January 1, 1970

While researching Marlborough’s battlefields in 1932, Churchill travelled to Munich and his son Randolph contacted Hitler’s press secretary to suggest a meeting between his father and the Nazi leader. (Although Hitler wasn’t yet German Chancellor – he was elected in January 1933 – he was leader of the largest elected party in the German government (‘Reichstag’) – the Nazi Party.) Thankfully perhaps, given Churchill’s tendency to be swayed by his personal relationships with people (Churchill had met Mussolini in the 1920s and had been impressed, at least on first meeting), the two men never met. See Chapter 15 in Boris Johnson’s The Churchill Factor for more on this.

Churchill did write an article about Hitler for the Strand magazine in 1935, which was later published in his book Great Contemporaries in 1939. The article makes clear his opposition to the barbarity of the Nazi regime but concludes that it is not too late for Hitler to change. Churchill’s essay was subsequently banned in Germany.

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