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Pearl Harbor and the Japanese Spy Family Part 1

About the attack on Pearl Harbor and the family in Hawaii the Bernard Kuhns who worked as spies for Japan, their history and biography.

The 8-Eyed Spy: The Family That Gave You Pearl Harbor

Millions of Americans can still recall sitting stock-still by their radios as news flashed of the Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor preempted all programs on December 7, 1941. That Day of Infamy, as President Roosevelt termed it, remains particularly memorable because it was a Sunday, a family day, making it all the more ironic that a little-known family of spies helped make the sneak attack possible.

Outwardly, the 8-eyed spy partially responsible for the ruins smoldering in "the Gibraltar of the Pacific" seemed much like any other Honolulu family. The Bernard Kuhns were amiable people, had many friends on the island, and aroused absolutely no suspicion among them. Like all successful spies, they had a genius for becoming inconspicuous, having established a perfect cover. Not even a paranoid would have thought of the middle-aged man next door and his matronly wife as being secret agents, much less his beautiful teen-age daughter and his 6-year-old son. But the fact remains that the entire Kuhn family--even the 6-year-old--actively spied for the Japanese, pulling off one of the greatest intelligence feats in history.

The 8-eyed spy's story, one might say, began with the alluring eyes of the Kuhns's young daughter, Susie Ruth. When only a 17-year-old back in Berlin, Ruth had become the mistress of powerful Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. But the club-footed Goebbels, despite his ugliness, had many ambitious women to choose from in prewar Berlin, and soon he tired of his schoolgirl mistress. One seemingly insurmountable problem presented itself, however. Young Ruth happened to be the daughter of Dr. Bernard Julius Otto Kuhn, who had great influence in the Nazi party in 1935. Kuhn, or Kuehn, had served as a midshipman in the German Navy during W.W. I, becoming a physician after his discharge. Embittered when his practice failed, he found it easy to blame his shortcomings on scapegoats like the Jews. and joined the Nazi party. Dr. Kuhn cultivated a close friendship with Heinrich Himmler, head of the Gestapo, and himself later became a minor official of the dreaded secret police.

It wasn't easy to get rid of a girl with such connections, but the wily Goebbels finally hit on a plan. The Japanese, with whom the Nazis had close ties at the time, had requested the loan of an occidental spy to work at Pearl Harbor in the Pacific, as it was next to impossible for an Oriental to work unnoticed in an American community. It would be a kind of rent-a-spy arrangement, with the Japanese paying handsomely and picking up all the expenses. When Goebbels heard about the request, he immediately recommended Ruth Kuhn and her family.

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