Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Article Review: Exotic WWI Spy Mata Hari

Utah State Magazine Spring 2017, article by Janelle Hyatt.
This article is based on an interview with Tammy Proctor, who was recently interviewed as an expert for a featured BBC documentary about Mata Hari, the spy that was executed by the French during WWI.  The French government said her actions lead to the deaths of thousands of men, as many as 750,000 by some acounts.  Mata Hari was a woman who had survived childhood abuse, and then spousal abuse.  She was left on her own with no means of support, and she needed money to get her who she had been forced to leave when she left her husband.   She was of Dutch descent living in France.  She finally found she could make a living as an exotic dancer.  However when the WWI all her assets were frozen, because she was Dutch.  Then she became a spy.  Mata Hari was a double agent, a spy for the French who was also spying for the Germans.  The legend has her as a seductress, who was able to get information from men when they were the most vulnerable, in bed.  However Proctor contends she wasn't even a very good spy.  She was not responsible for so much destruction. The myth around her actual does a disservice to those women who were actual spies during the time.   MI-5 actually employed 800 female spies during the war.  I may well have been the Mata Hari was set up with fabricated evidence.  She was shot on October 15, 1917.  She refused a blindfold.

No comments:

Post a Comment