Spies

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The practise of espionage was well known since ancient times. Even thou espionage has an extensive history, its flourishing years has not started since the early 20th century, and spying has not fired up to advance since World War I. One of he most famous spies, even thou just a fictional creation, is James Bond. The gender of spy novels dates back to 19th century and it had influenced shaping the British people pro war mood against Germany before World War I. The purpose of this essay is to determine if the British elites were deliberately promoting the public mind in favour of war against Germany by the use of spy novels, or have the British people shaped their own minds by keen interest in stories of espionage. This will be determined by examining the books Spies of Kaiser: Plotting the Downfall of England and The Invasion of 1910 with the full account of the siege of London by William Le Queux, Official Secret Act 1911, and few other sources in relation to this agenda. The essay supports that the public pro war mood was shaped by elite of Britain to gain more control, power and wealth.

Before going further into presenting arguments, analysis, and evidence, the important background information about the author of the key sources needs to be examined. William Le Queux was author in late 19th and early 20th century who established the genre of future war fiction and spy novels (Oxford DNB, 2006). His most influential works were ‘The invasion of 1910’ series, and Spies of Kaiser: Plotting the Downfall of England, which in a sense were responsible for the creation of Secret Service Bureau (ibid.). In his novels the hero was usually cosmopolitan, wealthy, adventurous, mysterious, and opportunist – all the qualities which he aspired in his own lifestyle due profits from his successful writings (ibid.). The following is a description of Ray Raymond they key hero in the Spies of Kaiser: Plotting the Downfall of England “…Ray Raymond, the pipe-smoking elder son of a wealthy English family, who is currently practising as a barrister in London, having completed his studies at Oxford University” (Queux, 1996). However in reference to Roger T. Stearn the author of his biography “Le Queux’s own accounts of his life are unreliable, and little is known definitely” (Oxford DNB, 2006.). Even thou in the introduction of his book Spies of Kaiser: Plotting the Downfall of England he claims that he writes facts, and the only fiction is the change of dates and names (Queux, 1996). In accordance to Le Queux own account he is well travelled and has good knowledge of police forces, criminology and is a spy hunter himself (Clarke, 1997). However Roger T. Stearn also claims that he was influential “Before and during the war, although criticized, Le Queux had been influential…” (Oxford DNB, 2006). In addition I. F. Clarke claims that Le Queux had friends among generals and even members of the parliament (Clarke, 1997). This information leads to suggest that the British elite could have used him as a tool to manipulate the publics’ view on Germany.

As it was mentioned before Le Queux had friends in the parliament, and indirectly and without sufficient evidence it is possible that his spy novels has helped to create the Official Secrets Act 1911. Briefly the act states that alleged spy can be accused, prosecuted and convicted without actually showing any evidence of espionage (Swarb, 2006). The novels of Le Queux was creating the illusion of the common reader that German spies are all around Britain, which led for public to demand stronger security, therefore the government took advantage of the momentum to pass this legislation, which acquired them more power and control. I. F. Clarke supports the idea that the spy stories were used to manipulate public opinion “…the tale of imaginary warfare provided a remarkable means of estimating the rate of change in European attitudes to war during the nineteenth century (Clarke, 1967). Even though...
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