Saturday, November 27, 2010
A German-born Soviet intelligence officer, Sorge was trained in Moscow and in 1930 was sent to Shanghai, where he ran a large espionage network for the GRU while operating under journalistic cover as a foreign correspondent for the Frankfurter Zeitung. He was transferred to Tokyo from September 1933 and built up an extensive clandestine organization until he was arrested in October 1941. More than 40 of his subagents were eventually rounded up, and he was hanged with his principal collaborator, Hozumi Ozaki, in November 1944. Sorge’s spy ring included sources in the German embassy, where he was regarded as an ardent Nazi, and in the very highest levels of the Japanese government. His warnings that the Nazis intended to launch a surprise offensive against the Soviet Union in June 1941 were ignored by Moscow, but after his death he was made a posthumous Hero of the Soviet Union, and a postage stamp was issued in his honor.