Sorge, Richard, 1895-1944

Sorge was a German journalist who ran a very successful spy network for the USSR in Japan. Sorge had been a field commander of Soviet spies in the Far East as early as 1929. As a journalist for the Frankfurter Zeitung he made contacts in the German Embassy, first through Herbert von Dirksen and then through the military attache, Colonel Eugen Ott. In 1934 Sorge built up a network of agents who collected intelligence throughout Japan. His most important agent was Ozaki Hozumi, who was an expert on Chinese affairs and adviser to Prime Minister KONOYE. Ozaki was able to photograph top secret documents and Sorge would exchange information with his friend Ott who was promoted to ambassador in 1935, and thus receive confirmation. He sent advance warning of Barbarossa to STALIN, and although this was ignored he received a note of thanks from Moscow. Sorge supplied the USSR with the important information that Japan would not invade the USSR and Stalin was able to move his Siberian divisions to the defense of Moscow. By 1941 the Japanese secret service had intercepted the transmission of a signal and knew about the network. The Japanese arrested one of Sorge’s organizers who confessed and implicated Sorge and Ozaki. They were both arrested in October 1941 and tried and hanged on 9 October 1944.

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