Thomas Boghardt

Boghardt, Thomas. "America's Secret Vanguard: US Army Intelligence Operations in Germany, 1944–47." Studies in Intelligence 57, no. 2 (Jun. 2013): 1-18.

In the period between the dissolution of the OSS and the establishment of the CIA "the US Army [was] virtually alone in shouldering American intelligence requirements in a time and place that were to prove critical for the readjustment of US global strategy from world war to the Cold War.... Between 1944 and 1947, the War Department and the Army managed over half a dozen agencies which dealt with the collection, evaluation, dissemination, and safeguarding of militarily and politically relevant information in Germany."

[MI/Army/Post-WWII/To 90s]

Boghardt, Thomas. "Chasing Ghosts in Mexico: The Columbus Raid of 1916 and the Politicization of U.S. Intelligence During World War I." Army History (Fall 2013): 6-23.

Abstract by author. "In early 1917, the U.S. government learned of a secret German alliance proposal to Mexico that would come into effect if the United States joined the Allies. American interventionists claimed that the so-called Zimmermann Telegram ... represented the culmination of a series of German plots in Mexico, designed to challenge U.S. hegemony in the western hemisphere. This article shows, however, that from 1915 to 1917 American intelligence had carefully investigated and comprehensively refuted recurring rumors of German plots in Mexico. It argues that American interventionists, led by Secretary of State Robert Lansing, deliberately disregarded these findings and inaccurately portrayed the Zimmermann Telegram as corroboration of earlier rumors of German conspiracies in Mexico. Consequently, the erroneous notion of a German security threat to the western hemisphere became an important rationale for America's entry into World War I. Based on research in British, German, and U.S. archives, the article demonstrates the difficulty for intelligence collectors on the ground of overcoming political bias at the top government level, and the far-reaching consequences of tailoring intelligence to suit a political agenda."

[Germany/WWI; Historical/U.S./ToWWI; WWI/U.S.]

Boghardt, Thomas. "Dirty Work? The Use of Nazi Informants by U.S. Army Intelligence in Postwar Europe." Journal of Military History 79 (Apr. 2015): 387-422.

The focus here is on the Army Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) in postwar Germany and the recruitment of "former Nazi officials, war crimes suspects, and war criminals to collect information on communist party and Soviet activities in Europe.... [T]his article seeks to establish the historical context of the early Cold War that set the framework for this intelligence exploitation. It also weighs the intelligence value of the Army's Nazi informants and reviews recruitment by other American and Allied intelligence services. Finally, it discusses the challenges of using ethical guidelines in recruiting secret agents, during the early Cold War and beyond."


Boghardt, Thomas. "A German Spy? New Evidence on Baron Louis von Horst." Journal of Intelligence History 1, no. 2 (Winter 2001). [ html]

From abstract: In August 1914, Scotland Yard detectives "apprehended a German-American businessman, Baron Louis von Horst. Charged with espionage on behalf of the German government, von Horst was detained in various detention camps..., dispossessed, and expelled from Britain as an 'undesirable alien' in 1919.... [N]ew documentary evidence proves ... that Sir Basil Thomson, director of the Special Branch, cleverly and ruthlessly used the baron as a tool to advance his own career. Von Horst, losing his wealth and health in the course of his almost 5-year detention, was unjustly branded a 'German spy.'"

[Germany/WWI; WWI/UK]

Boghardt, Thomas. "Operation INFEKTION: Soviet Bloc Intelligence and Its AIDS Disinformation Campaign." Studies in Intelligence 53, no. 4 (Dec. 2009): 1-19.

"[A]ctive measures were well integrated into Soviet policy and involved virtually every element of the Soviet party and state structure, not just the KGB." The author traces the AIDS disinformation campaign from its earliest appearance in 1983 through its continued prevalence in the present. "Having effectively harnessed the dynamics of rumors and conspiracy theories, Soviet bloc intelligence had created a monster that has outlived its creators." (Footnote omitted)


Boghardt, Thomas. Spies of the Kaiser: German Covert Operations in Great Britain during the First World War. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Watt, I&NS 20.3 (Sep 2005), calls this work "a perfectly acceptable if limited study of German naval intelligence activities in Britain before and after" World War I. The author has put together "a coherent and credible picture from the surviving archives in both Britain and Germany." However, "there is nothing about the German army intelligence organization." Boghardt, I&NS 21.3 (Jun. 2006), takes exception to some of Watt's comments and, specifically, cites Walter Nicolai as stating that "German prewar espionage in Britain was the exclusive preserve of naval intelligence."

According to Peake, Studies 49.3 (2005), the author is the first to write about the German Admiralty's naval intelligence department (designated “N” and formed in 1901). When war came, "all the important agents were identified and arrested or neutralized." In the end, the unit "never posed a serious threat to British security." This book "provides summaries of the major wartime cases of 'N' espionage operations in Great Britain and discusses several that involved agents operating in the United States." Rielage, NIPQ 22.4 (Sep. 2006), sees Spies of the Kaiser as "a fascinating and exceptionally well-documented work."

[Germany/WWI; WWI/UK]

Boghardt, Thomas. The Zimmermann Telegram: Intelligence, Diplomacy and America's Entry into World War I. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2012.

Goulden, Washington Times, 20 Nov. 2012, and Intelligencer 19.3 (Winter-Spring 2013), says the author is able "to dash some prevailing myths and to give a very readable account of the episode.... Boghardt does a superb job of stripping away a veil of misinformation that Britain draped over the story." This work "is a masterpiece of intelligence writing. By following the hard evidence rather than relying on historical assumptions, he provides an incisive case study on how intelligence can affect national affairs"

For Ehrman, Studies 57.2 (Jun. 2013), "Boghardt presents a meticulously researched and well-written account that clarifies the story of the telegram and likely will be the standard for many years to come." This work "is a fine example of how various historical disciplines -- intelligence, diplomatic, and political -- can be combined to tell a compelling story." Chapman, IJI&C 26.3 (Fall 2013), finds that this work "is so detailed, so well-researched and comprehensive, it is of great value to historians and World War I buffs."


Return to Bo-Bog