Donald MacLaren:The Spying Scotsman Who Hunted The Nazis Of New York

While their uniforms were nothing but grey and black suits, their weapons were their ability to make up fast sentences, their manners and maybe a revolver.

The Ministry of Defence has uncovered the latest documents revealing the story of British agents who conducted a masterful campaign against Nazi sympathizers across the United States, destroyed Hitler’s links with his American allies and turned the Third Reich’s empire to pieces.

Very few remember today that a big number of Americans were either pro-Germans or anti-British, however, as Europe was burning down, many Americans stepped back from sharing an opinion against Hitler. Many thought that the Nazi Party would be the one to stop the Communism. Sullivan & Cromwell for example, a very influential New York law firm, closed numerous deals between American and German businesses that brought Hitler to power.

Among Hitler’s American political partners were the Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles and his brother and president of the CIA, Allen Dulles, a real spymaster of the Second World War.

Some other huge connections of Hitler in the United States were Brown Brothers Harriman’s private bank, which used to collaborate with Fritz Thyssen, who also financed Hitler; he operated his business through the Union Banking Corporation which used to be managed by Prescott Bush.

A devoted Hitler sympathizer, Henry Ford, made the anti-Semitic pamphlet called ‘The International Jew.’ Hitler, on his side, kept a portrait of Ford’s in his office and awarded him a medal in 1938, the Mail Online reports.

Under the commandment of Winston Churchill himself, a man called Donald MacLaren set up a group of 150 agents across America, responsible to report on any Nazi-American businesses he would come across. He worked together with German George Merten on behalf of British Security Coordination.

Their biggest enemy was Standard Oil’s pal IG Farben, one of the strongest companies in Europe. It produced gases, explosives, fuel, paint, film and so on. Without them, Germany would have never gone for so long during the war. It’s CEO, Hermann Schmitz was one of Hitler’s early business partners, when IG Farben build and operated the company’s concentration camp at Auschwitz. Company’s workers would be seen dying in terrible, grotesque conditions. If they refused to work, they were sent to the gas chamber and killed with Zyklon B.

And so, MacLaren decided he would play using the same tactics as the Germans; he would pretend to be a business man who wants to close a deal with GAF. He noticed that the GAF directors were split into two groups having different interests should America engage in the war. Therefore, MacLaren, who became close to quite a few members of the of the GAF board, began his process of turning them against each other. Luckily for him, his plan was successful. Both parts reported on each other as working for the Nazi, and so both parts were exposed.

Soon it became extremely difficult for Germany to keep up with the importation of American war materials into Germany. When the war ended, MacLaren traveled to Germany where he started a legal case against IG Farben directors. 24 IG Farben executives were charged in 1947 but only thirteen were found guilty. In 1951, John McCloy, a US High Commissioner for Germany, ordered for all executives to be freed.

Donald MacLaren worked as a director for the United Baltic Shipping Corporation in London. He died in June 1966, aged 56.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE