Winston Churchill tried to execute Adolf Hitler? The intention of the British Prime Minister was to use the electric chair for the first time to execute him. (Photo: Telemundo.com)
INTERNET SOURCE: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1506725/Churchill-wanted-Hitler-sent-to-the-electric-chair.html
Churchill wanted Hitler sent to the electric chair
Chris Hastings, Arts Correspondent
12:01AM GMT 01 Jan 2006
Sir Winston Churchill, Britain's wartime Prime Minister, planned to execute Adolf Hitler in the electric chair if the Nazi leader fell into Allied hands.
Declassified documents reveal that Churchill was opposed to Allied plans for war crimes trials and wanted summarily to execute leading Nazi figures including Hitler who he regarded as "the mainspring of evil" and a "gangster".
They also show that he was willing, against the advice of his Cabinet colleagues, to "wipe out" defenceless German villages in retaliation for Nazi atrocities in Czechoslovakia.
The disclosures are contained in notebooks kept by Sir Norman Brook, the former wartime deputy cabinet secretary, who kept an account of proceedings in a form of shorthand.
Hitler on the electric chair?
[PHOTO SOURCE: https://au.pinterest.com/pin/417075615460744984/]
On July 6, 1942, according to his notes, the Prime Minister said: "Contemplate that if Hitler falls into our hands we shall certainly put him to death.
"Not a Sovereign who could be said to be in hands of Ministers, like Kaiser. This man is the mainspring of evil. Instrument - electric chair, for gangsters no doubt available on lend-lease."
Churchill's choice of the electric chair was despite the fact that it was never used in Britain before the final abolition of the death penalty in 1965.
Sir Norman's notebooks, which are being made public by the National Archives at Kew, reveal Churchill to be a ruthless commander who was prepared to override moral and legal considerations to defeat Germany.
On July 7, 1943, Churchill argued passionately that leading Nazis who fell into British hands should be treated as "outlaws" and shot rather than put on trial.
"I suggested that U.N. to draw up a list of 50 or so wd. be declared as outlaws by the 33 Nations. (Those not on the list might be induced to rat!) If any of these found by advancing troops, nearest offr. of brigade rank shd. call a military court to establish identity and shd. then execute w'out higher authority."
The papers also show that he was willing to "bump of" Himmler and shoot German prisoners of war should Germany begin doing the same to British prisoners.
An extremely rare silver charm depicticting Adolf Hitler hanging from a noose
Churchill's own six volume history of the conflict, The Second World War, makes no reference to this disagreement over war crimes trials and includes just a passing reference to "the unexpectedly ultra-respectable, 'no executions without trial' line being taken by Stalin".
Equally controversial will be the revelation in the notebooks, that Churchill wanted the RAF to wipe out German villages in retaliation for the massacre of civilians in Lidice, a Czech village, which was razed to the ground by the SS.
The Prime Minister abandoned his plan only in the face of opposition from Cabinet colleagues. On June 15, 1942, he said: "My instinct is strongly the other way... I submit (unwillingly) to the view of Cabinet against."
It may be that Churchill would have lived to regret the raids. Within weeks of authorising bombing raids on the German town of Dresden in 1945 he began to question the wisdom of the policy. He would later say that the deaths of up to 30,000 German civilians raised a "query against the conduct of Allied bombers".
The notebooks also reveal Churchill's preferred method for dealing with Gandhi, the Indian nationalist leader, who embarked on a hunger strike in 1942.
Churchill, almost alone among his Cabinet colleagues, did not see the need to cave into the Gandhi's demands even though many observers believed he only had days to live.
He finally agreed for a reprieve on condition that Gandhi's release did not cause Britain to lose face. On January 7, 1943 he asked colleagues: "Why give way to h-strike by Gandhi?
"Let him out as an act of State, rather than an act of submission to G' will. I wd. keep him there and let him do as he likes... But if you are going to let him out because he strikes, then let him out now... Tell Viceroy."
Churchill was equally dismissive of Gen Charles de Gaulle, one of Britain's closest allies, who he believed suffered from "an insensate ambition" and who was the "greatest living barrier to re-union and restoration of France".
The notebooks reveal that the plight of Jewish communities in Europe and the Middle East was a frequent topic of discussion at Cabinet.
On December 14, 1942, Churchill asked Anthony Eden, his Foreign Secretary, whether reports about "the wholesale massacre of Jews" by "electrical methods" were true.
Eden tells him that "Jews are being withdrawn from Norway and sent to Poland, for some such purposes evidently". Eden, is, however, unable to "confirm the method" of killing.
Churchill, himself, seems to have been more concerned with the fate of "Poles, not Jews" as the war drew to a close. On March 28, 1945, he said: "Actually we have a very small Jewish population compared with other countries. I'm only concerned with Poles - and Poles who have really fought."
Sir Norman also records on June 11, 1945, that Churchill described Russia's advance into Central Europe as "one of the most terrible events in history".
Despite the USSR's advances Churchill still believed there was a place for British values. On July 12, 1943, he said: "Propagate our language all over world is best method. Harmonises with my ideas for future of world. This will be the English speaking century."