I have been asked “Why did you spend eighteen months researching to locate World War 2 women espionage agents to interview, when there are some historical accounts and novels on the subject?”
By interviewing women who were agents in WW 2, I was able to glean a very different understanding of these women and espionage than that available to me through already published documents and books. Having direct access to historical information is crucial.
History is not only about past facts, vivid events, and individuals, an important aspect is how the author unveils the stories. Therefore, I thought it necessary to interview women directly rather than rely on other authors’ perspectives and information. I wanted the women to tell their WW 2 espionage and life events in their own ways so that listeners may decide for themselves. In addition, it gave me, as the researcher, an authentic understanding that I can apply to examine other narratives, texts and articles about women and espionage. The foundation of western women in espionage was established in WW 2 and by examining original interviews from that era also sheds a more accurate light on women who are agents today.
In addition, I feel strongly that how one relays historical information in the present influences at least to some degree the future of the subject itself. In other words, the trajectory of the Invisible Women narratives determines how these women are thought about, not only now, but also how they and their activities are discussed in the future. The closer to source the information is, in this case, about courageous, independent and strategic women, the more likely we may dismantle incorrect cultural norms about women.