Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Declassified docs show Brits used astrologer to try and persuade U.S. to enter World War II

This is Louis de Wohl, a German-born astrologer of Jewish heritage, who pretended to be a Hungarian nobleman and who parlayed his alleged skills at reading the stars into a British Army commission, a hotel apartment on London's exclusive Park Lane, and a 1941 lecture tour in the United States (financed by Britain's Special Operations Executive) designed to try and convince the American public that Hitler could be defeated.

That's the gist of a newly declassified chapter in World War II history, according to D'Arcy Doran's AP story, posted today on the WBBM 780 website and this March 4 story, by Michael Evans, "Defence Editor" of the Times of London.

De Wohl's pre-Pearl Harbor American tour was arranged, according to the AP story, "to counter a convention of pro-German astrologers that had predicted Hitler would win the war. Billing himself as 'The Modern Nostradamus,' de Wohl proclaimed the stars showed the opposite - that Hitler would lose."

Not everyone in the British intelligence hierarchy was taken with de Wohl. According to Evans' story, "Dick White, later head of MI5 and then MI6, noted in March 1941, when asked to comment on the report that de Wohl had been appointed official astrologer to the War Office: 'I don’t like having decisions . . . made by reference to the stars rather than MI5.'"

D'Arcy reports that, after Pearl Harbor, de Wohl was no longer needed to persuade Americans of Hitler's horrible horoscope. He was recalled to London in February 1942, only to find "his hotel apartment stripped bare and his 'department' disbanded." Senior MI5 officers debated proposals about how to 'dispose' of de Wohl, "including interning him in a camp or moving him to a remote corner of the country." Two other options, D'Arcy writes, were "blanked out." Apparently, however, it was decided to merely find de Wohl a desk and ignore him for the duration.

After the war, according to Wikipedia, de Wohl wrote a series of "historical fiction novels of notable Roman Catholic Saints." He died in 1961.

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