Insidious Foes: The Axis Fifth Column and the American Home Front

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byFrancis Macdonnell

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Nazi Germany's efforts to weaken the United States by subversion failed miserably. Bungling spies were captured and half-hearted efforts at sabotage came to nothing. Yet anyone who lived through WWII remembers the chilling posters warning Americans that "Enemy Agents Have Big Ears" and "LooseLips Sink Ships." Even Superman joined the struggle against these insidious foes. In 1940, polls showed that 71% of Americans believed a Nazi Fifth Column had penetrated the country. Almost half were convinced that spies, saboteurs, dupes, and rumor-mongers lurked in their own neighborhoods andwork-places. These fears extended to the White House and Congress. In this book, Francis MacDonnell explains the origins and consequences of America's Fifth Column panic, arguing that conviction and expedience encouraged President Roosevelt, the FBI, Congressmen, Churchill's government, and Hollywood to legitimate and exacerbate American's fears. Gravelyweakening the isolationists, fostering Congress's role in rooting out Un-American activities, and instigating the creation of the modern intelligence establishment, the Fifth Column scare did far more than sell movie tickets, comic books, and pulp fiction. Insidious Foes traces the panic from itsorigins in the minds of reasonable Americans who saw the vulnerability of their open society in an age of encroaching totalitarianism.

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From the Publisher

Nazi Germany's efforts to weaken the United States by subversion failed miserably. Bungling spies were captured and half-hearted efforts at sabotage came to nothing. Yet anyone who lived through WWII remembers the chilling posters warning Americans that "Enemy Agents Have Big Ears" and "LooseLips Sink Ships." Even Superman joined the s...

Francis MacDonnell is at Yale University.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 9.49 × 6.46 × 0.91 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195092686

ISBN - 13:9780195092684

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"...MacDonnell effectively lays out the facts, how each event interacts with others and what result was created."--Military Review