Analysis & Opinions - EGELSBERG IDEAS

Traitorous Blake Motivated by Cold War Convictions

| Jan. 15, 2021

George Blake, who died last month at the age of 98, was a Soviet double agent defined by his dangerous loyalty not to money, nor homeland, but to ideological principle.

The passing last month of the Soviet spy in MI6, George Blake, who died in Russia at the age of 98, brings an end to the era of ideologically driven Soviet espionage in the Cold War. Blake was the last remaining major agent who spied for the Soviet Union as a communist true believer — as opposed to selling Western secrets for money. Despite the media attention about Blake’s espionage since his death, a significant aspect of his case has been omitted from his obituaries and books about him: after his identification as a Soviet agent in 1961, MI6 seems to have been willing to offer Blake immunity from prosecution in return for a full, secret, confession. This never happened because, in the event, Blake voluntarily confessed — in fact he was proud of his service as a Soviet spy.

George Blake joined Britain’s foreign intelligence service, SIS, also known as MI6, in the Second World War after serving in the Royal Navy. After Russian language training at Cambridge after the war, he was posted by MI6 to Germany and then to Korea, where, just before the outbreak of war there in 1950, he was captured by North Korean forces. During his three-year captivity, he was recruited as a Soviet agent and given the KGB codename 'DIOMID'. Blake later claimed that it was witnessing American carpet bombing in Korea that convinced him to spy for the Soviet Union....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Walton, Calder and Christopher Andrew.“Traitorous Blake Motivated by Cold War Convictions.” EGELSBERG IDEAS, January 15, 2021.

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