In this fascinating piece of historical detective work - the result of several years' research and the interrogation of numerous surviving witnesses - Michael Bloch has penetrated one of the great mysteries of the Second World War: the plot to bring the Duke of Windsor under German power on the eve of the Battle of Britain, a plot which the Duke himself is sometimes said to have given encouragement. A work of historical sleuthing in the classic tradition, combining powerful writing with scrupulous scholarship.
The plot originated with Nazi foreign minister Ribbentrop, who convinced Hitler that the Duke of Windsor lost his throne because of his pro-German sympathies and would be delighted to recover it through collaboration with the Nazis. (Bloch, having examined the evidence, concludes that it is highly unlikely that the Duke "flirted'' or ``intrigued'' with the Nazis.) The plan was to lure the Duke to Spain, invite him to collaborate, offer to restore him to the throne of Englandand ask the Spanish government to imprison him if he refused. But the men required to carry it out were either lukewarm or skeptical or incompetent, and, as Bloch notes, what was most surprising about the plot was not that it failed but that it got as far as it did. The conspiracy was nevertheless historically significant because Hitler's preoccupation with it was one of the factors causing him to delay his attack on Britain that summer, giving the British a chance to regroup their forces and survive. Photos.