13/2/1917 Mata Hari arrested

Before the war Mata Hari worked as an exotic dancer in Paris. Presenting herself as a Javanese princess from the Dutch East Indies, she was in fact born as Margaretha Zelle in the Netherlands. By the start of the war, her dancing career was in decline, but she was now living as a courtesan, enjoying the attentions of rich and powerful men. Many of these are senior figures in politics and the armed forces.

The French intelligence services recruit Mata Hari, hoping that she will travel to Germany obtain military secrets from the Crown Prince. But they soon become suspicious of her. She is unable to make contact with the Crown Prince, but she continues to travel frequently to other countries, including neutral states where German agents can operate freely. Is she working for the Germans rather than the French? Is Mata Hari using her feminine wiles to extract sensitive information from her French lovers, information that is then being passed on to the Germans?

Circumstantial evidence against Mata Hari begins to mount. Today the French authorities act, arresting her in her hotel room. They begin to prepare her trial for espionage, a capital crime.

image sources:

Mata Hari in 1906 (Wikipedia)

Mata Hari at her arrest (Wikipedia)

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