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What role did espionage play during the cold war

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Alexandra Sirola

on 8 October 2017

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Transcript of What role did espionage play during the cold war

The USSR's intelligence agency

Role was to:
gather information from other nations
prevent counterintelligence
suppress internal resistance

Controlled almost every aspect of information released to the public
KGB used to promote Soviet morals and ideology through propaganda

Went as far as to execute any suspected spy

Were more barbarous towards spies if caught.
Worked at an active pace to avoid nuclear war

Feared spread of communism, funded anti-communist groups to suppress communism

missions were primary ways of receiving knowledge without attention being drawn towards the plans and procedures of keeping communism contained.

Main roles were:
Sending out agents abroad

sometimes ordered assassinations and human experimentation

research of new weapons, funded Department of Defense

helped anti-communist groups
The role of the government agencies
Table of Contents
What role did espionage play during the cold war?
And what was its impact on the balance of power between the USSR and USA?
The Cold War Espionage
- Introduction
- Role of the government agencies:
Espionage and...;
- Communication and misinformation
- Nuclear secrets
- MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction)
- Propaganda
- Relevant cases:
- The U-2 Spy Plane
- The Rosenberg couple

Espionage is the act and practice of spying

Lack of common warfare

Espionage became main battleground

The USSR and USA competing over superiority for several years

Fought using espionage to obtain information focused on military and nuclear capabilities (arms race)

War fought mainly through propaganda and threats

Each nation trying to out-do the other

Tried to stay on track with weapon development

All through espionage.
A war fought through secret service agencies
The dominant agencies during the cold war; CIA, KGB, MI5
Constant threat of nuclear war
Relied on their intelligence agencies to decipher military secrets and capabilities
Easily could misinterpret each other and make invalid accusations
was used widely among intelligence agencies

Both nations used means of media to give a very strong and negative reputation of one another.

Common to see photos portraying the nuclear weaponry competition and stereotypical spies

romanticized stereotype (mainly CIA)

Sparked entertainment ideas in the nation.

Reputation the CIA had for itself was primarily based upon anti-communism

not seen for actual role and significance.

Nuclear Secrets
Depth of Soviet Union spying not known until US deciphered Moscow Code (Venona)

USSR espionage attempted to know about UK and USA military & nuclear secrets 1940's

British intellectuals motivated to sell their nations' atomic secrets. Example:
Cambridge Five spy ring

Soviet knew about Manhattan Project

Put them ahead of "game plan"

USSR detonated first bomb shortly after USA

Became a clear that the balance of power was constantly shifting.
communication and misinformation
Built upon communication.

Passing and receiving of secrets extended Cold War

Much of the information was useless

Common for information to be altered, whether intentionally or unintentionally

Caused misleading info. on weapon development

USA concerned about USSR's nuclear capabilities being more advanced, superior or at an equal rate.

Spying: the most important, yet unimportant occupation of the Cold War era.
Espionage played a large and influential role during Cold war
Both wanted to know the pace of each other’s weapon development, as well as brag about their nuclear achievements.
To a great extent, the rivalry over power was never truly balanced.
Spies passed mostly weapon development and nuclear secrets
Impact on how each side saw other
Romanticized stereotype and propaganda involved
Arguably, the information passed and received was seen as negligible and only prolonged the war.
However, spying did have its advantages.
significantly shaped the Cold War
Rosenberg couple
U-2 spy plane
U-2 Spy plane shot down by Soviet Union
Pilot, Francis Gary Powers, under orders to kill himself in such a situation
A summit in Paris was to be held in order to:

Sort complications, policies and agreements between USSR and USA
Ease tension

Plane was shot down right before summit
Paris Summit failed
did not solve conflicts
only served to escalate the war in the balance for power and cause more aggression
American couple that worked for the soviets

Passed atomic secrets to soviet union

Increased the risk of a nuclear war

Leaked necessary information to Russians to help them develop the atomic bomb.

Held responsible for deaths caused by the Soviet atomic bomb in Korean war

Caught and executed by electric chair

Caused a huge public debate

First spies to ever be executed in US, despite flimsy evidence
The role of the government agencies
Dominant agencies:
CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)
KGB (Komitet Gosutarstvennoi Bezopasnosti)
Constant threat of a nuclear war and mass destruction
Primary to decipher military and technology advantages.
Main role was to gather intelligence and determine possible threats.
Britain's MI5 was somewhat involved, but it was the USSR and USA , who relied on their agencies the most
MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction)
Cold War entered new phase as USSR achieved nuclear parity with USA

Role of espionage changed- knowledge of weapon advancement publicly known.

Spying still used, but not particularly needed
Each side equal ability of destroying each other.

Fact mutually accepted in a military doctrine,
MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction)

No matter who dropped bomb first, both nations would be destroyed eventually.
n short: Whoever shoots first, dies second.
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