Six months after Pearl Harbor, in June 1942, eight German saboteurs, all
of whom had lived in the United States, were dropped off by U-boats on
the shores of Long Island and northern Florida. Their orders were to
attack factories, destroy railroad installations, bomb Jewish-owned
department stores and generally create terror.
Shortly after their arrival, Dasch, one of the would-be saboteurs, with
the connivance of another, went to Washington and reported the plot to
the FBI. Soon, all eight were caught. J. Edgar Hoover held a press
conference lauding the FBI’s successful efforts. He did not mention
President Roosevelt demanded swift and severe punishment. “The death
penalty is called for by usage and by the extreme gravity of the war aim
and the very existence of the American government.”
There were problems, however: two of the Germans claimed American
citizenship, their lawyers understandably wanted a public trial and the
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