Have you ever heard the Mission Impossible theme song? Almost everyone has pretended to be either James Bond or Jason Bourne when this certain theme comes on; it is used for almost any modern spy themed motion picture… but did you know that spies have been a commonality even during the Cold War? Yes, it’s true! There were a lot of spies during the Cold War, and many people didn’t even know about them. Did you ever pretend to be a spy when you were young? I’m sure most of you have and you probably remember sneaking up behind people trying to take something without them seeing. Imagine being able to do this everyday for your job. This is what an American did for the Soviet Union, ever heard the name Alger Hiss? Well you should because he was a spy during this time. There were many spies who worked for different countries during the Cold War. Alger Hiss was one of the most important spies during this time because he was a very reliable source, and had one of the most famous trials.
World War II just ended in 1945, and there was high tension between the United States and Soviet Union. The United States did not like the leader of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, at this time. The United States did not like him because of the way he ran his country and he did not like the way we ran ours. The United States and Soviet Union then started in this “arms race.” The
“arms race” was what it sounds like. The United States and Soviet Union got into a big race on who could produce and detonate the most bombs. If the Soviet Union made an atom bomb then the United States would make an even stronger atom bomb to show that we have more power than them. It turned into this race to see who could produce the most bombs. At any minute we could send our bombs to them, and they could send their bombs our way. This resulted in many Americans being scared everyday because they never knew when the day would come that bombs would be sent over to kill everyone. It finally ended when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and Iron Curtain started to fade away.
Alger Hiss was just one of many men who worked as a spy for the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Hiss was born on November 11, 1904 in Baltimore, Maryland. He was a good student and even got a scholarship to go and study at Johns Hopkins University. After graduating from Johns Hopkins he then got another scholarship to Harvard Law. After studying at Harvard he then got a job with the State Department. He worked with the United Nations. He then took a job with the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. This did not last long because by this time Hiss was convicted for espionage. This did not look good for him especially because he just took on a new job. He was put on trial for being a spy, but they could not convict him of anything and the judge liked him so much that they became friends after the whole thing. They convicted him of being a communist spy and he convinced the judge that he was not, so they let him go.
Alger Hiss was caught for being a communist spy. Still, some people did not believe he was telling the truth and so they
started to investigate more into him. They found out that if he was a spy he would have to somehow get the information to the other people. Therefore there must be a meeting spot for them where they can plant the information. In one of the most popular trials they found a pumpkin patch. In this pumpkin patch there was a pumpkin that was already hollowed out and something inside of it. The pumpkin contained two rolls of undeveloped film. This was when they knew for a fact that Hiss was a spy for the Soviet Union. They then held a trial for Hiss where he was convicted of being a spy. Alger Hiss was put into jail for 3 years and 8 months. He was accused for lying to a grand jury by saying he wasn’t a Soviet Union Spy when he really was.
During the time of the Cold War Alger Hiss was one of the best spies. He was a very good student and even good person but had something to him that some people didn’t trust about him. This lead to a series of trials. The first trial he got off the hook, but then they found the “Pumpkin Papers” and that changed the mind of the jury right away. They went from being friends with him to putting him in jail for almost 4 years. Alger Hiss was one of the most well known spies during the time of the Cold War. If you are a spy nowadays it is best to keep a low profile and know who you are working with and for. If we believe that spies are a good thing then the government will have to fund them. This then develops the question that we could be wasting our money on spies. Should the government have spies? Some think yes and others think no. It all depends on what the government believes. If they think spies are good then the citizens of America are going to have to start paying for spies among all the stuff we already have to pay for.
Article by Deanna Frack & Video by Kaitlyn Vannucci
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