Login / Register

Why German spies blew up this US island

Thanks! Share it with your friends!


You disliked this video. Thanks for the feedback!

Sorry, only registred users can create playlists.

Channel: Vox
Categories: Society / Culture   |   Social Science  
 Find Related Videos  added


And how they almost got away with it.

Become a Video Lab member!

In the years leading up to the United States entry into World War I in 1917, the nation was neutral, profiting from the war by manufacturing munitions and selling them to both sides. But a British naval blockade around Germany made it impossible for the Central Powers to acquire American arms. As a result, Imperial Germany established a ring of saboteurs and spies within the US, secretly destroying munitions factories and ships, and trying to make it look like an accident.

The signature attack of this campaign occurred on July 30, 1916, when saboteurs set fire to a massive stockpile of munitions ready to ship from Black Tom Island, a munitions depot in New York Harbor. The explosion was felt for miles around, but because the US had no infrastructure of domestic intelligence at the times, it took decades to prove that it wasnt just an unfortunate accident. This German sabotage campaign ultimately laid the groundwork for the establishment of domestic intelligence agencies specializing in counter-espionage in the US.

Sabotage at Black Tom, by Jules Witcover:

The Detonators by Chad Millman: is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out

Watch our full video catalog:

Follow Vox on Facebook:

Or Twitter:

Post your comment


Be the first to comment