"This man is the mainspring of evil"

LONDON: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was determined to have German leader Adolf Hitler executed if he was captured, according to previously secret government documents released on Sunday.

At a Cabinet meeting in December 1942, Churchill noted: "Contemplate that if Hitler falls into our hands we shall certainly put him to death," according to notes taken by Deputy Cabinet Secretary Sir Norman Brook. "This man is the mainspring of evil."

The government documents, released to the public for the first time, chart Cabinet discussions from 1942-45 over how to deal with senior members of Hitler's Nazi party if they were caught.

In April 1945, Home Secretary Herbert Morrison expressed the opinion that a "mock trial" for Nazi leaders would be objectionable: "Better to declare that we shall put them to death," he said.

Nuremburg trials

Churchill agreed that a trial for Hitler would be "a farce," but within weeks both the United States and Russia said they favoured trying Nazi leaders. Trials were later held at Nuremberg, Germany.

Later, Churchill proposed that Britain negotiate what to do with Nazi leaders such as Gestapo head Heinrich Himmler - who had already sought secret peace talks with Britain - and then "bump him off later." - AP