Today in History: Mata Hari is Executed
On this day in 1917, Mata Hari, the archetype of the seductive female spy, is executed for espionage by a French firing squad at Vincennes outside of Paris.
She first came to Paris in 1905 and found fame as a performer of exotic Asian-inspired dances.
She acquired her superficial knowledge of Indian and Javanese dances when she lived for several years in Malaysia with her former husband.
In February 1917, French authorities arrested her for espionage and imprisoned her at St. Lazare Prison in Paris.
In a military trial conducted in July, she was accused of revealing details of the Allies’ new weapon, the tank, resulting in the deaths of thousands of soldiers.
She was convicted and sentenced to death, and on October 15 she refused a blindfold and was shot to death by a firing squad at Vincennes.