The USAAF Pilot Who Flew his P-38 to Milan and Joined the Waffen-SS

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Martin James Monti was a U.S. Army Air Force pilot who defected to the Axis powers in October 1944 and worked as a propaganda broadcaster and writer.

After the end of World War II, he was tried and sentenced to a long prison term for desertion, then pardoned, then tried for treason and sentenced to another long term.

Born in St. Louis, Monti was one of seven children of prosperous parents. His father was an investment broker who had immigrated to the United States from the Italian Graubünden, the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. His mother was from Germany. Four of his brothers served in the Navy during World War II.

During the 1930s, Monti was an anti-Communist and an enthusiastic admirer of Charles Coughlin, a Roman Catholic priest who made weekly radio broadcasts. Coughlin was known for his anti-Communism, his antisemitism and his admiration of the Fascist governments of Germany and…

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