Historic Royal Palaces - Podcast - Curious Connections: Spies and Us

Historic Royal Palaces - Podcast
Historic Royal Palaces - Podcast - Curious Connections: Spies & Us

Taped - 14 October 2014
Original Air Date -30 October 2014
Series - Curious Connections

Duration - 59:12 minutes

Producer - Historic Royal Palaces
Clip available here

Sally Dixon-Smith - Tower Collections Curator, Historic Royal Palaces
Richard J. Aldrich - Professor of International Security
Charlie Beckett - Director of London School of Economics Journalism Think Tank

"From the 11 spies executed at the Tower of London in 1914, to spying in today's digital age, espionage has long been an intriguing practice.
Hear Tower Collections Curator Sally Dixon-Smith and professor of international security Richard J Aldrich discuss spying techniques, digital intelligence and our own personal data during this talk recorded at the Tower of London.
This podcast is part of our Curious Connections series, which looks at contemporary issues through stories from our palaces’ past."

I have to say I rather enjoyed this podcast. Richard Aldrich brought up some fascinating aspects of espionage and privacy in the digital era. Aspects of science fiction are rapidly becoming science fact.

Sally Dixon Smith made a very interesting point regarding the WWI spies. This year, 2014, marks the centenary since the execution of the first WWI spy, Carl Hans Lody. Sally noted that centenaries are when things become history. People are generally more comfortable discussing and thinking about these things because they have passed outside living memory. It would explain why the circumstances surrounding the execution of WWII spy, Josef Jakobs are still a bit of a touchy subject.

Sally had clearly researched the WWI spies and was able to answer several of the questions that were put to the presenters from the audience. She was a little more hesitant when it came to questions around WWII, primarily because she hasn't looked into that era.

One person had asked why so many spies were shot during WWI and only one (Josef Jakobs) during WWII. While most of the WWI spies were tried by military court-martial, Josef Jakobs was the only spy during WWII to be tried by military court-martial. The reason for this was that under the Treachery Act, neutral aliens and British citizens were to be tried in a civilian court. Only enemy aliens could be tried by court martial (if the Attorney General agreed). Thus, Josef Jakobs, a German national became the only person to be executed by a military firing squad during WWII. All of the others were tried by civilian courts because they were neutral aliens, British citizens or were accomplices of such. Convicted in a civilian court, the men were executed by civilian methods (hanged).

Review Score
4.5 out of 5 - enjoyable and informative podcast


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