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Only recently has part of the truth come to light, regarding the reasons why the several attempts failed, on the part of anti-Nazi resistance fighters inside Germany, to overthrow Hitler. It was not only for lack of support from circles outside the country, especially in Great Britain, but due to deliberate, direct sabotage of such attempts by the British government. The British acted repeatedly to ensure that no plot to overthrow Hitler or kill him would succeed. This included the famous plan by Stauffenberg et al. on July 20, 1944.
As documented in The Ghosts of Peace: 1935-1945, a book by Richard Lamb (Great Britain: Michael Russel, 1987), there were numerous conspirators, beginning in 1938, who sought to overthrow Hitler. They were, as Lamb writes, ``a band of well-known and respected Germans, many of whom worked against Hitler from 1938 until the bomb plot of 20 July 1944. Yet during the war, the British Foreign Office, Eden and Churchill refused to admit that an organized conspiracy existed, despite much evidence to the contrary through neutral countries and the knowledge of its existence before the war'' (p.|24). Yet, as the historical record shows, there were continuing attempts from 1938 through 1944.
John Wheeler-Bennett, who was deputy to Bruce Lockhart, head of the Political Warfare Executive (PWE) of the Foreign Office, and a close friend of Eden's, was adamantly opposed to aiding anti-Hitler Germans. In 1943, Wheeler-Bennett sent a paper from the Washington Office to the Foreign Office, in which he said, ``At the conclusion of the war we are not going to be liked by any Germans, `good' or `bad.' Any friendly feelings will be unnatural and therefore suspect.... We should not place ourselves in the position of bargaining with any Germans, good or bad.... This is inherent in the principle of unconditional surrender'' (p.|266).
``1. Within the narrow limits of our accurate information it is possible to make a certain appreciation of the position resulting from the recent events in Germany, and to deduce certain future developments from it.
``2. It may now be said with some definiteness that we are better off with things as they are today than if the plot of July 20th had succeeded and Hitler had been assassinated. In the event the `Old Army' generals would have taken over and, as may be deduced from the recent statement from the Vatican as to the Pope's readiness to mediate, would have put into operation through Baron von Weizsäcker a peace move, already prepared, in which Germany would admit herself defeated and would sue for terms other than those of unconditional surrender.
``3. By the failure of the plot we have been spared the embarrassments, both at home and in the United States, which might have resulted from such a move and, moreover, the present purge is presumably removing from the scene numerous individuals which might have caused us difficulty, not only had the plot succeeded, but also after the defeat of a Nazi Germany.
``4. If it is true that a number of the more distinguished generals, together with such civilians as Schacht, Neurath and Schulenberg, have been eliminated, the Gestapo and the S.S. have done us an appreciable service in removing a selection of those who would undoubtedly have posed as `good' Germans after the war, while preparing for a third World War. It is to our advantage therefore that the purge should continue, since the killing of Germans by Germans will save us from future embarrassments of many kinds'' (pp. 296-297) (emphases added).
In July 1998, formerly top-secret files were released in London, to document how Churchill had given directives to probe options for an assassination of Hitler by British marksmen, from the summer of 1994, on. The secret plots, reported on widely in the British press on July 23, 1998, were ludicrous concoctions, suddenly ``revealed,'' in order to give the impression that the British had contemplated removing Hitler. Among the ``plots'' revealed, were a scheme to poison the milk Hitler put in his tea; a plan to impregnate his clothing with anthrax, hidden in a fountain pen, or false teeth, or hollowed-out eye-glasses. It was even mooted, according to the reports, that Rudolf Hess could be sent back into Germany under hypnosis, to kill Hitler. More conventional methods supposedly under consideration, included killing him by sharp-shooters, or attacking his bullet-proofed Mercedes, with bazookas.
Needless to say, none of the plans came to anything, for the simple reason that Churchill and his advisers had determined that keeping Hitler alive, better served their own designs for the war and the postwar period. Major Field-Robertson, who was head of the Special Operations Executive's German section, was cited as one who argued against any assassination attempt. ``It would almost certainly canonize him and give birth to the myth that Germany would have been saved if he had lived,'' he is quoted as having said. Furthermore, he said, ``Hitler has been of the greatest possible assistance to the war effort,'' because of his incompetence.
The Times acknowledged on July 23, 1998, that the British had committed themselves to a policy of unconditional surrender to impose on Germany, and this ``ruled out for Churchill not only any prospect of negotiating with Hitler, but also with any German leaders who might succeed him.''
Marion Countess Doenhoff referred to Churchill's policy, in an article which appeared in mid-July 1998 in the weekly Die Zeit commemorating the failed July 20, 1944 coup attempt. She wrote, that ``although Churchill was perfectly informed about the real situation, he declared at the House of Commons on Aug. 2, the events of July 20 represented nothing but `fights of extinction among the notables of the Third Reich.'
``Apparently, Churchill was interested in breaking the Germans, and not admitting that they themselves had tried to liberate themselves.... Indeed, he had already declared on Sept. 3, 1939, the day when the war began: `This is an English war, and its objective is the extinction of Germany.'|''It was the extinction of Germany, not the defeat of Nazism, which was the priority of the British. In fact, due to consistent British sabotage of the German resistance, even providing information to the Nazis, to liquidate resistance fighters, and refusal to take action against concentration camps, the British succeeded in prolonging the war and killing massive numbers of Germans. There were as many casualties in the last nine months of the war, that is after the failed attempt against Hitler by Stauffenberg, as in the entire five years of war up to that point.
The British bear direct responsibility for the Holocaust, as well. Not only did they not intervene to bomb rail lines into concentration camps, once the existence of such camps had become common knowledge, but they deliberately concealed information they had about the Holocaust years earlier.
In a report which appeared in the Daily Telegraph, Oct. 15, 1998, ``MI6 `Concealed Extermination of Jews for a Year,'|'' and in a London Times piece entitled, ``Britain Accused of Hiding Facts on Holocaust,'' the role of Churchill and MI6 are laid bare.
The stories are based on what is documented in a new book, by American University historian Richard Breitman, entitled, Official Secrets: What the Nazis Planned, What the British and Americans Knew, based on his reading of recently declassified intercepts by British codebreakers during the Second World War. Breitman reveals that the Churchill government, and Churchill personally, knew about the Holocaust a year earlier than was thought, and concealed the information from the Allies. Britain had recognized the Nazi policy of mass killing of Jews in the East by mid-September 1941, and by the following January, realized that Hitler was intent on exterminating European Jewry. Nevertheless, the information from the secret radio intercepts was not passed on to the United States until 1982 (!), as part of an American investigation of suspected war criminals.
According to Breitman, Churchill's reputation as ``a great hero'' should be challenged, since he should have alerted Jews in Germany's satellite states and in neutral countries, while Roosevelt's role in the whole story should be more positively reassessed, as he was kept in the dark by the British. In a statement Oct. 14, quoted by the Times, Breitman says: ``The British did not share these decodes with the Americans. There was a secrecy reason for not doing so, but there were also a number of conflicts, and a great deal of mistrust between London and Washington on Jewish issues. Anthony Eden [the Foreign Secretary] was a strongly negative influence. To some extent, the reputation of Roosevelt needs adjustment on this issue, because the British knew this earlier. I do not see how it follows that Churchill was a great hero in responding to the Holocaust and Roosevelt was a great villain.''
Breitman charges that the British ``simply hoarded'' the vital information they were accruing, on transport and other aspects of the infrastructure of the Holocaust. Asked by the Telegraph how he assessed British conduct in late 1941 and much of 1942, he said: ``I do not use the word `atrocious,' but I believe that Britain, not in a military sense but in a political and diplomatic sense, could have done more than it did.''
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