Presentation Title

Turning the Tide: The Outstanding Contributions of Female Spies During World War II

Faculty Mentor

Maite Peterson

Start Date

17-11-2018 10:00 AM

End Date

17-11-2018 10:15 AM

Location

C305

Session

Oral 2

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

During World War II, there were times when the Allies needed more than men on the front lines to overcome the Axis powers. Often times it is the work done behind the scenes that makes the difference between a good army and a great one. The Special Operations Executive created during World War II recruited many women who were among some of the most influential spies. These women gathered information, decoded secret messages, organized supply transports, and much more. With special training in explosive crafting, handling weaponry, and surviving interrogation, the female spies of World War II seem to be the substance of Hollywood movies. Many of these women had special nicknames from their enemies, accompanied by a price on their heads. True stories of capture and torture contribute to the seriousness of being a secret operative. Some famous operatives include Vera Atkins, a woman responsible for the recruitment of many other women after her, as well as Virginia Hall, an American amputee greatly despised by the Gestapo. These ladies came from different nations and different social classes, each with a unique component to her, but all working toward the same goal. Although there are many elements to winning a war, had it not been for the exceptional assistance of these female spies, the war might not have been won so easily­–if at all.

Summary of research results to be presented

According to research complied from biographies and other nonfiction books, it can be concluded that female spies during World War II played a large role in the final outcome of the war. The books in my research include: A History of U.S. Feminisms by Rory Dicker, The Women Who Lived For Danger: The Agents of the Special Operations Executive by Marcus Binney, The White Mouse by Nancy Wake, Manchu Princess Japanese Spy: The Story of Kawashima... by Phyllis Birnaum, The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville by Clare Mulley, The Secrete Ministry of Ag. and Fish by Noreen Riols, Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan by Shrabani Basu, A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII by Sarah Helm, The Spy with the Wooden Leg: The Story of Virginia Hall by Nancy Polette, and Through Women's Eyes: An American History by Ellen Carol DuBois and Lynn Dumenil.

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Nov 17th, 10:00 AM Nov 17th, 10:15 AM

Turning the Tide: The Outstanding Contributions of Female Spies During World War II

C305

During World War II, there were times when the Allies needed more than men on the front lines to overcome the Axis powers. Often times it is the work done behind the scenes that makes the difference between a good army and a great one. The Special Operations Executive created during World War II recruited many women who were among some of the most influential spies. These women gathered information, decoded secret messages, organized supply transports, and much more. With special training in explosive crafting, handling weaponry, and surviving interrogation, the female spies of World War II seem to be the substance of Hollywood movies. Many of these women had special nicknames from their enemies, accompanied by a price on their heads. True stories of capture and torture contribute to the seriousness of being a secret operative. Some famous operatives include Vera Atkins, a woman responsible for the recruitment of many other women after her, as well as Virginia Hall, an American amputee greatly despised by the Gestapo. These ladies came from different nations and different social classes, each with a unique component to her, but all working toward the same goal. Although there are many elements to winning a war, had it not been for the exceptional assistance of these female spies, the war might not have been won so easily­–if at all.