Many assassination attempts were made on Hitler’s life. Yet, not so well-known are the Nazi assassination plans for the Allied leaders – President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and the Soviet leader, Stalin.
Hitler’s SS division had an entire team and a plan dedicated to assassinating all three leaders when they met in Tehran for a World War Two conference in 1943. The details of this plan have been revealed in a new book called Operation Long Jump: Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Greatest Assassination Plot in History by Bill Yenne, who is a war historian and enthusiast.
The Nazis found out about the Tehran conference and began to plan how they could get rid of all the Allied leaders in one go since all three would be attending. The man leading the mission was Otto Skorzeny, who was also responsible for rescuing Italian wartime leader Mussolini when he had been deposed and imprisoned by the Italian authorities.
Otto planned for a team of paratroopers to drop on the outskirts of Tehran from the air and then hide in the houses of German sympathisers. Some of those paratroopers would be defectors from the Red Army who still had their uniforms. They would wear their army outfits and pretend to be part of Stalin’s security on the ground during the conference.
While Otto planned the mission, the Allies were also planning their response, since they had received intelligence from a Swiss agent that the Nazi plan was afoot. Ernst Merser was a Swiss businessman who worked on international deals.
He gained the trust of the Germans and was asked to manage the equipment drops over Iran during the conference. Meanwhile, he was working for Allied intelligence; he made the plans known as well as the equipment and weapons that were to be used in the plot. In addition to Ernst, some of the Red Army defectors were actually spies planted into the Nazi war machine, and they were also feeding information back to the Soviet intelligence services.
Otto’s plan went ahead but when the paratroopers landed in Iran, the Soviet spies killed the German paratroopers.
The book also outlines what might have happened if the plan had gone ahead successfully. The successful assassination of the three Allied leaders could have potentially led to a peace deal with Germany, leaving it in control of its occupied territories across Europe.