Alan Nunn May was a physicist. He fled to England during the rise of Nazism in 1933. A public hunt for the missing civil servants meant the affair could not be dealt with quietly. Unfortunately, he was not charged; he was asked to resign and keep quiet instead. His real name had surfaced in a decrypted message, but Fuch’s courier, Harry Gold, who happened to be in prison, couldn’t identify him. Share Tweet Email. As the Venona decryption got better in the late 1940s and early 1950s, it blew the cover off several spies. Just a few weeks after the Soviets exploded their atomic bomb in August 1949, a Venona decryption of a 1944 message revealed information that described important scientific processes related to the construction of the A-Bomb.

The Krogers were an American couple, Morris, and Lona Cohen, who worked for the Soviets. Many doubtless remained hidden throughout their careers, never getting caught. Blake, who was half-Dutch, was involved in covert action as a member of the Dutch resistance during WWII. Also in 1961, George Blake was given a 42-year prison sentence for spying for the Soviet Union. A Cambridge graduate, Philby was one of the several infamous spies to come out of that university.

The Venona evidence couldn’t be used in court, but the government hoped that it would trigger investigations that would nail the suspects who were involved in spying. Three years of brutal treatment somehow led to sympathy for his captors. However, the worst thing to happen to these spies was to get caught by their enemies – these men and women were most likely tortured until they would give up their secrets.

The KGB also put more effort into turning British agents working for MI5. However, in the late 1990s, when Russia was under its new democracy, information was made public. However, they received an intelligence goldmine when a KGB officer – Oleg Lyalin – defected to Britain. In 1964, Blunt announced that he was a member of the ‘Cambridge Five’ as did John Cairncross. In 1943, he was transferred to Canada, where he was part of Allied research into nuclear power. The update was about the creation of the plutonium bomb. Cairncross was originally the secretary to the chairman of Britain’s scientific advisory committee. Here are some of the spies who were caught: Cairncross was actually considered the first atomic spy. However, for all of them spying was far from romantic – it was a highly dangerous job and many worked knowing that there was barely any chance of being rescued if caught.

The most famous were the ‘Cambridge Five’ – graduates who as a result of their background had got into high positions in the British Establishment. As a boy, Hall had witnessed his family suffer during the Great Depression. It seemed like Cold War Britain was riddled with Soviet agents. Both sides wanted to know what the other was doing in this area. Fuchs was born in Germany in 1911 and he had joined the Communist Party as a student. The same thing happened in the United States when their secret plan to build an atomic bomb, called the Manhattan Project, was revealed to the Soviet spy ring. During the 1940’s, the Soviet Union launched an espionage effort to uncover military and defense secrets of the United States and Britain, despite having been their an ally during World War II. Lonsdale, actually a Soviet agent named Konon Molody, lay at the heart of the spy ring. In post-WWII Britain, they all came into play. The end of the Cold War and internal issues within Russia, including the break-up of the Soviet Union, led to a reduction in espionage – but it did not end it. But that didn’t mean "sparrows" weren’t still being deployed. eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'historylearningsite_co_uk-leader-1','ezslot_19',115,'0','0'])); History Learning Site Copyright © 2000 - 2020. Greed.

The most famous were the ‘Cambridge Five’ – graduates who as a result of their background had got into high positions in the British Establishment. During the Cold War, spies had to prepare themselves for the worst. The two countries dubbed the de-coding project Venona.

Gordievsky also exposed other Russian agents operating in the UK and in 1985, 25 of these agents were expelled from Britain. In early 1951, suspicion fell on Maclean. There are plenty of reasons why people betray their countries by becoming spies. In a matter of weeks, Fuchs had confessed everything. They had served as foreign representatives of the British government since the 1930s.

British agents in the Soviet Union paid a high price for their betrayal.eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'historylearningsite_co_uk-medrectangle-4','ezslot_12',114,'0','0']));eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'historylearningsite_co_uk-medrectangle-4','ezslot_13',114,'0','1'])); The extent to which the ‘Establishment’ had been infiltrated first became publicly apparent in 1951 when Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean fled Britain for the Soviet Union.

Philby provided a confession but then slipped away, escaping to Russia. The ability to seamlessly blend into the background was vital. He constantly thought about how to spare humanity against the devastation of nuclear power. Today, the army uses spies to gain intelligence on other countries and their people. It seemed like Cold War Britain was riddled with Soviet agents. Within a year of the end of the war, some of them were falling apart. Kim Philby believed that it was only a matter of time before he was arrested – hence his defection. Burgess and Maclean had passed over to the Soviet Union thousands of confidential documents. A few were exchanged for other spies – but prison or execution were the more usual punishments for being caught – either by betrayal or making errors. He was supposed to rendezvous with a Soviet agent there but decided he had had enough. Their ability to blend with their surroundings was vital to their survival. Two of the Cold War’s most famous spies were young Americans Christopher Boyce and Andrew Daulton Lee, who began spying for the Soviets in the mid-1970s. Just within days of Britain’s decision to research building an atomic bomb in 1941, an informant in the British civil service had notified the Soviets. He was later identified as one of the Cambridge Five, a group of upper-middle class men who had met at Cambridge University in the 1930s. With the help of his Harvard colleague, Saville Sax, Hall used coded references to Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass to set up meeting times. Keep reading to learn more about the most famous American and Russian spies during the Cold War. He was a primary physicist on the Manhattan Project and the lead scientist at Britain’s nuclear facility by 1949. Many politicians in the West believed that conflict with the Soviet Union would inevitably follow the defeat of Nazi Germany. Political idealism. Also in 1956, Anthony Blunt received a knighthood and was put in charge of the Queen’s art collection. By the early 1980s, as the end of the Cold War approached, State School Number 4 had closed its doors. Spies were even more useful and prominent during the Cold War. Throughout the era of the Cold War information covertly acquired in Britain ended up with the KGB. One of the most attention-grabbing cases of spying was that of the Microdots Five – Gordon Lonsdale, Henry Houghton, Peter Kroger, Helen Kroger, and Ethel Gee. The work was being carried out by American, British, and Canadian researchers. The Soviet Union also employed men from Britain to spy on Britain – men who had become disaffected by the British way of life and looked to the east. Here are some who were not so lucky. The case of Burgess and Maclean really shocked Britain. Americans and Russians had and still have counter-intelligence units dedicated to finding the The British authorities were on to him. Consequently the British government expelled 105 Soviet officials. Alan Nunn May. Not even four years after the United States dropped the atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945, the Soviet Union had detonated its own in August 1949, taking everyone by surprise. His brother had advised him to drop his family’s name, Holtzberg, in order to escape anti-Semitism. In 1963, the man who led the ‘Cambridge Five’ fled to the Soviet Union. Unfortunately for May, it was too late. It led him to intelligence and diplomatic work after the war. Burgess and Maclean were both Cambridge graduates. After working as a journalist, Philby joined the British War Office, and then, in July 1940, the newly formed Special Operations Executive (SOE). Their bathroom could be converted into a dark room for developing photographs. Alan May was a communist. In 1950, the FBI turned their attention on him. In 1961, three men and two women were jailed – Gordon Lonsdale, Peter Kroger, Helen Kroger, Henry Houghton and Ethel Gee. In 1951, British agents closed on other members of the Cambridge spy ring. In 1964, he was questioned again and admitted to spying for Russia against Germany in World War II, but he denied giving any information harmful to Britain. He exposed those agents he knew of. By the time it became evident they had escaped to Russia, the damage had been done. When the group was identified and arrested, the police found espionage equipment hidden all over the Kroger house. FBI agents had identified Fuchs as the man who sent it. When he returned to England in 1946, he went to work at Britain’s nuclear research facility, passing on to the Soviet Union information on creating a hydrogen bomb.

The Soviet Union also employed men from Britain to spy on Britain – men who had become disaffected by the British way of life and looked to the east. Also in 1963, Grenville Wynne was sentenced to eight years in a Soviet prison having been found guilty of spying for the West. Former classmates and Catholic altar boys, Boyce & Lee were raised in the affluent southern California community of Palos Verdes. Both sides in the Cold War became more entrenched in their views on the other and to the Soviet authorities Burgess and Maclean were excellent trophies – and also ‘proof’ that the British way of life could not be good. It is a dangerous cat and mouse game that typically results in torture, prison, or execution for the spy if caught by the opposing team. He died in 1988. Both sides in the Cold War used spies as a way of acquiring knowledge of what the other was doing or to spread false knowledge of what one side was doing. Russia’s KGB files from the last 70 years revealed Cairncross was an agent who had provided the Soviets major secrets of the British government in their work of developing atomic energy. In 1971, British Intelligence announced that 120 Soviet intelligence officers were operating in Britain – the bulk with some form of diplomatic status. After all, why would two very well educated men leave if their lifestyle was so good there? One year later in 1956, Burgess and Maclean surfaced in Moscow after seemingly disappearing in 1951. Many doubtless remained hidden throughout their careers, never getting caught. There, he lived a surprisingly humble life for a man in his position.

Philby returned to journalism. However, he became nervous about his safety. In 2002, Raphael Bravo was jailed for 11 years for trying to sell secrets to the Russians and in 2003 Ian Parr received a ten-year sentence for trying to sell to Russia Cruise missile secrets. He trained agents and worked in counter-espionage, a spy at the heart of Britain’s own spy network. There he helped to cover the tracks of Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, two spies whose less discrete activities were causing suspicion. Meanwhile, Burgess had made himself unpopular while working in America. Source. eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'historylearningsite_co_uk-medrectangle-3','ezslot_2',129,'0','0'])); Spies and spying became part of the Cold War game.