Churchill's Secret Corpse
In January 1943, the Allies were planning the invasion of Sicily. The British and Americans wanted to destroy the bases of the Axis powers and gain control of the Mediterranean. They decided to use a specially doctored corpse to fool the Germans. "Operation Mincemeat" was one of the most influential acts of deception in WWII. British Intelligence set out to make the corpse look like that of a British secret courier. The Mediterranean was supposed to wash the dead man ashore with false papers. The contents of the documents were explosive: plans for the Allied invasion of Sardinia and the Balkans. They wanted it to end up on Hitler's desk. For months, the British worked on the plan, carefully constructing an identity and backstory for the bogus naval officer. On April 17, the corpse was dropped into the sea. After weeks of waiting, the message finally came: "Mincemeat swallowed whole." The Germans had taken the bait and moved their troops from Sicily to the Balkans. By carrying fake orders to the Germans, the anonymous dead man saved thousands of lives and shortened the course of World War II.