“What if,” in 1936, Hitler had chosen the charismatic Dr.Joseph Goebbels to serve as the Third Reich’s Ambassador in London?
During April-August 1936, the post was vacant, with the popular Anglophile Prince Otto Von Bismark deputizing as Charge D’Affaires. Might Goebbels have subsequently laid the foundation for Hitler to be invited to London in May 1937 to attend the Royal Coronation as the Reich’s Head of State? Could there have been a bi-lateral Anglo-German Summit Meeting in 10 Downing Street, or at the British Prime Minister’s country residence “Chequers,” either with Baldwin before the Coronation or Chamberlain later?
Might the intelligent, debonair, and sharp-witted Goebbels have facilitated Hitler’s vision for a pact between the 3rd Reich and the British Empire? Would Churchill have ever become Britain’s Prime Minister? Could detente have succeeded in avoiding the Second World War?
Today we may speculate with the benefit of hindsight but, in 1936, London was anxious to prepare for all eventualities.
“Hitler’s Ambassador” is a work of historical fiction, telling a thriller story through the locations of a wide-ranging travelogue, both in Britain and internationally – including attendance at the spectacular Berlin Olympic Games of 1936. It is projected through the eyes of fluent German-speaking Fleet Street newspaper journalist Sebastian Ferrers, who enjoys a close friendship with Sonya Hayek, a part Jewish attaché at the London Embassy.
Rumour in Whitehall has it that the next German Ambassador could be 38-year-old Dr. Joseph Goebbels. So Ferrers is asked by the British Foreign Office to ‘weight’ his articles positively toward the Third Reich, to curry favor with Goebbels and gain access to him during the forthcoming Berlin Olympics. Meanwhile, Ferrers and Sonya become more emotionally involved, but they are also aware that Sonya is under surveillance from the Embassy’s contingent of the SS.
Ferrers is kept busy writing on international affairs and observing British Union of Fascists rallies. He uses his connections to visit the exiled Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia in Worthing and meets Viscount Astor and others in the Naval Port of Plymouth. This includes the local Jewish MP Leslie Hore-Belisha. Anti-Semitism and Mosley-led Blackshirt fascism are rife in Britain.
Ferrers attends the Olympic Games in Berlin and, as a perceived Friend of the Reich, meets Goebbels, Goering, and Von Ribbentrop. He is present when Von Ribbentrop is named by Hitler in person as the next Ambassador to London. Ferrers wins the Foreign Correspondents’ Olympic Raffle Prize of a return flight to the USA on board the Zeppelin Airship Hindenburg. He guesses that the result was fixed but uses the visit to join Sonya and her emigrant Austro-German parents in New Hampshire. Back in England, Ferrers lunches with Churchill at Chartwell and with the Von Ribbentrops in Belgravia, where he is seated beside Reich Architect Albert Speer.
Meanwhile, Ferrers is recruited discreetly by Antonia Montagu into the British Secret Intelligence Service under the control of Eros. He is assigned a mission to return to Berlin and to participate in a covert operation at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp to either free or execute a fellow British Agent held within. To his horror, the Agent turns out to be Sonya, now interned as a Jew but, as yet, undetected as a British SIS informant.
The rescue is achieved, and Sonya is taken to a safe house. During Christmas week, she rides with Ferrers in London’s Hyde Park, under close security escort. They speak of marriage, but an SS assassin stands in front of them and shoots Sonya, who manages to say ‘yes’ to Ferrers, before dying. Alone on Christmas Day, Ferrers is surprised to find that his neighbor in Dolphin Square is Antonia Montagu. She reveals herself to be “Eros.”
NEILL P. MITCHELL
Neill was born in the UK City of Plymouth but spent his early childhood resident in South Africa. Upon his family’s return to England to farm on the northern outreaches of Dartmoor, he was educated as a boarder at Clifton College in Bristol.
Now retired, his career took him first to London where over 25 years he worked variously in Banking, the Law Courts, the House of Lords, and in Margaret Thatcher’s Private Office at 10 Downing Street when she was the British Prime Minister. Later he was involved in London-based conference management and the organization of major equestrian events. Finally hosting hospitality for VIP overseas guests of HM Government, during which he traveled extensively within the UK.
Eventually, Neill returned to Plymouth and was engaged in senior regional business representation and Parliamentary lobbying. He also wrote extensively for the regional printed media and organized multiple events.
“Hitler’s Ambassador” draws significantly upon Neill’s experiences working in UK government circles, his travels, and his lifelong passion for history.
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