A new book about some lesser-known events that occurred during the last days of the Second World War claims that wartime British prime minister Winston Churchill considered joining forces with the remnants of the Nazi armies to halt any further advances by the Red Army into the heart of Europe.
"It was late in 1944 that Churchill asked his [Chiefs of Staff], the very small group of the top general, admiral [and] Air Force guys … to draw up plans for the end of the war to see [if they] could stop the Russians going further towards the Atlantic than they already had," author Frank Walker told Defence Connect during a one-on-one chat about his book Traitors: How Australia and its Allies Betrayed our Anzacs and let Nazi and Japanese War Criminals Go Free.
"In other words, because they had the agreement to let the Russians take Berlin … we had the great split of East [and] West Germany, and Churchill feared that there was nothing to stop the Russians going all the way through Western Germany, right to the ocean and France and so on," said Walker.
He emphasised that during the war period, the Resistance in occupied countries such as the Netherlands, France and Italy had largely been made up of communist partisans.
"They were the backbone of the Resistance forces in France and so on," said Walker. "Churchill feared that these people might rise up and support a Red Army invasion of France and Italy and even the Scandinavian countries."
According to Walker’s book, Churchill’s team drew up plans but did flag that the only way any such move could have been successful would be if the Americans joined in.
"Now, the Americans, don't forget, were fighting the Pacific War as well, and they had a new president in Truman," he added. "Truman, first of all [as well as] Roosevelt, was not interested and Churchill was very frustrated by that."
Walker said that Churchill's generals actually had a launch date in place, "which was the first of July 1945, when they would re-arm the German soldiers who had surrendered and get them to march side by side [with] British troops, all the way heading east".
However, Walker noted that at this stage Churchill’s staff said: "Mr Churchill, we think this is absolute folly. We can't win it."
Summing up, Walker explained that the daring plan fell apart when the first atomic bomb went off.
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"Then Churchill knew that there was nothing the Russians could do in the face of these weapons that could destroy entire cities," he said.
Stay tuned for our podcast to hear more from author and journalist Frank Walker.