Sunday, 16 February 2014

Ian Fleming, Mein Kampf and his 1938 Appeasement Letter to the London Times

One thing you might miss in a biography of James Bond creator, Ian Fleming is his interesting letter to the London Times on September 28th 1938, during the Munich Crisis with Nazi Germany. In the Long letter, Fleming reveals he owns a copy of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf and has obtained a rare Nazi document dated 1920 which predates Mein Kampf. His house in London 22b Ebury Street, bought from British Fascist Oswald Mosley contained a collection of rare manuscripts, including Mein Kampf and the Nazi document, which Fleming claimed showed Hitler was in earnest.Also in display was Mussolini's 1919 Passport he has acquired in 1937 from honours trafficker Maundy Gregory's collection.
To quote Fleming " It would therefore seem that there will be no peace, no return of prosperity, and no happiness in europe until England and France agree to the fulfillment of Herr Hitler's stated programme in exchange for a binding disarmament pact and the guarantee of the traditional protective alliances of the signatory powers."
Fleming argues to keep morality out of the issue, and if a settlement with Hitler could not be made then it would be" time to turn a reluctant ear either to the dangerous counsels of the slaughterhouse brigade (could he mean Winston Churchill?) or the bemused vapourings of those who long for the day that england is another Holland and out of the fight forever (Isolationists?)"

Fleming was not as a true blue Churchillian as he is portrayed and his many fascist (such as Bobby Canning) and Chamberlainite friends (Sir Joseph Ball) put him centrally in the pro-appeasement camp at the time of Munich, fuelled by frequent trips to Germany and Austria during the period.

Fleming's letter can be found in full in the Times Digital Archive:

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