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Killing Shore (Hardback)

The True Story of Hitler’s U-boats Off the New Jersey Coast

World History > The Americas > USA

Imprint: Brookline Books
Pages: 395
ISBN: 9781955041294
Published: 30th March 2024

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It is January 1942. Six weeks after the United States entered World War II, Imperial Japan is annihilating American forces across the Far East while the Nazis stand triumphant over much of Europe. Adolf Hitler’s forces are about to commence an assault along the East Coast of the United States, but this “Atlantic Pearl Harbor” would prove far more devastating than Japan’s attack on Hawaii. The wolves are closing in, and few Americans realize their beaches and coastal cities are about to witness the worst naval defeat in American history.

The Western Hemisphere holds the key to victory for the beleaguered Allies, but only if the vast economic and military resources of North and South America can be carried across the Atlantic by Allied merchant ships. These civilian-manned cargo vessels are the backbone of the American war economy and the lifeline enabling Britain and the Soviet Union to survive—but Hitler’s favorite admiral also knows this, and he has set in motion a plan of unprecedented boldness. Germany’s dreaded submarines, or “U-boats,” are going to the United States.

The fiery months that followed would pit American servicemen against German U-boat sailors in a desperate struggle that stained East Coast waters with oil and blood. In the crosshairs of this deadly cat-and-mouse game was a stalwart contingent of civilian mariners who crewed the tankers and freighters supplying the war against the Axis Powers. Thousands of them would perish as hundreds of merchant ships were sunk.

Every American coastal state became a battlefront in 1942, and the events that transpired off New Jersey illustrate the perils and brutality of this forgotten campaign. The seafloor along the Garden State is today strewn with shipwrecks that bear witness to the innumerable ways to die faced by friend and foe alike only miles from the boardwalk. Though these seafarers’ lives were forfeit, the battle they fought would decide the fates of millions.

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