During the early 1930s, outlaws rampaged across much of America, seemingly robbing banks and kidnapping at will. Some of the more famous of these outlaws were Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, Bonnie and Clyde, Machine Gun Kelly and Alvin Karpis and the Barkers, but John Dillinger was undoubtedly the star. A wave of celebrity kidnappings and the murder of four law enforcement officers in Kansas City in June 1933 during a botched attempt to rescue a veteran bank robber made it clear that a national police force was required. Local police were forbidden to cross state lines, so the Bureau of Investigation (later called the FBI), part of the Department of Justice, was an obvious candidate for this national police force. However, it had to pass through a steep learning curve since it was under-funded and its agents were not originally allowed to carry guns. A year later, almost none of the Public Enemies were alive and the FBI had become a national institution.
Here is my podcast on the Public Enemy Era, it is 28 minutes long.
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