“Nazis on the Potomac” – with former National Park Service Chief Historian Bob Sutton
What You’ll Learn
- The interrogation of top Nazis for intelligence
- The analysis of literally tons of captured German documents
- Refining ways to escape and evade Nazis in German occupied Europe
- The importance of intelligence on the German Army’s Order of Battle
- The National Park Service & History
- Politicizing Interpretation
And much, much more…
This week’s guest is the former Chief Historian of the National Park Service, Bob Sutton, and what a wonderful conversation we had.
His book, Nazis on the Potomac: The Top-Secret Intelligence Operation that Helped Win WWII, tells the story of military intelligence facility P.O. Box 1142 – present day Fort Hunt, around 15 miles south of Washington DC.It was here, between 1942-1945, that around three and a half thousand high level German prisoners were interrogated, captured documents analyzed, and ways to help Americans escape and evade Nazis in occupied Europe studied.
This story is particularly incredible, because many of the interrogators were German born Jews.
This story was almost lost to history, but thankfully because of the NPS and Bob Sutton, it never will be.
[Conflict of interest disclosure, Andrew has an “America the Beautiful” Annual Pass].
John W. Kluge arrived in the United States from Germany not speaking a word of English in 1922. He was 8 years old. He would go on to be the head of the Military Intelligence Research Section (MIRS) at P.O. Box 1142. After the war, he would go on to become the richest man in the United States. He was so appreciative of America, that he provided funds to Columbia University and The Library Congress to provide opportunities to future students and scholars. Andrew is a former John W. Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress and therefore a direct recipient of his philanthropy for which he is grateful.
Quote of the Week
"Doing what we did at Fort Hunt is actually fairly unusual, where we didn't know the story. We were able to locate people, we were able to get money, we could actually interview everybody that we found…That's relatively unusual." – Bob Sutton
- *Andrew’s Recommendation*
- Oral History Interview with John W. Kluge, NPS
- Some fascinating budgets on how his time in intelligence informed his business practices
- *Featured Resource*
- Nazis on the Potomac: The Top-Secret Intelligence Operation that Helped Win WWII, B. Sutton (Casemate, 2022)
- *Beginner Resources*
- POWs and Intel at Fort Hunt in WWII, NPS (n.d.) [web article]
- P.O. Box 1142, Top Secret Heroes, YouTube [3 min video]
- History Series (GS-0170) Federal Jobs, [career article]
- “The Beverley Hills Spy” – with Seth Abramovich (2022)
- Richie Boy Secrets, B. Eddy (Stackpole, 2021)
- Escape and Evasion, P. Froom (Schiffer, 2015)
- The History of Camp Tracy, A. Corbin (Zeidon, 2009)
- P.O. Box 1142, The Mysterious WWII Installation, SOF (2022)
- MIS-X: Escape and Evasion in WWII, N. Nix, Patch (2011)
- Moving Image
- Fort Hunt Up to WWII, R. Sutton, C-SPAN (2022)
- Richie Boys, 60 Minutes (2022)
- The New Americans: The Immigrants who Served, U.S. Holocaust Museum (2020)
- Primary Sources
- “Red Book”: Order of Battle of the German Army (1945)
- Oral Sources
- Oral History Interview with Rudolph Pins (2006)
- Oral History Interview with Silvio Bedini (2007)
- Oral History Interview with Paul Fairbrook (2008)
- Oral History Collections
- Fort Hunt Oral History Project, P.O. Box 1142
- *Wildcard Resource*
- H. Res. 753
- A Resolution on P.O. Box 1142 from the 110th Congress
- “Whereas” is utilized to great effect to tell the story with great aplomb!