Many battles and wars that shaped the history of the world have been ended not only by the efforts of leaders and heroes, but by spies as well.
Numerous spies were made to obtain information and secure victories, which many times proved successful. Because of the intelligence brought by the agents, many lives have been saved or lost and thus history has been shaped.
Below are the 25 betrayals that changed the course of history.
25. Revenge is sweet (Francisco Pizarro)
Pizarro held Emperor Atahualpa hostage after defeating an entire army with a limited number of men. He asked for gold and silver as a reward, but he strangled Atahualpa to death. In turn, Pizarro was executed by the son of one of his former military officers, Diego de Almagro, because his father was not recognized or rewarded for his efforts in Pizarro's victories.
24. Spy Satellite (Christopher John Boyce)
Boyce made some money along with his childhood friend, Andrew Daulton Lee, by selling information on spy satellites and other official documents to the Soviet Union. After being arrested in 1977, Boyce escaped in 1980 and began robbing banks. After being recaptured he was officially released in 2002 on bail.
23. One of the most famous traitors (Judas Iscariot)
For 30 silver coins, Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles, betrayed Christ by kissing him on the cheek to let the authorities know his identity. His act led to Jesus' death by crucifixion and made Judas the most notorious traitor in history.
22. Patriot and traitor (Simon Bolivar)
Bolivar, a military and political leader, is considered a traitor to one of Venezuela's greatest patriots, Francisco de Miranda. Simon Bolivar sent de Miranda back to Spain on suspicion of treason, and some say it was just to get a Spanish passport. Francisco died in prison a few years later.
21. La Malinche (Doña Marina)
Perhaps one of the most cursed women in the Hispanic world, Dona Marina is known as the traitor who betrayed her people to the Spanish conquerors. A former slave and translator for Hernando Cortes, the conqueror of New Spain (now known as Mexico), Marina played an important role in changing the course of history with her ability to translate the Aztec language into the Mayan language. This betrayal proved to be decisive for Cortes to conquer the New World.
20. The First Black Double Agent (James Armistead)
Armistead was an African-American slave who became a double agent for the United States in 1781. He pretended to be a British spy and gained the trust of Generals Arnold and Corneallis only to gather information about British plans for and establishment of weapons and troops and passed the information to American spies. His espionage greatly helped the Americans secure victory during the Battle of Yorktown.
19. Napoleon's Dog (Karl Schulmeister)
A businessman, trafficker, and then a double agent, Schulmeister started out as a spy for the Austrian Empire but later turned out to be a spy for France. The information he gathered as a double agent led to the capture of the Duke of Enghien and Napoleon's victory at the Battle of Austerlitz. He also spied in England and Ireland for Napoleon, but ended up as a tobacconist when Napoleon's reign came to an end.
18. The Spy of Four Nations (Sidney Reilly)
Known as the "Ace of Spies", Reilly spied for at least four countries and worked for Scotland Yard, the British Secret Service and the Secret Intelligence Service. He was responsible for numerous achievements such as the surprise attack on Port Arthur, a crash of a German plane and the theft of German weapons plans among others. His loyalties ranged among countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Russia.
17. "FatBoy" Explosion (Theodore Hall)
Hall was responsible for developing the first and second atomic bombs during World War II for the United States. But Americans did not know that this science genius was actually an atomic spy for the Soviet Union. After his efforts on the Manhattan Project, he provided a detailed description of the "Fat Boy" Platoon bomb and some tactics to clear Platoon for the Soviets. He then confessed about his spies to the FBI.
16. The Double Agent (William Sebold)
Thought to be a German spy during World War II, Sebold was actually a double agent for the United States and worked for the FBI. Because of him, the FBI was able to wire the radio station, which was a major channel of communication in New York, making it possible for the US to identify dozens of names of German spies spread across America. His counterintelligence also led to the capture of 33 German agents who ended up with convictions. This was the largest espionage case in the US and was called the "Duquesne" case.
15. The charming spy (Fritz Joubert Duquesne)
Duquesne is one of the prominent members of the Duquesne case spies in the United States. He was a German spy who passed considerable amounts of information about armaments and ship movements to Germany and was responsible for numerous murders and arson. One of his greatest achievements as a spy was the sinking of HMS Hampshire in 1916.
14. The Dutch professor turned spy (Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje)
Snouck was one of the first Western scholars to penetrate Islamic culture and join the pilgrimage to Mecca, enabling him to collect information under the name "Hajji Abdul Ghaffar". However, he used his knowledge of Islamic culture to quell Muslim resistance in the Dutch East Indies. Because of his espionage, the Dutch were able to strategize to suppress the resistance and impose a Dutch colonial rule in Aceh that resulted in nearly 100,000 deaths.
13. Sleeping with the enemy (Vidkun Quisling)
Before his treason against his country, Quisling served as the Norwegian Minister of Defense. He founded Nasjonal Samling, which was made a puppet government by the Nazis when they invaded Norway in 1940. He was responsible for a large number of murders for Germany during this time. When Germany surrendered in 1945, he was executed for high treason.
12. A Change of Wings (Wang Jingwei)
This Chinese politician was originally a member of the left-wing anti-communist Kuomintang and became extremely right-wing after his political efforts with the CPP failed. When the Japanese invaded China in 1937, he was offered a position, which he gladly accepted, as head of state of the Japanese puppet government until he died.
11. Due to unknown efforts (Benedict Arnold)
Arnold was an American general during the American Revolutionary War who contributed immeasurably to American success during numerous battles. However, other officers said he sold West Point to the British. After his plan was discovered in 1780, Arnold fled and became a general in the British army.
10. Catholic Treason (Guy Fawkes)
Contributing to "one of the greatest acts of treason in English history", Fawkes was a member of the group of English Catholics who launched the failed treasonous plot, the Gunpowder Plot in 1605. He joined against the Protestant Dutch and fought for the Spanish in The Low Countries during the 80 Years War. He was part of the plot to assassinate King James with 36 barrels of gunpowder, but was discovered by the authorities, who sentenced him to be hanged.
9. The Greek Traitor (Ephialtes)
Ephialtes became infamous in Greece after he betrayed his country to the Persians in 480 BC. During the battle of Thermopylae, he led the Persian army on a route that gave him access to surprise the Spartans, hoping for a reward from the Persian leader, Xerxes. However, he did not reap a reward. He was later assassinated and his name became synonymous with treason.
8. The world revolves around money (Robert Hanssen)
Hanssen was a former FBI agent who willingly approached the GRU, the Soviet military intelligence agency, and offered his services for money. He sold most of the CIA's information and assets to Russia over 22 years in exchange for more than 1.4 million US dollars and diamonds. His betrayal was described as "perhaps the worst intelligence disaster in US history", and earned him a life sentence.
7. Expenditure beyond income (Aldrich Ames)
Ames was a former CIA officer and analyst before he was convicted of spying for the former Soviet Union in 1994. His access to military intelligence, CIA assets and the names of US agents led to he sold the information to the Russian government, which afforded him and his wife a life of luxury.
6. The traitor of the true faith (Mir Jafar)
Mir Jafar's betrayal of his country was fueled by his intense desire to claim the throne in Bengal. Due to his ambition, he joined the British forces during the Battle of Plassey between East India and Indian Forces. Jafar was the head of the Bengali army during that time but the British forces were victorious. Jafar became king of Bengal in 1763 and ruled until his death.
5. Partners in Crime (Julius and Ethel Rosenberg)
The Rosenbergs were a married couple who were sentenced to death for espionage during the height of the Cold War. They sold information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union and also recruited spies for the Russians. After being caught by the FBI, their co-conspirators confessed to espionage and the pair were sentenced to death in 1953.
4. Here, Brute? (Marcus Brutus)
It is considered one of the greatest betrayals in history, the action of Brutus against the dictator of that time, Julius Caesar. Although his wife opposed his betrayal, he joined the Roman senators who brutally murdered Caesar during the height of the revolt against his tyranny. Brutus was the adopted son of Julius Caesar, who was his uncle.
3. Three Countries, One Man (Harold Cole)
Paul Cole was a British deputy commander during the end of World War II who helped build the French Resistance, but eventually sold it out to Nazi Germany's secret police, the Gestapo. He played an important role in damaging the Allied forces. When the war ended, both the French and British governments were after him, so many people wanted to capture him. He was shot dead by a French policeman in 1946.
2. Traitor of Austria (Redl)
Responsible for the death of half a million of his countrymen, the Austrian officer Redl was able to work as a spy for the Russian army during the First World War. In addition to leaking secrets about the Austrian military, he also sold Austria's plan to invade Serbia to Russia. The latter showed the plan to Serbia. His double game was finally interrupted when he committed suicide after the Austrian police discovered his espionage.
1. US Navy Spy (John Walker)
Walker was able to pull off the biggest treason in naval history for 20 years before he was finally arrested by the FBI in 1985. His arrest came about thanks to his wife reporting him to the FBI after the divorce. of them when he refused to pay her spousal support. His espionage severely damaged the navy and allowed the Soviet Union to gain significant access to naval warfare.