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Famous Spies

Famous Spies

If you are a James Bond fan or are a voracious reader of the spy genre, you might want to know more about some of the most famous spies in history.
Historyplex Staff
The famous fictional character of James Bond was created by Ian Fleming, a British author at the time of World War II. James Bond is a fictional character, but there have been spies in real life throughout world history, who have left a mark in some way or the other. Some are remembered as war heroes, others as big game hunters, some even as exotic dancers. Whatever were their roles in history, they all had amazing stories related to their lives. So sit back and get ready to read about these real life spies of the world.

History of Spies

World history is full of wars in which every country sent their spies to their adversaries. They did this to get information about enemy war plans, political scenarios, so that their country is abreast of the enemy country's activities. These spies kept false identities like poets, writer, dancers, journalists, and sometimes even defense executives to get closer to the government officials. They would do this to get access to government documents and information. Listed below are some of the most well-known spies in history:

Klaus Fuchs
Klaus Fuchs worked as a spy for the Soviets during the World War II. He was originally a German born physicist who worked in Germany and played a significant part in the development of the first fission weapons and early models of the hydrogen bomb. While studying, he got involved with the Communist party in the Nazi Government and was sent to England where he got his PhD in physics.

To gain the British Government's trust he started working with the British atomic bomb project and simultaneously transferred information to the Soviets. In 1943 and 1944 he was transferred to the United States to assist the Manhattan Project because of his expertise in the subject. For two years he supplied theoretical plans for building a hydrogen bomb and data to produce uranium 235. He was tried and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, when he returned to UK in 1946, for passing military secrets to another nation. But he was released after 9 years, and moved to Germany.

Major John Andre
Known to be one of the best spies in the revolutionary war, John Andre was a British officer who joined the army at the age of 20. He moved to North America to join the forces in Philadelphia and New York. He became a favorite of the officials in just 9 months of his service and occupied Benjamin Franklin's old house.

In 1779 he was promoted to Major by the British army, and placed in charge of the British Secret Intelligence where he plotted with the American General Benedict Arnold, who commanded West Point. The General had agreed to surrender it to the British for £20,000, a move that would enable the British to cut New England off from the rest of the rebellious colonies. Andre traveled to New York with Arnold's documents under a false passport but was caught by three men at gunpoint. They found the papers he was hiding and arrested him. He was found guilty of spying behind American lines and hung to death in 1780.

Bella Boyd
Bella Boyd was also known as one of the most notorious spies in the civil war. She worked for the Confederates during the American civil war. When Bella was 17, she had her first encounter with the pistol, when her mother was abused in front of her by some Union soldiers who broke into her parents house. She was placed under surveillance for shooting the man, but she charmed her way out by seducing a guard and obtained military secrets from him.

She passed them to the Confederate generals through her slave and worked in this manner till 1832. That year she was caught by the government as her lover gave her away on July 29. She was imprisoned and released twice. She died of typhoid at the age of 56 in the United States.

The Cambridge Five
These men spied for the Soviet Union during the Second World War. They worked in a ring of spies and provided information to the Soviet in the early 1950s. The fifth member of the Cambridge five is still unknown and it is said that all of them became communists when they attended Cambridge University in 1930s. They were recruited in the Soviet intelligence service KGB, right after they graduated. The names of the four members are, Kim Philby, Donald Duart Maclean, Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt. They all defected to the Soviet Union after being caught and died by the end of the 20th century. The details about their later life are still not known yet.

Mata Hari
Margaretha Geertruida (Grietje) Zelle, better known as Mata Hari, was an exotic dancer and a high-class prostitute in Paris. She worked as spy for Germany. She divorced her husband in 1905 and started her career in dance, where she mixed with the upper class and turned into a courtesan to many high-class politicians and military men. This gave her access to secret information, which she transferred to the German government during World war I.

As she was Dutch, she could cross national borders easily as Netherlands remained a neutral nation at that time. She was interviewed by the British where she admitted to be a French spy but the French denied this. In 1917, the Germans sent radio signals to Berlin stating to receive information from a German spy H-21, later intercepted by the French as Mata Hari. She was arrested on February 13 in a hotel in Paris and was found guilty. She was executed by a firing squad on 15th September at the age of 41. She was considered as one of the most beautiful, and famous female spies the world had ever known.

So, those were some of the spies who risked their lives for their countries. I consider them as true patriots too, as they spied for their country on foreign lands and were proud of it.