A Dastardly Confection: Sir Winston Churchill and the Nazi Chocolate Bomb

Churchill_portrait_NYP_45063

Winston Churchill

World War II was among the grimmest times in world history. For six years, humanity did its level best to blow itself to smithereens. Those were desperate times, and in desperate times people turn to desperate measures. Except in this case, ‘desperate measures’ really meant ‘cartoonish villainy that would do Snidely Whiplash proud.’

 

Death by chocolate

In 1943, British intelligence uncovered a plot by Nazi agents to kill Sir Winston Churchill via a particularly nasty method. They had coated explosives with rich dark chocolate, wrapped the deadly confection in black and gold foil, and slapped the ‘Peters Chocolate’ label on the works. The goal was to place the deadly bars among the luxury items used by the War Cabinet. Packed with enough explosives to wipe out anyone standing within several feet, the bombs would have made swift work of the Prime Minister and his cabinet, effectively cutting off the head of British leadership. Luckily for the free world, the plot was thwarted.

 

Even more to worry about

After the incident was reported to Lord Victor Rothschild, a senior official in MI5, he drafted a letter to an illustrator by the name of Laurence Fish, asking if he would draw a poster of the dastardly confection. The letter went on to describe the device. It consisted of high explosives in a steel case, coated with dark chocolate. The trigger mechanism was attached to a piece of canvas embedded in the chocolate. When the hapless victim broke off a piece, they would only have seven seconds to enjoy their treat before being blown to bits. Lord Rothschild commissioned posters of this devious device to be posted around England to warn the public.

Now imagine living in England during the war years. Continental Europe was under Hitler’s control, and he tried his damnedest to take Britain too. After that invasion failed, the Nazis continued air raids on the British homeland. Food was rationed for the war effort, and every day reports cameĀ  in of brothers, husbands, and sons who would never come home.

Then, as if all that weren’t enough, you happen to walk by and see a poster telling you that chocolate bars, a small comfort available in a world that lost its mind, could well kill you. Leave it to the Nazis to ruin even chocolate. Fortunately, the tainted treats were only meant for Churchill, and no common citizen received a nasty surprise from their favorite comfort food.

 

Sources:

Enoch, Nick. “Death by chocolate: How Nazis plotted to assassinate Churchill with exploding confectionery.” DailyMail.co.uk. 17 July 2012. The Daily Mail. 15 Jan 2014 <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2174752/Sir-Winston-Churchill-Nazis-planned-conquer-Britain-killing-Churchill-deadly-exploding-confectionery.html#ixzz20xz9ai1v>

Silverman, Rosa. “‘Death by chocolate’ plot to kill Winston Churchill.” Telegraph.co.uk. 17 July 2012. The Telegraph. 15 Jan 2014. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/9405919/Death-by-chocolate-plot-to-kill-Sir-Winston-Churchill.html>