In the history of espionage, World War II intelligence contributions typically take a backseat to those of the Cold War despite the fact that the American Office of Strategic Services and British Special Operations Executive provided critical support to the Allied victory. An even less-studied aspect of intelligence history is the involvement of women, particularly during World War II. This project focuses upon the contributions of a singular woman who served in both the Office of Strategic Services and the Special Operations Executive, but has remained largely unrecognized in historiography despite her unmatched achievements. Examining primary source material and authoritative treatments of relevant intelligence history, this study recounts and contextualizes the achievements of Virginia Hall while analyzing bias in the historiography of World War II and mid-twentieth century American intelligence. Virginia Hall was a remarkable intelligence practitioner during and after World War II, despite the obstacles she faced as a disabled woman. Her story deserves to be told.
Helvering, Abigail C., "An Unlikely Hero: How Virginia Hall Became the Most Feared Allied Spy in Occupied France, and Why You've Never Heard of Her" (2016). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 6977.
European History | Military History | Political History | United States History | Women's History
Virginia Hall, intelligence, World War II, espionage, Occupied France, Klaus Barbie, SOE, OSS, CIA
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
© Copyright 2016 Abigail C. Helvering