Operation Underworld

Operation Underworld


During WW2, the U.S. Navy partnered with the Mafia to protect the country's ports.


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Operation Underworld was the United States government's code name for the cooperation of Italian and Jewish organized crime figures from 1942 to 1945 to counter Axis spies and saboteurs along with the U.S. northeastern seaboard ports, avoid wartime labor union strikes and limit theft by black-marketeers of vital war supplies and equipment.

In the first three months after the Attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the U.S. lost 120 merchant ships to German U-boats and surface raiders in the Battle of the Atlantic, and in February 1942 the ocean liner SS Normandie – a captured French ship that was being refitted as a troopship in New York harbor – was allegedly sabotaged and sunk by arson in the Port of New York. The Mafia boss Albert Anastasia claimed responsibility for the sabotage.


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