What were the Marburg files

New documents reveal: Duke Edward von Windsor and his wife absolutely wanted to take the throne of England - if necessary as installed ruler by Nazi Germany's grace ■ Ralf Sotscheck from Dublin

She would have loved to become Queen of England - “at any cost”, as can be seen from secret British government papers published the day before yesterday. We are talking about Wallis Simpson, the American wife of Edward VIII. He had to abdicate on December 11, 1936, less than twelve months after his accession to the throne, because the London government did not approve of his marriage to the twice divorced Simpson.

The price Simpson was willing to pay to become queen was indeed high: she and Edward, who was now Duke of Windsor, supported the Nazis to take the throne after an occupation of England. The two paid a friendly visit to Hitler in 1937. The Nazi government reactivated contacts in June 1940 and started negotiations with Edward, who had emigrated to Portugal with his wife after his resignation.

Edward was a vain bon vivant. In the early 1930s it was thought for a moment that he had a social conscience when he stood in front of unemployed miners in Wales and said, “Something must be done to help these men.” At the gala dinner, however, he had his speech already forgotten again.

During the war, Edward had contacted his German cousins ​​at Coburg Castle to sound out a deal that would have put him on the throne. The SS initially planned to lure Edward to Spain and kidnap him in order to make him king "in due course" - after the victory over England.

From the April 1943 papers now published, which were supposed to be under wraps for a hundred years, it is clear that Edward would have volunteered in the plan: he “expected the British cabinet to resign and a Labor government to come to power in the near future who will start negotiations with Germany ”. Then George VI must also. abdicate, believed Edward, and would be called back to the throne. "His Royal Highness also spoke of it," it continues, "that England would become the leading force in a coalition with France, Spain and Portugal that would keep Germany's back free for war with Russia."

In May 1945 the US Army confiscated diplomatic papers from the German government at Marburg Castle, which supported Edward's plans. The US government suspected that Edward sympathized with the Nazis long before the war began. President Roosevelt was delighted when the king abdicated and married Wallis Simpson.

The British government tried to suppress reports of Edward's political views after the war. The then Secretary of State Ernest Bevin asked the US government whether it was ready to hand over the documents. "Publication would, in my opinion, do serious harm to the national interest," he wrote.

The US government rejected the request: It would be illegal to hand over the documents because they could be relevant to the history of the war and the Nazi maneuvers, it said in the response. However, the British were spared embarrassment at the Nuremberg war crimes trials and the affair between Edward and his wife was not brought up. Winston Churchill wanted to send Edward to Washington as a diplomat after the war, but Bevin was against it, so nothing came of it.

In retrospect, everyone was happy about it: Edward, who had lived in Paris with his wife since the end of the war, regularly asked the British government for large sums of money to finance his way of life. Pierson Dixon of the Foreign Office in London, confronted with the begging letters, wrinkled his nose: while he thought it appropriate that the Duke of Windsor should earn a better life than normal British subjects, given the austerity program of the Labor government, he should you don't overdo it.

Edward died in Paris in 1972.