Famous Last Wills and Testaments of Leaders and Rulers

Some famous and bizarre last wills and testaments of leaders and rulers including Hitler, Napoleon, and Churchill.

Napoleon Bonaparte French soldier and Emperor Died: 1821

Last Will: In a testament written 21 days days before his demise, Napoleon wrote, "I die prematurely, assassinated by the English oligarchy." He "left" bequests that totaled 6 million francs, although he had no funds for the purpose. Among them, he "gave" 10,000 francs to Cantillon, the French officer whose unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Wellington had caused the Iron Duke to write his own will. It was the exiled Napoleon's opinion that Cantillon "had as much right to assassinate that oligarchist, as the latter had to send me to perish upon the rock of St. Helena."

Karl Marx German radical leader Died: 1883

Last Will: The founder of communism had accumulated no personal wealth, leaving a scant pound 250.

Adolf Hitler German dictator Died: 1945

Last Will: Mentioning that he and Eva Braun were marrying and then choosing to die "to escape the shame of overthrow or capitulation," the dictator wanted it clearly understood that his painting collection "bought by me during the years" had always been intended to establish a picture gallery in his hometown, Linz.

Jawaharlal Nehru Prime Minister of India Died: 1964

Last Will: Following his cremation, Nehru asked that a handful of his ashes be scattered in the Ganges River. He took care to explain that his request bore no religious significance, noting, ". . . the Ganges has been to me a symbol and a memory of the past of India, running into the present, and flowing on to the great ocean of the future." To insure that no portion of his remaining ashes were preserved, he directed that they be disposed of by carrying them aloft ". . . in an airplane and scattered from that height over the fields where the peasants of India toil."

Winston Churchill British Prime Minister Died: 1965

Last Will: The great wartime leader of Britain in the 1940s left a simple will disposing of pound 304,044, primarily to Lady Churchill. He asked that he be buried at Bladon, near Woodstock, with his parents.

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