Treason! The Aaron Burr Conspiracy and Axis Sally; Click to Listen to Episode 4

EPISODE 4: LISTEN HERE

Treason has been a popular topic in 2021 and Alex looks at two of the most infamous treason trials in American History w/Ohio connections: the Aaron Burr Conspiracy and the trial of Axis Sally. We sit down with one of our favorite historians, David O. Stewart, to discuss the long forgotten Burr Conspiracy of 1806-07. David sharers insight into Burr’s life after he shoots and kills Alexander Hamilton while serving as the Vice President. We follow Burr into the West and his travels to Marietta, Ohio and nearby Blennerhassett Island. Did Burr really try to start a new country in the Western US with him as its leader?

David Stewart, the author of the excellent book American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America (Simon & Schuster, 2012) walks us through the ill-fated Burr Conspiracy and the country’s first “Trial of the Century” as the former VP and founding father is tried for treason. Buy David’s book about Aaron Burr here: https://www.amazon.com/American-Emperor-Challenge-Jeffersons-America/dp/1439157200

We also visit with Bill Reynolds, historian from Marietta, Ohio’s River Museum and Campus Martius Museum about Burr’s activities in the Ohio settlement. Visit Marietta’s great two museums online here http://www.mariettamuseums.org. Also Craig Pyles, the Superintendent of Blennerhassett Island State Park takes us to the shady happenings on this historic island in the Ohio River. We analyze the conspiracy between Burr and his financier on the island, Harman Blennerhassett. The Burr Conspiracy comes unraveled in spectacular fashion and both Burr and Blennershassett are arrested. Take a boat and tour the island this summer, a great day trip. https://wvstateparks.com/park/blennerhassett-island-historical-state-park/

In the second part of the episode we travel to Nazi Germany to hear the story of Mildred Gillars, aka Axis Sally, the American voice of Nazi Germany. Author Richard Lucas describes the transformation of a struggling Ohio actress to the top Nazi propagandist on Nazi radio. Lucas’ biography of Axis Sally broke new ground on one of the most hated women in American History. His book, Axis Sally: the American Voice of Nazi Germany is available here:https://www.amazon.com/Axis-Sally-American-Voice-Germany/dp/1935149431

We follow Mildred’s rise from theatre student at Ohio Wesleyan University to one of the Third Reich’s most prized radio propagandists. Richard leads us through her infamous treason trial in 1949, which is the subject of the new Al Pacino movie “American Traitor.” Lucas and Alex also uncover just how much she knew about the atrocities of the Nazi regime and her quiet life in Columbus, Ohio decades after her treasonous activity.

Ohio v. the World: An American History podcast is now part of the Evergreen Podcast Network. Go to https://evergreenpodcasts.com to check out all our past episodes and dozens of other great podcasts. Don’t forget to rate and review our show and we’ll read your reviews on the air in a future episode. Also you can email Alex at ohiovtheworld@gmail.com.

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