Churchill: execute Hitler without trial

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by marconi, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. marconi

    marconi Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2005
    Messages:
    259
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Here's an intresting article found on internets.I just thought it should be interesting to you folks.

    Churchill: execute Hitler without trial
    Newly released government documents from 1942 reveal the war cabinet’s debates
    From The Sunday Times
    January 1, 2006

    WINSTON CHURCHILL wanted to execute Hitler in an electric chair borrowed from America if the German dictator was captured, wartime cabinet documents reveal, writes John Crossland.
    Churchill believed that putting Nazi leaders on trial after the war would be a “farce” and that they should instead be treated as “outlaws”.
    The former prime minister’s views are made public today after more than 60 years as another alleged war criminal, Saddam Hussein, continues to frustrate prosecutors with his antics in a courtroom in Iraq.
    Churchill’s thoughts about Hitler’s fate are recorded in handwritten notes taken by Sir Norman Brook, the deputy cabinet secretary in 1942-43 and 1945-46.
    The notes, released by the National Archives in Kew, London, differ from the official minutes of war cabinet meetings because they record the words of individual ministers.
    In December 1942, on one of the first occasions when the cabinet discussed what to do with the Führer, Churchill said: “If Hitler falls into our hands we shall certainly put him to death . . . This man is the mainspring of evil. Instrument — electric chair, for gangsters, no doubt available on Lease-Lend.” He was referring to the agreement with America that had helped to fund the British war effort.
    Brook’s notes show that Churchill’s opposition to a war crimes tribunal “which could only be a mock trial — a farce” remained resolute towards the end of the war. “Execute the principal criminals as outlaws,” Churchill said in April 1945, less than three weeks before Hitler committed suicide.
    The prime minister supported an idea put forward by Viscount Swinton, the civil aviation minister, to circumvent the allies’ commitment to a trial. The proposal was to send the Russians and Americans written reasons for summary justice and kill Hitler before they had a chance to reply.
    Churchill made it clear he would counter any legal outcry by introducing an Act of Attainder in parliament, a procedure that allows politicians rather than a court of law to pass judgment on an accused person.
    The cabinet notes also show that Churchill called for a list to be drawn up of “(Nazi) grand criminals, who may be shot when taken in the field”.
    Sir Stafford Cripps, minister for aircraft production, supported this. “Hand it to any captured: give them two weeks to reply, then shoot,” he said.
    However, by May 3, four days before the formal German surrender, the British case for summary execution had fallen “as the leaders were being liquidated anyway”.
    Nevertheless, Churchill asked his colleagues: “Could you negotiate with, for example, Himmler and bump him off later?”
    Richard Law, who was involved in negotiations leading to the Nuremberg tribunals, told the cabinet that the other allies remained intent on trials.
    This appears to have made Churchill finally back down. “Don’t make a big fight with the United States and Russia on this,” he said. “We are in a weak position.”
    Brook’s notebooks also show that Churchill at one stage favoured “wiping out German villages by air attack on a three-for-one basis”. The prime minister’s remarks came five days after the SS massacred the menfolk of Lidice, in Czechoslovakia, and razed the village, provoking a wave of revulsion across Europe in June 1942.
    However, Sir Archibald Sinclair, secretary of state for air, pointed out that such a strategy would be a diversion from military objectives and needlessly risk aircraft and crews.
    Sinclair was backed by Clement Attlee, the dominions secretary, who said: “I doubt if it is useful to enter into competition in frightfulness with the Germans.”

    P.S. Copied it from timesonline.
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,768
    Likes Received:
    684
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    A&P - Aircraft Technician
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    The electric chair would have been to kind to him.
     
  3. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Messages:
    10,678
    Likes Received:
    676
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Urban Design/Strategic Studies Tutor
    Location:
    Orange NSW
    Churchill may have wanted to pass laws to legalize execution without trial, but in the westminster system, the laws would have been illegal. Almost certainly Parliamentary Counsel, who have the job of drafting the laws would have referred the matter to the attorney general, and if the answer there was unsatisfactory, to the high court for review. The High court would have made a ruling of ultra vires, making it illegal for the parliament to pass such an unlawful statute.

    This whole thing just not ring true for me....Churchill was a strong advocate for the trials at Nuremberg, so it just seems illogical that he would have a different view at the same time...

    I would treat this report with a great deal of scepticism

    If Hitler had
     
  4. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    24,075
    Likes Received:
    655
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Korporate Kontrolleur
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Pretty interesting read however.
     
  5. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,592
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    IT
    Location:
    Hurst, Texas
    Yeah....doesn't sound like Churchill at all. Although I can understand the sentiment, it sounds like someone trying to dream up a reason to quit wasting time with Houssein and just pull the trigger.
     
  6. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    7,528
    Likes Received:
    947
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I don't know that it doesn't sound like Churchill! He could be impetuous and it wouldn't be the first time he was restrained by cooler counsel (and the law).It wouldn't be the first time that he adopted an extreme position to test the waters either. As Parsifal says,he would never have got away with it and certainly knew that.
     
  7. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,592
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    IT
    Location:
    Hurst, Texas
    Yes, but to stoop to summary execution? That would be putting himself on the same level as Hitler, which I don't know that he would've done. Yes, he was impetuous and hard to restrain at times, but I think this is a line he wouldn't have wanted to cross. We just won a war fighting for freedom from tyranny. However short the trial would have been (God help the poor sap who drew the short straw and had to defend Hitler!), there was only one possible outcome, as everyone would know. But a trial he would have gotten.
     
  8. Seawitch

    Seawitch Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2006
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Artist, others
    Location:
    London
    Home Page:
    I'm not sure this is true, but a trial would have been a humiliation deserved. You can see the electric chair being used on youtube, I'm not sure it's humane, but who would worry about that in this case?
    My problem here is the present. Under current British law you cannot be executed.
    For many years after abolishion some offences like high treason were set aside so the death penalty still applied.
    That ended recently.
    Slobodan milosevic was put on a lengthy trial where he probably made a bigger clown of himself than Goring did.
    He knew he wouldn't be executed inspite of all that mass murder.
    Now that is a crime.
     
  9. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Messages:
    10,678
    Likes Received:
    676
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Urban Design/Strategic Studies Tutor
    Location:
    Orange NSW
    Im not sure about execution to be honest. They deserve it, no question, but there is the risk that these people achieve martyrdom by our hand.

    I tend to think locking them up, wityh no outside contact (eg Hess) is more punishment than execution (eg Keitel)
     
  10. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    23,053
    Likes Received:
    994
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Animal Control Officer
    Location:
    Southern New Jersey
    Churchill did make some statements some times that could be viewed as extreme. I don't have any now, but I do remember a quote about the bombing of Germany that was eye opening.

    And I would have done what eventually happened to Hitler - except without the bullet.
     
Loading...

Share This Page