Special Sub-Topic: Psst, Wanna Hear a Secret?
|Possibly the most famous female spy of all time, who is the lady who spied for the Germans during WW1?|
Mata Hari. Born in Holland in 1876 as Margarethe Zelle, Mata Hari was an exotic dancer in Paris. She posed as a Princess from Java, and in this disguise was the mistress of several high ranking military officers, putting her in a position to hear much secret information. Because Holland stayed neutral during WW1 she was, as a Dutch National, able to move around without interference, even crossing borders with comparative freedom. She was once questioned by British Intelligence and claimed she was spying on the Germans for the French, which they accepted. In early 1917 an intercepted message stating that good intelligence was being received from an agent in France allowed the French Intelligence Services to identify her, and in February 1917 she was arrested. She was tried for espionage, found guilty and executed in September 1917. After her execution French Intelligence denied that she was in fact a double agent spying for them as well, and the truth of this will probably never be known.
Ethel Rosenberg spied for the Russians.
Belle Boyd was a Confederate spy.
Violette Szabo was a member of British Intelligence who was executed by the Germans, and is the subject of the film "Carve Her Name With Pride".
|Anthony Blunt was a spy at the very heart of the British establishment. What post did he hold by Royal Appointment?|
Surveyor of the King's/Queen's Pictures. Sir Anthony Blunt was part of the notorious Cambridge Spy Ring which included Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean. He worked for MI5 during WW2 but was secretly passing information to the Russians, by whom he had been recruited sometime in the 1930s. As Surveyor of the King's/Queen's Pictures he was responsible for the conservation, restoration and display of the Royal collection and this would have brought him into contact with the monarch from time to time. He held this post from 1945-1972, so served two monarchs. For some years after the exposure of Philby Burgess and Maclean rumours of a "fourth man" in the Cambridge spy ring had circulated, and in 1979 Blunt was exposed as this person. He was stripped of his knighthood and fled abroad, but later returned to London where he died in 1983.
As a footnote, it is believed there was a fifth member of the Cambridge ring who has still not been named.
|Some spies act out of strong beliefs, others for entirely different motives. What motivated CIA man Aldrich Ames?|
Money. Alrich Ames spied because he needed the money. Due to a high spending life style and an alcohol problem he was in debt, and walked into the Soviet Embassy in Washington and offered secrets for money. As a CIA Counter Intelligence Agent he had access to the names of every operative working in the USSR and all of these were handed over to the KGB in return for $4.6M. It is estimated he compromised at least 100 agents and cost around 10 of them their lives. When the CIA became concerned at the number of compromised agents the FBI were brought in to investigate and Ames was soon their primary suspect. Afraid that he was about to defect the FBI arrested him at the airport as he was about to go on a CIA visit to Russia. He was given life imprisonment and is still serving that sentence in Allenwood, Pennsylvania.
|Queen Elizabeth l of England had one of the widest and most sophisticated spy networks of the age. Who headed this and was known as "The Queen's Spymaster"?|
Sir Francis Walsingham. Born in 1530 Francis Walsingham was a devout Protestant. During the Catholic reign of Mary l he went into voluntary exile in Europe, which gave him a vital understanding of European languages and politics. Returning home when Elizabeth acceded to the throne he worked with Sir William Cecil, who was Elizabeth's Chief Advisor, before, in 1570, being appointed Ambassador to France. In 1573 he became Secretary of State and started setting up the intricate espionage network for which he is famous. He insisted on all spies having adequate training, even setting up a spy school. His spy network discovered the Babbington Plot, which led to the execution of Mary Queen of Scots.
|Who was the German born physicist who gave details of the British and American atomic bomb projects to the Soviets?|
Karl Fuchs. Whilst at University Karl Fuchs became involved with the German Communist party. Due to the rise of the Nazi Party he fled Germany for Britain where he finished his degree. He worked briefly on the British atomic bomb project, and it was then that he started passing information to the Soviets. In 1943 he transferred to Los Alamos to work on the Manhattan Project and for two years passed information to the KGB on uranium production as well as supplying them with plans and drawings on bomb building. In 1946 he returned to Britain, and it was here, following the deciphering of intercepted Soviet messages, that he was arrested for espionage. At his trial he was sentenced to 14 years in prison, the maximum sentence for passing military information to a friendly state. He was released after nine years, returned to the country of his birth and lived there for the rest of his life.
|Who were the American husband and wife executed in 1953 for spying for the Soviets?|
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg met in 1936 at a Young Communist meeting. Julius was recruited by the Soviets in 1942 and was regarded as one of their top spies passing hundreds of secret documents to the KGB, many of them concerning The Manhattan Project. He also gave them full design drawings for Lockheed's P80 Shooting Star plane. He recruited several other spies, including David Greenglass, his brother-in-law. When Greenglass was exposed and arrested he implicated Julius, but at first protected his sister Ethel. However at the Rosenbergs trial he told the Court that she often typed up nuclear secrets at home ready for transmission to the KGB. They were both found guilty of espionage and executed at Sing Sing Prison.
The other men listed were all spies, however I must stress that the names of their wives are invented and there is no evidence to suggest that any of their wives (if they even had one) were involved in any espionage activities.
|Sidney Reilly (aka Ace of Spies) is alleged to have been the basis for which fictional spy?|
James Bond. Sydney Reilly's origins are not certain as he himself told at least three different versions of his background. He was probably a Russian Jew born around 1873/74. What is certain is that he was an adventurer and mercenary who was quite happy to spy for anyone who would pay him. He is known to have engaged in espionage for the British, Japanese and Dutch and was probably in the pay of both Russia and Germany as well, possibly at the same time he was working for British Intelligence. He gained notoriety in the 1920s when his friend, the diplomat and journalist Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart, wrote a sensational account of their failed plot to overthrow the Bolshevik Government. History has come to see him as the first 20th century super spy, and Ian Fleming almost certainly used him as the basis for James Bond. The 1983 T.V. mini series, "Reilly, Ace of Spies" was based on his exploits.
|After spying on Russia for 15 years what made Victor Bogomolets turn against MI6 and start spying for Russia instead? |
His British citizenship was revoked. Victor Bogomolets was born in Czarist Russia to an aristocratic family and fled the country after the revolution. He was recruited into British Intelligence in 1917 and assembled a network of agents in the Soviet Communist Party who supplied him with information which he fed back to MI6. Unknown to him much of this information was planted to give the impression that the Soviet military and economic power was greater than it actually was. In 1945, at the end of the war, he was advised that his British citizenship had been revoked. He turned double agent and supplied Russia with crucial information about British operatives severely compromising MI6. He is believed to have died in Paris.
|Richard Sorge was a Soviet spy before and during WW2. In which country was he arrested and executed?|
Japan. Born in Azerbaijan Richard Sorge was a volunteer in WW1 and saw service on the Western Front, where he was severely injured. During his recovery from his injuries he adopted Marxist and Communist ideals, and after the war made his way to Russia where he was recruited as a spy. Under the cover story of being a journalist he visited several European countries to ascertain if there was any possibility of a communist uprising being encouraged in any of them. In 1933 he was sent to Japan to organise a spy network and from there sent regular reports back to his masters, including one in 1941 that laid out the circumstances that would have to exist before Japan would contemplate attacking Russia. He was arrested in October of 1941 because he carelessly discarded a note instead of destroying it, and this note exposed him as a spy. He was tried for espionage and hanged in November that same year.
|One of the most decorated women of WW2, to whom did the Gestapo give the code name "White Mouse"?|
Nancy Wake. Born in New Zealand, Nancy's family moved to Australia when she was two. At 16 she ran away from home and found work as a nurse. She later made her way to New York and London where she trained as a journalist. Whilst working in Europe for Hearst Newspapers she saw the rise of the Nazi party and the start of its violence against certain sections of the community. Married to a Frenchman she was living in Marseilles when Germany invaded; and after the fall of France she joined the local resistance couriering information destined for Britain, and participated in an escape network. A constant thorn in the side of the Gestapo she became their most wanted person and by 1943 a 5 million franc reward was on offer for her capture. In December 1943 she was forced to flee France when her resistance group was infiltrated. She made her way to Britain and joined British Intelligence as part of the SOE Network. In 1944 she was parachuted back into France where she co-ordinated local resistance prior to D-Day. From April 1944 until the liberation of France her group killed some 1400 German soldiers. She herself killed a sentry with her bare hands to stop him raising the alarm during a resistance operation. It was not until after the war she learnt that her husband had been captured and executed.
For her bravery and work with the resistance she was awarded the George Medal, the Medal of Freedom and the Croix De Guerre. Further recognition of her exploits came in 2004 when she was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia, and in 2006 New Zealand awarded her the RSA Badge in Gold, their Services Association highest honour.
The other three ladies were all members of the British SOE who were executed by the Germans during the course of WW2.
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