By: Ella Sutherland & Lauren Kottke
WWII was a brutal war that lasted 6 years, between the years 1939-1945. It was the largest and deadliest war. It was a global war with over 60 million people killed, and this includes many civilians.
Adolf Hitler was the man who started World War II. He was elected as Chancellor of Germany. It started when Germany invaded Poland. Britain and France then ended up declaring war on Germany. Germany didn’t like that, so Germany attacked Denmark and Norway, and soon after attacked Belgium, the Netherlands, and France. Germany won pretty fast.
The countries that were fighting alongside Hitler, were Japan and Italy, and on the other side of that was Great Britain and France as well as many others.
On May 8, 1945, Germany surrendered, ending the war in Europe, and on August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered, and World War II ended.
Obviously, many people were involved in the war. Have you ever wondered what spies did in World War II? We did, and we learned that spies influenced World War II in so many different ways. Some went undercover, some worked for both sides, and some even helped protect secret documents. These are three spies from World War ll that helped influence the war.
Spy #1 Josephine Baker
Josephine Baker was born and raised in St Louis. She left America when she was 19 in search of a greater life. In America she suffered the effects of the Jim Crow laws, which is a big reason why she left. At the time, Paris was a city full of people with big dreams, and Josephine was one of them.
After she landed a few small acting jobs in Paris, her career took off. People immediately fell in love with her charms and she was a hit.
What brought her into the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) was her fame. They recruited her because her fame was the perfect cover to be a spy. She could go to parties with important people and not be questioned. She specifically attended Italian and Japanese diplomatic parties in order to gather information on others joining the war.
Something she was known for was when she smuggled documents to general Charles de Gaulle and the French government with information about German troop movements. Over the years she made many impacts and helped the cause of the war.
Spy #2 Noon Inayat Khan
Noor Inayat Khan was born into royalty in India, but when the first war hit, she left Moscow for London and later on landed in Britain. From a young age she was passionate about doing courageous acts for other people’s good.
She joined the women’s auxiliary Air Force and immediately had a talent for operating the radios. She was later recruited by SOE (Special Operations Executive) and did training. After her training she went on to help maintain communications between London and France.
Spy #3 Virginia Hall
Virginia Hall was born into a wealthy family in Baltimore. But although she was rich, her life wasn’t easy. When she was younger she got into a hunting accident which resulted in her leg being amputated.
\As she grew up and the war became more apparent, Virginia’s ambitions to be a spy grew. She tried numerous times to become a spy, but was denied, until she had an encounter with an SOE agent. He ended up recruiting her and she was put as an undercover reporter.
She quickly began making connections and helped recruit more women spies into the field. Hall’s work is remembered as she helped bring liberation to parts of France.
As you can see, spies had a big impact on the war and had important roles. Many people overlooked women in the war before they learned that women made very good spies. We only named a few of the amazing spies that changed the course of the war. If you take anything away from this article, take away that spies saved so many lives and had such an important role in the war.
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