In light of the many and varied amazing spy “gadgets” that have appeared in popular films and television shows about espionage—cue Oddjob’s razor-edged hat in the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger—anyone can be forgiven for thinking that such over-the-top contraptions are merely the brainchildren of imaginative screenwriters. The truth might surprise you.
The International Spy Museum (SPY) in Washington, D.C. provides visitors with a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the dark world of global espionage. Boasting a vast array of incredible artifacts in its collection which shed light on “spycraft,” the museum has shared a selection of the most devious devices in its collection with Military History Quarterly which span decades of the Cold War—the complex global political struggle between the Soviet Union, the United States, and nations allied with both.
This underhanded “war” had peaks and valleys as tensions between East and West waxed and waned. The Cold War nominally ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. However, some historians argue that the conflict never truly ended.