6 Evil WW2 Plots That Were Actually Pursued By The Good Guys
When someone brings up phrases like "World War II" and "batshit insanity," you naturally expect them to be talking to be talking about the Nazis and the Japanese -- as we have. However, we feel that's a little bit unfair. The Allies could be just as deranged as the Axis when it came to brainstorming ways to win the war, and no one gives them enough credit for that. So here's to the heroes/madmen (or, in some cases, plain madmen) who came up with plans like ...
There Were Plans To Use A Tsunami Bomb Against Japan
It's easy to forget that New Zealand was involved in World War II, but they totally were. New Zealanders fought valiantly as part of the British Army, and they designed their own ridiculous tank in case the Japanese should ever make their way over. In case that tractor with machine guns wasn't enough to stop the Axis for good, though, New Zealand and the U.S. started working on another superweapon: a tsunami bomb. Which is exactly what you're imagining.
After a U.S. Navy officer noticed that Allied efforts to blow up coral reefs (to make way for ships) sometimes created waves, a New Zealand University professor was called upon to figure out a way to create on-demand tsunamis. While tests of singular explosions near New Zealand's capital, Auckland, were spectacularly underwhelming, they kept trying. Over 4,000 underwater explosions of various sizes and depths were done between 1944 and 1945. In the end, the Kiwi eggheads calculated that a chain of ten underwater explosions off a coastline could create a wave more than 30 feet in height -- enough to, as they say down in Oceania, "fuck some shit up."
The catch? The amount of explosives needed was estimated to be two million kilograms (or 2,200 tons in less-impressive-sounding American). Still, if this so-called Project Seal turned out to be a success, the ability to summon tsunamis could have been perfect for the planned Allied invasion of Japan. However, the project was abandoned when it turned out the U.S. had developed something slightly more effective: the atomic bomb. Uh, yeah, that oughta' do it.
Churchill's Scheme To Murder Germany's Cows With Anthrax
If we asked you to guess what England's "Operation Vegetarian" was about, you'd probably imagine some sort of government program to get kids to eat their veggies, maybe even involving some cute, jingle-chanting mascots. The reality is even more unsettling. It was a plan to wipe out Germany's cow population with anthrax, forcing everyone in the country to change their diet.
Well, almost everyone.
Or, you know, die a horrible death. Most likely the latter.
The plan originally came about because Britain was worried that the Nazis would develop biological weapons, so why not do it first? So they tasked bacteriologist Paul Fildes with creating bioweapons that could devastate Germany on short notice, should the war descend into a germ fight. Fildes' solution? Dropping anthrax-infected linseed cakes over German farms, to be eaten by the cattle. The anthrax would then inevitably spread to the human population. Those who survived would have to deal with contaminated soil and food scarcity. When Winston Churchill heard about a plan that could have potentially resulted in millions of human deaths, he said ... "Hell yeah!" Ol' baby-face was a big fan of starving people, after all.
"Let them eat cake! Anthrax cake, I mean."
Operation Vegetarian stopped being a hypothetical scenario in 1943, when Britain injected five million linseed cakes with anthrax in a repurposed soap factory (personal hygiene wasn't a huge priority during the war). However, the Allies landed in France before there were enough anthrax cakes to pull the plan off, and so the deadly bovine delicacies were destroyed. This was probably the right decision, considering that when England tried to infect sheep with anthrax on Scotland's Gruinard Island as a test, they ended up rendering the whole place inhabitable for 50 years.
"What does that sign down there say?"
"Don't know, let's land to read it."
As for Fildes, the guy who came up with the whole evil plot? They knighted him, of course. Presumably, he changed his name to Sir Anthrax Cowslaughter and became a supervillain.
The CIA's Predecessor Wanted To Drop Plague-Ridden Poop On The Nazis
In 1942, as crack German General Erwin Rommel ran roughshod over the Allies in North Africa, the Nazis figured that they might as well use their troops in Morocco to screw with Allied supply lines, too. These were desperate times, is our point. That's when the OSS (the granddaddy of the CIA) came up with a suitably desperate measure: Kick the Nazis out of Morocco with a shitload of disease-carrying flies. And as we'll get to in a few paragraphs, we do mean a shitload.
This idea was the brainchild of OSS Head of Research and Development Dr. Stanley P. Lovell, who was basically Q from the James Bond movies, but with a Boston accent.
The P. stood for "Pissah."
Named Operation Capricious, the secret plan was prepared by Dr. Lovell without the knowledge of OSS boss William Donovan, because Donovan, being a sane man, would have probably said, "Ew, we're not doing THAT." Still, the OSS gave this serious consideration, to the point where they already knew how to get the flies to pick up the deadly pathogens: with poop. More specifically, goat poop contaminated with a cocktail of diseases and a chemically enhanced stink, which would attract North African flies by the millions. Allied aircraft would rain down this synthetic super-stinky poop on the areas where Nazi soldiers were staying (we believe "brown showers" is the technical term), then sit back and watch the local fly population spread the diseases to them.
"Looks like we already dropped shit down there."
"No, those are just Nazis."
One issue the OSS was never able to resolve, though, was how to get the resident Africans to not be curious about the operation -- it's not every day that you wake up to find mounds of goat poop not merely around but on your house.
"Honey? What did you feed the birds?"
Thankfully for Nazis and Moroccans alike, Hitler ordered the troops pulled out of the area for reassignment to the Soviet Union, and the OSS never got to dump plague poop on their heads. Germany would have to wait until the advent of an entire genre of pornography to find out what it would have been like.
The British Used Astrology To Influence U.S. Public Opinion About Hitler
Louis De Wohl was a German-born astrologer who called himself "The Modern Nostradamus." British intelligence agents, on the other hand, called him "charlatan," "complete scoundrel," and "confidence trick-merchant." And yet they ended up granting him British citizenship and giving him an honorary captain title for helping to defeat Adolf Hitler with the power of bullshit.
De Wohl was recruited by the British Security Service in 1940, when he claimed that he could divine what Hitler's astrologers were divining for Hitler. What, you didn't know the Fuhrer bought into that crap? He didn't. De Wohl simply managed to convince some people at MI5 otherwise, so they gave him a job reading horoscopes every day to get a head start on the Nazis' future plans.
"Saturn is telling me the key to defeating Hitler is ... buying me more bow-ties and cigars? Whaaaat?"
Of course, the number of De Wohl's predictions that came true was "one" (he guessed that Italy would go into the war around the same time everyone else did). However, De Wohl did help the British with another problem they had: America's reluctance to join the war. In 1941, perhaps to get rid of him, the British sent De Wohl to America as part of a secret plot to use astrology to rile up the U.S. public against Hitler (yes, there was a time when "being Hitler" wasn't reason enough to hate him). Among other things, De Wohl claimed that Hitler would die "within a year," and that the Nazis would invade America through Brazil -- and people ate that shit up.
"Rounding up and killing minorities? Boring. Idiotic pseudoscience?! NOW WE'RE TALKING!"
Major U.S. newspapers like The Los Angeles Times and The New York Sun ran front-page stories about De Wohl's wacky claims. The British considered his propaganda visit to the U.S. to be highly successful ... and ultimately pointless, since Pearl Harbor happened a few months later and the U.S. went into the war anyway. Still, the British were thankful enough to De Wohl that they repaid him by giving him a uniform and putting up with his charlatan ass for a few more years.
Britain Sent Germany Giant Balloons To Cause Mass Blackouts
Getting bombs dropped on your city every day can get old very fast, as you might imagine. By late 1940, the British were already a wee bit tired of putting up with Nazi bombers rudely remodeling their buildings, so they decided they had to be as brutal as their enemy and start sending deadly aircraft their way, too. And by "deadly aircraft," we mean "a bunch of giant balloons."
"They ... they remembered ..." -- Adolf Hitler, 4/20/1941
No, seriously. It all started by accident. One windy night, a huge gale ripped several large balloons away from their moorings in the English coast, and their trailing wires ended up touching power lines and causing mass outages over Europe. After going, "Whoops, our bad," the British realized they could use the havoc-wreaking powers of their big-ass balloons to their advantage. They started intentionally sending them out in Germany's direction, pimped with extra-long wires and incendiary devices, leading to blackouts and fires. One of the wires even hit a 110,000-volt power line, causing a short-circuit that completely destroyed a German power station.
The balloons also had the added benefit of being hard to get rid of and very, very annoying. The Nazis would send hundreds of fighter aircraft solely to shoot down the damn balloons and prevent further damage to the power grid. Nearly 100,000 balloons were launched in total, often decorated with "rude messages" added by the teenagers tasked with inflating them (these were the '40s, though, so there probably weren't a lot of "bitch-ass Nazi motherfuckers").
"Enjoy tha hotsquat, ya dizzy krauts!"
As a final kick in the pants, attempts to "balloon-proof" the German electrical grid backfired horribly when the safety devices ended up causing even more blackouts. They refused for a long time to believe the devices had failed to work, because they had been designed by a high-ranking Nazi. Keep that in mind the next time you're playing a video game in which these racist doofuses somehow have futuristic super-science that actually works.
The Pope's Plot To Kill Hitler
Pope Pius XII, the guy who had the misfortune of wearing the giant hat during World War II, is a controversial figure. He was known as "Hitler's pope" for taking a neutral position on the war and supposedly legitimizing the Nazi regime. Privately, however, he was critical of Hitler and, oh yeah, wanted to have him killed.
Found you your next movie, Ed Harris.
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.
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 shit, 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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