World War II

A SPECULATIVE SUCCESSION

REGARDING YOUR AUGUST 2020 COVER STORY, “Night of the Assassins,” about Germany’s Operation Long Jump: Had the plot to assassinate the three Allied leaders succeeded in Tehran in 1943, we know who would have replaced Roosevelt. Who would most likely have replaced Churchill and Stalin, and how might that have affected the rest of the war?

RICHARD SMITH

HORSESHOE BAY, TEX.

Howard Blum, the story’s writer and author of the book Night of the Assassins: The Untold Story of Hitler’s Plot to Kill FDR, Churchill, and Stalin, responds:

This “what if” question is particularly problematic because neither the United Kingdom nor the Soviet Union had a statutory system for succession. If both Churchill and Stalin had been assassinated at Tehran, it remains a matter of pure conjecture—however well-informed—as to whom would have taken their place.

In Britain, the logical heir would have been Anthony Eden, the foreign secretary. However, if the

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