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John Simkin

Nazi Germany and the Royal Family

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Price Harry’s behaviour has raised the embarrassing issue of the history of the royal family and fascism.

It is of course well documented that the royal family originally came from Germany and changed its name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor during the First World War. This is of course irrelevant, if we are going to have a royal family, I see nothing wrong in getting them from Germany. If talent does not matter, why should we bother about nationality.

The problem was not that the royal family was German in the 1930s but that several of its members were sympathetic towards Hitler. We all know about the activities of the Duke of Windsor (the former Edward VIII). One of the main reasons why he was forced to abdicate was his close relationship with Hitler’s government. Even as late at 1970 the Duke of Windsor was saying that he “never thought Hitler was such a bad chap”. After all, he was anti-communist wasn’t he?

Recently released files (2003) show that the Nazis planned to reinstall Edward as king in order that he could become “director of England’s destiny after the war”.

Edward was not the only member of the royal family who was sympathetic to Hitler. George VI’s diaries and letters written in the 1930s make a fascinating read. They show that George was not concerned with the atrocities being committed by Hitler and was doing everything he could to support Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement policy. In fact, his campaign was unconstitutional and was the last example in history of the monarchy trying to influence major political decisions in the UK.

George and Edward were not alone in these pro-German views. It was mainstream thought amongst the aristocracy. Recently released files on the Right Club shows a network of aristocrats and retired military officers willing to campaign for a negotiated peace with Germany in 1939 and 1940. Some of these characters were willing to provide Germany with official secrets.

The Right Club, a secret organization, was infiltrated by Joan Miller, the mistress of Maxwell Knight, the head of B5b, a unit of MI5 that conducted the monitoring of political subversion. Knight, the former Director of Intelligence of the British Fascisti (BF), was reluctant to take action against this group. However, someone tipped off Winston Churchill and when he became prime minister he insisted that members of the group should be arrested. Aristocrats like Lord Redesdale, Duke of Wellington, Duke of Westminster, Marquess of Graham, Lord Sempill, Earl of Galloway, etc. were allowed to go free. However, two members, Anna Wolkoff and Tyler Kent, were arrested and convicted for spying. Their main crime was that they had foreign backgrounds. Archibald Ramsay, the Tory MP, was also arrested and although guilty of spying for Germany, his case was covered up and was eventually released from prison in September 1944.

After the war the royal family did what it could to maintain the Nazi connection. Prince Michael married the daughter of Baron Gunther von Reibnitz, a Nazi Party member and an honorary member of the SS.

Elizabeth married Prince Philip. He came from a pro-fascist family. His brother-in-law, Prince Christoph of Hesse was a member of the SS. In fact, Elizabeth’s marriage to Philip caused problems and the government refused permission for several of his relatives to enter Britain and attend the wedding.

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I'm not well read on this subject, but in Peter Wright's SPYCATCHER, he mentions that before the debriefings of Anthony Blunt, he had to approach the Queen in order to inform her that one of her appointees was known to be a spy. Part of the reply was that "... you may find Blunt referring to an assignment he undertook on behalf of the Palace - a visit to Germany at the end of the war. Please do not pursue this matter. Strictly speaking, it is not relevant to considerations of national security".

Does that have anything to do with this?

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I'm not well read on this subject, but in Peter Wright's SPYCATCHER, he mentions that before the debriefings of Anthony Blunt, he had to approach the Queen in order to inform her that one of her appointees was known to be a spy.  Part of the reply was that "... you may find Blunt referring to an assignment he undertook on behalf of the Palace - a visit to Germany at the end of the war.  Please do not pursue this matter.  Strictly speaking, it is not relevant to considerations of national security".

Does that have anything to do with this?

Yes. At the end of the war Blunt was sent to Germany on a secret mission for the Royal family. It is believed he was removing evidence that linked the royal family support for the Nazi government.

A few months later Blunt retired from MI5 to become Surveyor of the King's Pictures. He continued to be a member of the spy ring led by Kim Philby and in 1951 helped Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean to defect to the Soviet Union. Blunt, who had been seen in the company of Burgess and Maclean just before they disappeared, was interviewed by eleven times by MI5 but was eventually cleared of any involvement in their spying activities.

When George VI died in 1953 Queen Elizabeth II asked Blunt to become Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures.

In January 1964 Arthur Martin interviewed Michael Straight, an American who had studied at Trinity College, Cambridge. While at university he became friends with Blunt, Kim Philby, Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess. Straight claimed that Blunt had tried to recruit him to become a Soviet spy.

Arthur Martin and Jim Skardon had interviewed Blunt eleven times since 1951. Martin, now armed with Straight's story, went to see Blunt again. This time he made a confession. He admitted being a Soviet agent and named John Cairncross, Peter Ashby, Brian Symon and Leo Long as spies he had recruited.

Martin was disappointed when it was discovered that Roger Hollis and Attorney-General Sir John Hobson decided not to put Anthony Blunt on trial. The reason for this was that he was threatening to blackmail the royal family with details of the documents he collected in Germany in 1945.

Blunt continued as Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures in 1972. He also taught at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Eight years after confessing to being a Soviet spy he was appointed Adviser of the Queens's Pictures and Drawings. A post he held until his retirement in 1978.

Blunt's role as a Soviet agent was exposed in Andrew Boyle's book, The Climate of Treason in 1979. This resulted in his knighthood, awarded in 1956, being annulled. However, his knowledge of the pro-Nazi attitudes of the royal family kept him from being put on trial.

For more information on Blunt and his spy ring see:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/SSblunt.htm

For details of other establishment Nazi supporters in the 1930s see:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWrightclub.htm

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Recently released files on the Right Club shows a network of aristocrats and retired military officers willing to campaign for a negotiated peace with Germany in 1939 and 1940. Some of these characters were willing to provide Germany with official secrets.

John, how and where can I get access to those files. Is it possible to read them on the Internet?

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John, how and where can I get access to those files. Is it possible to read them on the Internet?

Other than my pages on the Far Right in the 1930s in Britain, I am not aware of any other internet sources. These issues have been written on by several British historians. The most important of these is Richard Griffiths. I highly recommend his books, Patriotism Perverted (1998) and Fellow Travellers of the Right: British Enthusiasts for Nazi Germany, 1933-39 (1983).

For more details follow the links on this page:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWrightclub.htm

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Why is this not even brought into the mainstream, at times like daft harry in his nazi uniform?

And how are we 'allowed' to type and read these things now- not all of which have been released from secret files yet?

I wonder how immigration, or Labour Govts survived, under our dear old fascist country?

Edited by John Wilson

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