Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the situation during World War II definitely qualified as desperate. Accordingly, it seems very few proposed plans for defeating the Nazis were dismissed as being too over-the-top. At one time or another, the Allied forces debated dripping glue on Nazi troops in an attempt to stop them in their tracks, disguising bombs in tins of imported fruit, dropping boxes of venomous snakes, releasing live bat bombs, or using the "Great Panjandrum"—a massive rocket-propelled wheel of explosives.
But perhaps the most outlandish idea proposed involved making the Führer more like his sister—the mild-mannered Paula, who worked as secretary.
A study at the time by the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, a precursor to the CIA, claimed that on the gender spectrum, Adolf Hitler fell notably near the middle—"close to the male-female line," wrote the OSS’s director of research and development, Stanley Lovell. The Allies thought if they could just tip him over the line into "female" territory, he would lose his hold on Germany and the war would be won.
Sources differ on whether the hope was that a more feminized Hitler would be less aggressive, and thus, less inclined to commit mass genocide, or that if he lost his facial hair and grew breasts he simply wouldn't have the confidence or charisma to allow him to serve as an effectively malevolent dictator.
But how to go about making Mr. Hitler more like Mrs. Hitler? By putting female sex hormones in his carrots, of course.
"There were agents who would be able to get it into his food—it would have been entirely possible," said Brian Ford, a British professor and the author of the book that first revealed the plot, Secret Weapons: Technology, Science And The Race To Win World War II.
If the plan was carried out, spies and members of the OSS would bribe Hitler's gardener to inject his carrots with estrogen. Over time, the estrogen consumption would make him more "feminized."
You're probably wondering: If the Allies had the means to inject foreign substances into Hitler's food, why didn't they just poison him and be done with it? Unfortunately, it wasn't that simple. Hitler, aware of his many enemies, employed a host of food tasters whose sickness or death would have sent up immediate red flags. Estrogen was chosen instead because it is tasteless, and would work slowly and subtly enough on the Führer and his army of testers to go undetected—until it was too late.
Lovell speculates that this plan ultimately failed either because someone noticed something suspicious about the carrots, or because the gardener found it just as easy to pocket the bribe and not alter the carrots at all. Either scenario implies that the Allies really did at least attempt to defeat Hitler with female sex hormones.
They should have stuck with the bat bombs.