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15/10/1917 - Mata Hari shot by firing squad


PeterMacD

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Mata Hari, the archetype of the seductive female spy, is executed for espionage by a French firing squad at Vincennes outside of Paris.

 

She first came to Paris in 1905 and found fame as a performer of exotic Asian-inspired dances. She soon began touring all over Europe, telling the story of how she was born in a sacred Indian temple and taught ancient dances by a priestess who gave her the name Mata Hari, meaning "eye of the day" in Malay. In reality, Mata Hari was born in a small town in northern Holland in 1876, and her real name was Margaretha Geertruida Zelle. She acquired her superficial knowledge of Indian and Javanese dances when she lived for several years in Malaysia with her former husband, who was a Scot in the Dutch colonial army. Regardless of her authenticity, she packed dance halls and opera houses from Russia to France, mostly because her show consisted of her slowly stripping nude.

 

She became a famous courtesan, and with the outbreak of World War I her catalog of lovers began to include high-ranking military officers of various nationalities. In February 1917, French authorities arrested her for espionage and imprisoned her at St. Lazare Prison in Paris. In a military trial conducted in July, she was accused of revealing details of the Allies' new weapon, the tank, resulting in the deaths of thousands of soldiers. She was convicted and sentenced to death, and on October 15 she refused a blindfold and was shot to death by a firing squad at Vincennes.

 

There is some evidence that Mata Hari acted as a German spy, and for a time as a double agent for the French, but the Germans had written her off as an ineffective agent whose pillow talk had produced little intelligence of value. Her military trial was riddled with bias and circumstantial evidence, and it is probable that French authorities trumped her up as "the greatest woman spy of the century" as a distraction for the huge losses the French army was suffering on the western front. Her only real crimes may have been an elaborate stage fallacy and a weakness for men in uniform.

 

 

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Oh boy Peter, we could argue over this for days :shake: There is also the famous story that at her execution she was wearing a fur coat, as the order to fire was given she opned the coat to reveal her nudity. lovely tale but no proof. Was she a spy? She certainly had German lovers but then so was her French handler!

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Oh boy Peter, we could argue over this for days :shake: There is also the famous story that at her execution she was wearing a fur coat, as the order to fire was given she opned the coat to reveal her nudity. lovely tale but no proof. Was she a spy? She certainly had German lovers but then so was her French handler!

 

 

 

 

I'd heard that story, as well;..................would be great to be able to substantuate it,.........one way or the other.

 

Would certainly be in keeping with her legend.

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Its supposed to be very healthy to exercise the brain. I suppose we come into the extreme end though. As you say look up a subject and get side tracked by the odd details for the rest of the night.

 

 

 

:cofee:............

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Its supposed to be very healthy to exercise the brain. I suppose we come into the extreme end though. As you say look up a subject and get side tracked by the odd details for the rest of the night.

 

 

Phew, and I thought it was just me going :banana: :banana: : :-D

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The shot in the nude story seems to have been started by the war artist, William, later sir, Orpen. Allegedly he witnessed the execution of Mata Hari as official war artist. Later he painted a picture of his model Eve and spun the story to up its price.

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The shot in the nude story seems to have been started by the war artist, William, later sir, Orpen. Allegedly he witnessed the execution of Mata Hari as official war artist. Later he painted a picture of his model Eve and spun the story to up its price.

 

 

 

Ahhh,...........still not had time to findgumf, i've got, (somewhere) on this :roll:

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