The Caribbean War Front in World War II: The Untold Story of U-Boats, Spies, and Economic Warfare

New Review December 2021

“History is at its most enthralling when we discover something close to home that we could never have imagined. Such is the surprising history of the naval battles and submarines in the Caribbean during the Second World War. It all starts with a simple question: What were the Nazis doing in our sea? José L. Bolívar finds remarkable material hidden beneath the sea’s beautiful waters. After reading this book, we will no longer be able to see theCaribbean in the same way.”
—Jorge Ramos Award-winning anchor at Univision and a bestselling author

“The conventional view of World War II as a conflict that was not fought in the Americas is debunked in this fascinating book. German submarine warfare was sinking one oil tanker or merchant ship per day in Caribbean waters in the worst months of 1942. The US merchant marine suffered heavy losses of ships and men, while the Allies struggled to contain the damage done to the supply of oil from Venezuela and airplane fuel from Curaçao to the United States. Puerto Rico experienced food shortages on account of German U-boat warfare in 1942, while Martinique suffered near famine in the aftermath of a British and American blockade induced by the Vichy government’s control of the Caribbean island. The US invested billions in military installments on the British and American islands and transformed Puerto Rico into the “Gibraltar of the Caribbean.” This is a compelling narrative based on contemporary newspapers, doctoral dissertations, and primary archival sources.”
—César Ayala (UCLA), author of Puerto Rico in the American Century: A History Since 1898 

“Outstanding research … a riveting narrative.”
—Jorge Rodríguez Beruff (UPR) is the author of Strategy as Politics: Puerto Rico on the Eve of the Second World War and other books.


José L. Bolívar Fresneda, Center for Advanced Studies of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, is the author or co-author of six books, including Battleship Vieques: Puerto Rico from World War II to the Korean War.