On this day in history, 93 years ago in 1917, Mata Hari was executed by a French firing squad for being a German spy during WWI.
Read this excerpt from a fabulous Daily Mail article:
She stood alone in the sodden field on the outskirts of Paris, her fashionable ankle boots firmly planted in the mud churned up by the cavalry who drilled there.
No, she would not be tied to the stake, she told her executioners politely. And nor would she allow them to blindfold her. She faced the barrels of the firing squad without flinching.
The 12 soldiers in their khaki uniforms and red fezzes raised their rifles. She waved to the two weeping nuns who had been her comfort in prison and on her last journey. She blew a kiss to the priest and another to her lawyer, an ex-lover.
She was blamed for the deaths of tens of thousands of French soldiers and she was shot and killed as a spy. But was she innocent? A scapegoat? A new book by an American author, tries to set her story in a new light. Far removed from the fervor of the war, after all these decades, the real story of Margaretha Geertruida "Grietje" Zelle MacLeod, stage name Mata Hari, can be told.
She spoke at least five languages, was gorgeous, talented and an iconoclast. She had many international, wealthy lovers and was a seasoned traveler. It's clear now, that obviously she was a threat to someone higher up and was killed under pretense of spying. Very Monroe-esque. Or maybe Marilyn was "Mata Hari-ied." It's all very familiar.
In her day, Margaretha was a famous as Lady Gaga is now. All of her comings and goings were widely reported in daily gossip columns. She was in demand at all times by men and women. Hardly fitting for a spy.
From the article:
It did not seem to matter that no one had the least bit of evidence against her. Nor could anyone point to a single document, plan or secret that she passed to the Germans. Suspicion, envy and the prejudices of small-minded men would triumph. Only 30 years after her death would one of her prosecutors concede the truth - "there wasn't enough evidence to flog a cat".
Read more about this extraordinary woman and her unbelievably fascinating life:
Eyewitness to History.com