Whether guilty or innocent, at dawn on November 17, 1917, Mata Hari was driven to a field on the outskirts of Paris. She seems to have died bravely, she refused a blindfold and stood silently until the gunshots rang out. It is the first time she has fallen in love and perhaps the first time she has met a man who did not simply desire her for sex. Anxious to make money to start a new life with him, she accepted Ladoux’s deal and announced her intentions to seduce military secrets out of high-ranking Germans. She was paid 20,000 (francs) in advance and her number was H.21.”. Ladoux then asked her if she would consider demonstrating this loyalty by making use of her neutral status and her unique past associations in Germany by becoming a spy in the service of France. Ignoring the slights, Mata Hari put forward the deal-maker: If she failed, she would expect to receive nothing. No matter how she may ultimately be judged, she deserved better. Having succeeded in captivating high-ranking German officers a decade earlier, she was sure that once in her clutches, von Bissing wouldn’t have a chance. Like a visiting head of state reviewing an honour guard, the graceful woman in the fashionable clothes led the way past a veritable battalion of soldiers, who instinctively snapped to attention as she went by. JUST BEFORE six o’clock on the morning of Oct.15, 1917, a caravan of five cars departed the prison at Saint-Lazare and made its way slowly through the gaslit streets of Paris. After World War II, he committed suicide to escape capture. Now nearing 40, plumpish and with her dancing days clearly behind her, Mata Hari fell in love with a 21-year-old Russian captain, Vladimir de Masloff, in 1916. Additionally, currency she claimed was a regular stipend from a Dutch baron was portrayed in court as coming from German spymasters. “Merci, Monsieur,” she said. To order In the spring of 1916, Mata Hari, the most notoriously jaded courtesan in the world, inexplicably lost her head and fell hard for a young Russian officer, Captain Vladimir (Vadim) Masloff. What she didn’t know was that British Intelligence had informed its French counterpart that she had aroused the suspicions of one of their operatives during her travels in and out of the war zone. The couple had two children and moved to the East Indies. One of the Zouaves fainted dead away. All Rights Reserved. Mata Hari was a professional dancer and mistress who became a spy for France during World War I. The spy known as “Mata Hari” was glib in her final prison interrogation before her life ended in front of a French firing squad in the First World War, according to formerly top secret files from the British intelligence agency MI5. A file dated May 22, 1917 states: “Matahari today confessed that she has been engaged in Consul CREMER of Amsterdam for the German Secret Service. Author Oscar Wilde was known for his acclaimed works including 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' and 'The Importance of Being Earnest,' as well as his brilliant wit, flamboyant style and infamous imprisonment for homosexuality. Image via DePaul University Visual Exhibition. “Tonight I dine with Count A and tomorrow with Duke B,” she once quipped. Russian aviator Alexis Rosanoff (Ramon Novarro) has an amusing moustache and a strong Mexican accent. August 7, 1876 — Mata Hari born was born on this day August 7, 1876 as Margaretha “Gretha” Geertruida Zelle in the Netherlands. Robert Heege is the author of numerous works concerning all things historical. I have always lived for love and pleasure.” The woman of many masks was arrested on February 13, 1917. "A courtesan, I admit it. Sources suggest the children might have been suffering the effects from over-treatment for syphilis. There is some evidence Georges Ladoux set her up and perhaps even falsified evidence against her. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. “They needed a scapegoat and she was a notable target for scapegoating,” Wark said. Mata Hari became a spy for France in her late thirties after her dancing career neared to an end and she took on being a full-time lover: a financial decision. Thomas Sankara: The Upright Man (A documentary), France and Tunisia: A political economy of (in)security, Today In History: Remembering Rosa Parks "The Mother of the Freedom Movement", Aftermaths: Anne Nivat responds from Paris.
She then turned to face the firing squad, waved away her blindfold and blew the soldiers a kiss. The woman who had counted among her lovers so many highly placed German officers before the war now began to suspect that she was being followed. Her lovers included a wide range of ages and nationalities, including Germans, French, Russians, Swiss and Spaniards, the files state.
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