What else is there to do when there is an imminent invasion that would cause the death of hundreds of thousands of people overseas, and you couldn’t quite do anything to stop it? For a group of Pittsburgh citizens, even when the US had not entered World War II yet, they would do what they could to stop Adolph Hitler from committing all the atrocities. Their idea? A bounty of $1 million (about $18 million today.)

“Reward for Hitler Capture”

The New York Times, April 29, 1940: It was that day when a brief headline was published in the newspaper, along with some other news current to that day. Even so, the headline stood out from the rest, and for reasons.

The United States would not enter World War II until December 1941. Even so, the anti-Hitler sentiment was slowly spreading in the country. If anyone, perhaps the person who developed the most hate for Hitler was Samuel Harden Church. At that time, he was the president of the Carnegie Institute. He led a group of about 50 people who pledged that they would provide the money for anyone who could capture Hitler, not either dead or alive, but “alive, unwounded and unhurt.” He should be delivered to the League of Nations so that they could try him for his “crimes against the peace and dignity of the world.”

Portrait of Samuel Harden Church. (Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute)

This was a limited-time offer that they only made available for a month. As Sam Church wrote in a letter in New York Times,