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tv   Ben Macintyre Agent Sonya  CSPAN  December 30, 2020 8:00pm-9:02pm EST

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c-span2 is created by america's cable television company, we are brought to you provided by c-span as a public service. >> weeknights this month were featuring booktv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span2 and tonight as part of the 2020 year in review we focus on books on espionage and operations of military historian ben mcintyre discoverdiscusses his book, andt anderson the quiet american and later chris and the spy masters. >> welcome to the world words you virtually i am here physically my name is jeremy collins i'm the director, today we bring this program to you with hurricane data a couple
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hours away from hitting i would like to let all of our audience members no we want to bring this program to you come hack or high water, hopefully just hack if we do have any interruptions i like to apologize for the technical difficulties with the pending storm but is my pleasure to get this program started by passing it on to the museums samuel senior historian and the executive director of her institute for the study of warm democracy, doctor rob who will lead today's conversation. rob. >> thank you jeremy welcome everyone from beautiful new orleans louisiana quite literally in the path of the storm, quite literally in the eye of the hurricane, we hope everything goes smoothly and i like what jeremy just said hack or high water, new orleans gets a lot of the latter and we hope we don't get any today. having said that we are really excited about today's program, every now and then in my line of
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work you get interviewed author whose work that you expecting you feel like you read every word that you published in this case the particular author that might be difficult but ben mcintyre is a writer for the times uk and the best-selling author of numerous books, the spy and the traitor and a spy among friends, debate under great betrayal, what a great book, the doubles cross, operation, a book that many of our audience have already written and presented the documentaries of his work, he is a star in the field, i guess i would say espionage history in welcome to the museums webinar. >> thank you so much for inviting me i wish i could be there in person, one of my favorite cities, think of a happy me. >> then you're a master on this topic, and agent sonja i will tell her audience, you really
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dish it up in style, let me begin by asking you the standard question when i get a good author on my screen and i never let it go without asking this, why this book, why this topic and why now is there something about the moment we live in that suggest this amazing woman, she's better known in her professional life as agent sonja, why this book? >> as with these stories it was accidental discovery of the story i was researching a completely different story which is intrigued me which is the story of an oss operation to the cia in the tail end of the war, when they begin to parachute germans into the operations just as everything was falling apart.
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this is operated from london and they wanted to recruit germans but at the back of the story was a woman, she was providing the names of likely candidates, what the americans did not know in fact all of these characters was diehard communist and they were being recruited by agent sonia but that was my starting point and i began to wonder and i went back in time and found a remarkable character who went back to the republican even earlier, why now, i have never written for this perspective before and i've never written about somebody who was a committed communist most of my stories were from the other end of the telescope and her story is quite extraordinary because as many of you know it's a very
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male dominating trauma there many women spies going all the way through whether woman intelligence officer who is trained to the point that she was a colonel in the red army, that is unique in my experience i cannot find a single other woman who had written so far and so high. it was time to tell her story and away her story has been hidden for far too long because she is a woman i am a profound disguise into recently used her gender to hide what she was up to but also historians have shied away or would have been able to do so if i hadn't had a good fortune of being able to interview her surviving children
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who should be open to family archives and allow me access to her diaries and letters and even though their a.m. i was felt that she was with me in some way guided me through the story and instead of try to tranquilize that was a great comfort and a can of written the book without it. >> tell us about her salon she was a good communist she claims any quoted her by the age of 17 when she was beaten in a rally in berlin, how had she got to this point, tell us about her family life, german, jewish, intellectual culture, a circle around her and the intellectual in the early 20th century, tell us about ursula the young
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woman. >> people kind of understand who i became in the grip on the chaos of the republican germany between the warm but there's a period when economic disaster and fascism was on the rise on the right and extreme leftism in the communist party was extremely powerful in germany and there were many people and maybe in a way of ursula's background, she came from a intellectual academic family they were well-off and they knew everybody from einstein to everybody who was anybody on the left and her experience as a teenager remit appalling poverty and the degradation and her families letters, she joined the
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commonest party at the age of 17 and despite her parents objection, what she did waiver was a moment in her life and the whole communist project was a partner hand and away her doubts and her equivocation over is part of the story because she was very young with the revolution took place and very old when the berlin wall came down, her life in some ways found communism she was exploring the extraordinary event and movement in world history in the 20th century for good and for evil and she ended up working for a ruthless regime to the extent that she knew about that we can certainly discuss but her communism from time to time, in a way she's a
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wonderful way to explore the story, it all starts in the 1920s was as far she was concerned this is a perfectly respectable intellectual position at that point as far as she was concerned the only people standing up to the statues were the communist, and away it was a migration to the left. >> to me i'm fascinated by one of her phrases that you write in the book and of course a typical thing to say at the time, the soviet union is the future and today we live in an area where the soviet union is in the past. >> of course she had never been to the soviet union at that point and had not seen what the soviet union was or could even imagine what it might evolve into but the many ideas of the young people across the world in germany and don't forget your many was considered "the next revolution", many people believe
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"the next revolution" is going to take place in germany, that was quite the widespread relief and she saw the soviet union and all the ideology that went with it, she saw that as a feature and she comes to that for most of her life. >> she starts out -- i'm trying to think of the word, a bookish character, the publishing of air of berlin, bookstores on more than one occasion, it sounds to me that it was an idea or yearning for something, how does she get into the action, in shanghai i don't want to get too many beautiful details away to our readers but how does she make that transition, many of the idea that they have thoughts in the phrase that we use, we outgrow that, not in ursula, she
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grows into an action oriented, tell us about that. >> in a conflict in a way and her life, she started out as a gentle, she wrote very early on poems and short stories, she lived in a house in berlin that contain the largest private library in germany, you cannot get much more than that, it's a wonderful place for her i think she was 14 sitting in a tree after the court and that's the way she was and as you say she ended up in a violent revolution during the 30s and the battle, she got a gun and she was ready from a very, very young age to go to war and probably what she was seen in the rise of the great talent he that she was seen on the far right, in a way that makes it so interesting,
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for the first half of her life, she is battling fascism, possibly on her side, and the war with the soviet union and great britain are allies to defeat nazism and of course history pivots around her in some way with the cold war she is fine against, she sees no change in the trajectory of her beliefs but from our point of view and our perspective she is on the other side of the fence into me that is fascinating about how did she get into it that does not say much, it is accidental. >> she went to qinghai, she did spend a brief period in new york and worked to the bookshop in upper manhattan and she had some expense in america and it started largely with the
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relationship of the state and there was elements deep up mind and the chief of spy but she ended up with the young talented architect and he was offered a job in shanghai with the british council, and she went along she was only 24 by the time he got to shanghai and intoxicating place, it was a huge melting pot of racism, very rich on one hand and massive chinese poverty on the other side and she witnesses firsthand and we were shocked by it, and long forgotten history fascinating woman called agnes, most of the people in the story have the most extraordinary names, that's what led you to this topic. >> it does, maybe at that point
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was very successful left-wing novelist and a highly successful novel but by the time she met agnes in shanghai she was already a communist and the military intelligence, she expected to be recruited earlier and she had to explain she was a communist and long to do something. the context of the times in shanghai was the birthplace of the chinese commonest party but the chinese communist party was undergoing on the national government under shanghai known as the white terror often forgotten to historians these days but a brutal repression 300,000 people were killed in the course of that attempt to extirpate the commonest party and ursula was recruited by agnes who handed her richard who
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was described as being a formidable spy. he was a key soviet agent shanghai in the soviets were bank in the underground. >> i'm trying to think of a way that you put it, one of the greatest assets, she is living a double lives, all spies have to lead a double life, she is pregnant has a child by him and at some point she tells the party to leave him so she can pretend to be the wife of another man and they pretend to be a family, i think of london this is communist have no private life, you do whatever the party tells you, is that what this is about, do whatever the party tells us. >> not quite, one of the things
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i find so fascinating is a constant tension between what she saw as her ideological duty to the court and her responsibility as a wife and a mother and a homemaker. and throughout her life these two sides of her life were in constant tension and even old age she continued to wonder whether she was a good spy or in a bad mother. and the reality was the court required her to put her family second -- she did it but she always put them second and she put them in mortal jeopardy, there is no doubt, will get to this later but when she was in europe not only would she have been murdered by her family would've been wiped out as well, she was putting everybody at risk in a moment when she was writing about this when she saie
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up my family again and i'll never put them at risk unless the revolution required it of me, she would have done it and we find in the 21st century the whole notion that anybody, a woman actually call before her family as terrifying against human nature but bear in mind there is a possible double standard because it's not a question we would ask of male spies. >> we would never ask that question. >> we would never say you're the bad father, that is not a distinction that we make, she did and it was central and i mentioned the beginning i'd access to her private papers, time and again, she interrogates herself on the subject, was i a bad mother, did i do enough, and of course it leaves a legacy, when her family and her children
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found out what she could actually do in they did not find out until they were themselves middle age they had no idea that their mother had been a spy in the discovery she had lived a double life in someone completely different from the woman that brought them up, that had a very long term effect. >> you met the children as you begin your discussion, they were extreme help in writing this book and you said you probably could not of done it without them, did you talk to them on this sensitive point. >> i did the two sons she had three children by two different men three times in her life, all three of the fathers and her children were her co-agents, communist spies, one of whom was her boss and entwined in the story. >> she said at one point i was no none.
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>> she fired her third recruiter who was her love. again a bit of a double standard, we know are spies that live the lives -- but actually she was a woman way ahead of her time but i did interview the two surviving children and only one of them is still alive in the old one died earlier this year and i remember vividly a conversation i had he is a charming and lovely man and how tough was it to discover your mother had all the secrets and he said it was a moving moment and he said look i been married and divorced three times and perhaps the problem is because of where i came from i never really knew how to trust
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anybody. i found that very pointed to hear from an old man nearing the end of his life but another thing he said i'm very touched by he said reading the book, he said i now feel that i know my mother a little better. that was very powerful for me. >> secrets are toxic, secrets are addictive, during the secret world is very difficult to give it up but secrets are very bad for you and a written 12 books about spying and i'm fascinated about that world and these stories don't have a simple black and white more conclusion people are damaged by these stories and what happens to them and the children are no exception. >> it might be said and having read a number of your books, if
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the story really comes to happy ending in a sense, your hero and you ride off into the sunset, that's precisely what does not happen you tell lies your whole life and i wonder if it's difficult to remember what lie you are living at the current time. >> that is exactly right it's easy to tell one life and very difficult to tell compound lies to remember the lie that you told before and it has a need to renew effect, spying is a strange profession and given how much i written about it spying doesn't make much difference and one side knows that the other side is doing, very occasionally in history in many of them will know this, makes a huge difference, it's a good example in the deception that covered the normandy is another one and
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it's actually one of the very small who really did affect the course of history and we will come to that in a moment in her intelligence on the building of the atomic bomb that she passed to the soviet union materially affected world history and that makes her quite exceptional. >> you have a moment in this book that codenames, agent sonia has come from a genteel upper middle-class background in berlin cultured and educated and she is actually helping communist helping them build bombs for the sabotage against the japanese, your great story and there about ammonium nitrate purchase and it's one of the crucial ingredients, can you relate that to her audience please. >> one of the many things she
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was trained then she went to a spy school, she was trained in radio technician work on how to build a radio but also sabotaging, bone making an expert maker, one of the things she had to do was japanese occupy this is when the japanese and the communist underground was running were for against them in ursula was their main lead with moscow, providing money and messages back and forth and it was dangerous. in order to bind materials you cannot just go into one shop and buy everything that you needed because the japanese intelligence service would've picked up in a second so she had been shopping and she tells the story to another hardware store to buy ammonium nitrate for building bombs and she went in there and this is her chinese
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was hit so bad and she asked for 10 pounds of nitrate and they misheard her and gave up an enormous nitrate which she stuffed up with the baby on top and wheeled back home and realize she would not have to go shopping for a while, who knows what the bombs were used for, the chinese party did and warmest damage to the network that the japanese was trying to keep going, i think the accidental purchase goes back on history. >> the author's ability to write a good piece, i appreciate the baby the ammonium nitrate going back to sabotage in building the bombs is an astonishing story and the ability to live in two worlds at once you're caring for your child and buying explosives at the same time. >> the degree apparel she was
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in, the japanese with the secret police were brutal and highly efficient and they were all ov over, they were seeking out the communist underground and photograph and the connection of the house and she lived in and if you look at it you can see the pole chic climbed onto the roof to use her radio transmitter and you could see the pole at the end of this how she got away with it and how the japanese failed to spot it, she was incredibly lucky. >> i would like to turn to ursula's activities in the world were, so news were time spying activity, which ones do you think were most significant, you refer to one but i wondered if
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you could talk us through, it is the meat of the book and to meet some of the most interesting portrayals in the entire book. >> she is redeployed to switzerland and just before the war breaks out, a task of running agents into the right, she had to recruit people to extract as much military as they can. and she built another radio transmitter in the swiss mountains and their two children with another child by another man and she began running the most important communication network with moscow and there was lots of operating and they were producing information that
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was being sent to moscow in huge important and she was one of the linchpins, and i don't think anyone's ever conquered her assassination of hitler, she came very close to assassinating hitler she recruited to communist, her family moved to london to escape the last few persecution and she sent them into the right and before we operate the war in one of them had discovered was hitler's favorite restaurant, he was in munich and he mentioned this and he immediately said that's an opportunity and she reported back to moscow in the plan was she would build a bomb and be put in the briefcase and put her
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next to hitler as to my private and they were going to blow him to smithereens, this was weeks away from being put into action, what happened later better chance of working with every other assassination that i covered and i read about it, i was stopped because of the pack, the moment when not see germany and communist soviet union struck an alliance, nonaggression pact not to attack each other and at that moment the day after they agreed sees all offensive operations against germany he had discovered this, who knows what would've been the future of the world if they would've carried it through. >> hitler's favorite restaurant you have a bite of ravioli and a vegetable on the side and infrequent on the plays i've been reading my whole life of
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plots to kill hitler, this is the closest information and wanted never heard about before. >> i had neither either before i came across to. they came very, very close and moscow was very enthusiastic about it, they were very keen to kill hitler at that point, the second point the molotov doubles alliance between the soviets and the nasis. it's one of the first moments when she began to realize that actually the clause that she was following, by battling fascism and suddenly it was an alliance with fascism and it's a terrible conscious for her. >> there is a moment in 1984 which is the alliance that suddenly shift and they go from
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being an ally of one an enemy of the other to the exact opposite and everyone has to get on board in a sense all of them nailed the moment the ursula had to deliver. >> i'm quite sure always speaking of the molotov when he wrote that, it was a terrible moment and it was short-lived because the invasion of the soviet union of hitler's troops in 1942, suddenly and turned around again and she found herself on the right side of history again. for a long period in that. of the operation, she was basically put out to dry and it was a terrible moment because it was suddenly and abandons really . . .
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do you have any idea? >> they expected. they had never done that. they had a middleman she used to distance herself from them as you say, they believed they were spending own spies. as an amazing story. they incredibly brave, they were parachuting and with high-technology believe they were sending in their own spies. every single one was from moscow.
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moscow and they could say i'm just helping the cause, the general allies but there were one or two voices on the american side. they would run the cia under ronald reagan. he is one of those who said have we really investigated the background of these people? use were mostly former trade unionists by the grade raid, they were unionized. what they didn't know was that they were all communist and already signed off in this so each one of those extraordinary moments, as they managed to provide the union without piece of technology, the america
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developed walkie-talkie. named after the girlfriend of the two americans invented it. it's a way that spies on the ground could communicate real-time with airplanes flying overhead. his revolutionary piece of technology and fees spies parachuted in to berlin to the soviet union. they had none, and incredible piece of spine technology. in that respect, as it related to with the atomic weapon, all this junk on technology. >> let's move into that very area if you don't mind. the most significant espionage subject, the famous nuclear side, can you tell us about that
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collaboration? perhaps, how important was it to the soviet element of a nuclear weapon? >> well, let me take a little picture of where we are. from switzerland to britain, joining family and reality to become the single most important soviet intelligent agent. she lived in a tiny rural cabinet, it is very, she had three children by her husband. would have been perfectly ordinary refugee on the countryside. in fact, the outside toilet, she built powerful transmitters in which she was sending the atomic
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secret. that was the most important but she was running a whole network of spies inside the british atomic weapons program. when she was on the countryside, she was often going to meet him. he was a german physicist, he believed it was unfair britain and america were evolving this weapon but not sharing with the soviet union. a very simple and naïve philosophy but was handing over relief the crown jewel. he handed over something like 570 pages of documents relating to a blueprint for how to build an atomic weapon. it's so complicated that it couldn't even, she would take them, put them in the site which was a hollow tree among three
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trees beyond the crossroad and there they would be picked up by her handling in london. when the soviets detonated, was from the manhattan project in america and when he did so, he handed him over to another controller new york and when the soviet detonated their bomb to the astonishment of the west, the constellation of washington, that was what she found and it was a great role. it's one of the most extraordinary aspects of the story. >> as you handed over in america and your and eventually for americans play into the rosenberg, a crucial decision and that is what. >> absolutely.
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it continues still, the running of the spies, it was a disaster for the west, really but a triumph for the espionage. it was extraordinary and they managed to penetrate both sides of the atlantic. they went right into the heart of it. once they develop their own atomic weapon, my suspicion was they would have done it on their side. they were quite advanced in this what they have done it so fast? i was absolutely convinced they wouldn't. we can debate forever the long-term implications of the. in a way by the atomic secret on one side and given to the other, they may have will create balance between the east and west, neither side with this
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atomic weapon but we forget there were voices within the american administration, arguing that america's atomic weapon developed that and what was used on japan, each used on the soviet union. it should be a one-sided work. well, imagine what the world would have been like that had happened. america first, america first is the atomic power in the world. i'm not sure how comfortable the world that would be to live in. not a support for communism but the effects of this piece of this flavor. >> i think the last question i would like to ask, before we get over to these questions, the political progress, she does it all. we rooting for her when she is
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spying on the japanese or the germans and sometimes you find yourself turned around and she is spying on the british, the americans. at one time, she seriously considers murdering her lifelong nanny, the woman served her family loyally for decades because she found a little too much about personal activity. my question is, did ursula change the course of her life? or did she have the circumstances, while the world around her changed? >> the answer is a bit of both, i think. she remained committed although she had serious doubts about later in life. she to herself, changed i think. the moment you are used to, the moment i think in the collision
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between private and emotional personal life and her political and secret life because if you say the life that brought her up has come across what she knew exactly ursula was up to. she tries to betray her, she was the only person who ever tried that. there was an agonizing moment when she and her husband, he forced the spanish civil war. whether or not they have to get rid of the nanny, at this terrible. in the end, it is humane, she never killed anybody. she would have been at the forefront of it they have that. we often look at this and expected to produce moral constants, it's somehow a black and white moral fable that there
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are good and bad. goodies that somehow history will give it a lesson in civics. actually, history is not like that espionage is not like that. history is made up of fascinating shades of gray. she is not one plastic heroin. she's not james bond in that, she's a complicated symbol, not a symbol but a product of history. i didn't want to write a book to condemn her. i wanted to explain or try to explain what communism was like to experience through the life of a woman. >> that is fantastic. the book is agent sonja and i recommend any person out there.
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it's a wonderful book. let's go to q&a from our listeners today. i might take the opportunity to ask a couple of questions myse myself. thank you so much. we have richard ramsey would like to know, i think this is a good question. as russia acknowledged agent sonja, has russia done anything to deny that. >> on the contrary. in germany, reinventing herself as someone else, she did write a memoir. she wrote her own words which were presented to this party took one look at this and said you can't possibly publish this it could be far too much about your love life trade so they took out, they ran a red pen
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through it took up stuff and she was about to publish what remained. what remained was kind of propaganda. was showing the spies but being tremendous in the archives, having access to this, in this book beginning to write about what they didn't want you to know about she didn't do that in her lifetime but in the beginning it was a huge shock to her family. they had absolutely no idea. it was published in the 70s, after her death, they emerged to say this woman was heroin of the soviet union, they have begun to acknowledge her.
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they've begun to silver her, the book will be published which came as a huge surprise to me. you probably speculate but it comes out in russia so it is a complicated contrary. it's not a simple answer. it's much more complicated than that so yes, they have acknowledged her, not enough to allow me free access to her archives in moscow which may come eventually but it will be soon. >> richard has another really good question and i would like you to address this if you don't mind. what was ursula, sonya's life like after the war? i found those portions of the book to be wonderful. >> the astonishing thing is, i
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won't give it away for you but there's a moment of escape she does get out eventually so she arrives in east germany and gives up the trade. so you spying very difficult to leave. it's tough to get into but even harder to get out of. you can't just walk away from this but she did. she rust out and said i didn't want anything more to do with it. she came under suspicion, didn't spot on her, she was suspected of this. she completely reinvented herself. she became ruth, he adopted a pen name and began to write novels for children, children's fiction and she was highly successful. hundreds of thousands of copies and even described as the east german, sold so many copies and
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became more famous as a children's novelist and she ever became as the spy so she did that and she did this throughout her life, she reinvented herself and then reinvented herself. the scales began to fall. there were several events that took place while in retirement from espionage. the invasion of hungary 1968, he became part of the soviet union it was even more oppressive. another terrible moment was the discovery when she found out the sheer scale of the carnage, people she knew. many of the people she knew in her espionage, it was a terrible moment for her.
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she said it, she said i didn't do this for solid, i did this for an idea. she was saying i still believe in that. like many old communists, she looked back and said communism, it is the force of the people have tried to write about it in the wrong way. it was a queasy defense that they could come up with. >> often in the 20s and 30s, ideologically committing communists was saying things like you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs and talking about the lives of two or 3 million victims of stalin. sonja was at least able to come to realization later in life. >> i think she was and i think she felt deeply troubled. often troubled by the fact, i think she had a certain skill
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using cap grace but she often asked herself, how and why she was spared but so many others want as a born and a jew into a spine, she was suspect. those were the absolute target. it is fascinating that not only did she not denounce anyone else, she never financed herself i think it's interesting because that was the currency, you survived by staying i am innocent but my neighbor or my brother-in-law or even my family, you survived by somebody else. she never did that. to contribute to that, she was able to inspire among her
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friends and colleagues. >> we have a question from facebook, catherine bell. a good question for you. of all the spies you've written about, which do you think was the most clever? which was your favorite? she wants you to know she loves your writing also. >> thank you. okay, which was my favorite? my favorite is still, there is a character who was a proper crook, a professional. he was recruited by the germans and trained. immediately he swapped sides. he said he is against german. he is a tremendously bad person, but a wonderful character.
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he was full of it and in a way on this story, the cleverest? still pretty good at this. we were talking earlier about the ability to remember compound lies phrase, nobody did it, he was really good at it. also, the bravest, probably ursula. to put your own family at risk, that is rare courage. the book before this, that particular kind of bravery, knowing that at any moment, one tab on the shoulder, he would be
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captured and killed. that's sheer bravery. >> we have a question from richard, how much did intelligence provided contribute to the red army victory in the battle of course you said ursula intel was very valuable. did it often get down to the level of the operation in the field? did ursula or the spies talked about impact the battleground? >> that's a really good questi question. one still debated, to which the soviet espionage has been inside germany, altered soviet policy strategies. it can really be debated. i am not an expert on but. ursula was gathering this information, she was transmitting this information,
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she was not actually gathering it herself. it is close out of korea and she was the only radio operator, she knows the value of what she was spending. she didn't really see that at that time as being her role. i would argue that yes, they did have material impact and also the network to be on the build up of military forces inside, this position, it was incredibly useful. it's fascinating to think about, he didn't really trust the spies. he tended to disbelieve because he was paranoid and extraordinarily personal.
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he disbelieved the intelligence he was receiving. that went from the extra 90 material who ended up in japan, giving warning which was ignored because he didn't trust spies. i was a great example was extraordinary amount of material being sent from british spies in britain for, during and after the war. it was such good quality that stalin and analysts believed it was all made up and that's untrue. one of the greatest sort of spies in history, a wastepaper basket because he didn't really trust spies. you have that balance the. >> good question here, how did you come across her children and would describe them? how would you describe them? >> it's fascinating really. the two of the three children were still alive, the two sons.
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one in his early 90s. in the telephone book, that's often how these things happen, if you get around enough, you find them. both the sun came in with another, the older son at that time, in his 20s, he came a little later. they were both from they were both on the left. they were very proud of their mother. i wondered how well it would be to a british writer turning out and saying i'm going to write about your mother's life. they were understandably initially very suspicious. didn't quite know what was going on. but i got to know them and after a while, i got to meet both of
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them. it has been a long project. they became very generous and they turned out to be wonderful sources you always want in that. help yourself, we look to see what you write. you've made a factual mistake otherwise, it's over to you. it happens very rarely in this world but wanting to control and have their own family and what happening, we kind of look back on our lives they tell them stories eventually. didn't do it willingly they began to talk about espionage. some of it did fall into the area so that wasn't quite the
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way it happened. to their great credit, they say we will tell you what the truth was. that isn't the way it happened, it turned out to be incredibly generous. >> all biographies of burglary. i will quote that the rest of my life. thank you for that one. i think a good question, with a goal based on sociopolitical ideas? did she get paid for buying? >> that is a good question because it is the truth, it's seldom acknowledged. much espionage is based on money. i've never come across this guy who didn't say i'm doing this for a higher calling or because of this but i've never come across where they were not much
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more mixed than that. spies have all sorts of reasons but most spies spy for material gain. that is the reality. they didn't really do that, they did pay them very well, the same would be of intelligence services. they didn't do it for money but nonetheless, money is what oils the wheels of this operation. she was paid enough to allow h her, the housewife mother to keep going in wartime britain. at one time, they stopped paying her. the great mighty intelligence machine had got the wrong site at one time. she was paid, there is no
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question she did not do it for material gain but did she need the money? undoubtedly. did it make her rich? certainly not. >> one last question from scott, good question, you talked about your son, what happened to other members of the extended family? did they survive? for example her brother, a scholar and prolific writer, turned thousands of articles, what happened to that one? >> the entire family, not the entire family but her immediate family going to germany just in time. they were absolutely targets, they ransacked the house at times. the mother took the children, the girls, there were five of them. they already moved to britain.
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most of the family married englishmen and where i am talking to you from, this was before going to germany. he had also been a paid soviet agent. he had his own spy story he was providing intelligence for the soviet union right from the beginning. very important information on the bombing survey. he was right at the heart of it and he went to each of them and he lived there until the end of his life. they ended up back and became pillars for this world. they were so difficult of the authorities. you kind of have this british part of the story and a very german part of the story.
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there's a very tragic story because the family, all of the extent of the family were taken off in the holocaust and murdered. so most of those battles came from what she had seen happen to her family. ...
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