'Death by chocolate' plot to kill Sir Winston
A historic letter indicates the Nazis planned to
assassinate Sir Winston Churchill, the British wartime prime minister, with a
bar of exploding chocolate.
A Nazi plot to kill Sir
Winston Churchill with a bar of exploding chocolate during the Second World War
has been revealed in historic papers.
Giving a new meaning to the
dessert name "death by chocolate”, Adolf Hitler’s bomb makers coated explosive
devices with a thin layer of rich dark chocolate, then packaged it in
expensive-looking black and gold paper.
The Germans apparently
planned to use secret agents working in Britain to discreetly place the bars -
branded as Peters Chocolate - among other luxury items taken into the dining
room used by the War Cabinet during the conflict.
The lethal slabs of confection
were packed with enough explosives to kill anyone within several metres.
But the plot was foiled by
British spies who discovered the chocolate was being made and tipped off one of
MI5’s most senior intelligence chiefs, Lord Victor Rothschild, before the
wartime prime minister’s life could be endangered.
Lord Rothschild, a
scientist in peace time as well as a key member of the Rothschild banking
family, immediately typed a letter to a talented illustrator seconded to his
unit, asking him to draw poster-size images of the chocolate to warn the public
to be on the look-out.
His letter to the artist,
Laurence Fish, is dated May 4, 1943 and was written from his secret bunker in
Parliament Street, London.
It was unearthed by Mr Fish's
wife, journalist Jean Bray, as she sorted through his possessions after the
artist's death at the age of 89 in 2009.
The letter, marked
"secret", reads: "Dear Fish, I wonder if you could do a drawing for
me of an explosive slab of chocolate.
"We have received
information that the enemy are using pound slabs of chocolate which are made of
steel with a very thin covering of real chocolate.
"Inside there is high
explosive and some form of delay mechanism…When you break off a piece of
chocolate at one end in the normal way, instead of it falling away, a piece of
canvas is revealed stuck into the middle of the piece which has been broken off
and a ticking into the middle of the remainder of the slab.”
The letter explained how
the mechanism would be activated when the piece of chocolate was pulled
sharply, which would also pull the canvas, and Lord Rothschild said he was
enclosing a "very poor sketch” done by someone who had seen one of the bars.
He asked the artist to
indicate in the text on his drawing that a bomb would go off seven seconds
after the piece of chocolate and attached canvas was pulled out.