Cover of: In Plain Sight: Felix A. Sommerfeld, Spymaster in Mexico, 1908 to 1914 |

About the Book

Felix A. Sommerfeld moved through the Mexican Revolution (1910 to 1920) “like a wraith.” Neither his contemporaries nor scholars throughout the past hundred years have been able to piece together a clandestine career that relegates the exploits of James Bond to mere child’s play.

Appearing on the scene in Mexico from obscurity, Sommerfeld became the personal confidante of Mexican President Francisco Madero in 1911. Unbeknownst to his peers, Sommerfeld had worked for the German secret service since 1908. German agents had maneuvered him close to the future president of Mexico. From that position, Sommerfeld managed to climb to become the highest placed German asset in the Mexican government. While working for President Madero, and most likely with his tacit approval, Sommerfeld acted as the intelligence liaison for the German ambassador in Mexico, Rear Admiral Paul von Hintze, and provided him with valuable intelligence on Mexico, Europe, and the United States. His clout helped focus German foreign policy towards Madero and his successor Huerta.

Sommerfeld’s organizational skills and the help of his contacts at the highest levels of the American Government produced a notorious network of agents along the Mexican-American border. When Mexican army general Victoriano Huerta usurped the presidency in February of 1913 and killed Madero in a bloody coup d’état Sommerfeld re-activated his secret service organization along the U.S. - Mexican border to join the battle against the usurper president Huerta. With the help of his connections in Germany and the United States, Sommerfeld became the linchpin in the revolutionary supply chain. His organization along the border smuggled arms and ammunition to the troops in amounts never before thought possible, while his contacts in the highest echelons of the American and German governments shut off credit and supplies for Huerta. Surprising to most but not illogical, the U.S. government fully cooperated with Sommerfeld and turned a blind eye to the blatant violations of U.S. laws.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents vi
Prologue viii
Acknowledgements xiv
Part I The Formative Years 1
Chapter 1 Early Life in Prussia 2
Chapter 2 “Boyish Mistakes” 8
Chapter 3 Service in China 16
Chapter 4 “A Healthy Life” 30
Part II From Dictatorship to Revolution 41
Chapter 5 Pre-Revolutionary Mexico 42
Chapter 6 The Stallforths in Pre-Revolutionary Chihuahua 52
Chapter 7 Apprenticeship in Spy Craft 68
Chapter 8 The Challenge to the Dictator 82
Chapter 9 Sherburne G. Hopkins: King Maker 104
Chapter 10 ¡Viva Madero! ¡Viva la Revolución! 120
Part III The Madero Presidency 135
Chapter 11 Revolution Unchecked 136
Chapter 12 The “Hopkins Plan” 154
Chapter 13 The “Sommerfeld Organization” 174
Chapter 14 Count von Bernstorff and the 1912 U.S. Elections 194
Chapter 15 The Dismantling of a Presidency 210
Chapter 16 "Short of an Earthquake…" 234
Part IV Insurgency 269
Chapter 17 The Fight against the Usurper 270
Chapter 18 El Gral y Jefe de la División del Norte, Francisco Villa 296
Chapter 19 Villa Comes into his Own 318
Chapter 20 Sommerfeld and the Arms of the SS “Ypiranga” 340
Chapter 21 The break-in at the Hibbs 364
Epilogue 382
Endnotes 390
Bibliography 438
Index 456

The Physical Object

xxviii, 468p.
Number of pages
9 x 6 x 1.5 inches
1 kilos

ID Numbers

Open Library
9780985031701, 9780985031718
LC Control Number

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September 7, 2012 Edited by Heribert von Feilitzsch Edited without comment.
September 7, 2012 Edited by Heribert von Feilitzsch fix page count
September 6, 2012 Edited by Heribert von Feilitzsch Edited without comment.
September 6, 2012 Edited by Heribert von Feilitzsch Added new cover
September 6, 2012 Created by Heribert von Feilitzsch Added new book.