95 years ago today, 2 million tons of explosives waiting for shipment to the allies in World War I exploded on a small island in New York harbor next to the Statue of Liberty. Seven people were killed; the explosion was heard in Philadelphia; windows were shattered 40 miles away.Almost forgotten today, the Black Tom explosion was a powerful demonstration to Americans that Europe’s problems would not leave us in peace. It also set off a search for the terrorists in our midst; ultimately Germany was found responsible, and two world wars later, the German government actually finished paying for the damage.Franz von Papen, who organized German sabotage groups in the US while serving in Germany’s diplomatic mission to Washington, one of the Germans believed to be involved in planning the raid. Indicted for his part in another attack, he went on to become Chancellor of Germany in 1932. It was on his advice that President von Hindenberg named Adolf Hitler Chancellor in January 1933. Von Papen entered Hitler’s first coalition cabinet as Vice Chancellor, confident that he could outmaneuver the Austrian upstart. He went on to serve as Hitler’s ambassador to Austria and Turkey. He was acquitted of war crimes at the Nuremberg Trials. Made a Papal Chamberlain by John XXIII, von Papen died peacefully in 1969.Americans still live in the world of Black Tom. Fears of terror and sabotage and the awareness that foreign struggles can endanger us at home are part of the background of our lives. It was 85 years between Black Tom and 9/11; let’s hope it will be at least as long before we face anything else of this kind.