Churchill wanted to send Hitler to electric chair
2 January 2006, LONDON - Winston Churchill was determined to have Nazi German dictator Adolf Hitler executed on the electric chair, according to British War Cabinet records released on Sunday.
2 January 2006
LONDON - Winston Churchill was determined to have Nazi German dictator Adolf Hitler executed on the electric chair, according to British War Cabinet records released on Sunday.
The British chancellor also insisted that leading Nazi figures should be summarily executed without trial, notes taken by Britain's wartime Deputy Cabinet Secretary Sir Norman Brook showed.
The records showed that Churchill's cabinet colleagues tried to tone down the former chancellor's combative attitude, with then Labour minister and future Prime Minister Clement Attlee seeking to cajole and combat him.
It is the first time that records of detailed opinions of the former government ministers have become known as former notes released from the meetings only represented the general discussion.
At one meeting in December 1942, Churchill is cited as saying: "Contemplate that if Hitler falls into our hands we shall certainly put him to death."
"This man is the mainspring of evil," he was quoted as saying and suggested that Hitler should not be hanged but send to the electric chair "for gangsters".
As no such equipment was available in Britain at the time, Churchill even suggested - possibly tongue-in-cheek - that the electric chair for Hitler's death could be provided by the United States under the U.S. Lend-Lease scheme, according to the notes.
Two and a half years later, in a meeting in April 1945, the cabinet was still debating whether a trial of the Nazi leadership was bound to turn into a farce.
A "mock trial for Nazi leaders would be objectionable: Better to declare that we shall put them to death," former Home Secretary Herbert Morrison was recorded as saying.
Churchill is noted as agreeing: "All sort of complications ensue as soon as you admit a fair trial."
In a meeting on May 3, Churchill's position appears changed as he proposes to negotiate "with figures such as Gestapo head Heinrich Himmler and then bump him off later".
Shortly later, however, Churchill was told that Britain's wartime allies, the U.S. and Russia, preferred to put the Nazi leaders on trial. Senior Nazi figures later escaped the trials as they followed Hitler's example of committing suicide.
Churchill also suggested that British bombers should destroy three German villages for every Czech village wiped out by the Germans and said in another meeting that he had no reservations to shoot German prisoners of war if the Germans killed British ones.
The documents are open to the public at the National Archives in Kew in West London.
Subject: German news