Hans Globke, Hitler’s former henchman, was true architect of modern Germany

The man who framed the anti-Jewish Nuremberg race laws also played a key role in Israel’s development of nuclear weapons, Oliver Moody writes

In the autumn of 1945 the British and American officers at a German holding camp for the Nazi regime’s senior functionaries were faced with an apparently intractable moral dilemma in the form of Hans Globke, a polite, softly spoken man in a pair of rimless glasses.

During the Third Reich Globke had given shape to some of the dictatorship’s most virulently antisemitic legislation, including the definitive handbook on the 1935 Nuremberg race laws.

Yet he also had a distinguished cast of anti-Nazis lining up to testify under oath that he had been an instrumental figure in the resistance against Hitler.

More importantly one of the US military intelligence services had already identified him as one of the “crown jewels” it hoped would lead the foundation of the new democratic Germany.

The details of how Globke walked free and reinvented himself as a spymaster, diplomat and kingmaker in the postwar state have been reconstructed from newly released files in an investigation for the Stories of our times podcast.

The documents show how he built up a sprawling administrative empire in the shadows, running a clandestine espionage operation against his political opponents, steering the course of the 20th century’s most famous Nazi trial and allegedly helping to broker a secret deal for West Germany to fund the genesis of Israel’s nuclear weapons programme.

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