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A Nazi Conspiracy/Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch

This is an account of an alleged Nazi conspiracy to assassinate the Big Three (Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin) at the Tehran Conference in 1943.

I say “alleged” as there may have been no conspiracy but a ruse by the Soviets to scare President Roosevelt into staying not at the US Legation outside Tehran but the Soviet Embassy in the centre.  The purpose of this was to bug where Roosevelt was staying.

The evidence is thin and besides would not Roosevelt have assumed his quarters were bugged?

The burning military issue in late 1943 was the opening of a second front in Northern Europe.

Stalin, not unreasonably, felt he had to bear the brunt of the Wehrmacht’s offensive and that the Mediterranean theatre was irrelevant.

Some historians accept this version, others argue that the bombing of Germany committed the Luftwaffe and that Churchill’s plan of attacking through Italy into the soft under-belly of Europe was sounder.

One must never forget, too, the Molotov/Ribbentrop pact assuring Russia of neutrality as the Nazi blitzkrieg subjugated most of Western Europe.

Roosevelt was far more committed than Churchill to a Channel crossing to launch the second front, even to the extent of meeting Stalin without Churchill.

Stalin was prepared to attend a conference but insisted on the location in Tehran which did have a government sympathetic to the Nazis and a network set up by their spy Franz Mayr.

As interesting is the portrayal of the Big Three, each of them quite remarkable.

Stalin refused to yield, even when the Wehrmacht was on the outskirts of Moscow. The Russian final casualties amounted to over 20 million deaths – the Allies around 900,000 – and the commitment of troops and their defeat were the crucible of the war.

Churchill from the outset made it clear that his aim was total victory. One of the biggest differences between Churchill and Roosevelt and Hitler was the formers’ willingness to travel whilst Hitler largely remained in the Wolf Lair in East Prussia.

Roosevelt was debilitated by the polio he contracted when 39 – whilst Churchill must surely have been aware of  deaths to key figures suffered in aeroplanes like the Duke of Kent, Lord Gort and the actor Leslie Howard – but both leaders made their way to the other side of the world.

The writers put the Tehran conference in the context of World War Two with a concise overview of events leading up to the Tehran Conference.

1943 was not a great year for Hitler and the Nazis.

They were losing the war with Russia and the Allies had taken Sicily and were marching up Italy.

The only positive news was the ‘springing’ of Mussolini from his mountain top captivity in Grande Sasso by Otto Skorzeny, who was linked with the Tehran assassination coup though he denied this.

This is an easy and well-informed read even if the final conclusion of writer and reader alike is ‘we simply will never know’.




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About Henry Elkins

A keen researcher of family ancestors, Henry will be reporting on the centenary of World War One. More Posts