2. Sidney Reilly
Picture source: bookhaven.stanford.edu
This spy is believed to be one of the most important spies that served as the inspiration for creating the James Bond character, but even without that information, thanks to his actions, Reilly definitely deserves to find himself in the list of the greatest spies of all time. This man was a spy that was operating in the early twentieth century, and, what was later to be discovered, he was actually a so called “agent without allegiance” because he was working for not just one government, but a few. Thanks to his abilities, to disguise himself perfectly and blend in everywhere, to promote himself and gain access to the valuable secret information, to cross any border with many different names, without getting caught, and to use his charm and seduce women who were at high government places, he became famous in the world of espionage as the “ace of spies”. He was a specialist for gathering military secrets, especially military aircraft prototype plans. When Reilly was in charge of a British intelligence group, in 1917, he orchestrated the mission that overthrew the Russian Bolshevik government, and this was one of his most famous missions. He was also in charge of an assassination attempt on Lenin, but he and his team got compromised and Reilly himself barely managed to escape. Right after that mission, he took a German identity and disappeared somewhere in Finland. However, that mission haunted him, and when he was lured to the Soviet Union, during a secret mission in 1925, he got caught by the Soviet Secret Service, and got sentenced to death. Sidney Reilly ended his spy carrier in front of a Soviet firing squad.