLeish, Director of the Office of Facts and Figures, told the American Society of Newspaper Editors on April 17, 1942: "...the most pernicious and pervasive defeatism in not practiced by those who violate the statutes of their country openly. It is practiced by those who take scrupulous care to stay within the law – to come, as one of them is reported to have told his staff, 'as close to treason as I dare.'"

The tiny group of defeatist Congressmen continue their work in Washington D.C.

The answer to the problem of wartime psychological sabotage lies with the American people themselves.