Archive/File: camps/auschwitz reuters.112593 Last-Modified: 1993/11/27 Hitler thought britain so weak not even worth invading - report By Paul Majendie LONDON, Nov 25 (Reuter) - Adolf Hitler thought Britain was so divided at the end of 1941 that it could be defeated without an invasion, World War Two intelligence files released today showed. Opening previously secret files given to British wartime leader Winston Churchill, officials called them a "treasure trove for historians" and said they disproved theories that he knew in advance about the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. The documents, which included German police reports obtained by breaking enemy codes, also revealed Britain knew that more than 8,000 men and women had died in the Auschwitz concentrationcamp in the month of August 1942. The files show Hitler in 1941 as confident of world domination and planning to crush Britain without an invasion and then carve up its empire. Quoted at length is a report sent by the Japanese ambassador in Germany to Tokyo after a meeting with Hitler's foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, just three days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941, that brought the United States into the war. Von Ribbentrop said Germany was preparing to invade Britain "but according to reports reaching Germany, the internal situation in Britain was not any too good". He said the ruling Conservative Party was split, confidence in Churchill was low and the opposition Labour party was posing problems. "The Fuehrer believed that conditions in Britain were bad and thought as a result of Germany's future operations, even, it might be, without an invasion, Britain would be beaten." A spokesman for the Public Records Office that is releasing almost 1,300 documents said they did not support the "conspiracy theory" that Churchill knew in advance about the attack on Pearl Harbour. The attack killed 2,400 people and resulted in the loss of 19 ships and 120 aircraft. "None of the intercepts indicates that British sources were aware in advance of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour although it was clear Japan was about to enter the war," the spokesman said. But he conceded that "it is possible that historians making a detailed examination of all the relevant material might draw a different conclusion". The first batch of documents, released as part of Prime Minister John Major's "open government" policy, covered Japanese diplomatic messages and instructions to embassies just three days before Pearl Harbour to destroy all cypher machines. Hitler's ambitious plans for world domination in 1941 were spelled out along with details of an intended German attack on Crete in March 1941 and German police reports on camp deaths. The German police reports showed that in August 1942, 6,829 men and 1,525 women died in Auschwitz, saying chillingly: "It appears that although typhus is still rife at Auschwitz, new arrivals continue to come in." It adds: "As from 1/9/42 `natural deaths' among prisoners in concentration camps are to be reported apparently only in writing." Historian Richard Aldrich, a politics lecturer at Nottingham University who specialises in intelligence matters, said of the documents: "It is a very major release. We are getting vast quantities of very exciting material. This was Churchill's window on the world.
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