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July 2003

Secret Agent Men (and Women)
During the mid-1960s, spies and secret agents seemed to be lurking around every corner. They were the cowboys of the post-John F. Kennedy years, saving the day with their fancy sports cars, mysterious code names, and special high-tech gadgets. Against seemingly insurmountable odds, they battled and defeated evil villains who usually wanted to either take over or destroy the world. And they always got the girl (or their man) in the end. Why did spies and secret agents strike such a special chord with Americans during this time?

MORE: Secret Agent Men (and Women)

It started with the Cold War—the atmosphere of distrust and rivalry that developed after World War II between the United States and the Soviet Union (now Russia). Competition between the two superpowers to develop the most technologically advanced weapons was intense. Public concern worsened during the early 1960s, as each side feared that the other country would attack with nuclear weapons.

Then, in 1963, there was the “unsolved mystery” of President Kennedy’s assassination. The nagging belief that he was the victim of a conspiracy suggested that there was more going on behind the headlines than Americans had previously imagined.

These political events brought the enigmatic profession of spying out from undercover and into the public’s consciousness. But real-life stories of espionage that people read in the newspaper were grim and downright frightening. Until James Bond came along…


Sorry About That, Chief!

Yeah, Baby!

print version

Bond,James Bond

Think you’re a Bond expert? Become an agent in Her Majesty’s Secret Service at the U.S. premiere of the international traveling blockbuster exhibit Bond. James Bond now open in Henry Ford Museum


Donna R. Braden, Lead Experience Developer
Jeanine Head Miller, Curator of Domestic Life, Leisure & Entertainment



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