Richard Sorge

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sorge, Richard


Born Sept. 22 (Oct. 4), 1895, in Baku; died Nov. 7, 1944, in Tokyo. Soviet intelligence officer, journalist. Hero of the Soviet Union (awarded posthumously on Nov. 5, 1964). Member of the CPSU (1925).

Sorge was the son of a petroleum technician and the grand-nephew of F. Sorge, student and disciple of K. Marx and F. Engels. In the early 20th century his family returned to Germany from Russia. In 1914 he was drafted into the German army and fought in World War I. Sorge was wounded in 1916; in the hospital he became friends with a number of left socialists. From 1917 to 1919 he was a member of the Independent Social Democratic Party, and in 1919 he joined the Communist Party of Germany. Sorge served as a propagandist in Wuppertal and Frankfurt am Main and edited a party news-paper in Solingen. In 1924 he came to the USSR and worked in Soviet institutions. During the 1930’s and 1940’s he was located in Germany, Japan, and other countries. Because of his outstanding personal qualities and through great labor, he obtained over a long period of time very valuable information for the USSR. He was one of the first to communicate relatively precise information on the number of German divisions concentrated on the borders of the USSR in the summer of 1941, the date of the enemy invasion, and the general idea of the plan for military actions of the German fascist forces. In October 1941 he was arrested by the Japanese police and in September 1943 was sentenced to death. One year later he was hanged. He was buried in Tokyo.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
AN IMPECCABLE SPY by Owen Matthews (Bloomsbury, PS25) The story of Richard Sorge, the secret agent who changed world history.
Summary: The tale of Richard Sorge, the spy who lived intensely and was betrayed by the USSR
Richard Sorge located in Tokyo, who provided them with a huge intelligence advantage.
Thrown into this spicy mix is a nest of spies for the Soviet Union, including the mysterious "Czech," now posing as a Swiss journalist, who have connections with a spy network in Tokyo, the Ramsay Group, headed by the famous Richard Sorge. (The Ramsay Group warned Stalin of Hitler's imminent attack on Moscow, but Stalin dismissed the information.) For extra color Wagenstein throws in some espionage paraphernalia, sadistic and wily Gestapo agents, three melodramatic suicides and, finally, devastating bombing raids on Shanghai by the Americans.
Hitz also highlights Soviet spy Richard Sorge's penetration of the Japanese government that provided Moscow with assurances Japan would not attack the Soviet Far East, enabling Stalin to rush troops from Siberia to European Russia to blunt the Nazi advance in World War II.
MOSCOW - Russian Ambassador to Japan Alexander Losyukov placed flowers on the grave of Richard Sorge, who was executed in 1944 by Japanese authorities as a Soviet spy, ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
The espionage activities in Japan of wartime agent Richard Sorge were discovered by Japanese intelligence officers and not as a result of a tip-off by a Japanese communist as long believed, according to a U.S.
But Professor Andrew has little new to tell us about Richard Sorge, who gave Stalin the unheeded message about the German invasion, or about Britain's well-known famous Cambridge Five, "traitors to class and country." Thereafter, when the motives were mercenary, the KGB was not very different from its Western counterparts (naturally, we are talking here about its external, not its domestic, role).
At various times in her tumultuous and varied career she was closely associated with Margaret Sanger, Kathe Kollwitz, and Emma Goldman, with Roger Baldwin and Harold Ickes, with Indian revolutionaries-in-exile Lajpat Rai and Virendranath Chattopadhyaya, with China's leading revolutionary writers Lu Xun, Mao Dun, and Ding Ling, with Richard Sorge and Ozaki Hotsumi (who were later executed by the Japanese as Soviet spies), and with Communist leaders Zhu De, Zhou Enlai, and Peng Dehuai (but not Mao Zedong).
Hanako Ishii, a onetime girlfriend of Richard Sorge, the main protagonist in a sensational prewar espionage case known as the Sorge Incident, died of pneumonia at a Tokyo hospital Saturday, a family member said Tuesday.