Mata Hari

Essay by trinamarieHigh School, 11th gradeA, March 2004

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Mata Hari was born in Leeuwarden, Holland in 1876. She was a Dutch dancer and a spy in German service during WWI. Her real name was Margaretha Geertruida Zelle. She was born to a Dutch shopkeeper, Adam Zelle, and his Javanese wife, Ante van der Meulen. She was forced to leave the school for teachers that she was attending, having sex with the headmaster. At age 18, she got married to a Dutch naval officer who was twenty years older than her. Together, they moved to the Dutch East Indies and had two kids, Norman John and Juana Louise, but obtained a divorce in 1906. She went to Paris where she acquired the name Mata Hari and the job of an exotic dancer. Her debut was at the Oriental Studies Museum.

On May 23, 1914, she appeared in a music hall in Germany. Some watching the show though it to be indecent and improper and complained to the cops.

The police officer, Griebel, went to see and he became almost entranced by her and set them up a date, although, they did not stay together, but his superior, Traugott von Jagow, became her boyfriend. He was in charge of German espionage and made her spy on France.

It is believed by some that Mata Hari went to a "spy school" in Germany. They believed that at this academy she got the code name H21 and that she was there 15 weeks learning espionage. It is also very possible that she never really went there. She always claimed she did not.

The situation between Germany and France was heating up and Mata Hari wanted to get out of Germany, and that is what she did, two days after the war broke out. Later she was said to claim that her...