The neighbors in the quiet Oxfordshire village of Great Rollright knew the housewife Mrs. Burton for the delicious taste of her scones in the summer of 1945.
But they had no idea that she was actually the top Soviet spy Ursula Kuczynski, who was about to blow up Adolf Hitler before Joseph Stalin got cold feet.
Kuczynski, code-named Sonya, almost averted the horrors of World War II when she planned to assassinate the Führer in a restaurant in the winter of 1938.
Their daring plan has now been described by Ben Macintyre in his new book Agent Sonya, published in the Times.
The historian looked at MI5 files and uncovered reports from those involved in the mission to uncover one of the best plans for the dictator's assassination.
Ursula Kuczynski, code-named Sonya, helped coordinate an assassination attempt on Hitler in 1938 with Agent Alexander Foote
Kuczynski, now known as Ruth Werner, presented Moscow with an idea of assassinating Hitler while he was eating in one of his favorite Munich restaurants
The plot was hatched when one of Kuczynski's agents, Alexander Foote, was dining at the Osteria Bavaria in Munich when Hitler appeared in a private dining room, which he visited up to three times a week.
Foote noted that the guide's guards did not respond when his dinner attendant reached into his jacket pocket for cigarettes as they passed the table.
The spy told Kuczynski it was possible to put a bomb in a suitcase next to the partition in the main restaurant, and the assassination was pieced together.
Kuczynski presented the plan to Moscow – he declared it an "excellent idea" – and the agents were instructed to prepare an operation to shoot Hitler walking through the restaurant or blowing him up while he was eating.
It replaced a bold plan to blow up the Graf Zeppelin airship.
Foote noted that Hitler's personal guards were negligent about safety as the Führer dined at one of his favorite Munich restaurants, the Osteria Bavaria (above).
The conspiracy to assassinate Hitler stalled a few weeks before the attempt when the Germans and Soviets signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, a non-aggression agreement. Kuczynski moved to Oxfordshire in the UK and assumed the identity of "Mrs. Burton" after the war
WHO WAS URSULA KUCZYNSKI?
Ursula Ruth Kuczynski, now known as Ruth Werner, was one The German-born Soviet spy and writer. She was born on May 15, 1907, as one of six children of Robert Rene and Berta Kuczynski. Her father was a well-respected economist specializing in demography and labor statistics, taught and worked in Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The Kucyznkis were considered "progressive" and later some of them joined the Communist Party. The committed communist acted as a spy for the Soviet Union in China, Nazi Germany, Switzerland and England from around 1930.
Under the code name Sonya, she collected and forwarded classified information to Moscow, including technical information from the German-born British physicist Klaus Fuchs about the research into the atomic bomb by the Manhattan Project.
Moscow broke off contact with her in the summer of 1946 without explanation and afterwards During the Second World War, she settled in East Germany.
She took the pseudonym Ruth Werner and became a celebrated writer of short stories, novels and an autobiography, Sonja & # 39; s Rapport.
She twice received the order of the Red Banner, the highest Soviet military decoration, and was also a colonel in the Red Army.
Her only connection to the GRU after settling in East Berlin was in 1969 when she was invited to a ceremony to receive her second red banner decoration. She died on July 7, 2000 at the age of ninety-three in Berlin and survived from her three children, five grandchildren and three sisters.
The latest conspiracy, however, was only weeks away when the Germans and Soviets signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, a non-aggression agreement that postponed Kuczynski's operation.
Months later, Kuczynski had divorced her German architect and married her English recruit Len Beurton for a passport to Great Britain.
Macintyre believes their conspiracy changed world history and had a better chance of success than any other attempt.
He said, “Would there have been a Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact? I almost certainly don't think so.
"It's a real" What if? "But I can't help but think that the world would have been a better and safer place, as Ursula surely thought it was."
Kuczynski moved to the UK and assumed the identity of Ms. Burton, whose three children had three different Soviet spies as fathers.
She moved near the Atomic Energy Research Institute in Harwell and later settled in the quaint village of Great Rollright near Chipping Norton.
In England she became the handler of Klaus Fuchs, the most successful thief of the Soviet Union's nuclear secrets.
The physicist provided the Soviet Union with information from the American, British and Canadian Manhattan Project during and after World War II.
Kuczynski, now known as Ruth Werner, wasn't interviewed by the secret services until 1947, after his agent Foote defected.
And Fuchs got caught after spending 1944 to 1946 collaboration with the American atomic research department in Los Alamos.
He was tried in January 1950, and the day before it began, Kuczynski left the UK and fled to East Berlin.
Here she took on the pseudonym Ruth Werner and became a celebrated writer of short stories and novels.
She also wrote her autobiography Sonja & # 39; s Report, which was completed in 1974 and published three years later in East Berlin.
But under the conspiracy rules, she never mentioned Fuchs – who was still alive – and instead wrote about other clandestine activists.
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