Planned occupation of Britain
Future role of Britain
Main article: Greater Germanic Reich § Role of Britain
One of the primary German foreign policy aims throughout the 1930s had been to establish a military alliance with the United Kingdom, and despite anti-British policies having been adopted as this proved impossible, hope remained that the UK would in time yet become a reliable German ally. Hitler professed an admiration for the British Empire and preferred to see it preserved as a world power, mostly because its break-up would benefit other countries far more than it would Germany, particularly the United States and Japan. Britain’s situation was likened to the historical situation of the Austrian Empire after its defeat by the Kingdom of Prussia in 1866, after which Austria was formally excluded from German affairs but would prove to become a loyal ally of the German Empire in the pre-World War I power alignments in Europe. It was hoped that a defeated Britain would fulfill a similar role, being excluded from continental affairs, but maintaining its Empire and becoming an allied seafaring partner of the Germans.
The continued military actions against the UK after the fall of France had the strategic goal of making Britain ‘see the light’ and conduct an armistice with the Axis powers, with 1 July 1940 being named the “probable date” for the cessation of hostilities. On 21 May 1940, Chief of Army Staff Franz Halder, after a consultation with Hitler on the war aims regarding Britain, wrote in his diary: “We are seeking contact with Britain on the basis of partitioning the world”. Even as the war went on Hitler hoped in August 1941 for the eventual day when “England and Germany [march] together against America”, and in January 1942 he still daydreamed that it was “not impossible” for Britain to quit the war and join the Axis side. Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg hoped that after the victorious conclusion of the war against the USSR, Englishmen would be among the Germanic nationalities who would join the Germanic settlers in colonising the conquered eastern territories.
William L. Shirer, however, claims that the British male population between 17 and 45 would have been forcibly transferred to the continent to be used as industrial slave labour, although possibly with better treatment than similar forced labour from Eastern Europe. The remaining population would have been terrorised, including civilian hostages being taken and the death penalty immediately imposed for even the most trivial acts of resistance, with the UK being plundered for anything of financial, military, industrial or cultural value.
According to the most detailed plans created for the immediate post-invasion administration, Great Britain and Ireland were to be divided into six military-economic commands, with headquarters in London, Birmingham, Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow and Dublin. Hitler decreed that Blenheim Palace, the ancestral home of Winston Churchill, was to serve as the overall headquarters of the German occupation military government. The OKW, RSHA, and Foreign Ministry compiled lists of those they thought could be trusted to form a new German-friendly government along the lines of the one in occupied Norway. The list was headed by British fascist leader Oswald Mosley. The RSHA also felt that Harold Nicolson might prove useful in this role. It appears, based on the German police plans, that the occupation was to be only temporary, as detailed provisions for the post-occupation period are mentioned.
Some sources indicated that the Germans only intended to occupy Southern England, and that draft documents existed on the regulation of the passage of British civilians back and forth between the occupied and unoccupied territories. Others state that Nazi planners envisaged the institution of a nationalities policy in Western Europe to secure German hegemony there, which entailed the granting of independence to various regions. This involved detaching Scotland from the United Kingdom, the creation of a United Ireland, and an autonomous status for Western England.
After the war rumours also emerged about the selection either Joachim von Ribbentrop or Ernst Wilhelm Bohle, for the “viceregal” office of Reichskommissar für Großbritannien (“Imperial Commissioner for Great Britain”). However, no establishment by this name was ever approved by either Hitler or the Nazi government during the war, and was also denied by Bohle when he was interrogated by the victorious Allies (von Ribbentrop not having been questioned on the matter). After the Second Armistice at Compiègne with France, when he expected an imminent British capitulation, Hitler did however assure Bohle that he would be the next German ambassador to the Court of St. James’s “if the British behave[d] sensibly”.Edward, Duke of Windsor reviewing SS guards with Robert Ley, 1937
The German Government used 90% of James Vincent Murphy’s rough draft translation of Mein Kampf to form the body of an edition to be distributed in the UK once Operation Sea Lion was completed. This ‘Operation Sea Lion Edition’ was finalised and printed in the summer of 1940. Once the invasion was called off by Adolf Hitler most copies were distributed to english speaking POW camps. Original copies are very rare and highly sought after by serious book collectors interested in military history.
A Channel 5 documentary broadcast on 16 July 2009 repeated the claim that the Germans intended to restore Edward VIII to the throne in the event of a German occupation. Many senior German officials believed the Duke of Windsor to be highly sympathetic to the Nazi government, a feeling that was reinforced by his and Wallis Simpson‘s 1937 visit to Germany. However, the Foreign Office maintains that despite German approaches; “The Duke never wavered in his loyalty to Great Britain during the war”.Franz Six in 1940. He would later be convicted during the Nuremberg trials.
The Black Book
Main article: The Black Book (list)
Had Operation Sea Lion succeeded, Franz Six was intended to become the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) Commander in the country, with his headquarters to be located in London, and with regional task forces in Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, and Edinburgh. His immediate mission would have been to hunt down and arrest the 2,820 people on the Sonderfahndungsliste G.B. (“Special Search List Great Britain”). This document, which post-war became known as “The Black Book“, was a secret list compiled by Walter Schellenberg containing the names of prominent British residents to be arrested immediately after a successful invasion. Six would also have been responsible for handling the over 300,000 large population of British Jews.
Six had also been entrusted with the task of securing “aero-technological research result and important equipment” as well as “Germanic works of art”. There is also a suggestion that he toyed with the idea of moving Nelson’s Column to Berlin. The RSHA planned to take over the Ministry of Information, to close the major news agencies and to take control of all of the newspapers. Anti-German newspapers were to be closed down.