Military History

Interview Tracking Agent Sonya

Ben Macintyre

By the end of World War II Ursula Burton was living an unassuming life in England’s rural Cotswolds—or so everyone thought. The married mother of three was actually Ursula Kuczynski, a colonel in the Soviet military and one of the most significant spies of World War II and the Cold War. Born a German Jew, she went by the code name Sonya and ran one of the 20th century’s most effective espionage rings. Her agents nearly assassinated Adolf Hitler and later stole secrets from the U.S. and Britain to enable Russia to detonate an atomic bomb in 1949. Agent Sonya: Moscow’s Most Daring Wartime Spy details the exploits of this professional spymaster and dedicated communist who changed history. A writer at large for The Times in London, Macintyre is the author of Operation Mincemeat and The Spy and the Traitor.

Ursula Kuczynski’s exploits remain largely unknown. Why?

One of the reasons we don’t know about her is because she was a woman. I think that played a huge part. Historians

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