James Bond in a skirt
What is spy profession for you? If he is ours, then the hero, and the enemy - the traitor, the enemy, which must be destroyed. And the women? Traitor or warrior? Depraved ladies, quirky temptresses, disturbers of the rest of men's hearts, or perhaps brave defenders of ideals? Or everything is the same as with men: if she is ours, then she is not a naughty woman, not a temptress, but an uncompromising fighter for her homeland?
Well ... you can form your own opinion on a couple of famous spy stories. After all, the profession of a spy has gone nowhere, and we somehow hear various loud revelations.
And so it will continue, because as long as there are different countries, everything will continue, and the history of the world is full of heroes who were considered winners in the glory of glory, and those who remained in the shadows forged these victories with their secret achievements.
The whisper of a woman pulls down the walls of Jericho
The first espionage operation recorded in the Old Testament dates back to the thirteenth century BC. The prophet Joshua, who after the death of Moses intended to bring the Israelites to the Promised Land, preparing to capture Jericho, sent two scouts there.
They had to learn about the moods and defensive forces behind the walls. They asked for the night to the harlot Rahab. When the king found out about the spies, he gave the order to arrest them. Rahab hid the brave men under flax stalks in exchange for the promise of salvation for her family after conquering the city. They learned everything they wanted. When the sound of the victorious trumpet announced that the walls of Jericho were about to fall, an order was given to kill everyone ... except Rahab and her family. Only they survived by joining the people of Israel, and the act of Rahab made her famous forevermore.
In the ancient world, spy woman was inevitably associated with seduction. Perhaps it was the only way she could act, because beauty is a terrible force.
Mysterious ladies in the world of the sword and visor
“Portrait of a Lady in a Green Dress” (Portrait of Lucy Hey), Adrian Hanneman (1603–1671)
In England, the 17th century, one of the most famous spies was Countess Carlisle Lucy Hey — a double agent — she spied for both royalists and parliamentarians. Retired mistress of Buckingham. Jealousy and thirst for revenge made her an ally of Cardinal Richelieu.
Anthony van Dyck. Portrait of Countess Carlisle, aka Milady, the end of the 17th century.
She was considered the most charming in the kingdom.
And, of course, enjoyed it with might and main. Already at the age of 15, thanks to her mother, she began to appear.
Intelligence and observation quickly allowed her to raise her status. Soon she became the mistress of several powerful aristocrats who were hostile to each other. That, in the end, ended with her arrest on March 21, 1649 and imprisonment in the Tower, where she stayed until September 25, 1650. After her release, she lived another ten years, but no longer played a noticeable role ...
Her colorful and adventurous life inspired Alexandre Dumas.
In the following centuries, too, there was a series of brilliant spies, but we will not stop, let's go further.
Virginia de Castiglione is the beauty that contributed to the unification of Italy.
In the capital of Piedmont - Turin was born green-eyed blonde. No wonder it was called "Aphrodite of the nineteenth century." Her cousin Cavour decided to use this beauty. Virginia’s task was to go to Paris and charm Napoleon III.
Friedrich von Amerling - Virginia Oldoini Countess Castiglione 1858
Portrait of the Countess Michele Gordidzhani
Bonaparte, the eternal dreamer, sensitive to grace, could not resist it. Virginia, dressed in a black cloak, sat in a carriage at the appointed time and went to the Tuileries for a stormy date. She spent the night with her lover and in the morning with her cousin Cavour from the intelligence of Piedmont, whom she reported about everything she had learned from the Emperor.
Her fame thundered - they envied her, she was worshiped by a trendsetter, an intriguer, an adventurer, a courtesan, the mistress of Napoleon III, an Italian spy at the French court.
She knew how to shock society — for example, by smoking a cigar or by appearing at the “almost naked” ball. And she was the first model in the world.
Eye of the day and curved tracks ...
Paradoxically, today the most famous woman is a spy who spied on small things and not very well, but she put a lot of effort into creating her own dazzling legend. In spying Primadonna - Mata Hari was not a significant success.
Margaret, from childhood loved to feel the views. For 15 years, she realized that beauty is a weapon.
She began by seducing the director and then responded to the marriage notice of a Dutch naval officer.After moving their husband, they went to Java. There, bored, drinking tea with other wives, Margareth watched the sensual dances of the local dancers.
Her husband accused her of extravagance, she is despotism. In the end she ran away, leaving her daughter to look after him.
Without money and without communication, she arrived in Paris. She came up with a biography. She became Mata Hari, or “The Eye of the Day”, born in the family of an Indian brahmin who taught the temple dances to a child, but was kidnapped by a Dutch captain. The legend was good, and the beauty of the owner was even better.
Beautiful Mat in a scanty suit, with sensual movements, quickly became known. She was whispered in the salons, and wrote in the press. Although there were critics. Those who knew something about the distant world, undermined the credibility of the actress, arguing that in India, women are more tightly dressed and not so messy in connections.
She stopped believing
Sergei Dygilev refused to join her to the Russian ballet. Dance experts began to mock her. Mata Hari wanted to conquer all of Europe, but soon realized that she would fail.
Therefore, she decided to make money on the lusts of wealthy men.On the eve of the outbreak of war, in 1914, she left for Germany, and became the mistress of the police chief.
At the same time, her former lover - the head of German intelligence in the Netherlands - came up with the idea of using Mata Hari for her purposes. Under the code name H21, the temptress was supposed to go to Paris and receive information from her lovers, diplomats and leaders. The enterprising Mata, wanting to double her income, offered the same services to the other side. And she lost everything.
She was arrested in February 1917 in a luxurious hotel room on suspicion of espionage. The intercession of her high-ranking lovers did not help either.
Of the twelve - eleven soldiers who executed the sentence, looking at the beautiful Mata Hari, decided to shoot past. Only one hit the heart. She had enough.
“Women are completely unsuitable for espionage,” said Richard Sorge, one of the most famous agents hired in the 1920s by the Soviets. However, history shows that he was wrong. During World War II, the percentage of women working in intelligence grew dynamically.
One of them was Josephine Baker, who was born in American slums, a young girl arrived in New York and became the queen of vaudeville.
Having moved to France, she was active in the French resistance movement.
The famous "Black Venus", known for its bisexuality, eccentricity, for example, walking down the street with a cheetah, because their underground activities in France received the Legion of Honor.
Who this woman really was - still remains a mystery. The actress Olga Chekhova was the niece of Olga Knipper, the wife of A. Chekhov. After emigrating she became a famous actress in Germany, she was taken care of by Hitler. There is a version that her successes in Nazi Germany were not only known in the USSR, but also led all its actions. In post-war Europe, it was called the Russian Mata Hari.
Olga Konstantinovna von Knipper-Dolling was born in 1897 in Alexandropol (Leninakan) in a Russianized German family. Many representatives of this family were people of creativity: her aunt, Olga Leonardovna Knipper-Chekhova, was an actress of the Moscow Art Theater and the wife of A.P. Chekhov, a brother, Lev Knipper, was a songwriter
Olga became an actress thanks to the patronage of her famous aunt. At that time, she was courted by A. Chekhov's two nephews, Mikhail and Vladimir. Olga chose the actor Michael. The rejected Vladimir Chekhov shot himself shortly thereafter, perhaps the reason was the actress’s refusal.After 4 years, she left her husband for the Hungarian Friedrich Yarosh, married him and in 1921 went with him to Germany.
Before issuing an exit permit, the actress was interviewed at the Military Intelligence Directorate. It is not exactly known what was discussed - no documentary evidence has been preserved. Some researchers suggest that it was then that Chekhova was recruited, and her mother and daughter left Moscow as a guarantee.
After the Nazis came to power, many actors and directors left Germany, and Olga Chekhova remained. She was introduced to Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels, Hitler encouraged her friendship with Eva Brown and patronized her as an actress, calling her a favorite actress. In 1936 she was awarded the title of State Artist of the Third Reich. In the same year she married the Belgian millionaire Marcel Robins.
In the Western media after the war, Chekhov was unanimously dubbed the Soviet spy; it was she who was called the secret source of information with which the legendary Soviet intelligence resident, Sandor Rado, kept in touch with the entire war.
In April 1945, Chekhov was arrested by Smersh counterintelligence officers.
After interrogation, she was sent by military plane to Moscow. Oddly enough, the fascist accomplice was not arrested and not shot. Abakumov and Beria were talking with her for 3 months, and then the actress was returned to Germany, which again gives reason to conclude about her secret mission. The son of Beria Sergo said that he had no doubt that the actress Olga Chekhova was an illegal high-class Soviet intelligence officer.
The story of the Polish-Jewish countess, a woman who was ahead of his time, the favorite of Winston Churchill and one of the most successful scouts in the history of espionage.
Christina Skarbek was born in an aristocratic family. Skarbeki is an old Polish gentry clan, but because of the riotous lifestyle of Father Christine (Jerzy Skarbek), the family was on the verge of bankruptcy. In search of money, Jerzy Scarbek decided to marry the wealthy heiress of the Jewish banker Goldfedera. This step corrected his financial situation, but markedly worsened his reputation, because at that time the marriages of the Polish nobles with representatives of other classes and nations were decisively censured.
Marriage did not change Ezhi. He spent little time with his wife and continued to live a hectic life,full of adventure, travel, women, horse racing, gambling and parties.
If someone accompanied him, it was not his wife, but his daughter Christina. Christina inherited from her father a heightened sense of independence, thanks to him she learned to ride a horse and fell in love with adventure, sports and social life. True, her relationship with her father idyllic not name. Jerzy Skarbek was a mongrel and libertine, and after his death in 1930 the family was left with almost no means of subsistence.
Quite early, Christine realized that she did not fit the social role she had been prepared for. Being half Jewish, she felt hostile to herself, and her dislike for discipline did not allow her to finish school for noble girls.
On the other hand, Christina possessed such a combination of personal qualities as a rare woman could boast. She was intelligent, sharp-tongued, beautiful, seductive, self-sufficient, athletic, and so charming that she soon became a member of the aristocratic and artistic circles of Warsaw.
Christina married the young rich businessman Gustav Goetlich. The marriage did not last even a year, since Gustav’s dreams of making Christina a housewife broke about her independent and unpredictable nature.
After the divorce, Christina decided to treat the sick lungs, and at the same time escape from the Warsaw gossip, and went to Zakopane - the most famous Polish resort in the Tatras. There, she won the Miss Ski Beauty Contest and made close acquaintances with mountain guides, smugglers and representatives of the local community.
There, Christina met her second husband, Jerzy Gizycki, who was 20 years older than her. Gizycki, an avid traveler and diplomat, was one of the few who high status and complete independence from public opinion were allowed to marry an impoverished and divorced half-Jewish countess.
She loved herself very much, got married easily and quickly divorced. After the second divorce during the war, she managed to get to England, where, using her former family ties, she volunteered to serve in SOE. She acted under the pseudonym "Christine Granville, famous for her imagination and bravado.
In July 1944, Christina was parachuted by French partisans in the south of France. She organized a ransom from the Gestapo of several arrested leaders of the Jockey bomb blast. Christine took command of the Nazis, presenting herself the niece of the British General Montgomery.
The Gestapo not only freed the prisoners, but also supplied her with a pistol and a machine, and she went over to the other side of the front. Churchill called her his favorite intelligence officer for some reason. The information she provided helped him find out, among other things, the exact date of the German invasion of the USSR.
Christine became one of thousands of homeless and unemployed war heroes who had nowhere to go and who were forced to live in a country that considered them second-class citizens.
From the popularity that the Poles used during the war years, there is not a trace left when tens of thousands of former Polish military competed in the labor market to five million demobilized Britons.
Despite Christine’s desperate letters to SOE, the “firm” never hired her. Her whole family died during the war, she literally had no one and nothing. She was too British to return to Soviet Poland, and too polka to become a British war hero. At first she was even denied a British passport. She received citizenship after several months of struggle, and only thanks to the intervention of the SOE command.
Christine had a chance to work as a flight attendant on a ship, as a saleswoman, and even as a housekeeper, but she could not stand the ordinary life without adrenaline far from her homeland. Her life lost its meaning, her merits were not appreciated, and she was tormented by loneliness and depression.
In 1951, she began an uneasy affair with Irishman Dennis George Muldoney, with whom they worked on the ship. He literally went crazy with her, and despite her attempts to break up with him, he became increasingly obsessive. Christine wrote to Andrzej Coversky (Andrew Kennedy), with whom she maintained friendly relations, which she was afraid of, and asked him to take her away from London. He agreed, but did not have time to arrive on time ...
Dennis Muldouni stabbed Kristine with a knife, which she died on the stairs of the Hotel Shelbourne in London on June 15, 1952. He stayed close to her body until the police arrived, confessed to the murder and asked to execute him as soon as possible, being sure that they would reunite after death. He was sentenced to death and hanged three months later.
Christina’s life is visual evidence of the complexity and injustice of the Second World War.She risked her life for the sake of Poland, Britain and France, but received nothing for her outstanding service. Politics and prejudice were more important than its achievements.