A History Sunday……
Probably only UK visitors will be the only ones that will remember and then only those that are aging….like me.
The Cambridge Five were the most notorious of all the spies who worked for the Soviet Union. This British quintet were exceptional for a number of reasons: while they worked independently, they knew the identities of one another; they spied at a critical time (during the Second World War and the early Cold War); the content of their espionage complemented each other, as each worked in different parts of the government. And the amount of information they provided was unsurpassed.
The five were recruited while students at the University of Cambridge in the 1930s and each would go on to have successful dual careers as British civil servants and Soviet spies. Kim Philby (1912–88) spent most of his career working for the British intelligence agency MI6, including a period as head of Soviet counterespionage and as MI6 liaison officer to the CIA in Washington DC. Donald Maclean (1913–83) had a successful career in the Foreign Office, working on atomic and military matters. Guy Burgess (1911–63) worked briefly for MI6, but also spent some time in the Foreign Office, working in London on propaganda, and then in the British Embassy in Washington.
From the mid-1930s through the early 1960s, the Soviet Union benefited from the services of five British traitors. Reams of classified documents transferred from British files and offices to those of the Soviet’s. During the height of World War II and the Cold War which followed, classified information shared between the United States and Great Britain received an eager welcome from the Soviets. The traitors sent so much information to their Soviet handlers that some in the NKVD/KGB questioned its value. Others were simply overwhelmed by the amount of data received and had insufficient time to properly analyze it all. Much of the damage done by the group originally labeled the Cambridge 4, later expanded to 5 when another traitor’s activities came to light, remains unknown.
These spies did some major damage to the US and the UK in their sell-out to the Soviets.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”