The Nazi Spy Ring in America – Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones
Smithsonian Associates, The Not Old Better Show
Welcome to The Not Old Better Show. I’m Paul Vogelzang and this is episode #497
As part of our Smithsonian Associates Art of Living author interview series, our guest today is Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones. Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones is an emeritus professor of history at the University of Edinburgh. His book The Nazi Spy Ring in America is the subject of our conversation today, and his upcoming Smithsonian Associates presentation, Nov. 18. More details about Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones and his Smithsonian Associates presentation are available in the show notes and our web site.
In the mid-1930s just as the United States was embarking on a policy of neutrality, Nazi Germany launched a program of espionage against the unwary nation. Hitler attempted to interfere in American affairs by spreading anti-Semitic propaganda, stealing military technology, and mapping U.S. defenses.
In a fascinating illustrated presentation, historian Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones offers insights into the role of espionage in shaping American perceptions of Germany in the years leading up to the country’s entry into World War II and sheds light on a significant episode in the history of international relations and the development of the FBI.
Using recently declassified documents, Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones tells us how Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the Abwehr, was able to steal top-secret American technology, such as a prototype codebreaking machine and data about the latest fighter planes.
Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones also gives us a special glimpse into Leon Turrou, the FBI agent who helped bring down the Nazi spy ring in a case that quickly transformed into a national sensation. The arrest and prosecution of four members of the ring was a high-profile case with all the trappings of fiction: fast cars, louche liaisons, a murder plot, a Manhattan socialite, and a ringleader codenamed Agent Sex. This is a fascinating, previously unheard story.
Please join me in welcoming to The Not Old Better Show, via internet phone, Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones.
My thanks to Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones for his generous time today. Please check out the show notes for more details about Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones and his upcoming Smithsonian Associates presentation, which will be wonderful. My thanks to the generosity of the Smithsonian Associates team and for all they do to support the show. My thanks, too, to you, our wonderful Not Old Better Show audience. Please practice smart social distancing, be safe, and remember, let’s talk about better. The Not Old Better Show. Thanks, everybody.
For more information about Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones’s upcoming Smithsonian Associates presentation, please go here: