Relive the Past

Plan to give Europe to Nazis revealed in secret files:

A BRITISH amateur diplomaBRITISH amateur diplomatt tried to stop World War II by offering Nazi Germany rule over Europe if the British Empire could rule the rest of the world, according to secret files declassified today.

James Lonsdale-Bryans, a well-educated fascist sympathiser, flew to Rome in the early days of the war to try to negotiate the deal with Ulrich von Hassell, the German ambassador to Italy.

The Security Service files reveal that the Foreign Office was aware of what Lonsdale-Bryans was up to and their unease about his actions.

“It would appear that Bryans may be taking part in unofficial discussions for the benefit of troops under the auspices of education officer,” the file read.

“Bryans’ idea is that the world ought to be divided into two parts.

“That Germany should be given a free hand in Europe and that the British Empire should run the rest of the world.

“I am not sure that this is a very desirable point of view to publish at the present time.”

Lonsdale-Bryans contacted the then-foreign secretary Lord Edward Halifax with his plans, triggering panic among officials.

“Bryans is a talkative and indiscreet fellow who is in possession of a story which he delights in telling and which if told publicly would be likely to cause embarrassment to the Foreign Office,” the files read.

To the further annoyance of officials, he also tried to discuss his plans with top US officials, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, who during the war was Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe.

That led Britain to reassure the Americans that Lonsdale-Bryans was “unreliable though not disloyal”.

October 24th, 2008 at 12:16 am

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