Scientific Information Agency
19 November 2022

Service of British and Soviet women in intelligence during World War II

European Historical Studies
Service of British and Soviet women in intelligence during World War II

The article compares the peculiarities of the activities and life of British and Soviet women-spies during WWIIto deepen the available information about their participation in the war and find out the common and different in the policies of totalitarian and democratic regimes concerning it. The author states that during WWII, Great Britain and the USSR recruited women into the intelligence service. Both countries taught them the necessary military skills, including the handling of various weapons. Their operational tasks in the service included the performance of combat roles too.Nevertheless, the British authorities, in contrast to the Soviet ones, denied the fact that women used lethal weapons. There was an official taboo on this in the country. Therefore, we must state the insincerity of the British government on this issue. Analyzing the level of training of agents, we see that the British government made more efforts and spent more time on it.There may be several reasons of it, but among the main ones we see the fact that the country was in a less difficult situation during WWII. After all, it managed to avoid invasion on it territories, and its military contingent was less involved in theaters of operations than the Soviet. Hence the smaller number of combat losses that needed to be urgently replaced by new military personnel.For example, the British women had the opportunity to practice skydiving during training, in contrast to the Soviet female spies — according to the testimonies of some of them, the jump during the combat mission was the first in their lives. There were also cases when Soviet intelligence groups trained only for a few weeks before the mission. In Great Britain, on the other hand, there was a multi—level school for the training of agents. The life of spies on the service differed, depending on the peculiarities of their missions, their venues and the ability to take care of themselves during their completion.

Source: Zalietok N. (2021) Service of British and Soviet women in intelligence during World War II. European Historical Studies. №19: 50-60

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