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History Happy Hour

Episode 107: Nazis on the Potomac

The Walls Have Ears and MI9, Helen Fry Two outstanding books by HHH alumna Helen Fry that delve into secret intelligence gathering operations used by the British during World War 2 to gather vital information from captured German military personnel as well as to assist Allied POWs in escaping from occupied Europe. As much of what went on at Fort Hunt had its origins in British intelligence gathering activities, these two books are useful introductions to this topic.

Ritchie Boy Secrets, How a Force of Immigrants and Refugees Helped Win World War II, Beverly Driver Eddy A good history of Camp Ritchie and the recruitment of diverse men and women from a wide variety of backgrounds to work in U.S. intelligence operations during World War II; including what went on at Fort Hunt. A bit broader in scope-and more academic-than Bruce Henderson’s book.

The Ritchie Boys: The Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned to Fight Hitler, Bruce Henderson Originally published as Sons and Soldiers, Henderson’s book covers much of the ground that is in Eddy’s book but is focused most intensely on Jewish refugees who enlisted to fight the Nazis. Written by a New York Times best-selling author who has written more than 20 popular history books, The Ritchie Boys might be a bit more accessible-but less comprehensive-version of this story.

Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America, Annie Jacobsen Fascinating history of this American intelligence/recruitment operation that brought a wide variety of Nazi scientists to the West in the waning days of World War 2. Covers not only how these operations were conducted, but also addresses some of the moral questions surrounding what was done. Lots to ponder in this book.

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