When Hitler secretly ordered that the Catholic clergy of Poland be eliminated, Wilhelm Canaris, the traitorous head of the German military intelligence, decided that enough was enough. He contacted Pius XII to have Hitler assassinated. The go-between for Canaris and the pope was Josef Muller, a German lawyer, war hero, and Catholic with balls of steel. This was a guy who had bluntly told top Nazi Heinrich Himmler to his face that he wanted him(mler) dead, and got away with it because Himmler was impressed by his bluntness.
Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R99621/CC-BY-SA 3.0
Yes, "impressed." Not "silently pissing his uniform."
The plot involved an impressive number of layers of betrayal -- it was like a lasagna of deceit. The Nazis, aware that Muller had Vatican contacts, made him a liaison with Italy, giving him the secret mission to spy on the Italians and root out those who wanted peace with the Allies. In reality, of course, Muller acted as a triple (fourth? We lost count) agent, getting in cahoots with the Italians he was supposed to be tricking while plotting Hitler's downfall with Pius XII and the German intelligence agents. We wouldn't be surprised if Mission Impossible II-type masks were involved.
Ironically, the fact that everyone and their mother was trying to kill Hitler doomed the Papal plot. The SS became more paranoid, Muller was found out and imprisoned, and Hitler plotted the pope's death in revenge (both Pius XII and Muller survived the war). So the next time you call Pope Francis "the cool pope," ask yourself: Is he trying to kill Kim Jong Un? ... Oh s**t, is he?
For more wartime insanity, check out 5 Insane True Stories That Change How You Picture WWII and 5 Top Secret WWII Allied Plots That Were Maximum WTF.
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