Mon cher – les gens avec lesquels on aurait dû être vus morts. Rebecca West (télégramme à Noël Coward)
Churchill, Chamberlain, Anthony Eden, Baden-Powell, H. G. Wells, E. M. Forster, Aldous Huxley (déjà émigré aux Etats-Unis depuis 1936), Bertrand Russell, Virginia Woolf, Noël Coward, des membres des gouvernements en exil polonais et tchèque (Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Edvard Benes, Jan Masaryk), Freud (déjà mort depuis septembre 1939), Chaim Weizmann (futur premier président israélien) …
Pour ceux qui douteraient encore de l’insatiable volonté génocidaire des nazis contre « la Juiverie mondiale » …
Voici celui de la Grande-Bretagne où une force sous le commandement de Franz Six et dans le cadre de l’Opération « Lion de mer » était censée éliminer ou déporter dans les camps allemands près de 3 000 hauts fonctionnaires, émigrés européens et bien sûr juifs ainsi qu’à l’exception de George Bernard Shaw, tout le gotha de l’élite intellectuelle et culturelle du pays.
Le tout soigneusement listé dans le fameux « livre noir » préparé par le futur général SS Walter Schellenberg (à 20 000 exemplaires), si bien informé sur les services secrets britanniques que sa traduction a dû attendre plus de 50 ans …
IMAGINING A GERMAN VICTOR IN ENGLAND
The Boston Globe
May 7, 2003
There are certain « what ifs » in history that simply own us. The Nazis are perpetual crowd-pleasers in this regard: What if they had won? Robert Harris wrote an absorbing 1992 novel on the subject, « Fatherland. » And now the Nebraska ETV (public television) Network brings us informed fiction based on fact: What if the Nazis had taken England?
This production is driven largely by a trove of Nazi documents that show in chilling detail how the Germans would attack, defeat, and dominate the country. This data was meticulously prepared for an invasion scheduled for the summer of 1940, when the rest of Europe was on its knees. Two Nazi books, compiled by Nazi intelligence officer Walter Schellenberg, are particularly scary.
First is « The Black Book, » identifying for elimination 2,820 Brits: all government officials, European emigres, and the cream of the British intellectual and cultural elite. Say goodbye to the likes of Noel Coward, E.M. Forster, and H.G. Wells.
Schellenberg’s other offering is the huge tome known as the « Informationsheft G.B. » – the blueprint for the domination of Great Britain. Outlined here were the rules for how occupying German troops should initially behave (stand politely in line when shopping), what groups are to be coopted, what others killed (by Einsatz death squads), and when to begin the deportation of Jews back to Europe.
In the telecast « Hitler’s Victory, » the Germans invade on Sept. 24. Auxiliary units created in secret by Winston Churchill to harass German troops are history in two weeks.
There’s fierce fighting at Kent on Oct. 15. The Brits mount a disastrous counterattack. A massive air attack on London kills Churchill in his war room. The royals are evacuated to Canada.
By Nov. 1, the Nazis parade through London. Four days later, thousands of English POWs are shipped to camps outside Paris as hostages.
The Germans toy with the idea of using Oswald Mosley, aristocratic head of the British Union of Fascists, to run the country. But they prefer established politicians, so they choose Lord Halifax, the British foreign secretary who (like prewar Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain) thought he could work with the Germans.
They still need a king, so they install the Duke of Windsor, always sympathetic to the Nazis, who had abdicated the throne as Edward VIII to marry the American divorcee Wallace Simpson. He sits irrelevantly at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
All of England’s art treasures are plundered by special squads and sent to Germany, where they will be culled. The best are to be transported to Linz, Hitler’s Austrian hometown, where he plans to build the greatest art center in the world.
The Nazis co-opt the British police, kill the most respected intellectuals at Oxford, and burn books there. The same ugly trajectory for Jews that had been seen in Europe appears in England, complete with an overcrowded ghetto in London’s East End where cholera breaks out.
With England gone, Hitler strikes east in May rather than late June. The weather is better, and the Soviet Union falls. America is alone, while Werner Heisenberg develops the atomic bomb and Wernher Von Braun works on rockets that eventually will send a German to the moon.
In reality, of course, the Brits kept the Germans at bay in the great air war called the Battle of Britain, which raged all summer and into the fall of 1940. By then, weather worked against the German invasion plan, and it was canceled. But the game here is « what if? » – and this isn’t a bad one.
A travel guide for Nazis
A travel guide for Nazis
One of the more bizarre official documents of the War
20 Feb 2009
NOEL COWARD was once surprised to read in his morning paper that he had been marked down by the Nazis for immediate liquidation upon their conquest of England. Alongside the more obvious names on the 1940 « Special Wanted List » was Lytton Strachey, who even the Gestapo would have had a difficult time persuading to talk, given that he had been dead for eight years. The list is printed in this volume with Walter Schellenbergís Gestapo handbook for the invasion of Britain. Together they present one of the more bizarre official documents of the War: a travel guide for Nazis, complete with the requisite prejudice, but none the less rich in unintentional humour.
The handbook is often accurate as a gazetteer, and some attempt is made at a sophisticated understanding of Britain and the British. With regard to the secret service, the author writes, « We have to free ourselves from conventional ideas of strict organisation, from the particularly German need for precise detail, separation and definition, if we really want to understand the structural essence of British Intelligence. » The sentiment does not last long. Particular character traits to watch out for in the populace are « unscrupulousness, self-discipline, cool calculation and ruthless action », although it is allowed that « even Britons are human and make blunders ».
A Nuremberg judge would have been confused by the author’s attitude to obeying orders. « The British consider it entirely natural, » he writes, « to serve their country, not objecting to the methodology involved, which might seem ethically repellent or reprehensible to a foreigner. » With equal nerve, Schellenberg laments the lack of civic freedom in Britain and writes indignantly of how the government has imposed military law on the entire country – « which, in its dictatorial application, defies all acknowledged democratic principles ».
As if that was not enough, the high costs of legal action « make it almost impossible for the less affluent classes to gain their rights in court ». Of the public schools, « It is here that the future English gentleman is educated, the gentleman who has never thought about philosophical issues, who has hardly any knowledge of foreign culture and who thinks of Germany as the embodiment of evil. » The Boy Scout movement is particularly dangerous as « a disguised instrument of power for British cultural propaganda ». The National Gallery is suspected of possessing several pictures of Jews.
Schellenberg and his assistants write in the unmistakable voice of the bully, by turns wounded and threatening. This makes their handbook no less entertaining, however, and Invasion 1940 makes for compulsive reading, rather as if one had unearthed a confidential school report on oneself. There is no section on the British sense of humour, but with the Gestapo’s wit so evident we can guess what their reaction would have been to Rebecca West’s telegram to Coward that morning: « My dear – the people we should have been seen dead with. »