The NSA, Edward Snowden, homeland security, terrorism … none of these terms are far from any American’s mind these days. But they are founded in historic events that have emerged through the United States history.
On Wednesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” Adam Kloppe, a public historian with the Missouri History Museum joined Don Marsh to discuss the museum’s new exhibit "Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America," and the St. Louis connections to that world. The exhibit comes to St. Louis from the International Spy Museum, located in Washington D.C.
“How did we get to where we are today? How did we get to the place where we are where terrorism is such a concern?” said Kloppe over the exhibit’s central questions. “Concerns over terrorism aren’t anything new to America, this has been going on since the beginnings of the country even if the people back then wouldn’t use ‘terrorism’ to describe what they’re going through.”
One of the purposes of the exhibit is to show that the definition of terrorism itself is highly fluid. “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” so the saying goes.
“There are ways you can talk about different events as terrorism that our history textbooks might not label as terrorism,” said Kloppe.
Here are several events that are addressed in the exhibit:
- 1814: The Burning of Washington D.C.
- 1866: The formation of the Ku Klux Klan
- WWI: German spies and saboteurs operating in the U.S.
This time period has a specific St. Louis connection. More connections like this will be detailed at http://www.historyhappenshere.org/
“During World War I, there were intense fears about German sabotage in and around St. Louis,” Kloppe said. “By 1917, there were restricted zones set up in and around St. Louis where German immigrants were not allowed to live or work around military installations and things like that. Germans needed special permits to work in restricted zones. That anti-German hysteria fuels this.”
- WWII: Fears over the Japanese and Japanese internment
- Cold War: Soviet spies operating in the U.S. and the celebrities that the government was watching
- September 11, 2001: The last moment captured in the exhibit.
What: "Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America"
When: Feb. 6 - May 8, 2016
Where: Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63112
St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.