Cold War

“I think the Cuban Crisis experience in the [National Security] Agency allowed us to take advantage of everything that we had learned during World War II and post-World War I…and…I felt that every day of my career in the Agency from the Cuban Crisis on…was affected by my experience at that time.”

— Former Head of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) Signals Intelligence Juanita Moody in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
Juanita Moody
Juanita Moody
Photo Credit: NSA

From the end of the Second World War to the fall of the Soviet Union, America and Russia engaged in a cold war, which both male and female veterans of the Korean or Vietnam conflicts would most probably consider to be very hot.  With the specter of nuclear war dominating the political, military, and domestic landscapes, the two super powers squared off around the globe and even in space, each trying to advance its particular ideology and way of life at the expense of the other.

u2 spy plane incident newspaper clipping
Article on the U-2 Incident
Photo Credit: Cold War Museum

As East confronted West, elaborately staged espionage missions became routine, with successes and failures, heroes and villains on both sides.  Some of the more notable clandestine activities came to define the era: headlines telling of the arrest and conviction of the Rosenbergs, the U-2 spy plane incident, and the Cuban Missile Crisis only hinted at the prevalence of intelligence and counterintelligence operations during the period.


Serving in administrative, support, technical, and operational roles, women intelligence professionals made innumerable contributions to the American cause as the Cold War unfolded. 








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