Spies >

American Intelligence in New York City

A fair amount of the action takes place in New York City, since my fictional German spy character Count Jaggi was ordered there by Berlin.

His orders were to replace German military attachés, Captains von Papen and Boy-ed, and to continue their operations to disrupt Allied shipping from New York City harbour.

When the war broke out in August 14, 1914, the United States government and most Americans agreed that it would be best to remain neutral, since they didn’t want any foreign entanglements.

With the Royal Navy blockading German ports, the Germans and Austrians were unable to import food and war supplies, while the Allies were free to place orders in the United States. The German government protested to Washington.

The United States point of view was, since they were neutral, they were free to sell to those had cash. Germany was willing to buy, but with the British blockade they had no way to ship the goods to Europe. To stem the flow to the Allies, the Germans decided to wage a submarine campaign to disrupt Allied shipping and a sabotage campaign to disrupt U.S. factory output.

At this time the United States had limited intelligence and counter-intelligence capabilities. Any intelligence work was done by:

Any investigations that were conducted by various local, state, and federal agencies were done in an uncoordinated fashion. In fact, the rivalry between various agencies was such that they didn’t want to share information, which hampered their effectiveness.

During the period in the novel the United States was just beginning to be more effective in its counter-intelligence work, and this accelerated when the United States entered the war in 1917.

Sources and further reading


The Kaiser Sows Destruction - Central Intelligence Agency

CI Reader: An American Revolution Into the New Millennium, Volumes I, Office of the National Counter Intelligence Agency 


Jones, John Price and Paul Merrick Hollister. The German Secret Service In America, 1914-1918. Boston: Small, Maynard & Company Publishers, 1918.

Tunney, Thomas Joseph and Paul Merrick Hollister. Throttled! The Detection of the German and Anarchist Bomb Plotters. Boston: Small, Maynard & Company, 1919.