How a Dead Man Pulled One Over on Hitler Himself

William Martin never really existed, but he's a hero anyway.

Cemetery, Memorial, Grave, Headstone, Commemorative plaque, Shadow, Stele, Granite,
Tom ScottYouTube

It took a whole confluence of things to help the Allies win World War II, like the United States' industrial war machine, and superior Allied airpower. Playing a more minor, but still important role was Major William Martin, a dead man who never really existed, but was instrumental in pulling a vital con on Hitler himself.

The man who became known as Major William Martin was in fact a homeless man by the name of Glyndwr Michael, as Tom Scott explains. A homeless man who, in death, came to serve the Allies when his body was used to stand in for the fictitious Major Martin. He became an imposter corpse set adrift at sea with all kinds of carefully forged identification and, most importantly, some top secret and very bogus war plans.

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Operation Mincemeat, as it was so callously called, was successful in convincing the Axis powers that an invasion of Greece was imminent when, in fact, an invasion of Italy was the true plan. The result was a soft target and low casualties, a decisive Allied victory.

Would World War II have played out just as well without Michael/Martin's unwitting help? It's impossible to know for sure. But to be instrumental in a plot to fool one of the world's most famous villains is a hell of a legacy, even if you never live to find out it's yours.

Source: Tom Scott

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