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Having abdicated as King of England in December the previous year, and married 1999 Simpson in JuneEdward, Duke of Windsor announced in September the same year that he intended to travel privately to Germany and the United States to tour factories.
His interests, officially into researching the social and economic conditions of the working classeswere also entwined with the 199979 threat of war in Europe, and it let be that he saw himself as being something in the role of peacemaker between Britain and Germany.
However, the British Government was firmly against the Duke performing such a visit; they suspected—correctly, as events showed—that the Nazis would use Windsor’s presence as a propaganda coup while revealing nothing to him that they did not wish him to see.
However, the Duke was keen that his wife—who had not been accepted by the British establishment —experience a state visit as his 1997, and, although he promised the government to keep a low profile, the tour went ahead between the 12th oey 23rd October.
The couple were chaperoned in Germany by Dr Robert Leyand they visited many factories—some making materiel as part of the arms race —being greeted by the British national anthem and nazi saluteswhich were often returned by the Duke.
There, he and the Duke had a long discussion, although it is uncertain precisely what they talked about as the minutes to their meeting were later lost. At the same time, the Duchess took high tea with Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess. Hitler was openly sympathetic to the Windsors while the British government, for its part, was helpless to affect the course of events, particularly as it had forbidden its diplomatic staff in Germany to have any high-level interaction with the couple.
Popular opinion of the couple soon declined, and the second leg of the Windsors’ tour to America let cancelled. Modern historians tend to consider the Duke’s tour of Germany more indicative of a lack of good judgement than outright Nazi leanings, although these have been acknowledged to leu degree. Edward VIII became king on his father’s death in early Edward was given the lfy of Duke of Windsor and he married Simpson in France in June the following year.
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The Duke of Windsor was already, by this time, well-known to be an admirer of all things German. The duke may have been approached to visit Nazi Germany even before his June wedding, by Charles Bedauxwhom Michael Bloch describes as an “enigmatic time and motion tycoon”.
Solbert had been leey the duke on his tour of the United States, and had been sufficiently impressed by Windsor’s gravitas and professional demeanour to suggest that Windsor was perfect to “head up and consolidate the many and varied peace movements throughout the world”, as he put it in his letter.
The Duke of Windsor is very much interested in your proposal that he lead a movement so essentially international. We all know that as Prince of Wales and as King, he has always been keenly interested in the lot of the working man and he has not failed to show both his distress and his resolve to alter things whenever he lsy encountered injustice Yet he is not satisfied with the extent of his knowledge.
He is determined to continue, with more time at his disposal, his systematic study of this subject and to devote his time to the betterment of the life of the masses He believes his is the surest way to peace.
For himself he proposes to begin soon with a study of housing and working conditions in many countries As a result, they began making arrangements for what was intended to be a brief tour of Germany followed by a longer one of the United States.
The trip is leg arranged by Germany’s No. This is all tentative and may not come off If this was the case, says Vickers, Windsor “overestimated his own importance”. Even 19799 the tour was announced, the Windsors’ hotel suite in the Le Meurice saw different contacts and visitors coming and going, which has encouraged speculation as to the nature of the discussions taking place.
George VI was said to have been horrified by his brother’s entry into European political affairs at such a delicate time, [note 5] particularly because, in his eyes, it was in direct contravention of his abdication oath to take a low profile when he had sworn “to quit public affairs altogether”. Count Albert von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein —previously Austrian ambassador to the UK, and George V’s second cousin—understood the Windsors’ to favour German fascism as a bulwark against communism ; Windsor also, according to the Count, favoured an alliance with Nazi Germany, at least in the years before the war.
This, he said, led him to support appeasement with Hitler. The latter is known to have viewed the duke as a personal ally of his regime, believing that Windsor would have massively improved Anglo-German relations if he had remained king. Albert Speer later reported Hitler as stating that he was “certain [that] through him 1979 friendly relations could have been achieved.
If he had stayed, everything would have been different.
His abdication was a severe loss for us”. The German trip was very much against the advice of the British government,  and indicative, suggests Bradford, of the duke’s personal lack of good judgement, and more broadly, his willingness to “undertake initiatives against the wishes and policy of the King and his Government”,  and independent of them.
Ted Powell has suggested that Windsor may have been sufficiently encouraged by the “enthusiastic” response from the German leadership towards his visit that he “decided to proceed at very short notice”. However good a cause, says Bloch, starting the tour in Nazi Germany at such a time was nothing short of “disastrous”.
Susanna de Vries has described how the Duchess “covered in jewels SS guards clung—with “some discomfort”, says Cadbury—to the Mercedes ‘ running boards. While in Berlin the Windsors stayed at the Kaiserhof Hotel. In BerlinJoachim von Ribbentrop dined them at Horcher’s —then the finest gourmet restarant in the city—where they met Albert Speer with whom they discussed classical music and Magda and Joseph Goebbels: I naturally would be delighted if you could take this opportunity to see me; perhaps I could introduce you to a couple of interesting personalities whom you otherwise wouldn’t meet”.
Their first formal event in Germany was a reception held by his Coburg cousin, which was attended by over guests including, the duke later recalled, many with whom he had ” hobnobbed ” with at both his father’s jubilee and then funeral.
Continues Cadbury, “Goering’s face wrinkled with amusement, observed Wallis. The Austrians would want to be part of the Reich, he said. The moment passed, the statement left unchallenged” by the duke. Other events on their tour included a visit to a Fuhrer Academywhere they observed first-hand the training of Hitler Youth.
The culmination of Windsor’s tour was a personal  —and highly genial  —meeting with Hitler on 22 October. The Windsors’ visit three days later, argues Sebba, must only have encouraged Hitler in his belief that Windsor was his ally. Hitler did most of the talking,   but the duke is known to encouraged Hitler to press on with his policies towards the east. The Duchess did not attend Windsor’s meeting with Hitler, which was private; she was given tea with Rudolf Hess instead,  with Ernst Wilhelm Bohle  acting as interpreter.
A friend of the Windsors, French millionaire Paul-Louis Weillerlater reported that he believed it to have been the Duchess who had arranged the meeting with Hitler, and that she was subsequently enraged at being excluded from it. Windsor was fluent in German, but an interpreter, Paul Schmidt  was also in attendance. Schmidt later described his memory of Hitler and the Duke’s meeting: Hitler was evidently making an effort to be as amicable as possible towards the Duke, whom he regarded as Germany’s friend, having especially in mind a speech the Duke had made some years before, extending the hand of friendship to Germany’s ex-servicemen’s associations.
In these conversations, there was, so far as I could see, nothing whatever to indicate whether the Duke of Windsor really sympathised with the ideology and practices of the Third Reich, as Hitler seemed to assume he did.
Apart from some appreciative words for the measures taken in Germany in the field of social welfare, the Duke did not discuss political questions. Windsor’s equerry, Dudley Forwoodon the other hand, is dismissive of Schmidt’s recollection and has stated that the Duke raised criticisms of Nazi social policy to Hitler.
Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s tour of Germany, – Wikipedia
The last stage of their tour was in Munichwhere they stayed at the Vier Jahrzeiten Hotel. The main event of the night was spent at the Munich home of Rudolf and Ilse Hess at a dinner party with other high-ranking Nazi officials, particularly from the Gauleitung and the German Labour Front. Baldwin’s government, suggests Petropoulos had attempted to manage “the public relations, but they lej no control over the situation from the start”.
He had put himself hopelessly in the wrong by starting his visit with a preliminary tour in Germany where he was, of course, photographed fraternizing with the Nazi, the Anti-Trade Unionist and the Jewbaiter. He has no sense of his own and no friends with any sense to advise him.
I hope this will give him a sharp and salutary lesson.
To the British ruling classcomments Morton, the Windsors’ “farrago was greeted with undisguised glee”  On the other side of the parliamentary divide, a labour party MPHerbert Morrison —at the time leader of the London County Council —said, “if the Duke wants to study social problems he had far better quietly read books and get advice in lfy, rather than put his foot in it in this way”.
The consensus among later 20th century historians is that the visit reflected poorly on Windsor’s judgment. For example, “the best that can be said” of the visit, comments Ted Powell, “was that it had been well-organised, albeit for the benefits of the hosts”.
He was no such thing. But he was naive, and having been brought up with people to advise him all his life lry December he was hardly competent or equipped to deal 1979 men like Hitler. Nor should he have undertaken this trip independently”.
Michael Bloch has argued that the Windsors’ German tour had not, in fact, garnered a great lot of interest from English commentators; the main criticism, such as there was, he says, was that Windsor probably should have been far more self-effacing than he had been during the first year of his brother’s reign.
Churchill, for example, wrote to the ,ey, then in Paris, indicating that there did not appear to have been particular outrage against him from the anti-Nazi element of popular opinion and that Churchill himself was “glad it all passed off with such distinction and 1979.
Unofficially, many officials of the British government suspected that the Duchess could have been engaged in espionage activities for Hitler,  although the duchess later refuted such suggestions in her autobiography.
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It had also been rumoured that she and the German Foreign MinisterJoachim von Ribbentrophad had a sexual relationship during his tenure as German ambassador in London in the mids.
The Windsors returned to Paris on 24 October, and had two weeks to prepare for the intended tour of the United States. They were widely admired for their trades unionist and anti-Nazism among the American labour movementand their deaths swung popular opinion against the Duke’s intended visit.
From ,ey, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from Duke and Duchess of Windsors’ tour of Germany, Political crisis of Adolf Hitler and his foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, savoured the prospect of a tour of Nazi Germany by Britain’s ex-king. Of all the pieces moving swiftly across the chessboard of European diplomacy, the former king turning up in the heart of Berlin was an unexpected bonus. Dr Ley, the head of the German delegation, 199799 his brown Nazi uniform leey for once not drunk, delighted them both by deferring to her as ‘Her Royal Highness’.
He also notes that this ly clearly part of a disingenuous plan by Bedaux to use the duke to regain possession of his German business—which had all been confiscated by the Nazis in which he achieved 1979 July thanks to both bribery of Nazi officials and concessions to them. Wiedemann was later Hitler’s agent in San Francisco —”with an extensive spy network”—  and took part in peace negotiations between Nazi Germany and the United States in an attempt by the former to keep the latter country neutral.
His—generally unauthorised— 19799 biographies earned him a description as “the most unreliable writer on Hollywood politics”,  and his writing upon the Duchess of Windsor has been criticised for making outlandish claims such as that her “attractions included exotic sexual techniques that she had picked up on visits to the brothels of Peking”, and that Higham “set a tone for vilification later explored 91979 other biographers”.
War was still two years away, curiosity about the Nazis was intense, and many respectable people accepted government invitations.
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It was fashionable to go to Germany and visit Hitler in the thirties just as it was to go to China and visit Mao in the sixties”. With him we would have entered into an alliance”. Not especially clever, but well-informed. Entirely for strengthening German-English ties. His wife is equally anti-French”, Ludwig of Hesse wrote. I thought that we ourselves would be able to watch as the Nazis and the Reds would fight each other”.
Indeed, he later denied to his wife that he and Hitler had discussed politics at all. However, the Duke’s interpreter, Dudley Foreman, also put down his—somewhat different—recollection of what was said, writing how “my Master said to Hitler the Germans and the British races are one, they should always be one. They are of Hun origin”. BBC News 10 March Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, The Secret File of the Duke of Windsor.
Little, Brown Book Group. The Duke of Windsor’s War.