Hidden Agenda: How the Duke of Windsor Betrayed the Allies Hardcover – 21 Oct 2002
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This book is the result of the author's research into the intriguing Charles Eugene Bedaux, a Frenchman suspected of spying for the Germans in the First World War, and in whose house in France the Duke of Windsor married Wallis Simpson. Bedaux, through his connections with high-ranking Nazis, ensured that the Duke of Windsor found a sympathetic audience for his own fascist ambitions. Evidence unearthed in European archives, from the FBI, and interviews with key individuals has thrown new light on a letter given to the author's father by Albert Speer, enabling new and sinister conclusions to be drawn from the events which occurred in 1939. The book provides a fresh perspective on the true causes of the abdication crisis and tells the astonishing story of the ex-King who betrayed his own country and altered the course of the Second World War.
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Whilst the book has some interesting theories it is nonetheless a very flawed publication and one which does no great service to historians studying the era.Perhaps 2016 will bring some matters to light.Unlikely but we can but hope.
The lynchpin of the book is a letter, supposedly written in late 1939 by the Duke. Its purpose was to introduce to Hitler the Duke‘s messenger, the Franco-American industrial consultant, Charles E. Bedaux who, in those early months and years of the war, was able to travel quite freely from one side of the „Sitzkrieg“ front to the other.
A facsimile of the letter is shown in the book. Obviously, for a mere reader, it is impossible to say whether the letter is genuine or not. The (German!) text of the letter is, however, just ever so slightly off the track with respect to normal German style, grammar, and vocabulary that it may well have been written by a person, such as the Duke, whose command of the language was good, but not perfect. It would have taken an excellent forger to achieve such a convincing degree of (im)perfection.
The immediate military results of the Duke‘s overtures toward Hitler were twofold. They represent, in a way, each party‘s ante in the bargain: the Duke‘s information on the French defenses allowed the Germans to turn the „sitzkrieg“ into a „blitzkrieg“ in the summer of 1940, whereas the German contribution was to hold their panzers back when they reached the Channel, thus allowing the British Expeditionary Force to retreat from Dunkerque with acceptable losses.
At this point, the book argues more or less explicitly, it would have been possible for some sort of peace deal to be reached. However, the Duke‘s position at home had been undermined by internal machinations that had led to his resignation and he was unable to realize his ambition which, according to Allen, was to recover his throne through this admittedly risky alliance with Berlin.
The obvious argument that comes to mind at this point is that any peace with Hitler would have constituted an abandonment of Poland for whose integrity and protection the Allies had, after all, gone to war. We must realize, though, that at the end of September, 1939, when the war in Poland had come to its rapid end, the Germans had occupied only the western half of that country. The eastern half of Poland was, by then, under Soviet domination, because the Soviets had, on 17 September 1939 (when the victory of their German ally was evident) sent in the Red Army to take over the rest - and to hold on to it to the present day.
This overt act of aggression did not cause a stir in the camp of the Allies and voids the argument sketched out above. The value of Allen‘s book lies in its exposure of the duplicity of the policy of the Allies. Only five years later, the world witnessed and for the most part, welcomed the complete hand-over of Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe to Stalin who, by that time, had become the West‘s most valuable ally in the fight for the ideals of freedom and democracy. It took History a mere fifty years and millions of dead to rectify that situation. One wonders if the price that might have had to be paid to Hitler would have been quite as high as that.