How did the scam end? Papa Doc got into financial difficulty and asked Fayed for a measly gift of $30,000. Fayed immediately booked it on the next plane out, with the entire port fund in his personal bank account. We like to think Papa Doc tried to strike back with voodoo, but just couldn't fashion a doll with big enough balls.
Once more we have to come back to Hitler and the Nazis, who apparently spawned the golden age of Schindler-style heroic bullshit artists.
Wilhelm Canaris was a German rebel, ardently opposed to Hitler, and involved in numerous plots to take the Fuhrer out. He also happened to be in charge of the Abwehr -- the German military intelligence service. Hitler should really have checked the guy's resume.
Via the German Federal Archive
He had a better poker face than James Bond and Will Riker combined.
The fact that Canaris was in charge of the agency tasked with sniffing out and arresting rebel conspirators was a massive relief to all the rebel conspirators hiding out in Hitler's ranks. But more than that, Canaris was chiefly responsible for the rest of the world knowing exactly what was going on in the secretive Nazi regime. He smuggled detailed reports of Nazi atrocities to the Vatican, as well as warning France and Britain about impending invasions. That didn't work out so well for France, but at least he was partly to thank for Britain's ass not being swiftly handed to them through a surprise offensive.
Throughout his short career as Germany's head spy, Canaris was actively involved in several campaigns within Germany and abroad to assassinate Hitler. Unfortunately, Hitler had the luck of an Irishman with an entire stadium of four-leaved clovers, so when that never panned out, Canaris went right ahead and tried to broker a peace treaty with the Allies behind the Fuhrer's back. Though British Intelligence was right on board with the deal, President Roosevelt flatly refused to negotiate with "these East German Junkers."
FDR: Surprisingly, specifically racist?
Hitler didn't catch on that his head intelligence agent was screwing him over until July 1944, when Canaris' final attempt to take Hitler out failed spectacularly, but even after being tortured for a year, he just kept up the ruse while Hitler was left to wonder why so many people didn't seem to like him. We'll say this about HItler: salesmen must have loved seeing the guy walk onto the lot.
Dan Seitz is a professional writer living in New England. You can also find him at gammasquad.com and funnycrave.com
For more amazing bullshit artists, check out The 5 Ballsiest Con Artists of All Time.
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