In 1944 to 1945, the issue of working out what to do with the surviving members of the Nazi leadership regime was gaining priority within US policy-making circles as concerns mounted over the possibility that, as World War II came to an end, Nazi leaders might flee Germany and seek political asylum in a neutral state.1 Ways of resolving this issue strongly reflected the respective preferences of different actors within the US administration for the type of peace to be pursued in Germany, both as part of the strategy for ending World War II and for the post-war settlement. Two divergent schools of thought emerged. One school, led by US Secretary of Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr, supported the idea of using approaching military units to execute summarily top Nazi officials. On this view, any of the Allied powers would be entitled, on meeting any member of a prearranged list of high-ranking Nazis and on confirmation of their identity, to kill them immediately. Ultimate decision-making authority in relation to this task would rest with individual, Allied military commanders; they would retain full discretion as to the means of identity confirmation, as well as the timing and method of execution in accordance with the military practices of their own particular state. This approach, which emerged in September 1944, was promoted as part of a programme which aimed to destroy completely Germany’s future ability to wage war, and to establish a general international deterrent via the imposition of a harsh punishment. Other components of this programme included a rigorous agenda of German deindustrialisation and pasturalisation, with the intention of leaving that state economically powerless; the purging of Nazis from German institutions; and the use of extensive detention powers to apprehend all members of organisations such as the SS and others in business, law and education.2 The Morgenthau Plan was so thorough and severe that it even contemplated the removal from Germany of Hitler Youth members and other children exposed to Nazism.3 Morgenthau thought a more lenient occupation policy than his would not only be unjust, but might also enable Germany to instigate another phase of expansionism and atrocities.4