Publication Date

Spring 4-15-2024


College of Arts and Sciences


Social Sciences; Spanish


espionage, women, World War II, OSS, SOE, comparative analysis, women in intelligence


European History | Military History | Women's History | Women's Studies


In 1940, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill created the Special Operations Executive. The SOE was one of the first government agencies to recruit female spies. In 1941, United States President Franklin Roosevelt commissioned the Office of Strategic Services, which also employed women. The organizations approached the concept of female agents differently. The OSS maintained female staff in domestic offices, but employed foreign women as agents. The SOE recruited women to go abroad, as they were less suspicious than men in occupied territories. The study of female staff in the OSS and the SOE allow historians to understand roles of women in espionage and compare U.S. and British involvement in World War II.