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Spies in World War II
World War II

World War II wasnt only about the battles and the

weapons. Many spies worked away from combat and undercover
to discover secrets. It was a hard job, and those who were caught
risked being tortured or shot. However, many people still took the
risk and became spies. Without spies, World War II could have
been years longer.

Spies against their country

Famous Spies
Though there were consequences, many people were still
successful. Some of these people were Alexander Rado and Glyse
Bazna (better known as Ciero). Rado was a spy for the Soviet
Union as well as a colonel of the Red Army. He set up 'The Lucy
Ring' which was the most successful spy network in World War II.
Ciero was a spy for the British, but spent the war in the British
Embassy in Turkey. While he was there, Ciero photographed
German documents that included D-day invasion plans and minutes
from important German meetings. Because of his work, he was
often referred to as 'The Spy of the Century'. France, in particular,
had many secret organizations who were against the German rule.
Known as The French Resistance, these people led attacks on
German forces, helped targets of the Gestapo escape, and assisted
spies working in France. Perhaps some of the most important spies,
though, were women. They could be parachuted from airplanes and
used disguises (such as dressing in tattered clothes and pretending
to be a poor woman). Violette Szabo was a famous woman spy.
She joined the Special Operations Executive (SOE) when her
husband was killed in battle. She led a French Resistance group and
sent radio reports of locations in which the Allies could bomb. She
was executed by the Gestapo and her daughter was later awarded a
George Cross.

There were many people who spied against their own

country but why? When Hitler and his Nazis were in control of
Germany, everyone was forced to obey them. Some Germans
were so appalled by their Nazi leaders that they agreed to help the
enemy. (Secret History: World War II by John Townsend, pg.
10) Other brave people tried to fight against the Nazis. They
joined secret organizations that carried out acts of sabotage
against them. Britains Security Service played a key role in
communications and feeding misinformation back to Germany.
Ironically, some of these agents working for the service were
indeed German double agents. A double agent is someone who
pretends to spy for one country when really spying for another.
These Germans working for Britain agreed to be double agents
Importance of Spies
because they were caught and under the threat of execution. The
spies who were captured and disagreed to help Britain, were
Spies played a crucial role in World War II for both Axis
countries and Allies. They faced many challenges and some were
triumphant while others payed the ultimate price. Winston
Spying was a difficult job with severe consequences for Churchill described it as, a secret war whose battles were lost or
those who were caught. Many of these consequences were won unknown to the public; and only with difficulty is it
delivered by a countrys secret police. The German secret police comprehended, even now, by those outside the small scientific
or Gestapo, used brutal methods such as electric shocks, circles concerned. No such warfare had ever been waged by mortal
beatings or near drownings in bathtubs filled with ice-cold water men. (Secret History: World War II by John Townsend, Quote on
(Secret History: World War II by John Townsend, pg.17) to force pg.7-Winston Churchill, The Second World War, Vol. 2, pg.381)
people to confess their information. Italys secret police(the
OVRA) also delivered harsh punishments. One method they used
was to tie the victim to a tree and make them drink castor oil
before forcing them to eat a live toad. One spy who was faced
with these punishments was Odette Sansom. She was caught by
the Gestapo who pulled out all of her toenails to make her
confess. She refused and was sent to Ravensbrck concentration
camp. Fortunately, she survived and was awarded the George
Cross after World War II. Punishments were brutal, but many
people were still arrested or shot without trial.

Words to Know

Violette Szabo

espionage:the act or
practice of spying.
Axis:an alliance between a
number of states to
coordinate their foreign policy
Allies:the 26 nations that
fought against the Axis in
World War II