Article Examines Nazi Involvement in the “Day of Infamy”

Did a Nazi spy on Hawaii provide intelligence that enabled Japan to attack Pearl Harbor? A recent Washington Times article says yes.

Did a Nazi spy on Hawaii provide intelligence that enabled Japan to attack Pearl Harbor? A recent Washington Times article says yes.

“Codes between the Nazi agent and the Japanese were worked out in advance.”

UNLESS YOU’VE BEEN paying close attention to the coverage of the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor you likely missed this fascinating article from the American newspaper, The Washington Times.

The story, by Dennis Jamison, explores the largely unknown Nazi involvement in the Japanese strike on the U.S. fleet in Hawaii. According to the piece, a spy by the name of Bernard Kuhn took up residence in Honolulu as early as 1935 with orders to pass details of American naval activity in the Pacific back to Berlin.

The article, entitled “German Spies Aided Japanese Attack on Pearly Harbor!” describes how Kuhn, a physician and low-level officer in the Gestapo, was posted to Hawaii on the personal orders of Hitler’s propaganda minister, Dr. Joseph Goebbels.

Once in position, Kuhn’s spouse and children took part in the espionage as well. Mrs. Kuhn worked at a beauty salon that was frequented by the gossiping wives of senior American naval officers; his teenaged daughter gleaned pieces of intel from base personnel she was dating. Even Kuhn’s 6-year-old son was a spy. Sailors would frequently invite the youngster aboard their vessels for unofficial tours. Bernard, a World War One naval veteran himself, would use these occasions to collect as much information as he could about the ships, their capabilities and armaments. He even taught the youngster to keep his eyes peeled for details.

By 1940, with Berlin and Tokyo formally allied, the Nazis ordered Kuhn to pass along intelligence directly to the the emperor’s consulate in Hawaii. Codes between the Nazi agent and the Japanese were worked out in advance. Lamps appearing in windows of the Kuhn residence at certain times would convey details about the comings and goings of American ships.

Sharp-eyed investigators noticed the blinking lights and began to suspect that something suspicious was going on at the Kuhn residence. By that point however it was too late, the article reports — the Japanese strike was imminent.

Following the battle, federal agents netted Kuhn and his family. The latter were deported to Germany; Bernard was condemned to death for espionage. That sentenced was commuted in exchange for his cooperation. He was released shortly after VE Day.

“Although the Japanese later tried to dismiss the information as ineffectual, the intelligence was invaluable,” writes Jamison in the article. “Pearl Harbor may not have been such a ‘day of infamy’ or quite as deadly had it not been for the intelligence gathering efforts of the Kuhn family.”

To check out the full story, click here.

7 comments for “Article Examines Nazi Involvement in the “Day of Infamy”

  1. Mis166th
    11 December, 2012 at 12:21 am

    This is great stuff, sir!

  2. 12 December, 2012 at 1:34 am

    My father was a Captain during WWII, stationed somewhere around Long Beach, California. I was around 12 years old (1955) when he told me Japanese planes flew, on a regular basis, over the California coast during WWII on photo recon missions, looking for aircraft mfg. plants. When he explained to me how the Japanese knew where our camouflaged aircraft factories were, I was shocked. This could be one of the reasons a lot of American born Japanese were unjustly confined to camps in the western United States. My dad was the CO of some 16” gun batteries outfitted with newly developed radar; he was an electrical engineer (that makes sense). When he told me he ordered his men to shoot at the planes, I was shocked and thought something like, This is the United States. Impossible. He said they never shot one down because the shells only went up, say 15,000 feet, and the planes flew at 16,000 feet, of course. Remember what happened in the Aleutian Islands (Alaska). I think you can say this is close enough. Sometimes, what we find out many years after the fact is still scary. I really wonder, and I’m concerned, about what’s going on now, behind the scenes, in this world. For me, the most disturbing scenario is our leaders can’t seem to learn from history, our history.

    • 12 December, 2012 at 9:17 am

      Great story. I have something similar. My grandfather was a pilot in the 1930s. While he was flying some route or another in Eastern Canada, his employer put him and my grandmother up at a hotel in Quebec City called the St. Lawrence. While they stayed, my grandparents and the other guests befriended these very affable and outgoing German men who were in Canada tending to some business concerns. They would spend their days off doing something but return in the evenings and buy drinks for the guests and throw lavish parties. After some weeks in Canada, the two Germans departed. Later, the RCMP or Canadian military intelligence arrived at the hotel to question the guests about these two businessmen. It turned out the pair were actually spies and they were supposedly out every day taking depth measurements of the St. Lawrence river for u-boats. During the war, German subs routinely struck at British and Canadian shipping in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence. The hotel still stands BTW — I visited it two summers ago with my family while we vacationed in Quebec City (an amazing historic vacation destination BTW that is certainly worth seeing!)

      • 12 December, 2012 at 12:18 pm

        Your story is also fascinating, to say the least. THIS IS WAR a fascinating blog. It brings back memories of my dad and mom during the forties and fifties. Thanks!

        • 12 December, 2012 at 2:58 pm

          It’s a grim subject to be sure… sometimes I wonder if I am making light of the topic. I hope I am not. am certainly glad you enjoy it in any case.

    • 9 May, 2016 at 10:44 pm

      DO NOT EVER bring up again the internment, unless you know all the facts of why ALL Japanese AMERICAN citizens were interned by “Order of the President”, Roosevelt who in the real world was a bigot and hardcore racist, when it came to “Mingling” of Asiatic blood with European or American blood.
      In 2001 a book “By Order of the President” by Greg Robinson and in his research he came across (Order 9066) the internment of all Japanese-American citizens. Roosevelt also argued that because “Japanese Immigrants are not capable assimilation into the American population.

  3. Coach Large
    9 May, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    My DOB is 6 July 1943. I am not 21 years of age. My email is calan_large@yahoo.com.

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