Due to the highly secretive nature of the job, we can safely say that some of the most influential spies remained unknown. The following is a detailed exploration of the lives of these superhuman individuals who kept you safe but never got to know them.
Number 1: Nancy Wake
Adolf Hitler is known worldwide as the father of all dictators. Would you imagine interviewing such a man? Well, an Australian journalist took on a rather peculiar mission in the 1930’s – visit Germany, investigate the Hitler-led country on increasing fascism and what’s more, interview the man himself! She encountered lots of atrocities, including public beating of the Jews, which forever changed her life ambitions. She would take the better part of her young life fighting against Nazism tooth and nail, which earned a spot on Gestapo’s list of most wanted persons.
In May 1940, Germany invaded France, where Wake was residing at that particular time. She immediately through herself into the resistance movement and worked to help thousands of Jews flee to Spain. Before she earned the title ‘White Mouse’, Wake would find herself through checkpoints by flirting with German soldiers. Very much aware that her enemies were drawing closer to capturing her, she fled to Spain and later on to Britain where she managed to convince the special agents to train her as a spy and guerilla operative. Just some few days before the D-Day invasion, Ms Wake parachuted to France where she coordinated attacks on German troops, while leading as much as 7000 resistance fighters.
The violent fight to set free Paris ultimately saw Wake kill a German guard with just a single Karate kick on the neck apart from executing a female German guard. She died in 2011 at 98.
Number 2: Boris Yuzhin
Boris Yuzhin was sent by the Soviet intelligence agency to San Francisco in July 1975. He had clear instructions to first pose as visiting scholar, then as news reporter but with the main goal of monitoring student activities. The idea was for him to view America as her enemy but that didn’t happen. In contrast, the gentleman felt right at home and started to scrutinize his own country’s policies. By 1978 he was volunteering information about his associates and KGB operations in California to the FBI.
There are so many times when his cover was almost blown until 1986 when his double agent life came to an abrupt end – after being discovered by CIA officer Aldrich Ames. Yuzhin was lucky to receive 6 years of imprisonment in a Siberian prison at a time when Soviet traitors faced nothing but outright execution. He now lives in Santa Rosa, California.
Number 3: Eugene Bullard
Eugene Bullard shifted from Columbus, Georgia where he was born in 1894 and landed in Europe. He made a living as a teenager, fighting for prizes apart from taking time to also do some interpretation. World War I came to abrupt end and he joined the French army, becoming the first black fighter pilot. He later on got married to the daughter of a French countess, opened his very own nightclub in Paris before joining the French army yet again in the World War II. Due to his fluency, he was tasked to spy on the Nazi troops who are ever visiting his establishment. His skin color worked in his favor because the German clients were always open to him, believing that nonwhites could not understand their language.
Bullard would later on hugely contribute in protecting the city of Orleans, sustaining life threatening injuries in the process, thus was evacuated to the U.S., alongside with his two daughters, for medical attention. After recovering, he worked as an elevator operator in NYC as he helped rebuild his homeland.
France termed him a Knight of the Legion of Honor after which he died two years later at 67 in 1961.
Number 4: Juan Pujol Garcia
He was instrumental in guaranteeing the Allies victory on the D-Day. Popular known to the Nazi officials as Arabel, Juan Pujol Garcia was a well established Spanish businessman. The Nazis paid him so that he could explain to them the spy network, including one consisting of a Dutch airline steward, a British censor for the Ministry of Information and a U.S. soldier in England.
Even though Garcia was paid by the Nazis, he was actually a British double agent with the codename Garbo. All the agents he elaborated to the Nazi officials were not real and only used them as a distracting tool, based on planted “secrets”. Garcia sent to the German fictitious reports that the Allied troops would storm Pas de Calais, diverting Hitler’s attention. The reality of the matter is that Normandy was actually the target and the Allies were actively turning the war to their favor.
Number 5: James Rivington
Posing as a printer for a loyalist newspaper, James Rivington was actually a George Washington spy.
Once a London businessman, Rivington relocated to NY’s Wall Street after the collapse of his business. Tensions between the colonists and the British monarchy were on the rise and Rivington used his newspaper, Rivington’s Gazette, to constantly denounce the rebels. His writings incited a mob of revolutionaries to burn his house and bring down his newspaper in 1775. He moved to England but returned to years later, this time round as a spy for the revolting colonists. High ranking officials would meet at a coffee house to his rebuilt shop, and it is alleged that the newly pro-patriot printer would send these discussions to George Washington.
And there you have it, the 5 Spies who without their information, probably the world wouldn’t be as it is.