Ravi loves writing within the cusp of relationships, history, and the bizarre—where boundaries are blurred and possibilities are immense.
Operation Long Jump
It was nearing the end of 1943 and Hitler was getting desperate. He was losing the war. On the other hand, the big three USA, Britain, and Russia had grudgingly united to fight against a common enemy.,
And to further strengthen this ‘newfound’ friendship, the big three- Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union, Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom, and Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States planned for their first meeting in Tehran, Iran to discuss a war strategy codenamed Eureka.
The strategy was to agree on the opening of a second front against the Nazis by May 1944. The meeting nicknamed, the Tehran summit, was to be held at the Soviet Embassy in Tehran.
The Nazis soon uncovered details about the Tehran meeting by deciphering some US naval codes. The information was passed on to Hitler who used it to approve one of the craziest missions of World War II, Unternehmen Weitsprung, or, Operation Long Jump for the assassination of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin.
What if an unfortunate accident should take place, and all three world leaders were to die tragically? It would certainly turn the tide of the war in the Nazi favor. The Nazis had planned to assassinate Roosevelt and Churchill who had met in Casablanca earlier that year but they learned about the meeting details too late to take any action.
This time, Hitler was determined to succeed at any cost.
The Plot Was Uncovered
The details of the audacious plot were first revealed by the Soviet intelligence officer Nikolai Kuznetsov, who learned about it during a conversation with SS-Sturmbannführer Ulrich von Ortel. Ortel was the chief of the sabotage group in Copenhagen, which was preparing the operation.
Ortel merrily spilled the details in his drunken stupor.
“We will eliminate Stalin and Churchill and turn the tide of the war! We will abduct Roosevelt to help our Führer to come to terms with America. We are flying in several groups. People are already being trained in a special school in Copenhagen.”
The plan to eliminate the big three was assigned to Otto Skorzeny, Germany’s mastermind of daring, unconventional, and audacious commando operations.
The tall, imposing Skorzeny was already famous for his bold rescue of deposed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in September 1943. Ernst Kaltenbrunner, head of the Reich Security Main Office, gave Skorzeny the orders to carry out Operation Long Jump which supposedly had the full backing and blessings of Adolf Hitler.
As the plan was already blown, the Soviets decided to let the plan unfold and catch the Nazis ‘red-handed’ in the act. The first German group, consisting of six radio operators, was dropped by parachutes at Qum.
The Soviet intelligence team led by Goar and Gevork Vartanyan followed them to Tehran, where the Nazi field station had readied a villa for their stay. They were traveling by camel and were loaded with weapons.
Goar then hacked into their communication system and started recording their messages. This was the point when they learned that a second group of Germans led by Skorzeny himself would be landing shortly to perform the ‘final act’.
The spies also noted that the Germans immediately went into disguise mode by dyeing their hair and dressing as locals. Their radio equipment and guns were also masked into baskets of camel dung. Time was running short and Vartanyans had to decide; should they wait and catch the big fish Skorzeny himself or arrest this first group?
They chose the latter as Gevork Vartanyan said later.
“We arrested all the members of the first group and forced them to make contact with enemy intelligence under our supervision. It was tempting to seize Skorzeny himself, but the Big Three had already arrived in Tehran and we could not afford the risk. We deliberately gave a radio operator an opportunity to report the failure of the mission, and the Germans decided against sending the main group under Skorzeny to Tehran. In this way, the success of our group in locating the Nazi advance party and our subsequent actions thwarted an attempt to assassinate the Big Three.”
However, right at that very moment, a new historical controversy sprung up.
Did the Nazi paratrooper commandos actually plan the assassination, or had Stalin made it up?
Did It Really Happen?
To this day, conflicting stories have muddled the waters casting doubts on the veracity of the plot.
After the war, Skorzeny denied that the plan ever existed. He stated that he and Hitler had discussed an assassination plot, but it was shot down. Some historians also claim that it was a fiction hatched by Stalin himself to get close to Roosevelt and Churchill. Some others say that it is KGB fiction to prop up the Soviet image. As historian Alexander Vassiliyev says.
"It's a KGB myth that was published after the war was over. So far, no evidence has been obtained that would point to Nazi preparations for assassinations in Tehran."
The Americans on the other hand had no doubt that Operation Long Jump never happened. As per them.it was just a ploy by the Soviets to bug Roosevelt when he agreed to stay in the Soviet embassy as a precautionary measure against the assassination, accepting Stalin’s request.
Also, the biggest question was, what happened to the captured paratroopers? As per the Soviets, they were been interrogated by the NKVD(The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs) and thereafter ‘conveniently’ disappeared. As Brian Dunning from Skeptoid.com says,
“On this question, I'm going with... drum roll, please... I have no idea. Of all the sources I studied, I found nothing that was irrational or improbable. There simply isn't enough reliable data to guide me to either landing place.”
While we may never know the truth, it is still worth pondering what would have happened to the world had the Nazis succeeded in carrying out Operation Long Jump? Would we be still living in the same world like today?
Food for alternate history, Isn’t it?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Ravi Rajan