Here is a reprint of a review of “The Glenn Miller Conspiracy”, by the late Hunton Downs
by British reviewer, for the Sunday Express, Graham Ball.
“Glenn Miller was popular music’s first superstar. His unique big band blend of sophisticated swing made him a sensation in America in the late Thirties.
Hits like Chattanooga Choo Choo, In the Mood, American Patrol and others sold more than 11 million copies each and made him world famous. There is another side to the smooth-talking bandleader that has never been fully explained, though. In 1942 he stunned fans by announcing he was joining the US army, and this is where his story becomes intriguing.
Two years later on December 15, 1944, Glenn Miller, who had recreated his band in the US Army Air Corps, was dead.
The official explanation was that he died when his light aircraft crashed somewhere in the English Channel while travelling to France for a concert. Curiously no bodies of those on board or fragments of aeroplane wreckage were ever found.
In this new book (Note: not new in the U.S.), author Hunton Downs, a former US Lieutenant Colonel who served in Europe during and after the Second World War, argues that the official version of Miller’s death is just a cover-up.
In a brilliantly researched dissection of the facts, Downs explains that Miller was never on the plane that plunged into the sea and was in reality killed by Nazis in Paris. The real facts, he claims, were concealed because Miller was engaged on a top secret mission called Operation Eclipse that if successful could have ended the war early and saved hundreds of thousands of lives.
According to Downs, who spent 40 years studying archives in Berlin, America and Britain, Miller was not just a talented musician but a brave secret agent. Soon after he joined the army Miller was recruited into the OSS (the Office of Strategic Service, the forerunner of the CIA).
Psychological warfare commanders taught Miller to speak immaculate German and then he made secret concerts, which were broadcast to the Nazis. The Germans loved his music and tuned in, despite the fact that Miller punctuated the music with calls for the German army to capitulate.
In December 1944 many of the German top brass knew the game was up. Operation Eclipse was a plan for certain German generals to arrest Hitler and surrender to Allied forces in France and end the war. Miller was the man charged with clinching the deal with the enemy.
He was the ideal candidate because of his popularity with German forces. In Paris he went on his mission but, unknown to the Americans, hard-line fanatical Nazi leaders had got wind of the plan and he was captured by a squad of crack German special forces troops who planned to turn the tables and, with Miller’s help, get close enough to General Eisenhower to assassinate him.
They tortured Miller but he didn’t crack. Finally they left his body outside a notorious Parisian brothel and put out a story that he had died of a heart attack while with a prostitute. It was a lie. Miller, whose music is still popular, died a hero but his bravery has been kept secret.
Downs’s book is a masterpiece of meticulous research. The death of Glenn Miller has always been a mystery and now we know why. It’s an odd fact that even today, 66 years after the event, Glenn Miller’s military records are still kept secret by the US Government.
If you liked Glenn Miller’s music, read this book and you’ll like it even more,”
This book has been challenged by a number of music historians, including the keeper of the Glenn Miller Archives in Boulder, Colorado. Please read our earlier articles on this subject.
What do you think?