A LETTER penned by British philosopher Bertrand Russell that suggested Adolf Hitler should dine with the Prime Minister, has sold at auction in South Cerney for more than six times its original estimate.
The two-page letter, expected to sell for £300, went under the hammer at Dominic Winters Book Auctions on Wednesday, January 29 and was sold for £2,000 to a museum in California.
Bertrand Russell, a noted pacifist and humanitarian, wrote the letter in May 1937 at his Petersfield home and was addressed to a professor at Eton College.
In his letter, Russell, who won the Noble Prize in literature, said the government should treat any invading German as a guest and give them hospitality and that the then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin should invite the Nazi leader to dinner.
He wrote: “I will argue that if a German succeeded in sending an invading army to England we should best to treat them as visitors, give them quarters and invite the Commander in Chief to dine with Prime Minister.
“Such behaviour would completely baffle them. If, on the other hand, we fight them, we may win, or we may lose. If we lose, obviously no good has been done.
“And if we win, we shall inevitable, during struggle, acquire their bad qualities, and the world, at the end, will be no better off than if we had lost.”
Chris Albury, chief auctioneer at Dominic Winters, explained that Russell was an intelligent man who did not hold back on his opinions.
“Some of his ideas on education and politics look distinctly cranky from a modern viewpoint. He was totally unafraid to express his opinions and went to prison more than once for his beliefs,” he said.
Once war broke out, Bertrand Russell did, however, say he was in favour of fighting believing that life would be worse for all if the Germans won.
Mr Albury said: “With an estimate of £200 to £300, we expected some strong competition but were surprised to see how fierce the phone and internet bidding became. We believe the letter will go on public display sometime in the future.”