Spy project


A valuable bibliography and commentary on the history of espionage

University of Michigan History of Espionage course

Bibliography An extensive list of useful readings and materials.

Useful Links

National Archives

British Public Record Office [Press for Catalogue Search]

University of Michigan’s Guide to U.S. Federal Government Historical Documents

Yale University’s Avalon Project

Lexis-Nexis Congressional (NU only)- Full text access to congressional hearings, reports, bills, legislative histories, etc. This includes the contents of Congressional Information Service.

U.S. Department of State on-line edition of Foreign Relations of the United States

Espionage History Links

University of Michigan’s On-Line Index to the documents of the National Security Agency

National Security Agency — contains links to two key collections: the VENONA archive of captured Soviets coded communications; and documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis.

National Security Archive

CIA–www.cia.gov allows full-text search a growing number of key Cold War era documents, including 896 declassified analyses/assessments of the Soviet Union, 1951-1991; 771 documents on the Bay of Pigs; 756 documents on US intervention in Guatemala; 179 documents on “Lt. Col. Oleg Penkovsky: Western Spy in Soviet GRU”; and 70 documents on “Francis Gary Powers: U-2 Pilot Shot Down by the Soviets.”

FBI’s Electronic Reading Room – Full-text Declassified facsimile files of the U.S. war on communism.

International Spy Museum

Useful Hints.

  1. Essay writing tips

Links to Work Unit


  1. Introduction to Espionage
  2. Walsingham, the first masterspy
  3. Babington decides to act
  4. Walsingham takes charge
  5. Walsingham’s wow moment
  6. Torture scene
  7. Essay‘Sir Francis Walsingham “broke the rules” during the Babington Plot.’

    Explain the extent to which you agree with this statement. (400 words.)

Wiki entry on Dethick Manor
View Larger Map

Wiki entry on Thomas Morgan

Wiki entry on Richard Topcliffe


  1. Walter Schellenberg, international man of mystery
  2. German intelligence mistakes

Pearl Harbor

  1. “What Really Happened at Pearl Harbor” (and link to stream of “Sacrifice at Pearl Harbor”).
  2. Wiki entry on the debate
  3. Dusko Popov’s vital mission
  4. Churchill and Pearl. Who got closest?
  5. Casey Exercise
  6. Collection of relevant transcripts, mainly Japanese
  7. Churchill and Roosevelt intercepted?
  8. Douglas, Gregory. Gestapo Chief: The 1948 Interrogation of Heinrich Müller. 3 vols. San Jose, CA: R. James Bender, 1995, 1997, 1998.

Clark comment: It is probably safe to assume that this work is at heart a fabrication, although how much of it comes from the whole cloth and how much from documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act is difficult to determine.

It is, thus, easy to be surprised that M.R.D. Foot, I&NS 12.2, gives Douglas’ work sufficient credibility to state: “If [this book is] true, it upsets many received ideas [including that Müller was killed in Berlin in April 1945]; if false, it helps to poison the wells of historical truth.” Douglas seems to play loosely (Foot writes of “carelessness”) with easily knowable facts. This habit “does not encourage belief” when the author provides what purports to be a transcript of a telephone conversation in which Churchill tells Roosevelt that a Japanese fleet is moving across the Pacific.

In a review of the second volume, Foot, I&NS 13.2, seems more willing to go beyond being merely skeptical. He states that the book “seems to have been written with internal American politics almost as much on its editor’s mind as the European atrocities it recounts — its tone is as passionately anti-Roosevelt as the previous volume’s was anti-Churchill; its bias denies it credence.”

Similar to Foot in his review of the first volume, Kruh, Cryptologia 21.4, seems overly solicitous to only advise that readers “proceed with caution because hard evidence is not available to verify every revelation.” Problem areas include the purported Churchill-Roosevelt telephone conversation, the claim that Hitler escaped from Berlin to Barcelona, and assertions that the deaths at Auschwitz numbered no more than 100,000 and were primarily due to typhus and other diseases. Kruh, Cryptologia 23.1, reviews volume three, again with only a brief notation that “hard evidence is not available to support many of Muller’s controversial assertions.”

Peake, Studies 48.1/102/fn13, comments that “[t]he documentary evidence he [Douglas] purports to have remains his secret. Th[e] facsimile documents he includes in his books are said by experts to be of his own making and cannot be found in the National Archives.”

See R. Mohan Srivastava, Phillip L. Kushner, and Thomas K. Kimmel, “A Diplomatics Analysis of a Document Purported to Prove Prior Knowledge of the the Attack on Pearl Harbor,” Intelligence and National Security 24, no. 4 (Aug. 2009): 586-611. The authors conclude that the purported Churchill-Roosevelt transcript in Gestapo Chief “is almost certainly a forgery, one likely produced by someone whose native language was English and not German.”

FBI Records

Golden Age of Espionage

  1. Wiki entry on the KGB
  2. Wiki entry on the CIA
  3. Rise of the United States security state
  4. Counterintelligence Center website
  5. Numbers Stations
  6. Nuclear Football
  7. Letter of Last Resort

Some famous cases of counter-espionage

  1. Kim Philby
  2. Donald Maclean
  3. John Cairncross
  4. Roger Hollis
  5. Klaus Fuchs
  6. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
  7. Vladimir Petrov / Petrov Affair /John Cain on Petrov and Venona /Excellent source on the Petrov Affair /Excellent narrative of the Petrov Affair / Evdokia Petrov, by Robert Manne
  8. Oleg Penkovsky
  9. Anatoli Golitsyn / Hostile review of Tennent Bagley, Spy Wars
  10. Lee Harvey Oswald / Doug Horne’s 1998 memo on Oswald’s W-2 forms / Detail on the possible motives for faking Oswald’s W-2 forms
  11. John Anthony Walker
  12. Aldrich Ames
  13. Robert Hanssen
  14. Yuri Nosenko / Hostile review of Tennent Bagley, Spy Wars / Questions about Nosenko’s bona fides
  15. Review of Tennent H. Bagley, SPY WARS. Moles, Mysteries, and Deadly Games “… In the panicky hours after John F. Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, United States intelligence discovered that Oswald had defected to the Soviet Union back in 1959 and then mysteriously reappeared at the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City in September 1963, only two months before he shot the president. Could Kennedy’s assassin have been a Soviet agent? Nosenko appeared to offer reassurance to the Americans that Oswald was not and had never been in the Communists’ employ — that the K.G.B. had, from the beginning, shown little interest in the addled former American marine…”
  16. Review of Mark Riebling, WEDGE The Secret War Between the FBI and CIA Mr. Riebling devotes much attention to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. His take is that “liaison problems” between the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. “contributed” to the Dallas tragedy, impeded the investigation and led to a “fight that precluded the truth from being inarguably known.” The author says that when the Warren Commission issued its conclusions on the murder in 1964, it concealed “indications of a Communist role” because of an interagency conflict over the bona fides of the Soviet defector Yuri Nosenko, who insisted that Moscow had nothing to do with the crime. The F.B.I. thought Mr. Nosenko was telling the truth; the C.I.A. was sure he was lying to protect Moscow. Mr. Riebling writes that the Warren Commission’s “obvious delinquencies and cover-ups would later lead conspiracy theorists to suspect Government complicity in the assassination.”
  17. Gordon Liddy
  18. The Church Committee
  19. CNN’s NSC Archive
  20. FBI Records

Australia and the Cold War

The Aarons family and ASIO

Transcript of PM story

The Aarons Family File (Hindsight Program).

The CIA in Australia (Five parts of an ABC Radio Program Transcript)

Petrov Affair

Vladimir Petrov / Petrov Affair /John Cain on Petrov and Venona /Excellent source on the Petrov Affair /Excellent narrative of the Petrov Affair / Evdokia Petrov, by Robert Manne

The Whitlam government and the CIA

Gaetano, Joe Ilardi, “The Whitlam Government’s 1973 Clash With Australian Intelligence”, International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Volume 14, Issue 1 January 2001 , pages 62 – 88

Attitude of the CIA to Lionel Murphy’s raid on ASIO Headquarters

Was Lionel Murphy a KGB agent?

Mother Jones, 1984

Detail on relationships between Whitlam and the CIA (nutty website, but good documents).


What spies think about spy novels

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover is seen in this 1972 black-and-white file photo. Hoover was instrumental in the Fuchs, Rosenberg, Oswald and Nosenko cases

High drama in Darwin. The Petrov Affair

Frank Cain, The Australian Security Intelligence Organization: an unofficial history

David McKnight on the relationship between ASIO and the Liberal-National Coalition

Description of Unit

In this Unit, students develop their knowledge of information. Espionage is the theft of information and the concealment of the fact of that theft. Counter espionage is the protection of information and the concealment of the effects of failure to protect it. Activities which develop comprehension, synthesis, critical analysis and empathy are supported by texts, library resources, enrichment materials, internet resources.



At the completion of the Unit students should be able to:

  • explain the development of espionage through time
  • explain the development of counter espionage through time
  • investigate popular myths about espionage
  • investigate how spy organisations worked
  • understand spy-craft

Levels of Achievement

Levels of achievement will be reported for the following assessment items:

  • contribution to class activities
  • comprehension of texts
  • document exercises
  • essays
  • projects/presentations using information technology
  • end of semester examination

Text Books

Class materials to be provided by the Department.

December Films Proposal


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