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tv   Codename Cynthia  CSPAN  April 19, 2015 12:50pm-2:01pm EDT

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history tv. 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter for information on our upcoming programs and to keep up with the latest history news. >> up next on american history tv natalie zanin tells the story of an american war and board woman who became a spy. name cynthia she gave valuable information during wars. and one mission, she gave secret codes. from the international spy museum, this is about one hour. >> i am the executive director
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of the spy museum. i delighted to have you here for what will be an interesting program. this happened in most of our lifetimes and, it will, i think resonate with you quite a bit. ours weaker this morning is natalie zanin. we have worked with her before. she is a writer and producer of educational toys and washington. she developed some herbs cells -- develop some herself and does children's museums. she is codeveloper of what is our tour, thise spy museum of the sea, is that interest you, it can certainly be booked. she has been featured in a number of local outlets the
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post, the times. she has been on the history channel, and a number of others. she has been director of the silver spring inclusive theater. she has spent a lot of of time on this particular case, which i was discussing with her this morning. natalie, we are very glad to have you here. please help me welcome natalie zanin. [applause] natalie: that was a wonderful introduction. thank you, peter. good morning. i'm going to be talking to you about cynthia or code name cynthia. this is a very interesting woman. i call her a most unusual woman but i find that she livesd a very exciting life. when i did some research on her, i kept thinking of it in terms
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of a screenplay, so i started writing one. [laughter] how do you build a spy? how do you create a spy? if you were to go into a laborde tory -- laboratory and put in ingredients, you couldn't come up with a much better one t han cynthia. all of the elements are there. early in life, she was born amy elizabeth thorpe in minneapolis, minnesota. she said that she was of irish and scandinavian heritage on her father's side and mixed french and the variant on her mother's side. as a child amy had a relative named aunt amy, and so to avoid confusion the family started to call her elizabeth and the betty.
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that he -- betty stuck. her father served in the spanish-american war with distinction. her mother was the daughter of a senator, and educated woman. she didn't mix well with the rest of many minneapolis society i think she thought that she was above them. she studied at columbia, the sorbonne, and the bursting of munich. she was often referred to as little betty as cold and aloof. in fact, it was difficult for cora to display affection to her family. when i picture her now, i picture a cross between margaret dumont of the marx brother films and a character from downton abbey. it is 1910.
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george is station and in maine. the family will live here until 1914. betty has siblings born in 1912 and in 1914, both born in maine. she liked being outside, to run through the maine woods. she said that she felt she was built around aloneness, that that was most comfortable for her. from the age of four, she would hide among the plane trees -- pine trees, look up at the sky here the water nearby, and stay there for hours and hours sometimes all day into the evening. it the family, in the beginning, got worried, and would look for her, and after a while would
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alert the police. the police knew the woods, knew where she would hide, go out and find her. betty would spend her days in the woods, which didn't seem to bother cora, but it was a different time. betty never really had a best friend, never really confided in anyone. her father was often away. there she was with cora and her siblings. cora again unable to really help the children or tell them that she loved them, didn't seem comfortable at all with the children. betty sought escape. in 1914, betty and her siblings lived with cora in rhode island. george was station in rhode island. invented 60, they moved to washington dc. washington dc was a social world for the thorpes.
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the children, i think, liked it here a lot. betty looks back on this time with fondness. in 1916, george is posted to cuba. cora decides that she will pack up the family and follow him. when she arrives, she finds that he has been shipped to south america. she decides to stay in cuba where she stays until 1990, george began south america. i guess that worked well for cora. eventually, she took the children to florida to wait for george. they return to washington dc. betty begins keeping a diary of her day-to-day activity. it reads like this, went to the library of congress, it is all
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marvel. they move in social circles in washington again parties, one for president coolidge and his wife. betty notices that manners can be useful and good manners are actually rather useful to hide behind, a skill that will serve her later in life. betty now seeks excitement. she is bored. any kind of excitement, even fear. she wrote, i remember when we were very gone, i always ran past the finish line and ran until i dropped, until my endurance ran out, i just couldn't stop for that. my brother george would go mad say, you are crazy, why don't
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you stop? that he couldn't stop -- betty couldn't stop. now it is 1921, george's posted to hawaii. the thorpe's begin to write magazine articles while they are in hawaii. cora writes a book of stories of pacific island folktales that is well-received. betty decides to start writing herself. she pens an article about her family background. she calls it "days by gone." it is not really a family history, but more about a ball that george attended. she is only about nine or 10 at this point. the she decides to write a more detailed story about a character
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named george hires an illustrator and he has it printed. it is a beautiful tale of a girl living on the streets of naples with her blind father. poor theoretta. when her father becomes ill, she sings in the streets to earn bread. an imprecise overhears the lovely voice -- an impressario overhears the lovely voice, and she is made a famous soprano. it is a great little story. this slide you see is a photo of betty taken to illustrate theoretta. "the sun had not yet cast its sunset robe over naples but it was sinking fast behind that ancient piece of beauty which nature had so thoughtfully bestowed upon the earth." it is great stuff for an 11-year-old. it is good. betty is already becoming a beautiful girl.
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the book, which is printed only for family and friends, finds its way to washington. in 1923, betty's family comes to washington. george is retired. they are making a grand tour of europe and when they tour, betty studies french at the institution above lake geneva. betty is bored at school. she chafes at the routine. she gets into several dustups with the principals over her rebelliousness. she is said to be a bad influence on the other students. her french was flawless. points to her for that. she spent the next few years at private schools. she preferred solitude. she had a careless disregard for conventions and rules and is asked to leave one of the
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schools. she is a blonde and beautiful girl. she is coming into her looks now. she writes in her diary "my looks are better than i had hoped. god was kind in that, at least." i have to agree. i think she is stunning. the thorpes are summering in rhode island. they attend parties and a host parties at their summer home. it is at one of these google gatherings that betty meets a handsome young man of 21. his family is out of the social register. -- is part of the social register. she will never name and in her diaries. i cannot give you his name for i do not know it and i have looked. she is smitten by this young man.
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she wrote, "i imagine myself in love with him. we were both lonely and met only twice before the love affair was over." she was only 14. she claimed she was a seduced by her amour, but she also wrote, "life is but a stage upon which to play. one's role is to pretend and always hide one's true feelings." now she has a secret she cannot even share with her diary. thus the spy is being created. what does a spy do? hold secrets, pass them on to their handlers. keep up a false front, never reveal your true feelings. mission comes above yourself. this is a good training ground for her. the family returns to washington from the summer home. george establishes a firm specializing in maritime cases. betty becomes well-known. not only is she stunning but she
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is a charming girl. she has learned how to flirt. her little private book about the lonely and lovely-voiced girl from naples has been read by diplomats and the italian embassy. they adore her. they make a fuss over her. the italian naval attache, in his 40's then, is especially intrigued and calls her his golden girl. they may have been only friends. i cannot find if they were lovers. but she revels in the attention from this charming italian. one day, she is sunning beside a pool in washington. she catches the eye of arthur pack. he apparently never got over that first glance. he was a commercial secretary at the embassy. she also flirts with a handsome spaniard at a country club. just a moment as they gaze at
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each other while watching a tennis match. it sparks something in betty. as he left the club, the spaniard bowed dramatically. as we know, sometimes that is all it takes. gentlemen, take note. she begins to write in her diary that this young man, this mysterious spaniard, is her true love. all of the restlessness she felt before she pours into feelings for this man she has really only spoken with once. and barely spoken with at that. it is interesting. she is going to be presented to society. this is an important part. she has to make a good presentation. the year is 1929. she will be primed. by thorpe standards, this meant
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the right kind of husband. betty has an affair with a man she does not name in her diary over the christmas holiday in 1929. then, she goes to tea at her parents' home. she meets arthur pack again. he remembers that first glance he had ever at the swimming pool. she writes in her diary -- and i wonder if this was written to arthur or the affair she had with the unnamed man. she writes, "i think i cannot understand the depth of wanting unfulfilled desire and hating you to touch my hand when embers die where once there was a fire." now there is a party where arthur and betty are houseguests in 1929.
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he walks into his room late at night, tired, just wants to sleep. he turns on the light and finds betty in his bed, naked. he told his friend he was surprised to find her there. [laughter] i'll bet he was. they were married april 29 1930. this was a good marriage by cora's standards. he is from the british embassy in and outstanding. at the wedding, betty was four months pregnant. was this arthur's or the child of the unnamed man she had the affair with?
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when arthur finds out that she is pregnant and she kept it from him as long as she could, he is furious. and he is terrified. this is 1930. a man whose young wife is pregnant at the wedding could derail his career. like something out of "downton abbey," arthur insists betty try to lose the child. this is in betty's words. she wrote later that arthur insisted she ride on horseback very fast and jump off of stairs, run until she was exhausted. i find this a bit incongruous with betty's nature, however. i think this might be her looking back. betty was a very strong person and i cannot imagine her attempt to lose a child.
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when she sees her doctor, he says ,"you will lose your child and you will die. you must take care of yourself." that is the end of it. she goes forward, has the baby. arthur insists no announcement will be made of little anthony george's birth. none. in fact, they will not raise the child. a family will be found. they place a notice. a family is found. in the village of shropshire. they will raise the child. betty is never to see him again. arthur will not speak of the child. he will not visit the child. betty is heartsick over this. he insists this is the way it'll be.
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she makes visits to see the child. she tries to observe him from a distance. she later visits the family. i'm not sure what little tony thought of her as he was growing up, this beautiful woman who came and played with him sometimes, brought him gifts. arthur takes no interest at all. at one point, the little boy wants to have a toy gun. betty tells arthur this that she will send him a toy gun. this is the only time arthur speaks about the child. "no. absolutely not." betty writes to the child and says sorry, she cannot send him the gift he wants. now, she has another secret to keep. she is becoming an expert at keeping secrets. no one knows the inner turmoil over her heartbreaking loss of the beautiful little boy.
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arthur is now transferred to chile. betty embraces the tropics. she traveled there with her family when she was younger. she is grieving over the loss of little tony. she can throw herself into the social world. she is so angry with arthur. this is a secret she has to keep deep within herself. she is so angry with him over the loss of her child that she decides anything goes at this point. what can he possibly due to her at this point? she learns to play polo, speak spanish, she meets a handsome chilean named alfredo. they have an affair. it does not last long. she is out with friends and sees alfredo with a woman. later, she confronts him. "oh, this is my official
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mistress. oops." "your official mistress? all right, we are done." she is done with him. he has an official mistress? no, no. she feels betrayed by him. she threw herself so much into the affair. you see in her writings that she really is pouring out her love for the little boy. it is at this point she becomes pregnant by arthur. a little girl named denise in 1934. she loves denise.
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she is swept up in the political turmoil. a right-wing, catholic government is in power. the country is heading towards national revolution. betty feels unleashed. she feels the freedom to do what she pleases. she is officially mrs. arthur j pack. this is her photo from the presentation to the queen. she is dolled up to be presented. she is at a club one day in spain and sees a face she recognizes. he is a handsome spaniard. he is the same handsome spaniard from her childhood that she met
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so many years ago at that tennis match in washington. she calls him antonio in her diaries, but in fact, he is senor carlos. they run into each other while she is with arthur. this is the man she loved for years and is now meeting him officially with her husband. she jokes in front of arthur "this is someone i had a crush on when i was younger." carlos responds, "we were terribly young and i'm sure you have forgotten about me." but she has not. they begin an affair. carlos is married. arthur is busy with work. at this point, betty does something rather interesting.
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she decides to become a catholic. she says it is to please arthur. carlos is catholic so i have a feeling that might have pushed her in that direction. the embassy counselor encourages her to seek the counsel of a young priest to further her studies. the priest and betty meet. they have appropriate meetings. they converse daily about catholicism. it is during this point that betty and the counselor have to take an elevator to a meeting. he asks how her studies are going. she says it is going well. then, the elevator stops. there were frequent strikes in spain. one day, she tried to light a cigarette. the match would not strike and she turned to her friend and
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said, "this is the only thing that won't strike in spain." he says, "i will use that in my newspaper." she and sir george are in the lift and it is stuck between floors. these are the days when there was no telephone in an elevator, of course. hours and hours go by. after a while, arthur notices betty has not come home. he goes to the place he knows the meeting will take place, sees the elevator is stuck arranges to have someone open the top of the elevator. sir george is not able to make the climb and spent the rest of the night in the elevator. betty goes on to meet with her young priest again. she notes he is handsome.
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one day, he request that she meet him in another part of town. this is not suspicious to betty because priests are in great danger in spain at this time. priests have been arrested. it is understandable he is looking for what she thinks is a safer place to meet. she arrives and realizes it is a part of town where people meet for secret lovers meetings and now she is a bit suspicious. she climbs the stairs to the room. when she arrives to the apartment, he is out of habit. he is really out of habit. [laughter] but betty falls into old habits. he confesses he has fallen in love with her. they fall into bed but it is a mild affair. she is still in love with carlos. she does not have an issue continuing an affair with the priest with the affair with
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carlos. the priest will leave the priesthood and wants to marry her. this is more complicated then she would wish. "you should stay a priest. i cannot leave my husband." any excuse she can use. the priest does not care. he is arrested. she does what she can to have him released from prison. she feels badly. this is a good out for betty because she encourages him to leave the area, leave spain for his own safety. now she is done with this entanglement. war is eminent in spain. carlos, her lover, his wife comes to see betty one day.
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carlos has been arrested. he is in prison, they don't know where. his wife is hysterical, can't betty help her? i don't think his wife knew at this point that she was having an affair with carlos. betty does try to find him through her efforts. she is accused of espionage through these efforts by the generals military headquarters. she is not a spy at this point but this is the first time she is accused of espionage. she meets a man at the chancery in valencia. he is a very charming british man. he is very sympathetic to betty's plea to find carlos. she uses her charm on him. it works.
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they had a great encounter. betty was surprised by this encounter. she went to meet john and she thought they would discuss finding carlos. he suddenly grabbed her, threw her on the bed, and they made love. betty was surprised but, you know -- [laughter] apparently, fine. he tells her he is madly in love with her. he does not care about his career. he wants only to be with betty. she has to work hard to convince him this affair is a mistake. he is in love with her. she goes to see arthur. he admits to her that he has had an affair. wife of a junior colleague. he wants to marry this woman he calls maude.
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i could not find out her real name. no one noted it. now, it is 1937. arthur is being posted to war. -- to warsaw. john tried to follow betty and was told he could not under any circumstances by the british embassy -- arthur was furious when he found out that john meant to be with betty forever. arthur is strained, stressed. he is madly in love with maude. the stress over the affair, his marriage with betty unraveling he collapses. he continues working and collapses again. betty decides to wholeheartedly nurse him back to health. she cannot leave him now.
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she will make sure he gets well. she sends him to england to recover and she returns. she refers to herself as a grass widow. she meets a young polish diplomat. they have an affair. [laughter] i know. they also discussed the german occupation of austria. they would drive to the banks of the river, sunbathe naked, make love alfresco, and discuss. [laughter] this is true. edward tells betty many things. "i love you, my darling. hitler intends to invade czechoslovakia." during the golf game, she tells
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jack what edward has told her about hitler's plans. i don't think she told him about the alfresco lunches on the banks of the river but she says, i heard this. jack says, he is associated with the secret intelligence service. this news will be helpful to them. by march, 1938, she is actively gathering information. they encourage her to use her romance with edward to get more information. london instructs jack shelley to recruit her formally as an agent. they believe her charm will work well. she meets the colonel general in poland.
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soon, he is chatting freely about contacts in berlin and his daily, secret communications with the polish foreign office. ah, betty. she is practically the only agent in poland providing intelligence. she notes it is easy to make highly trained her fashionably closed-mouthed patriots give away secrets in bed. she has the magnetism. she is producing information. she gives details on the polish crypto-analysis unit. she leaves for england and finds arthur recovered. he is going to chile. she wants to go back to poland.
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she writes that she is in love with michael. she wants to be with him. in fact, not only that, she wants to continue working for sis. she loved doing this kind of work. it brings back the feeling she had a childhood of running until she was exhausted. she cannot go back to warsaw. her affair has made her a person of discussion there. she cannot return. she goes to chile with arthur. she wants to go back to sis. she decides she is kind of done with being a wife and mother. she leaves arthur and denise. she visits her mother in
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washington and learns a mr. howard is attempting to reach her. she meets with this man in new york city. he calls himself john howard. mr. howard is a frequent alias in sis. when she meets with him in new york, he tells her she can be useful for them. he suggested she take a house or apartment in washington. he gives her a codename that will come directly from william stephenson, british secret intelligence. "cynthia." she likes it. it suits her. he said she wanted to go to washington and rent a house.
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i think he preferred it would be an apartment, but a house is fine. a secluded street, not a lot of traffic. this house will be useful to betty. she is requested by mr. howard to contact alberto. she hears this name and says, i have known him since i was a child. he called me his golden girl. he is now the italian naval atache. betty calls them at the embassy. she says, it is your golden girl, alberto. he says, oh, i cannot talk to you now. later, she gets a call at the house. he says, yes i would like to see
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you, i do remember you. he comes to the house. they have an affair. the affair consists mainly of them drinking fine, red wine talking. betty undressing. alberto lying next to her. the talk is what he mainly desires. betty responds. cynthia is a good listener. now she knows this is what he needs, just to talk. he needs to talk to a sympathetic, beautiful woman. that is fine with her. she asks him for something special. "can you get something for me?" i'm sure he is thinking, diamonds, chocolates, flowers. "no, i would like the italian naval ciphers."
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"no, no. i cannot get those for you." "if you really think of me as her golden girl..." he gives her the name of a man. he is in love with her. she contacts the man and arranges for him to be paid for the naval codebooks to be copied and returned. at this point, she notices men sitting in a car outside the little house in georgetown. someone is watching her. someone notices that foreign visitors are coming to the house.
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i am sure they can imagine what is going on inside. at one point, alberto says that the italians plan to scuttle their ships in harbors in the u.s. and blow them up. betty passes this information on and some of these plans are thwarted. the fbi will be an issue for betty. hoover writes " it is believed a discreet inquiry of miss pack may produce viable information." betty is asked to penetrate an embassy in washington and obtained the cipher codes. they will rely on her to use her usual methods.
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betty has come up with a cover. she is going to pose as a freelance writer, contact the embassy. she looks at the embassy directory, picks out a name, a captain. she calls, asks to speak with him, gets a lower ranked person who says "no." he does not grant interviews. she says, i want to interview him, i'm a journalist. "no. you will not speak to bruce. he cannot arrange anything like that." this is perfect for betty. she waits an hour and calls again. this time, she gets the captain on the phone. she does a little flirting with him and says, i would like to
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interview you but i understand that is not something you are able to do. he says, of course i can. absolutely. she gets the interview, has a two-hour interview. she meets. she chose her outfit very carefully. she wore a green dress to match her eyes. she used all of her flirting skills. interestingly, she seems more interested in the adache than the ambassador. -- the attache than the ambassador. once betty has turned that gays on you, it's hard to escape that magnetic pole -- turned that gaze on you, it's hard to escape that magnetic pull. she receives roses at her georgetown home. not only roses, but he shows up
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the next afternoon. as he walks into her home, he swoops her in his arms and carries her upstairs. she protests mildly. "oh, what are you doing?" they make love in her bedroom and she becomes his mistress. there is an anti-british sentiment among the french and she knows that will not be effective if she lets on. the captain started working at the embassy in 1940 but served in the french air force in world war i, worked with the anglo-french intelligence in world war ii.
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he had a newspaper string in france before she came to the embassy. what is happening now, it is officially the french state. vichy france. it is based in a small city in france but paris remains the official capital. vichy only controls the unoccupied zone in southern france. germany now occupies northern france and the regime posts this embassy to washington. first, the u.s. was not sure if they should recognize this regime. but they decide to do so. they are in a house on wyoming avenue.
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that he is asked to establish arranged -- a relationship. it is a good working relationship. he doesn't know she works british intelligence. eventually, she tells him she is helping the americans. that sort of appeals to him. there is a problem now. remember, the fbi is watching her. they could unravel everything. what if they came to the house? they do. one day, when she was making love to alberto, the fbi knocked on the door. -- they are now -- they are now in a house on wyoming avenue.
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she had to let him out and upstairs window. he climbed onto the garage roof. he is hanging onto the roof and drops to the ground. betty is worried about this happening again. she does not want this to happen to the captain. she will make a move. a more discreet location. a hotel on connecticut avenue. this is perfec it would have been better if she had started here because it has multiple entrances. they are meeting at the hotel, making love. "i must have the naval ciphers." "i am not able to get into the code room." "please!" this is the way we shall handle it. i will get into the code room. ok.
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a plan is set afoot. her contact is mr. huntington. she knows him as mr. hunter. he's going to organize this. it is not just going to be betty and the captain who will go into the french embassy to get the naval codes. a gentleman called the georgia cracker will assist them. i love that name. he is a canadian, actually. i am not sure how close he ever got to georgia. he will open a safe, remove the codebooks. they will take them to a room they have set up at the hotel. betty was at the hotel one day
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and knock on the door. "exterminator." she thinks it is the ei. a man says he is here to check -- "box." he goes over the room with a fine tooth comb. they set up a safe room in another apartment. this is where the codebooks will be opened, photographed, and dusted for fingerprints. then, returned to the embassy. this is the plan. the problem is at the embassy, there is a nightwatchman with a large guard dog. the captain, betty's appeal to his strong, french sentiments -- "you will help france."
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he says he will work late and his girlfriend will join him. he tells the security guard, "can you look the other way? i am married and this is my girlfriend and this is the only place we can meet." the guard accepts that. for a few weeks, the captain and his girlfriend spend time on a sofa in his office. they keep up the fiction they are having this affair at the office. but it works. the guard is used to them. the dog is now used to them. cynthia is worried about the guard dog but she feels all right.
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it is the date of the break in. cynthia and the captain arrive at the embassy. the oss safe man is going to be let in through a window. they go in, see the guard, everything is usual. she gives the guard champagne. there is a drug in the champagne. she refers to it as something sleepy but later she said she knew it was nebutol. she puts some in the dogs water dish. the dog was ok. now, the drug is taking effect.
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they are still on the couch. everybody is falling asleep, the dog, the guard. they go to the window, leapt the georgia cracker in. he is working on the safe. this is a really ancient safe. these locks are not tumbling like they should. he finally gets it open but it is around 4:00 a.m. there is no time to remove the books, photographed them, and get them back in the safe. they will have to go in again. could cynthia learn to crack a safe? yes. yes, she could. the georgia cracker works with her. he cannot go back the second time. they go back the second time. betty tries to get the safe open and cannot.
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she has been at it for a long time. she is upset. they know the fbi agents are across the street watching the embassy. the second time, they did not drug the guard. betty says to the captain, get undressed. he says, we are just pretending. but they need to be relisted -- look realistic now. she takes all of her clothes off, and she is wearing only pearls. [laughter] the door opens, the guard shines a flashlight on her. that he is standing there, stark naked, pearls. "oh, i'm so sorry." he goes back out.
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she throws on his lip. charles once her to get dressed. she was the kind of girl who went shopping without underclothes on. if a girlfriend remarked, you should wear underwear. she said, i don't have time for things like that. she starts working on the safe. she cannot get it open. now they will have to try another time. the georgia cracker will have to be enlisted again. he worked with her but they know they will have to go in another time. the next time, the georgia cracker is in and opens the safe. they get out the codebooks. they give them the codebooks. he hands them to cynthia. he drops out the window and she drops them down to him. they are photographed,
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fingerprints wiped off, returned to the embassy. she puts them in the safe. spins the tumbler. success. the cipher codes once obtained and photographed were sent to london. they got there within 24 hours. the oss use them during the allied north african landing. success. cynthia was eventually transferred to oss from the british. bill donovan, head of the oss approved her to continue working until the end of the war. he felt this collaboration had worked pretty well. now, what to do about the embassy? they needed to remove staff from the embassy.
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where could they put them? the hotel hershey. you might think of hershey candy. you may not know or you may know that during the war, hershey made the bulk of their chocolate for the army. there also housed the french diplomats. they kept them in the hotel hershey after they had to be removed from washington. they kept them there in style. betty wanted to join charles at the hotel hershey. the story have to be concocted. she would pose as his long-lost daughter. his wife was approached by intelligence and she went along with this scheme. her daughter had died. betty would be posing as her late daughter.
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charles would write at this point he did not even know his wife had a daughter. [laughter] betty will come to the hotel hershey. this worked briefly at the hotel where you can live quite comfortably. flowers delivered daily, all of the food you want. remember this is rationing in wartime in america but everything was given to them. you can use a medical excuse to go into town anytime you wanted. she would use that all the time. she would say she feels terrible. she goes into harrisburg meeting with intelligence, giving them information she has acquired.
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then, charles wife catches charles and betty in bed. she rages so loudly you can hear it throughout the hotel. betty has to be sent away. she tried to sneak back to see charles. she was caught on the grounds and they said, you have to leave. she said "i am just a naughty girl." eventually, after the war, betty and charles were married. he took her to his castle in france. i want to say they lived happily ever after but they did not. so i will end it here because it gets sad later on. this is cynthia.
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she wrote "i hope and believe i was a patriot." i believe she was. i look at her face, staring out at some unknown person through the years and i think, your story needs to be told. who would be good to play her in a movie? my son said steve carell. [laughter] even with prosthetics, i don't know about that. so, thank you for listening to the tale. [applause] >> i think this is almost downton abbey and 50 shades of grey meet the imitation game. ms. zanin: it feels very downton abbey to me.
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a brief note about her child. she did see tony has a young man before he shipped to the korean war. he had grown into a beautiful young person and unfortunately he died fighting to the last minute. he died with honors and was a true hero. she was comforted by that. but it just breaks your heart when he think about the baby being taken away from her. she is so lady edith, i can't stand it. >> questions for natalie? about cynthia? or elizabeth. >> we have one here. >> i didn't remember from the beginning, what year was she born? ms. zanin: 1910. >> she was in her early 30's during the 1940's. ms. zanin: yes. age did not dim her.
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>> what happened to her daughter? ms. zanin: her daughter died. denise was very unhappy. as you can imagine. her mother abandoned her and went off to live her life. in some ways, i think betty is repeating what cora did to her. cora ignored the children in favor of her social world. betty is doing the same thing. she is able at some point to compartmentalize and to say, that part of my life, goodbye. done. i am going to work with intelligence. almost as if denise doesn't exist for her. >> natalie, and how did the diaries -- were they in possession of the family? you made a number of references to the diaries. ms. zanin: i have not had my hands on the diaries. i have seen excerpts. i think the families have been.
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-- the family has them. >> you are a great storyteller. are you really not going to tell us the end of the story? ms. zanin: i will tell you. but it is not sexy and it is sad. betty and charles were very happy for a while. then, the restlessness crept in. she wanted to be useful and she was literally in a castle on top of a mountain. she was bored. she tried to alleviate the boredom. she kept up with old friends in intelligence, a lot of letter writing. eventually, she became ill. she died -- it was a very slow and painful death. i told you it was sad.
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charles also died not long after. he was electrocuted by his electric blanket, which then set fire to the castle. i told you it was awful. i did not want to tell you. when i read that in the notes, i thought, oh my gosh, i am ending it after hotel hershey. and then i said to my husband, your electric blanket is never coming out of the package. [laughter] >> right over here. >> two questions. he started talking about british intelligence and then all the sudden, oss. did they pass her over to oss? ms. zanin: they were cooperating at that point, and i think it was a mutual benefit for them to work together. i believe oss might have had
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something, i cannot confirm, something to do with the fbi detail that watched the embassy. not being as alert as they should have been. certainly, if you are fbi and watching people every night going into the embassy as couples, that would be someone to -- yeah. i believe later on, the fbi may have bugged her hotel room but i am not an hundred percent certain. that would make sense to me, if they would go in. >> did her father and or mother have a lot of money? it sounds like they really had -- he was not just a military officer. ms. zanin: they did well. they were -- in newport, rhode island, they really moved in yachting circles. those boats require a lot of money. yeah, they did. >> one back here.
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>> it was already answered. >> right there. >> over 20 years ago, i read mary lovell's book. i was wondering what you thought. ms. zanin: i did look at that book. i got a sense she did not really like her subject. it is thorough and beautifully detailed. there was a sense as i read it that she was not that fond of betty. from the first moment i started reading about betty, i thought i just love this woman. it is beautifully detailed. it is worth reading. it is called "cast no shadow." there is one that is out of
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print by montgomery hyde. "cynthia," but you can get it through -- i do know what to plug anybody, but -- [whispers] amazon. [laughter] it is very conversational. he is talking with betty shortly before she dies. she leaves a lot of things out. she is still in her flirtatious mode. she wants to come across well to hyde. she is not as detailed about certain things that, yeah, he probably was more interested in. she never named her lover carlos to him. she kept referring to him as antonio. [laughter] >> yes, right here. >> was there an exchange of embassy personnel between the vichy and our embassy in paris? were they kept prisoners?
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ms. zanin: they were kept prisoners the whole time and some of them who want to become americans were allowed to do so. some were shipped off to warm springs. the people of her she -- of hershey understandably less than thrilled. stories were circulating through harrisburg about how the french are living in the hotel. the things they are getting to eat that you can't get in hershey. after a while, people were very open with their pro-nazi sympathies, it was deemed that should be moved out of the hotel. then, the hotel goes back to being a proper hotel. >> natalie, thank you so much
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for a fascinating story. [applause] let me thank the smithsonian volunteers for joining us throughout the series. thank you. [applause] have a great rest of your day. be careful on the red line. [laughter] >> you are watching american history tv -- 48 hours programming every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter for information on her schedule of upcoming programs and to keep up with the latest history news. ♪ >> you found one? >> did i
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estuary >> this tunnel we suspect is how many people think of adp -- automatic data processing. the latest tax tool of the internal revenue service and new dimensions in tax administration. but this is the real part of the martinsburg monster -- it's unofficial name. nearly everyone in the united states has some concern with this mechanical marvel and its electronic relatives will stop some in those same remote quarters the mountains of west virginia. many in several other wide scattered areas of the country the regional service centers. these machines are things of gleaming, very colored metal with numerous flashing lights, lights which do not spell out the names of stage and screen attractions and their performers. they fell it -- they spell out the federal stacks -- federal
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tax status of many individuals. while much goes before and much comes after, most of these complex machines are placed in operation by the simple push of a finger. >> tonight on "q&a" author jessica stern on the origin of isis and what we need to understand about them. jessica: there are two aspects of isis that are very important for the president to understand. one is their efforts and successes on social media and the need for us to respond to that, to counter the narrative they are spreading so effectively and so far. the other is there apocalyptic
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narrative. of course, it's impossible to for me to know for sure whether they really believe the end times are coming or whether they are capitalizing on widespread belief in moves -- muslim countries they will witness the end of time. >> tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern pacific on c-span q&a. >> [speaking spanish] [cannon fire] welcome to see 19 saint


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