25 Reasons That The World Of Spies Is A Crazy Place

Spies are the stuff of legends. Everybody loves watching those crazy thrillers with James Bond hanging off the edge of a cliff as the car goes careening into the valley and ends up exploding into a huge fireball. While the movies definitely take some artistic license with what is really going on, the real spy world can be just as crazy. The CIA, the KGB, MI6, all of these are the world’s most recognized spy agencies. Whether it was the World Wars or the Cold Wars, they have always been at forefront of shaping what goes on in the world. If it weren’t for spies taking secrets from the United States, the Soviet Union wouldn’t have gotten nuclear weapons when they did. These kinds of things tip the scales of diplomacy and change the balance of power in the world. Of course, the life of a spy isn’t always glamorous and action packed. It involves a lot of normal stuff. After all, that’s the only way you can do your job without being caught…by acting normal. This means going to parties, talking to people, just doing everything you can to get that secret. These are 25 reasons that the world of spies is a crazy place!

Featured Image: wikipedia

25

In 1943 Gevork Vartanian, a 19 year old Soviet spy foiled a Nazi plot to kill Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill while they were meeting in Tehran, Iran.

In 1943 Gevork Vartanian, a 19 year old Soviet spy foiled a Nazi plot to kill Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill while they were meeting in Tehran, IranSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
24

The reason Saddam Hussein denied nuclear inspectors into Iraq was because he thought they spied for the US. A later investigation by the Washington Post found his fears to be legitimate.

The reason Saddam Hussein denied nuclear inspectors into Iraq was because he thought they spied for the US. A later investigation by the Washington Post found his fears to be legitimateSource: guardian.com, Image: wikipedia
23

There is a way to log keystrokes acoustically, which means no software is required...only an audio recording device.

There is a way to log keystrokes acoustically, which means no software is required...only an audio recording deviceSource: freedom-to-tinker.com, Image: wikipedia
22

When Roald Dahl worked for the British government as a spy in the United States, his mission was to seduce powerful woman in order to gather intelligence. He was later said to be a real life James Bond style spy who used his charm and good looks to his advantage.

When Roald Dahl worked for the British government as a spy in the United States, his mission was to seduce powerful woman in order to gather intelligence. He was later said to be a real life James Bond style spy who used his charm and good looks to his advantageSource: telegraph.co.uk, Image: wikipedia
21

During World War I the Germans built a tree out of steel that had just enough space inside it for a soldier to hide. Then one night they cut down a real tree and replaced it with their steel creation while firing artillery to cover the sound. The allies didn't detect the "tree spy" until several months after they had conquered the area.

During World War I the Germans built a tree out of steel that had just enough space inside it for a soldier to hide. Then one night they cut down a real tree and replaced it with their steel creation while firing artillery to cover the sound. The allies didn't detect the "tree spy" until several months after they had conquered the areaSource: awm.gov.au, Image: wikipedia
20

Following World War II, numerous short wave radio stations popped up around the world that transmit nothing but letters and numbers. These "numbers stations" are used to transmit information to spies.

Following World War II, numerous short wave radio stations popped up around the world that transmit nothing but letters and numbers. These "numbers stations" are used to transmit information to spiesSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
19

Before the advent of digital cameras, film from spy satellites had to be ejected and then either captured mid-air or recovered from the ground

Before the advent of digital cameras, film from spy satellites had to be ejected and then either captured mid-air or recovered from the groundSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
18

Sergeant Stubby was an American war dog that was promoted during World War II. He became somewhat of a legend, but one of his most famous exploits was holding a German spy captive until Allied forces arrived.

Sergeant Stubby was an American war dog that was promoted during World War II. He became somewhat of a legend, but one of his most famous exploits was holding a German spy captive until Allied forces arrivedSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
17

Marius A. Langbein was a German spy who was sent to Canada during WWII. Instead of spying though, he moved to Ottawa and lived of his spying funds until they ran out. He then turned himself in but since he hadn't done any actual spying, Canada just let him go.

Marius A. Langbein was a German spy who was sent to Canada during WWII. Instead of spying though, he moved to Ottawa and lived of his spying funds until they ran out. He then turned himself in but since he hadn't done any actual spying, Canada just let him goSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
16

Chevalier d’Eon was a French spy during the Seven Years War. With androgynous physical traits, d’Eon sometimes presented as a woman and sometimes as a man. After d’Eon's death it was determined by doctor's that d’Eon was biologically male.

Chevalier d’Eon was a French spy during the Seven Years War. With androgynous physical traits, d’Eon sometimes presented as a woman and sometimes as a man. After d’Eon's death it was determined by doctor's that d’Eon was biologically male.Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
15

Legend has it that when a French ship ran aground near Hartlepool, UK in the 1800s, the only survivor was a pet monkey. Because Britain was at war with France and the local fisherman didn't know what French soldiers looked like, they questioned the monkey and then hanged it for spying.

Legend has it that when a French ship ran aground near Hartlepool, UK in the 1800s, the only survivor was a pet monkey. Because Britain was at war with France and the local fisherman didn't know what French soldiers looked like, they questioned the monkey and then hanged it for spyingSource: hartlepoolmonkey.tumblr.com, Image: wikipedia
14

Sarah Edmonds was a white woman from Canada who spied for the North during the American Civil War. She dressed up as a black man and ended up stealing valuable blueprints and plans behind enemy lines.

Sarah Edmonds was a white woman from Canada who spied for the North during the American Civil War. She dressed up as a black man and ended up stealing valuable blueprints and plans behind enemy linesSource: spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk, Image: wikipedia
13

A shibboleth is a word used to identify a member of a certain group. During WWII, American soldiers used the world "lollapalooza" to identify Japanese posing as Filipino or American sentries. Since Japanese would have trouble pronouncing it they would say something more akin to “rorrarooza”.

A shibboleth is a word used to identify a member of a certain group. During WWII, American soldiers used the world "lollapalooza" to identify Japanese posing as Filipino or American sentries. Since Japanese would have trouble pronouncing it they would say something more akin to “rorrarooza”Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
12

British spies often used to pick silly professions as cover and many times would be passed off as silly, absent minded tourists.

British spies often used to pick silly professions as cover and many times would be passed off as silly, absent minded touristsSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
11

North Korea has been accused of abducting numerous people from various Asian and European countries to teach languages in their schools for the purpose of developing spies.

North Korea has been accused of abducting numerous people from various Asian and European countries to teach languages in their schools for the purpose of developing spiesSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
10

In 2009 it was revealed that Ernest Hemingway was a failed KGB spy.

In 2009 it was revealed that Ernest Hemingway was a failed KGB spySource: theguardian.com, Image: wikipedia
9

During the 60s, the CIA spent millions of dollars to equip a spy cat (Acoustic Kitty) but unfortunately the cat got hit by a taxi on its first mission.

During the 60s, the CIA spent millions of dollars to equip a spy cat (Acoustic Kitty) but unfortunately the cat got hit by a taxi on its first missionSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
8

Wilfred “Biffy” Dunderdale, an M16 agent in Paris, was the model for James Bond. Dunderdale was friends with Ian Fleming and several of Wilfred “Biffy” Dunderdale's exploits ended up in Fleming's novels.

Wilfred “Biffy” Dunderdale, an M16 agent in Paris, was the model for James Bond. Dunderdale was friends with Ian Fleming and several of Wilfred “Biffy” Dunderdale's exploits ended up in Fleming's novelsSource: time.com, Image: wikipedia
7

Kim Philby was the head of M16's anti-Soviet division. He was eventually found to be a Soviet spy.

Kim Philby was the head of M16's anti-Soviet division. He was eventually found to be a Soviet spySource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
6

George Koval was a Soviet spy who infiltrated the Manhattan Project and provided the Soviets with everything they needed to built nuclear weapons. He was only discovered in 2002.

George Koval was a Soviet spy who infiltrated the Manhattan Project and provided the Soviets with everything they needed to built nuclear weapons. He was only discovered in 2002Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
5

Code talkers are people who used their knowledge of an obscure language to send messages on the battlefield.

Code talkers are people who used their knowledge of an obscure language to send messages on the battlefieldSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
4

The movie Windtalkers profiles is about the Navajo code talkers of World War II. The allies used their knowledge of Navajo, a notoriously hard Native American language, to send messages. The Navajo code remains one of the only codes to never be broken..

The movie Windtalkers profiles is about the Navajo code talkers of World War II. The allies used their knowledge of Navajo, a notoriously hard Native American language, to send messages. The Navajo code remains one of the only codes to never be broken.Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
3

British mathematician Alan Turing, widely seen as one of the first computer scientists, created a machine that could decrypt the German Enigma Code. Turing's work is seen by many to have shortened the war by up to 4 years.

British mathematician Alan Turing, widely seen as one of the first computer scientists, created a machine that could decrypt the German Enigma Code. Turing's work is seen by many to have shortened the war by up to 4 yearsSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
2

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are the only civilians in the history of the United States to be executed for espionage.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are the only civilians in the history of the United States to be executed for espionageSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
1

During Word War I, the United States passed the Sedition Act of 1918 which forbid citizens from speaking negatively of the US government or the war effort. It was repealed 2 years later.

During Word War I, the United States passed the Sedition Act of 1918 which forbid citizens from speaking negatively of the US government or the war effort. It was repealed 2 years laterSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia


SEE ALSO: 25 Life Hacks That Actually Don't Help Make Your Life Better »

NOW WATCH: 25 Awesome Movies You Probably Haven't Seen

Subscribe to List25

What do you think?

0 points
Upvote Downvote
25 Myths About Dinosaurs You Might Need To Stop Believing

25 Myths About Dinosaurs You Might Need To Stop Believing

25 Odd Situations That Did Not Go As Expected

25 Odd Situations That Did Not Go As Expected