Wives of Secret Agents: Spyscapes of the Second World War and Female Agency

In: International Journal of Military History and Historiography

Few existing archival records or secondary sources appear to narrate or describe the circumstances, relationships, and activities of “spy wives” during the Second World War. Intelligence historians currently find themselves at a turning point, where new approaches to the writing of intelligence history have been called for that transcend the study of operations and policy, while drawing when necessary upon the methodologies of such adjacent disciplines as social history and historical geoinformatics. It is therefore surely appropriate to conduct an examination of the hitherto neglected social phenomenon of female agency in the “spyscape” of wartime British and German covert operations. Through an examination of case studies of individual wives of intelligence operatives, constructed on the basis of information gathered from scattered primary and secondary sources, it is possible to assemble and analyse a wide, highly differentiated range of gender relationships at the intersection of the manifest and secret worlds.

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