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OUR SECRET WAR
True American Spy Stories 1917-1919
THOMAS M. JOHNSON Author of Without Censor
THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY
COPYRIGHT, 1929 BY THOMAS M. J O H N S O N
Printed in the United States of America
COPYRIGHT, 1929 BY NEA MAGAZINE
THE CROWELL PUBLISHING COMPANY
THIS book tells some true American spy stories of the World War—most of which have not hitherto been told. Spy stories, mystery stories, war stories, adventure stories all in one, here are the best the writer could unearth from eleven years' encrusted silence. Many are nuggets of virgin gold, yet unseen by American readers. In truth at least, he is confident they assay ninety per cent. Every incident is true fundamentally, to the writer's best knowledge and belief, although, be it said, he has had sometimes to depend upon the undocumented memory of participants. There are some intentional inaccuracies, to deceive outsiders or to protect American secret agents, one of whom cautions: "If you write about G-2, watch your step!" The writer has endeavored to watch. In this first published attempt at a substantially truthful account of American Intelligence and Secret Service work abroad, he has not "told all." That is partly because he does not know all, partly because he has forgotten purposely some things dug from document or human memory that, even now, can not be told without harming seriously some person or government. To prevent that, he has sometimes taken liberties with names, places, dates. This narrative concerns principally thrilling or mysterious aspects and incidents of American Intelligence work in Europe, and especially of that branch most fascinating to the general public, Secret Service. It attempts to tell something of the whole G-2 machine, whereof Secret Service is but one of several parts, and the methods whereby its wheels are made to turn. After all, it was the steady day
and night labor of the many, rather than the "stunts" of the few, that enabled American Intelligence to read pretty accurately for the greatest Army in American history, the inmost thoughts of its enemy, the greatest Army in World history. But it neither pretends nor desires to be a technical treatise. What follows is just a story, true as may be, of the only aspect of the A.E.F. that remains unrevealed. The more delicate the writer's task, the more valuable the help of many friends who, eleven years ago, fought in our secret war. Unfortunately, most of them must remain unnamed, as they are unquoted. Special thanks for reading manuscript and for valuable suggestions are due to four Chiefs of American Military Intelligence and to many others recognized as authorities. But responsibility for the final and present text is the writer's alone. He is grateful also to The American Magazine, especially to Mr. James C. Derieux and Mr. Merle Crowell, for collaboration indispensable as it has been pleasurable. Nor can the New York Sun, and especially Mr. Keats Speed, escape responsibility for having sent him to France in the first place, as Accredited Correspondent with the A. E. F., and later, at the Peace Conference.
G-2: UNTOLD TALES OF OUR INTELLIGENCE SERVICE IN THE WORLD WAR 15
There was American "secret stuff"—The German Spies were caught—The babes venture into the wood—The hidden panel at G.H.Q.—The secret history of a battle—The Germans talk with G-2—The truth about one American "spy story"—Letters of mark —How G-2 sank some submarines—And the general finished his supper—A puzzle to solve—Behind the scenes—Artful dodges.
THE HIDDEN DUEL: SPY AGAINST COUNTER-SPY IN THE A.E.F. 63
On dark battle-fields—Our secret service in Europe—To make drug fiends of American aviators—The Black Book—The fate of the traitor—They tell no tales—An American spy for the Germans —The Germans lost the secret war—Who were in our secret service?—The I.P.'s: men of mystery—A spy in our midst—Wine and women—"Sairveece!"—A dangerous mission, a fearful ordeal —An I.P. risks death—"An oath in blood!"
THE MASTER: HOW AMERICAN SECRET AGENTS TRAPPED A GREAT GERMAN SPY 127
One of our most thrilling exploits—A sinister visitor—Tricked—A Master Spy—Before the war began—A horrible story—Who is The Master?—Jekyll and Hyde—The mystery of Zero.
THE NET : AND HOW QUEER FISH WRIGGLED
What a green Alpine hat hid—A toothpick writes—Who were the
CONTENTS — Continued
suspects—Disguises and false papers—Dark wings at night—New stories of the Zimmermann note—Spy-hunting in doughboys' letters—They said it with flowers—Tricky things, codes.
WE SPY: THE GREAT GAME AS THE AMERICANS PLAYED IT 185
Praise from the enemy—The Innocent Yankees—Hist! Play ball! —President Wilson and secret service—How did we spy ?—What are spies like?—Their names are still secret—The remarkable Captain Voska—Our best German spy—Our Russian spies—Bertha: a gun within a gun—Hooks and crooks—The wages of spying—The legion that never was listed—A firing squad at dawn—Assassination, and the "sealed train"—A shot in the dark—The affair of the four colonels—An American warning—American spies and the "corpse factory"—Allied secret service and the German revolution
—Poisoning the German Empire.
OUR SECRET PEACE: PLOT AND COUNTER-PLOT AFTER THE ARMISTICE 253
Our unknown role in Germany—Agent A-1 goes to Berlin—The real German plans divulged—A censor with a pistol—Plots to kill President Wilson—A cat who looked at some kings—Meet the grand duchess—A tap on the shoulder—Our spy-trap on the Rhine—Our German-American agents—The Dusseldorf affair—
The American Bolshevik who risked a firing squad.
EVES-DROPPING: ADVENTURES OF WOMEN SPIES THE AMERICANS KNEW 297
American women spies—"Q," who spied for President Wilson—A Jeanne d'Arc of the secret war—Women's wiles—Queen of spies: fascinating, deadly, tragic—The ever-open eye—Sic transit—Our secret service in the Alsace Ruse—Bella Donna gets the papers— Delilah's sisters—An historic dictograph—Pumping the doughboys—Why girls go into secret service-—A woman spy in Washington—Our unknown heroine.
OUR SECRET WAR
OUR SECRET WAR "With reference to the 'social notes' on the last page these are the ones G——[of the French service] is so touchy about. Please see that they don't reach the French in any way. They go straight to Clemenceau throughG—
The "social notes" were interesting intelligence of certain highly placed personages, Allied as well as German. Naturally, Clemenceau kept in close touch with the French secret service and was even reputed its actual head, as he was actual head of the French press censorship and propaganda to which before his elevation to power, he objected so violently that he renamed his paper L'Homme Enchaine.
PRESIDENT WILSON AND SECRET SERVICE
President Wilson, on the other hand, generally took little stock in military secret service. He is even said not to have read the carefully condensed daily espionage report of which G-2-B, A . E . F . prepared but four copies: for cabling in code to the President, for General Pershing, for General Bliss, and for filing. The President preferred the Naval and perhaps the Diplomatic Intelligence, and entrusted some confidential work to an officer of Naval Intelligence. Still, the President ordered destroyed a suspect list, of over one hundred thousand names, printed for the Navy by the government printer, so many of those named being his friends or acquaintances. Whereupon T. Morrison Carnegie paid the expense, twenty thousand dollars, of employing fifty girls duly sworn as secret operatives, to type fourteen sets of cards the Navy needed to give it what it considered the best suspect list any one had. That may have been because President Wilson thought
the Army "militaristic," or because he was more concerned over Republican plots than German, or because he distrusted information obtained by secret means. Others had that distrust, despite Sir Basil Thomson's statement that little happened in the underworld whereof British and Americans were ignorant. How much "spy dope" was true? Estimates range everywhere from fifty per cent, down to twenty. Generally, a report is as valuable as the agent who sends it. The better the agent, the fewer and shorter his reports, and the more truthful. The patriot spy may not have been trained in gathering and weighing information; the hireling seeks most money at least risk, tells his employers what he thinks they want to hear, and exaggerates, even invents. Splendid examples were some spy reports of damage done by Allied air raids on German Rhineland towns. Few indeed were the agents whom G-2 believed implicitly. Every report was checked by other sources of information. If the war had lasted a trifle longer, espionage might have played a greater part in the A . E . F . Intelligence. General Nolan, believer in Combat Intelligence rather than secret service, was to have had his heart's desire; promotion to major-general and command of a division at the front. For a few blissful days, he had played hooky from G. H. Q. and commanded one of the 28th Division's infantry brigades in the daring dawn attack up the eastern bluffs of the Argonne Forest. He had won the Distinguished Service Cross with this citation:
"While the enemy was preparing a counter-attack, which they preceded with a terrific barrage, General Nolan inade his way into the town of Apremont, and personally directed the movements of his tanks under a most harassing foe of enemy machine-guns, rifles and artillery. His indomitable courage and coolness so inspired his forces that