Who's Who - Karl Boy-Ed

Karl Boy-Ed (photo courtesy and copyright of Virginia Lloyd) Karl Boy-Ed (1872-1930) served as Germany's naval attaché to the U.S. until his eventual expulsion as a saboteur shortly before the U.S. entered the war in 1917.

Boy-Ed, who entered the Germany Navy at a young age of German parentage (his father was a merchant in Lubeck), and was something of a protégé of Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, worked with the Naval Secretary in seeking to boost the overall size of the Navy, a strategy that played dividends with the ambitious (and frustrated) Kaiser Wilhelm II.

As a Captain Boy-Ed was despatched to the U.S. in 1911 as his country's naval attaché.  With war underway in Europe from August 1914 Boy-Ed worked closely with Franz von Papen in establishing a spy ring and a group of saboteurs, each determined to hinder U.S. economic aid to the Entente Powers.

Von Papen was effectively expelled from the U.S. in 1915 although Boy-Ed remained.  Nevertheless his activities grew both in scale and in notoriety, to the point where the peaceable U.S. President Woodrow Wilson felt obliged to instruct Germany to recall Boy-Ed early in 1917.  The U.S. shortly afterwards entered the war on the side of the Allies.

Back in Germany Boy-Ed continued to serve his country, this time as Director of the Navy's press department.  Following the armistice he married an American woman (from Virginia) and settled north of Hamburg.

Boy-Ed died following a horse-riding accident on 14 September 1930; he was aged 58.

A "gutzer" was slang for a stroke of bad luck.

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