Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
Although the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor was the only major attack on American soil during World War II, it was not the only instance of enemy penetration. Pastorius was the German code name for an operation designed to damage the U.S. war economy. After their capture, six of the German agents sent to carry out the plot were executed in Washington, D.C. The two others received lengthy prison terms, though both were deported six years later. An excerpt from The Post of June 28, 1942:
By J.L. Pearlman
International News Service Staff Writer
New York, June 27 --
The smashing of an amazing sabotage plot by the German high command to cripple American airplane production and other war-vital industries was disclosed by the FBI tonight with the announcement that eight Nazi saboteurs had been arrested after being put ashore on the Eastern Seaboard from two German U-boats.
The saboteurs, intensively trained for sabotage work at a special school near Berlin, were put ashore in two groups in Florida and on Long Island not far from vital aircraft plants situated near Metropolitan New York.
Two of the eight admitted saboteurs were German-born naturalized American citizens. The others, all former residents of the United States, were German aliens.
Each group carried ashore stores of high explosives, time fuses, delayed action bombs, "pen and pencil" sets designed specifically for industrial sabotage, and cases of dynamite.
The first group, landed at Amagansett Beach, Long Island, on June 13, buried four large wooden boxes filled with sabotage materials in the sand near the beach. The Nazi U-boat brought them to within 500 yards of the shore, J. Edgar Hoover, chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said, and then the quartet made shore in a small rubber lifeboat.
They donned civilian clothing on the beach and dispersed to various American cities for the purpose of destroying important production centers in key industrial areas, and for building up a compact unit of saboteurs from recruits in this country.
The second group landed on June 17 at Ponte Vedra Beach, south of Jacksonville Beach, Fla., and followed the same procedure.
The eight saboteurs carried American currency totaling $149,748.76, which was to be used for bribes and payment for sabotage performed under their direction. ...
Their plans called for operation of a stupendous program of sabotage in the United States over a two-year period.