Explore the world of espionage and the work of Britain's Special Forces from the First World War onwards
Secret War examines the clandestine world of espionage, covert operations and the work of Britain’s Special Forces, from the development of MI5 and MI6 before the First World War to Cold War intelligence-gathering and the threat of cyber-terrorism today.
New for 2013: The work of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) –a secret agency formed by the British government to conduct undercover operations during the Second World War – is revealed through the experiences of SOE operatives whose stories shed light on the hidden world of spies.
Secret War also explores how Britain’s Intelligence and Security Services operate today. New objects on display include a Union flag salvaged from the rubble of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center shortly after 11 September 2001 when they were hit by two planes hijacked by Al-Qaeda terrorists, and a copy of a Metro newspaper carried by a passenger whilst travelling on one of the London Underground trains attacked by suicide bombers on 7 July 2005.
As part of our ongoing improvement works some of our objects have been temporarily removed and we may have to close the exhibition for short periods of time until the end of 2013. For further information visit Opening Times and Directions.
Collections in Context
The Cold War
The democratic United States and the Communist Soviet Union were ideologically opposed 'superpowers', and each had their own alliances...
Although many view the atomic age positively, others such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament view atomic technology as a threat to the world’s future...
Cold War and the Iron Curtain
By 1948, every Eastern European state had communist regimes imposed upon them by the Soviets...
Cold War Espionage
Although East and West did not come into open conflict during the Cold War, behind the scenes there was an ongoing covert battle ...
From our Collections
'Tell Them to Make It a War Savings Christmas!'
Animals in War 1914-1918
The British Army in North Africa 1942
Christmas Puddings for Soldiers and Sailors
The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France 1939-1940
Tin of Sweets, British Grocers' Federation, Christmas 1914
Canadian Forces in the First World War
Pair of Boots (with clip-on skates)
The British Army in North-West Europe 1944-45