1. Mata Hari: Shot for spying on the French
Mata Hari was the stage name for Margaretha Zelle, a Dutch-born exotic dancer who began her career in Paris in 1905. Her sensual near-nude routines were an instant hit and she drew in audiences of thousands across Berlin, Vienna, Madrid, conducting many affairs with military and political figures along the way. With the outbreak of war in 1914, Mata Hari's many international connections brought her to the attention of the French authorities as she continued to travel around Europe. The exact nature of her spying activities are unclear: she claimed she was paid to spy for the French in Belgium, but was said to have turned double agent after agreeing to pass on information to a German consul. It was British intelligence that finally unmasked "evidence" of her spying and on her return to Paris in early 1917, she was arrested and convicted of being a German spy. At her execution in October that year, Mata Hari, aged 41, refused to wear a blindfold and spent the last few seconds of her life gazing steadfastly at the firing squad. Many still contest her guilt, with theories suggesting she was a victim of a media frenzy and vague - or at worst, fabricated - evidence.