Kim Philby : biography
Harold Adrian Russell "Kim" Philby (1 January 1912 – 11 May 1988. In Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 16 November 2009.) was a high-ranking member of British intelligence who worked as a double agent before defecting to the Soviet Union. He served as both an NKVD and KGB operative.
In 1963, Philby was revealed to be a member of the spy ring now known as the Cambridge Five, the other members of which were Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt, and another unidentified individual. Of the five, Philby is believed to have been most successful in providing secret information to the Soviet Union. His activities were moderated only by Joseph Stalin’s fears that he was secretly on Britain’s side. Philby was an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) from 1946 to 1965.
In February 1934, Philby married Alice (Litzi) Friedmann, an Austrian communist whom he had met in Vienna. They subsequently moved to England; however, as Philby assumed the role of a fascist sympathiser, they separated. Litzi lived in Paris before returning to London for the duration of the Second World War; she ultimately settled in East Germany.Seale and McConnville, 84
While working as a correspondent in Spain, Philby began an affair with Frances Doble, Lady Lindsay-Hogg, an actress and aristocratic divorcée who was an admirer of Francisco Franco and Adolf Hitler. They travelled together in Spain through August 1939.Seale and McConnville, 93
In 1940 he began living with Aileen Furse in London. Their first three children, Josephine, John, and Dudley Thomas, were born between 1941 and 1943. In 1946, Philby finally arranged a formal divorce from Litzi; he and Aileen were married on 25 September 1946, while Aileen was pregnant with their fourth child, Miranda. Their fifth child, Harry George, was born in 1950.Seale and McConnville, 173 Aileen suffered from psychiatric problems, which grew more severe during the period of poverty and suspicion following the flight of Burgess and Maclean. She lived separately from Philby, settling with their children in Crowborough while he lived first in London and later in Beirut. Weakened by alcoholism and frequent sickness, she died of influenza in December 1957.Seale and McConnville, 226
In 1956, Philby began an affair with Eleanor Brewer, the wife of New York Times correspondent Sam Pope Brewer. Following Eleanor’s divorce, the two married in January 1959. After Philby defected to the Soviet Union in 1963, Eleanor visited him in Moscow; in November 1964, following a visit to America, she returned, intending to settle permanently. However, in her absence, Philby had begun an affair with Donald Maclean’s wife, Melinda. He and Eleanor divorced, and she departed Moscow in May 1965.Seale and McConnville, 275
Melinda left Maclean, and briefly lived with Philby in Moscow; in 1968 she returned to Maclean.
In 1971, Philby married Rufina Ivanovna Pukhova, a Russo-Polish woman twenty years his junior, with whom he lived until his death in 1988. by Nigel Clive in Dictionary of National Biography online (accessed 11 November 2007)
Philby in literature
- One of the earliest appearances of Kim Philby as a character in fiction was in Gentleman Traitor by Alan Williams in 1974.
- Under the cover name of ‘Mowgli’ Philby appears in Duncan Kyle’s World War II thriller Black Camelot published in 1978.
- Philby has a key role in Mike Ripley’s short story Gold Sword published in ‘John Creasey’s Crime Collection 1990’ which was chosen as BBC Radio 4’s Afternoon Story to mark the 50th anniversary of D-Day on 6 June 1994.
- Kim Philby appears as one of the central antagonists in William F. Buckley Jr’s 2004 novel Last Call for Blackford Oakes.
- The Tim Powers novel Declare (2001) is partly based on unexplained aspects of Philby’s life, providing a supernatural context for his behaviour.
- Philby is a central character in the 1981 Ted Allbeury novel The Other Side of Silence.
- The 1984 Frederick Forsyth novel The Fourth Protocol features an elderly Kim Philby’s involvement in a plot to trigger a nuclear explosion in Britain. In the novel, Philby is a much more influential and connected figure in his Moscow exile than he apparently was in reality.
- The 1993 Joseph Brodsky essay Collector’s Item (published in his 1995 book On Grief and Reason) contains a conjectured description of Philby’s career, as well as speculations into his motivations and general thoughts on espionage and politics. The title of the essay refers to a postal stamp commemorating Philby issued in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s.
- The Robert Littell novel The Company (2002) features Philby as a confidant of former CIA Counter-Intelligence chief James Angleton.
- The 2003 novel Fox at the Front by Douglas Niles and Michael Dobson depicts Philby selling secrets to the Soviet Union during the alternate Battle of the Bulge where German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel turns on the Nazis and assists the Allies in capturing all of Berlin. Before he can sell the secret of the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union, he is discovered by the British and is killed by members of MI5 who stage his death as a heart attack.
- German author Barbara Honigmann’s Ein Kapitel aus meinem Leben tells the history of Philby’s first wife, Litzi, from the perspective of her daughter.
- The 2005 John Birmingham novel Designated Targets features a cameo of Philby, under orders from Moscow to assist Otto Skorzeny’s mission to assassinate Winston Churchill.
- John le Carré (David Cornwell) depicts and analyses Philby as Bill Haydon, the upper-class traitor in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. In fact, Philby had ended le Carré’s intelligence officer career by betraying him to the Russians.
- John Banville’s 1997 novel The Untouchable is a fictionalised biography of Anthony Blunt in which Kim Philby is portrayed.