How Long Island grew to become a hotbed of espionage within the Cold War – MajorUpdates

The decades-long battle between the United States and Soviet Union was known as the Cold War, however on Long Island the battle ran sizzling. In 1960, when Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev stayed in a Glen Cove mansion throughout his go to to the UN, the locals seethed. 

Nearly 5,000 dissenters protested his presence of their hometown with indicators calling the Moscow boss a “Pig Fat Murderer” and “Chubby Russian Hangman.” The native Lions Club flooded his motorcade route with US flags, whereas the American Legion hung effigies of the squat strongman off lampposts. 

When the Soviet chief’s caravan handed, mobs pelted his automotive with eggs, chanting: “Krush the fat red rat!” 

None of it bothered Khrushchev. The Soviet chief prolonged his go to from a weekend to 2 complete weeks and taunted the US throughout press conferences. “Everything is ready for a Soviet attempt to put a man into space, and I sympathize with America’s failed attempts,” he mentioned. 

Killenworth, initially the George DuPont Pratt property, was bought by the Soviet Union in 1951 as a rustic retreat for its UN delegates.

The locals have been proper to be paranoid about Russia. At the time, Long Island housed seven navy bases outfitted with nuclear arms, together with Nike Hercules missiles aimed on the sky to fend off potential Soviet bombers, write Christopher Verga and Karl Grossman of their guide “Cold War Long Island” (History Press), out now. The area was additionally house to a busy “Military Industrial Complex,” together with Farmingdale’s Republic Aviation, which as soon as constructed one-third of US Air Force fight jets, and Grumman Aerospace, the first contractor of Apollo’s lunar modules. 

Long Islander Robert Glenn Thompson became a spy for Russia after he was dishonorably discharged from the US military.
Long Islander Robert Glenn Thompson grew to become a spy for Russia after he was dishonorably discharged from the US navy.

Plus, there have been the spies. 

Killenworth, the mansion the place Khrushchev stayed, had been bought by the Soviets in 1951 as a rustic retreat for his or her delegates to the US. American intelligence believed the third ground of the compound “contained the world’s most advanced electric surveillance equipment” to listen in on close by protection vegetation, whereas Soviet “diplomats” actively recruited Americans to change allegiances. 

One who did was Robert Glenn Thompson of Bay Shore, a “not-too-smart chain-smoking bigot” who imagined himself one thing higher. Thompson often claimed he’d been a World War II hero, both coaching navy canine or with the “secret service in Berlin,” despite the fact that he would’ve been simply 10 years previous in 1945. 

Via the 50-foot-tall shortwave antenna in his yard from 1957 to 1963, Thompson relayed paperwork to Moscow concerning Long Island’s “water reservoirs, gas line locations, local power plant locations, and gas tank storage information,” the authors write. Eventually, the FBI busted him for espionage. 

Thompson’s motivation? He wasn’t a communist — slightly, he felt betrayed by America just because he was dishonorably discharged from the US navy. 

One Long Islander who rebuffed Soviet advances was Grumman engineer Bill Van Zwienen. Even although he was going via a expensive divorce, he nonetheless refused money to go turncoat. Instead, Van Zwienen advised the FBI he’d been approached and labored with them for nearly 18 months, assembly Soviet contacts at varied Long Island eating places to funnel them false info. By early 1972, Van Zwienen’s courageous efforts in the end led to the seize of 5 Soviet spies. 

Tensions ultimately died because the Soviet Union broke up. But one remnant of Long Island’s Cold War, stemming from the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, off Orient Point, can nonetheless be discovered at this time. 

Cold War Long Island book
Christopher Verga and Karl Grossman co-authored the guide “Cold War Long Island,” out now.
Plum Island Animal Disease Center was used to develop organic warfare fro 1949 to 1954.

From 1949 till 1954, the power was led by Dr. Erich Traub, a Nazi scientist recruited to the US after World War II. Under the steering of Hitler’s second-in-command, Heinrich Himmler, Traub had run Germany’s organic warfare facility and discovered “weaponize foot-and-mouth disease.” The United States tasked Traub with making use of this similar germ warfare analysis towards the Soviets, however ultimately deserted the concept and ended this system. 

In 1975, when Lyme illness first appeared on the coast of Connecticut, simply throughout from Long Island Sound, investigative journalists floated a idea that sounded ominously like what might have occurred in a Wuhan lab at this time. They blamed “years of experimentation with ticks on Plum Island and the likelihood of an accidental or purposeful release.” 

As for who on Plum Island may need weaponized ticks and unleashed Lyme illness upon the world, sources who labored on the facility have been clear. 

“They called him the Nazi scientist.”

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