Winston Churchill reportedly had many vices, including tobacco, alcohol, and a high-calorie diet, but it was chocolate that once posed the greatest threat to the prime minister's life, according to a letter written in 1943 by one of Britain's most famous counterintelligence chiefs, Lord Victor Rothschild. In the letter, Rothschild writes that British spies had learned of a wartime Nazi plot to assassinate Churchill in the dining room of the War Cabinet, where the prime minister could often be found. German agents planned to coat an explosive device with a thin layer of chocolate and wrap it in fancy packaging. After planting it in the room, all it would take to activate the device would be someone breaking off a piece of the candy. The bomb was expected to explode within seconds, killing anyone nearby. Luckily for Churchill -- and any others in attendance at the time -- the candy conspiracy was uncovered before the chocolate bar was unwrapped. Rothschild's letter was made public after it turned up in 2009 in correspondence left behind by Laurence Fish, an illustrator whom Rothschild had asked to draw a rough sketch of the explosive device.
A closeup of Churchill:
- Churchill rose to fame in Britain after escaping from a prisoner-of-war camp in South Africa in 1899 and making it 300 miles (483 km) to safety.
- Churchill was very pro-alcohol, calling Prohibition in the United States "an affront" to all people and reportedly taking 60 bottles of booze with him to fight in the Boer War.
- Although famous for his oratory, Churchill struggled with a speech impediment throughout his life, often doing verbal exercises to try to alleviate it.