Ian Fleming’s “James Bond” was a composite of many people including himself. Most notable was a Yugoslav double agent, Dusan “Dusko” Popov, working for the British (MI-5) code named “Tricycle” and the Germans “Abwehr” (German secrete service) code named “Ivan”.
Popov was born in Titel, Serbia July 10,1918
and died in 1981 in France. Fleming was a Naval Intelligence officer in WWII at
the time he knew Popov. Some of Fleming’s Bond experiences were real and
inspired him to put them in his books. In the movie “Casino Royal”, some of
the high stakes gambling was taken from what he seen Popov do in a Casino in
London. One time at a “Baccarat” table an arrogant wealthy Lithuanian
proposed “No Limit” on bets. Popov called his bluff by plopping down
$50,000.00 cash on the table ($1,400,000.00 in today’s money) and asked the
house if they approved of this “no limit” and they said “NO” so Popov
picked up his money and all of this embarrassed the Lithuanian to the delight of
Dusko Popov was sent to the US in 1941 to set up a
German spy network and to report on Oahu Hawaii. Popov had received information
from the Germans that there was going to be an attack on Pearl Harbor by the
Japanese, so MI-5 contacted J Edgar Hoover to introduce Popov.
told Hoover of the impending attack and Hoover rejected the information and
stopped Popov from going to Hawaii. Hoover disliked Popov because he was a
foreigner, a playboy and a double agent. Hoover ranted and raved at Popov and
failed to pass this information on.
Dusko was a playboy and had an affairs with
several women including an American actress “Simone Simon”. This was at
least part of Hoover's distaste.
Dusko Popov hated the Nazis but had gained the
trust of Adolph Hitler. The German agent “Jahann Jehsen” who was Popov’s
NAZI contact and was an old friend who had recruited Popov and who also was a
double agent for the British. His friend got caught by the Nazis and executed
and the Nazis wanted to execute Popov too, but Hitler intervened, as Hitler
This trust became a great value when the
Germans were trying to discover where the Allied invasion would be. The Germans
had conflicting information that it could be Calais or Normandy. Popov confirmed
that it was going to be at Calais, as did other secret agents.
So Hitler moved several divisions to Calais away from Normandy.
The name “James Bond” was taken from an
Ornithologist Fleming knew who was an authority on Caribbean birds. In the movie
“Die Another Day”, Pierce Bronson’s “Bond” posed as an Ornithologist.
Even the identification “007” had a background. The “00” was an
indication of “a license to kill” and the “007” was a signature an
agent, “John Dee”, would sign when reporting to Elizabeth I, by indication
“00” and an exaggerated “7” that extended over the “00”. ( 007)
Even though the “Bond” movies were fiction,
many names and incidents were from real life. Mostly from WWII.
Dusko’s life would make a good real life
“James Bond” type movie with a happy ending. Popov married after the war,
had two children and wrote a book.