Espionage and the Making of the Modern World

Wikileaks and Edward Snowden reveal the dark side of the secret world just as the actions of Vladimir Putin in Ukraine remind us of why we need good intelligence. Since World War II ushered in the modern espionage era, secret intelligence and intelligence services have shaped the course of international history. This course introduces the student to the great sweep of world history from 1939 to 2015 through the lens of the role played by spies, code-breakers, saboteurs, intelligence analysts and the organizations for which they worked. How much did all of this secret stuff matter? Why did countries set up organizations to undertake spying and covert action? Have these activities made them, especially the US, more or less secure? And what has been the cost to private individuals of these activities? Although the focus will mainly be on the activities of US, Russian (Soviet) and British intelligence, the class will also explore cases involving Chinese, Cuban, French, German, Iranian, Israeli, Jordanian, Saudi and Vietnamese intelligence.

Course Information



4 Points

Term Section Instructor Schedule Location

Spring 2018

Timothy Naftali
TR: 12:30 PM - 1:40 PM CANT 102