New Details Emerge in the Story of the British WW II Cabinet Minister Whose Son Was Hanged for Pro-Nazi Treason
Amery’s eldest son John (1912-45), a staunch anti-Communist, was stranded in Vichy France in 1940. He felt some sympathy with Nazism, and as the son of a British Cabinet minister, was recognized by the Nazis as a valuable propaganda tool. In 1942 they took him to Berlin where he broadcast to Britain, recruited for the British division of the SS, and wrote anti-semitic propaganda.
John Amery’s story has been told in Adrian Weale’s book Patriot Traitors (2001). But there have been two mysteries. First, to what lengths did Leo Amery go in seeking clemency for his son? Second, did Sir Samuel Hoare, the British Ambassador in Madrid, help Leo and his wife (Florence, known as ‘Bryddie’) keep in touch with John.
Answers are offered by personal letters contained in Leo Amery’s newly opened private archive at Churchill College, Cambridge. In nearly 400 boxes there is much to interest political historians researching the years from the 1890s to the 1950s. Yet it is the story of Leo Amery’s relationship with his son John (or ‘Jack’) that touches on a human level.
The Papers show how Sir Samuel Hoare helped the Amerys stay in touch with John by letter when France was occupied.
The second revelation relates to Leo’s attempts to secure clemency for John after he was captured by partisans in Italy and handed over to the British in 1945. We already know that Leo secured an ameliorating psychiatric report from his friend, Lord Horder. We also know that he made a personal plea to the Home Secretary (Chuter Ede) and other Cabinet ministers, that John’s anti-Communism was based on ‘a sincere belief that he was acting in the best interests of his country’. However, the Amery Papers show that Leo made a third effort to save his son after the trial in which he admitted his guilt.
comments powered by Disqus
- Junípero Serra’s Missions Destroyed Entire Native Cultures. And Now He’s Going to Be a Saint.
- Isis destruction of Palmyra's Temple of Bel revealed in satellite images
- McKinley's lost his mountain. Should we still remember his presidency?
- How the Black Panthers Fought to Make Black Lives Matter in the ’60s and ’70s
- Sanders, Trump et al: Partying Like It’s 1968
- Japanese historian upends the familiar narrative of WW 2 by taking a bottom up approach, focusing on fascism from the grassroots
- Holocaust-denying historian David Irving organises 'disgusting' £2,000-a-head holiday tours of former concentration camps and Hitler's HQ so people can 'make up their own mind about the truth'
- 72 history professors sign letter urging removal of Jefferson Davis statue from Kentucky Capitol
- 10 Years After Katrina, the Enduring Value of the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank
- Historian author Antony Beevor says his new World War 2 book may anger Americans