Book says Hitler wanted Nelson's Column

By PAUL GOULD  |  June 16, 1995
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LONDON, June 16 -- Adolf Hitler planned to uproot Nelson's Column from London's Trafalgar Square and transplant it in Berlin as a victory trophy if Germany had won World War II, according to a book published Friday. 'The Nelson Companion,' published by Britain's Royal Naval Museum, said the Nazi dictator regarded the famed monument as a symbol of Britain's maritime power and thought it would make a fitting victory prize. The book said that in June 1940 -- during Nazi Germany's attempted invasion of Britain -- Hitler personally ordered the column's transfer to Berlin along with its statue of Lord Horatio Nelson, the British admiral who defeated the French and the Spanish at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. ''The Nelson Column represents for the English a symbol of British naval might and world dominion,'' the book quotes Hitler as saying. ''It would be an impressive way of underlining the German victory if the Nelson Column were to be transferred to Berlin.'' Colin White, chief curator of the Portsmouth-based museum and editor of the new book, said the Nazi leader was aware of the 'sheer power of Nelson's name for the British.' White said in an interview that the revelation of Hitler's plans was originally made in a book about Trafalgar Square published some 20 years ago, but had previously been overlooked by the media. He said the recent 50th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe had re-focused attention on Hitler's plans for ruling Britain.

White also said 1995-2005 had been designated the 'Nelson Decade,' to mark the 200th anniversary of Nelson's Trafalgar victory over the French and Spanish fleets. Nelson died on board ship in the battle. 'The Nelson Companion,' published jointly with Alan Suttons, is not a biography of Admiral Nelson, White said, but an overview of the admiral's place as a historic British figure. The 17-foot (5-meter) statue of Nelson stands atop the 140-foot (42- meter) column on Trafalgar Square, looking down Whitehall toward the Houses of Parliament. It was planned in 1838, but completed only in 1867 when the famous four lions were installed at the monument's foot.

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