Five Key Points about Espionage during the Cold War 1. Espionage is the process of gathering information about a rival or enemy, usually through secret operations. 2. Major Cold War powers had agencies that engaged in espionage, like the CIA (US), KGB (USSR) and MI5 (UK). 3. The CIA, for example, collected info, assisted anti-communist leaders and researched new weapons and techniques. 4. The Soviets had a much longer history of espionage and employed it to successfully obtain American nuclear secrets. 5. Espionage and spies became an enduring motif of the Cold War.
One of the enduring motifs of the Cold War is stories of spies, agents and assassins, operating with great secrecy and living double lives so they can infiltrate enemy governments or agencies. While the extent of Cold War espionage is often exaggerated, the US and USSR certainly spent large amounts of money recruiting, training and outfitting spies and agents, then deploying them around the world. The primary purpose of espionage was to gather information and intelligence about the enemy, their military and technical capabilities, their actions and intentions. This information was gathered in a myriad of ways, including paying informers, using double-agents, stealing documents, intercepting communications, setting up ‘bugs’ (listening devices) or other means of surveillance. Agents also carried out disruptive missions, such as kidnapping or assassinating enemy agents or politicians, or conducting sabotage operations. Cold War spies were rarely the secretive, over-coated figures or flamboyant James Bond types portrayed in literature and film. The success of their missions – and indeed their very survival – often hinged on them looking and behaving like ordinary employees and members of society.
International espionage was a huge component of The Cold War. Each side (NATO and The WARSAW PACT) did battle with one an other through covert, unseen, and dangerous spy games. This reality was glorified in the James Bond movies of the 1960s. Spying very rarely however enjoyed martinis and card games, and was far more dangerous. The Cold War, MAD Magazine, and Ian Fleming gave us some of the most iconic images of the comic lore. Take the two spies for example. One represents light, the other dark. Neither one are particularly redeeming however, and their methods are virtually identical.
XP=4 1. Examine the role that espionage played during The Cold War 2. Evaluate its effectiveness in gaining an upper hand for each side.
Assessment: 1. What was the function and purpose of the CIA and KGB? Yes I know, spying, but what does that mean? Provide a detailed answer. 2. What were some of the dangers, and realities of spying and espionage in the cold war? Provide three examples from the film clip on spying you watched. 3. What is a double agent, and why was this such a terrifying concept for those involved in espionage? 4. Which do you believe proved to be a more effective means of espionage, people on the ground (spies), or technology? Provide two reasons for your answer. 5. What is the spy vs.spy comic and Mountain Dew Commercials trying to say about the game of espionage and The Cold War?