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Carl Friedrich Goerdeler
Born 31 July 1884(1884-07-31)
Schneidemühl, Germany (modern Piła, Poland)
Died 2 February 1945 (aged 60)
Berlin, Germany
Nationality German
Occupation Politician, civil servant, executive & economist.
Known for One of the leaders of the conservative widerstand movement in Nazi Germany
Political party DNVP
Religion Lutheran
Spouse(s) Anneliese Ulrich
Children 5

Carl Friedrich Goerdeler (31 July 1884 – 2 February 1945) was a monarchist conservative German politician, executive, economist, civil servant, and opponent of the Nazi regime. Had the 20 July plot of 1944 succeeded, Goerdeler would have served as the Chancellor of the new government.




Early career

Goerdeler was born to a family of Prussian civil servants in Schneidemühl, Germany (modern Piła, Poland) in the Prussian Province of Posen. Goerdeler's parents were supporters of the Free Conservative Party, and Goerdeler's father served in the Prussian Landtag as a member of that party after 1899.[1] Goerdeler's upbringing was described by his biographer and friend Gerhard Ritter as a part of a large, loving middle-class family that was cultured, devoutly Lutheran, nationalist, and conservative.[2] Goerdeler studied economics and law at the University of Tübingen between 1902 and 1905.[2][3] Starting in 1911, Goerdeler worked as a civil servant for the municipal government of Solingen.[3] That same year, Goerdeler married Anneliese Ulrich, by whom he had five children. During World War I, Goerdeler served as a junior officer on the Eastern Front, rising to the rank of Captain.[3] From February 1918, Captain Goerdeler worked as part of the German military government in Minsk.[3] After the end of war in November 1918, Goerdeler served on the headquarters of the XVII Army Corps based in Danzig (modern Gdańsk, Poland).[3] In June 1919, Goerdeler submitted a memorandum to his superior, General Otto von Below, calling for the destruction of Poland as the only way of preventing territorial losses on Germany's eastern borders.[3] After his discharge from the German Army, Goerdeler joined the ultra-conservative German National People's Party (DNVP). Like most of the political class of Germany at that time, Goerdeler strongly rejected the Versailles Treaty, which stipulated that Germany cede territories to the restored Polish state. In 1919, before the exact boundaries of the Polish-German border were determined, he suggested restoring West Prussia to Germany. Despite his strongly held hostile feelings towards Poland, Goerdeler played a key role in breaking a strike by the Danzig dock-workers, who wished to shut down the Polish economy by closing Poland's principal port during the Polish–Soviet War of 1920 on the grounds that however undesirable Poland was as a neighbour, Soviet Russia would be even worse.[4]

In 1922, Goerdeler was elected as the mayor (Bürgermeister) of Königsberg (modern Kaliningrad, Russia) in East Prussia before being elected mayor of Leipzig on May 22, 1930.[3] During the Weimar Republic, Goerdeler was widely considered to be a hard-working and outstanding municipal politician.[5] On December 8, 1931, Chancellor Heinrich Brüning, a personal friend of Goerdeler, appointed him as Reich Price Commissioner, and entrusted him with the task of overseeing his deflationary policies.[6] The sternness with which Goerdeler administered his task as Price Commissioner made him a well known figure in Germany.[6]

After the downfall of the Brüning government in 1932, Goerdeler was considered to be a potential Chancellor and was sounded out by General Kurt von Schleicher, who ultimately chose Franz von Papen instead.[7] Following the fall of his government on May 30, 1932, Brüning himself recommended to President Paul von Hindenburg that Goerdeler succeed him.[7] Later in 1932, Goerdeler was offered a position in Papen's cabinet, which he refused.[8] Goerdeler opposed the Nazis' racial ideology, and left the DNVP in 1931 when this party began to cooperate with the Nazi Party.

Role in the Nazi government

In the early 1930s, Goerdeler considered Hitler an "enlightened dictator", who, provided he received the proper advice, would be a force for good.[9] After 1933, Goerdeler was one of very few politicians willing to oppose the ruling Nazis. On April 1, 1933, the day of the national boycott declared against all Jewish businesses in the Reich, Goerdeler appeared in full uniform of the Oberbürgermeister of Leipzig to order the SA to cease and desist in their efforts to enforce the boycott, and ordered the Leipzig police to free several Jews taken hostage by the SA.[10] Several times, he attempted to help Leipzig Jewish businessmen threatened with the "Aryanization" economic policies of the Nazi regime. As such, Goerdeler had sent Hitler long memoranda containing his advice on economic policy, and in the second half of 1935, wrote up a new draft law on the powers and responsibilities of municipal governments.[11] Despite his early sympathy for the regime and considerable pressure from the National Socialists, Goerdeler always refused to join the NSDAP.[11] By the mid-1930s, Goerdeler grew increasingly disillusioned with the Nazis as it become more and more apparent that Hitler had no interest in reading any of Goerdeler's memoranda, but instead was carrying out economic and financial polices that Goerdeler regarded as highly irresponsible.[11] In addition, the fact that the Nazis in the Leipzig municipal government massively increased the debts owed the city was a major source of worry for Goerdeler.[11]

In 1933, a Reich law forbade doctors who were members of the KPD or who were "non-Aryans" from participating in public health insurance, exempting only those who were World War I veterans, or children or parents of veterans.[12] A second degree of 1934 banned all physicians from participating in public health insurance who had one or more Jewish grandparents regardless of their religion, or if they were married to a "non-Aryan".[12] However, these laws did not affect those physicians who received their approbation under the Weimar Republic.[12] On April 9, 1935, the Deputy Mayor of Leipzig, the National Socialist Rudolf Haake, in defiance of the existing laws, banned all Jewish doctors from participating in public health insurance, and advised all municipal employees from consulting Jewish doctors.[12] In response, the Landesverband Mitteldeutschland des Centralvereins deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens e. V (Saxon Association of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith) complained to Goerdeler about Haake's actions, and asked him to enforce the existing anti-Semitic laws, which at least allowed some Jewish doctors to practice.[12] On April 11, 1935, Goerdeler ordered the end of Haake's boycott, and provided a list of "non-Aryan" physicians permitted to operate under the existing laws, and those who were excluded.[13] Critics of Goerdeler such as Daniel Goldhagen have asserted that because Goerdeler published a list of "non-Aryan" physicians to be excluded from practicing under public insurance that this proved that Goerdeler was an anti-Semite; by contrast, Goerdeler's defenders like Peter Hoffmann have argued that Goerdeler's insistence on enforcing the laws served to protect those Jewish physicians entitled to practice.[14]

In November 1934, Goerdeler was again appointed Reich Price Commissioner, and ordered to combat inflation caused by rearmament.[15] Gestapo reports from the 1934 record that the German public greeted the news of Goerdeler's reappointment as Price Commissioner as a positive development.[16] The appointment of Goerdeler was Hitler's response to the increasing problem of inflation.[17] Despite the great fanfare which greeted Goerdeler's appointment, he was given little real power.[18] In 1934, Goerdeler was strongly opposed to the idea of devaluing the Reichmark, and had supported Hitler and Dr. Schacht against the advocates of devaluation.[19] During his second term as Price Commissioner in 1934–1935, Goerdeler often came into conflict with the Economics Minister and Reichsbank president Dr. Hjalmar Schacht over his inflationary policies.[8] In Goerdeler's opinion, these posed a grave danger to the German economy, and finally prompted his resignation in 1935 as Price Commissioner. As Price Commissioner, Goerdeler became increasingly troubled by Nazi economic policies, as well as being disgusted by rampant corruption within the Nazi Party.[19] In October 1935, Goerdeler sent Hitler a memorandum in which he urged that the priorities for the use of German foreign exchange should be shifted from buying raw materials that Germany lacked for rearmament, and instead be used to buy food that Germany was short of like fats.[20] In his report, Goerdeler wrote that the foremost goal of German economic policy should be: "the satisfactory provisioning of the population with fats, even in relation to armaments, as having political priority".[20] In the same report, Goerdeler argued that the root of German economic problems was rearmament, and advocated as the solution reducing military spending, increasing German exports, and returning to a free market economy.[20] Goerdeler warned that to continue the present course of increasing statism in the economy and the current levels of high military spending would result in the total collapse of the economy with an extremely drastic drop in living standards.[20] After Hitler ignored Goerdeler's report, Goerdeler asked Hitler to dissolve the Reich Commisariat for Price Surveillance since there was nothing for that office to do.[20] In the spring of 1936, Goerdeler came into increasing conflict with Haake over the question of demolition of a monument to the German-Jewish composer Felix Mendelssohn.[13]

In the summer of 1936, Goerdeler was heavily involved in trying to influence the decision-making regarding the great economic crisis which gripped Germany that year. Despite his earlier differences with Dr. Schacht, Goerdeler together with Schacht were the leaders of the "free-market" faction in the German government who during the economic crisis of 1936 urged Hitler to reduce military spending, turn away from autarkic and protectionist policies, and reduce statism in the economy.[21] Supporting the "free-market" faction were some of Germany's leading business executives, most notably Hermann Duecher of AEG, Robert Bosch of Robert Bosch GmbH, and Albert Voegeler of Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG.[19] Goerdeler and Schacht were opposed by another faction centered around Hermann Göring calling for the opposite.[21] Despite his disagreements with Göring over the best economic course to follow, on August 6, 1936, Göring commissioned a report from Goerdeler as a leading economic expert about whatever Germany should devalue the Reichmark or not.[22][23] Goerdeler began his report by rejecting the policies of Dr. Schacht's New Plan of 1934 as untenable.[22] Making a U-turn from his stance of 1934, Goerdeler now embraced devaluation of the Reichmark as the best solution to the economic crisis. Goerdeler argued that the tolerance of other Western nations, especially the United States for German state's subsiding the dumping of exports was wearing thin, and would soon result in harsh new tariffs being applied against German goods.[22] Goerdeler argued that the only way of the economic crisis which gripped the German economy in 1936 was the devaluation of the Reichmark, and abandoning all of the restrictions governing foreign exchange in Germany.[22] Goerdeler argued that for devaluation of the Reichmark to be successful would require co-ordination with other nations, especially the United States, the United Kingdom and France, who otherwise might be tempted to engage in competitive devaluations of the dollar, the pound and the franc respectively.[22] To secure their co-operation, Goerdeler argued for rapprochement with the Western powers.[22] In his memorandum for Göring, Goerdeler wrote of the "grandiose possibility" that a German reengagement with the world economy, and the end of protectionism and autarchism would lead to a new age of economic co-operation among the world's largest economies.[24] To this end, Goerdeler argued in exchange for Anglo-French-American economic co-operation and support, Germany should at a minimum cease its unilateral economic policies, and sharply cut military spending.[24] In addition, Goerdeler felt that the price of Western economic support would a moderation of the Nazi regime's policies in regards to the "Jewish question, freemasonry question, question of the rule of law, Church question".[24] Goerdeler wrote that "I can well imagine that we will have to bring certain issues...into a greater degree of alignment with the imponderable attitudes of other peoples, not in substance, but in the manner of dealing with them".[24]

The historian Adam Tooze has argued that Goerdeler was following his own agenda in seeking to moderate the regime's domestic policies in his memorandum, and that it is highly unlikely that outside powers would have required the concessions on anti-Semitic and other domestic policies that Goerdeler advocated as the price of Western economic support (through Tooze does feel that Goerdeler was correct in arguing that the West would have made cutbacks in military spending a precondition of economic support).[24] Goerdeler argued his policies of economic liberalization and devaluation would in the short run cause 2 million-2.5 million unemployed in Germany, but argued that in the long-run, the increase in exports would make the German economy stronger.[19] In public, Göring called Goerdeler's memorandum "completely unusable."[25] Göring's copy of Goerdeler's memorandum is covered with handwritten personal comments by Göring on the side such as "What cheek!", "Nonsense!", and "Oho!"[25] When Göring forwarded a copy of Goerdeler's memorandum to Hitler, his covering letter stated: "This may be quite important, my Führer, for your memorandum, since it reveals the complete confusion and incomprehension of our bourgeois businessmen, Limitation of armaments, defeatism, incomprehension of the foreign policy situation alternate. His [Goerdeler's] recommendations are adequate for a mayor, but not for the state leadership."[25] Goerdeler's advice was rejected by Hitler in his "Four-Year Plan Memorandum" of August 1936, and instead in the fall of 1936, the Nazi regime launched the Four Year Plan as the way out of the 1936 economic crisis.[19] Hitler himself found Goerdeler's report objectionable, and Hitler's "Four-Year Plan Memorandum" may have been written in part as a reply to Goerdeler's memorandum (Gerhard Ritter favored this theory whereas Gerhard Weinberg rejects it)[26] On September 4, 1936 speaking before the German Cabinet, Göring cited Goerdeler's memorandum as an example of flawed economic thinking, and announced that Germany would pursue high levels military spending, protectionism, and autarky regardless of the economic consequences)[27]

In the fall of 1936, Goerdeler's on-going dispute with Haake over the Mendelssohn statue came to a head. After much argument, Goerdeler agreeded to have the statue moved from its location in front of the Gewandhaus concert hall to a less high profile position.[12] In the autumn of 1936, Goerdeler left for a trip to Finland promoted by the German Chamber of Commerce.[28] Before leaving, Goerdeler met with Adolf Hitler and the Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, and received their promise that nothing would happen to the statue during his trip.[28] During his trip, the statue was demolished on Haake's orders.[28] Upon his return, Haake stated that the matter of the statue was "only the outward occasion of the conflict" and declared that "Dr. Goerdeler's attitude in the Jewish Question had been revealed particularly clearly in the matter of the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy statue".[28] Goerdeler tried to have the statue rebuilt. After failing that, he declined to accept his reelection as mayor of Leipzig and resigned from office on March 31, 1937.[3]

Opposition to the Nazi regime

After his resignation as Oberbürgermeister of Leipzig, Goerdeler was offered the position of heading the finance department at the firm of Krupp AG, which was at the time Germany's largest corporation.[29] However, Hitler forbade Goerdeler to take up this appointment, and ordered Krupp to withdraw the offer.[29] Goerdeler instead became the director of the overseas sales department at the firm of Robert Bosch GmbH.[29] Shortly after his resignation, Goerdeler became involved in anti-Nazi plots.[3] Bosch, who was a friend of Goerdeler's, agreed to turn a blind eye to his anti-Nazi work.[30] As a conservative and self-proclaimed follower of the Bismarckian tradition, Goerdeler was opposed to what he considered the extreme radicalism of the Nazis, and was fearful of what the results of Hitler's foreign policy might be.[3] Starting in 1936, Goerdeler worked to build an opposition fraction out of his circle, comprising mostly civil servants and businessmen.[31] Despite his anti-Nazi plotting, Goerdeler continued to submit memoranda to Hitler and the other Nazi leaders out of the hope that he might somehow convince them to change course.[32] The case of Goerdeler has been used by the historian Hans Mommsen to support his view of “resistance as a process”, with Goerdeler going from an ally of the regime to increasing disillusionment by Nazi economic policies in the mid-1930s, and finally becoming committed to the regime’s overthrow by 1937.[33]

Using the "cover" of his job as chief of overseas sales at Bosch, between 1937–1938, Goerdeler often travelled abroad, mostly to France, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Balkans, the Middle East and Canada, to warn anyone who would listen about what he considered to be the aggressive and dangerous foreign policy of Nazi Germany.[29][34] Though opposed to what he considered to be a reckless foreign policy, Goerdeler often demanded in his meetings with his foreign friends that the Great Powers back the cession of the Sudetenland, the Polish Corridor, the Memelland (modern Klaipėda, Lithuania), and the Free City of Danzig, together with the return of the former German colonies in Africa, to Germany. At the same time, Goerdeler became a member of General Ludwig Beck's private intelligence network.[35] Goerdeler's reports were received not only by General Beck, but by General Werner von Fritsch.[36] The German historian Klaus-Jürgen Müller observed that Goerdeler, in his contacts abroad, tended to falsely portray himself as representing a more organized movement than was in fact the case,[37] and presented himself to his foreign contacts as the secret spokesman of a well-organized "German Opposition".[38] Besides trying to influence foreign governments, Goerdeler attempted to use his reports to the Army leadership to try to influence the Army into considering an anti-Nazi putsch.[39] During one of his visits to London, in June 1937, Goerdeler told Sir Robert Vansittart that he would like to see the Nazi regime replaced by a right-wing military dictatorship that would seek British friendship, in exchange for which Goerdeler wanted British support for annexing parts of Poland and Czechoslovakia.[40] In October 1937, during a visit to the United States, Goerdeler stayed with the British historian Sir John Wheeler-Bennett at the latter's estate in Virginia, and informed him of his desire to restore the monarchy in Germany.[29] During the same trip, Goerdeler drafted his "Political Testament" attacking Nazi economic policies, and criticized the regime for its anti-Christian policies, widespread corruption, and lawlessness.[34] In this period, Goerdeler met several times with Winston Churchill and Vansittart.[41]

During the crisis caused by the court-martial of General Werner von Fritsch, Goerdeler became closely associated with several loose groupings of German rightists in the Civil Service and the military who, for various reasons, were unhappy with aspects of the Third Reich.[42] Goerdeler attempted to use the Fritsch crisis to try to turn the Army leadership against the Nazi regime, but his efforts were in vain.[43] In April 1938, Goerdeler visited London, where he advised the British government both to resist the Nazi claim to the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia, while at the same time declaring that he wanted to see the area transferred to Germany as soon as possible.[44] As Gerhard Weinberg observed, Goerdeler's contradictory statements left the British somewhat confused.[44] In the spring of 1938, Goerdeler, in association with Hans von Dohnanyi, Colonel Hans Oster, and Johannes Popitz, became involved in planning a putsch against the Nazi regime should the regime launch Fall Grün, the codename for the invasion of Czechoslovakia.[45] In June 1938, General Beck often consulted with Goerdeler over the question of whether or not he should resign as Chief of the General Staff as a way of stopping Fall Grün.[46]

Vansittart introduced Goerdeler to one of his spies, the British industrialist A.P. Young, who was a close business partner to several German corporations, and as such often visited Germany.[47] Because Young did frequent business with Bosch and because of Goerdeler's position there, the two could meet often without raising suspicion. Starting in August 1938, Goerdeler started to leak information to London, informing the British that Hitler intended to launch Fall Grün in September 1938.[48] In August 1938, Goerdeler met with Young in the village of Rauschen Dune in East Prussia.[47] During his meeting with Young, Goerdeler asked that Young convey a message to the British government, to the effect that London should apply diplomatic and economic pressure on Germany to cease the persecution of the Jews.[47] In order to have more frequent meetings with his British contacts, Goerdeler stayed in Switzerland in August-October 1938.[49] Though those British politicians and civil servants who met with Goerdeler were impressed with his candor and earnestness, it was judged too risky by the Chamberlain government in 1938 to stake all upon the Goerdeler's projected putsch, especially given that the chances for success were uncertain at best, and the discovery of British backing for an unsuccessful putsch was likely to cause the war the Chamberlain government was seeking to avert in 1938.[50] Moreover, as one British civil servant wrote on August 22, 1938: "We have had similar visits from other emissaries of the Reichsheer, such as Dr. Goerdeler, but those for whom these emissaries claim to speak have never given us any reasons to suppose that they would be able or willing to take action such as would lead to the overthrow of the regime. The events of June 1934 and February 1938 do not lead one to attach much hope to energetic action by the Army against the regime."[51]

In the tense atmosphere of September 1938, with the crisis in Central Europe looking likely to explode into war at any moment, Goerdeler was waiting anxiously for the putsch to overthrow the Nazi regime, and his taking over the reigns of the German state as the new Chancellor.[52] During his planning for the coup, Goerdeler was in contact with Chinese intelligence, using General Alexander von Falkenhausen as intermediary.[53] Like most German conservatives, Goerdeler favoured Germany’s traditional informal alliance with China, and was strongly opposed to the volte-face in Germany’s Far Eastern policies effected in early 1938 by the Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, who abandoned the alliance with China for an alignment with Japan.[53] In a September 1938 meeting with Young, the latter reported that "X" (as Goerdeler was code-named by the British) had stated about the domestic situation in Germany: "the working classes are nervous, distrustful of the Leader. Their allegiance is doubtful"[54]. In another meeting on September 11, 1938, in Zurich, Young recorded Goerdeler as saying:

"the feeling among the people against the war is welling up at an alarming rate. His [Goerdeler's] recent talks with leading industrialists had satisfied him that the workers' feelings have been bitterly roused to the point where, if they were in possession of arms, they would physically revolt against the regime"[54]

On September 29, 1938 Goerdeler informed the British, through one of Vansittart's contacts, Colonel Graham Christie, that the mobilization of the Royal Navy was turning German public opinion against the regime.[55] The British historian Sir John Wheeler-Bennett, who knew Goerdeler well, noted that Goerdeler failed to realize that Hitler was not bluffing with Fall Grün and had every intention of attacking Czechoslovakia on October 1, 1938, and that he regarded Munich as a personal set-back.[56] In 1938, Goerdeler was deeply disappointed with the Munich Agreement, which in his view, though it turned over the Sudetenland to Germany, was undesirable in that it removed what Goerdeler considered to be best chance of a putsch against the Nazi regime. After the Munich Agreement, Goerdeler wrote to one of his American friends:

"...The German people did not want war; the Army would have done anything to avoid it;...the world had been warned and informed in good time. If the warning had been heeded and acted upon Germany would by now be free of its dictator and turning against Mussolini. Within a few weeks we could have begun to build lasting world peace on the basis of justice, reason and decency. A purified Germany with a government of decent people would have been ready to solve the Spanish problem without delay in company with Britain and France, to remove Mussolini and with the United States to create peace in the Far East. The way would have been open for sound co-operation in economic and social fields, for the creation of peaceful relations between Capital, Labour and the State, for the raising of ethical concepts and for a fresh attempt to raise the general standard of living..."[57]

In the same letter, Goerdeler wrote "You can hardly conceive the despair that both people and the Army feel about the brutal, insane and terroristic dictator and his henchmen".[58] Wheeler-Bennett commented that Goerdeler was vastly exaggerating the extent of anti-Nazi feelings, both in the German Army and among the German public.[58] After Munich, Goerdeler told Young that:

"It is vitally important to realise that Hitler is deeply and definitely convinced that after his unexpected victory at Munich, anything is possible to him...He says that he [Hitler] is now convinced that England is degenerate, weak, timid and never will have the guts to resist any of his plans. No war will ever be needed against either England or France"[59]

In November 1938, Goerdeler met with Young in Switzerland and asked if were possible for the British government to intercede on the behalf of 10,000 Polish Jews the Germans had expelled from Germany, and whom the Poles refused to accept.[47] Goerdeler declared that the treatment of the Polish Jews, stranded on the German-Polish border, was "barbaric".[47] In December 1938-January 1939, Goerdeler had a further series of meetings with Young in Switzerland, where he informed Young that the Kristallnacht pogrom of November 1938 had been ordered by Hitler personally, and was not a "spontaneous" demonstration as the Nazis had claimed.[47] Goerdeler recommended that Young inform London that as soon as "the new persecution of the Jews is started, it is absolutely essential to break diplomatic relations".[10] Goerdeler also informed Young of his belief that Hitler was seeking world conquest, and that the Führer had "decided to destroy the Jews-Christianity-Capitalism".[47] Speaking to Young about the economic situation in Germany, Goerdeler stated: "Economic and financial situation gravely critical. Inner situation desperate. Economic conditions getting worse"[54] Goerdeler’s reports to Young were later published by the latter in 1974 as The “X” Documents.

In December 1938, Goerdeler again visited Britain, where he alienated those British civil servants he met by his extreme German nationalist language, together with demands that the British support the return of Danzig, the Polish Corridor, and the former German colonies in Africa, plus making a huge loan to a post-Nazi government.[60] In addition, the fact that Goerdeler was exaggerating the extent of anti-Nazi feeling in Germany, and his inability to organize a putsch, were becoming increasing clear to the British.[60] In the same month, Goerdeler wrote his "World Peace Programme" calling an international conference of all the world's leading powers to consider disarmament, a "moral code" for relations between the states, and the stabilization of the various currencies.[41] The end of Goerdeler's "World Peace Programme" read "Whoever abstains from co-operating wants war and is a breaker of the peace."[61]

German Resistance

Despite what Goerdeler perceived as a major set-back after Munich, he continued with his efforts to bring about the downfall of the Nazi regime. Goerdeler was an unyielding optimist; he believed that if only he could convince enough people, he could overthrow the Nazi regime.[62] Goerdeler spent much of the winter of 1938–1939 holding discussions with General Beck, the diplomat Ulrich von Hassell, and Erwin Planck about how best to overthrow the Nazi regime.[63] At the same time, Hitler grew increasingly annoyed with Goerdeler's memoranda urging him to exercise caution.[64] Goerdeler, together with Dr. Schacht, General Beck, Hassell, and the economist Rudolf Brinkmann, were described by Hitler as "the overbred intellectual circles" who were trying to block him from fulfilling his mission by their appeals to caution, and but for the fact that he needed their skills "otherwise, perhaps we could someday exterminate them or do something of this kind to them".[65] During the winter of 1938–1939, Goerdeler sent reports to the British stating that Hitler was pressuring Italy into attacking France, was planning to launch a surprise air offensive against Britain, intended to achieve a "knock-out blow" by razing British cities to the ground sometime in the second half of February 1939, and was considering an invasion of Switzerland and the Low Countries as a prelude to attacking France and Britain.[66] Unknown to Goerdeler, he was transmitting false information provided by the Abwehr chief Admiral Wilhelm Canaris who was hoping that these reports might lead to a change in British foreign policy.[66] In this, Canaris achieved his purpose as Goerdeler's misinformation resulted in first the "Dutch War Scare" which gripped the British government in late January 1939, which in turn led to the public declarations by the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in February that any German attack upon France, Switzerland, and the Low Countries would be automatically considered the casus belli for an Anglo-German war, leading to the British "continental commitment" to defend France with a large ground force.

In the second half of March 1939, Goerdeler together with Dr. Schacht and Hans Bernd Gisevius visited Ouchy, Switzerland to meet with a senior French intelligence agent representing the Premier Édouard Daladier[67] Goerdeler told the Deuxième Bureau agent that the under the strain of massive military spending had left the German economy on the verge of collapse, that Hitler was determined to use the Danzig issue as an excuse to invade Poland, which in itself was only a prelude for a German seizure of all of Eastern Europe, that a forceful Anglo-French diplomatic stand could deter Hitler, and that if Hitler were deterred long enough, then the economic collapse of Germany would cause the downfall of his regime.[68] In April 1939, during a secret meeting with the British diplomat Sir Gladwyn Jebb, Goerdeler stated that if the British continued with their "containment" policy adopted in March 1939, then they might see the "Hitler adventure...liquidated before the end of June [1939]"[69]. There is considerable debate as to the accuracy of this information, with some historians such as Richard Overy arguing that Goerdeler and other German conservatives had exaggerated German economic problems to the British and the French[70]. Other historians have contended that Goerdeler's information about German economic problems was correct, and have pointed to the fact that only massive Soviet economic support, combined with plundering occupied lands, saved the German economy from collapse in the winter of 1939–1940. Even with Soviet economic support (especially oil) and the exploitation of Poland and the Reich Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia, under the impact of the British blockade, there occurred a 75% decline in value and tonnage of German imports during the Phoney War[71].

On 6 May 1939 Goerdeler leaked information to the British Foreign Office stating that the German and Soviet governments were secretly beginning a rapprochement with the aim of dividing Eastern Europe between them.[72] In May 1939, Goerdeler visited London to repeat the same message to the British government.[73] During his London trip, Goerdeler told the British that the state of the German economy was so deplorable that even if war occured then it could only have the effect of accelerating the German economic collapse, and that Germany simply lacked the economic staying power for an extended war.[74] During the same visit to London in May 1939, Goerdeler claimed that the German Army leadership was willing to overthrow the regime, that he himself favored launching a putsch immediately, but that "the leaders of the whole movement...still considered it too early".[75] The historian Klaus-Jürgen Müller commented that Goerdeler in making these claims was either lying to the British or else was seriously self-deluded.[76] Goerdeler's assessment of the German diplomatic-military-economic situation had considerable influence on decision-makers in the British and French governments in 1939, who, based on Goerdeler's reports, believed that a firm Anglo-French diplomatic stand for Poland might bring about the fall of Hitler without a war, or failing that at least ensure that the Allies faced war on relatively auspicious economic terms.[73]

Besides trying to influence opinion abroad, Goerdeler urged the German military to overthrow Hitler, and frequently found himself frustrated by the unwillingness of the generals to consider a putsch.[77] During the summer of 1939, Goerdeler contacted General Walter von Brauchitsch, and advised him if Germany attacked Poland, the result would not be the limited war that Hitler expected, but rather a world war pitting Germany against Britain and France.[76] Goerdeler advised Brauchitsch that the only way to save Germany from such a war would be a putsch to depose Hitler.[76] Braunchitsch was not interested in Goerdeler's opinions, and told him that he shared Hitler's belief that Germany could destroy Poland without causing a world war in 1939.[76] On August 25, 1939 on discovering that the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact had not led as intended to an Anglo-French abandonment of Poland, Hitler ordered the temporary postponement of Fall Weiß, which had been due to begin that day.[78] Goerdeler was convinced that the postponement was a fatal blow to Hitler's prestige. On August 26, he went to a trip to Sweden that he had been considering canceling because of the international situation.[79] On August 27, 1939 Goerdeler told the British diplomat Gladwyn Jebb to continue to make a firm diplomatic stand for Poland as the best way of bringing down the Nazi regime[80]

In 1939–1940, Goerdeler assembled conservative politicians, diplomats and generals, most notably Ulrich von Hassell, General Ludwig Beck, and Johannes Popitz, in opposition to Adolf Hitler. On 11 October 1939 speaking to Hassel of German war crimes in Poland, Goerdeler commented that both General Halder and Admiral Canaris were afflicted with nervous complaints as a result of "our brutal conduct of the war" in Poland.[81] In October 1939, Goerdeler drafted peace terms that a post-Nazi government would seek with Great Britain and France.[82] Under Goerdeler's terms, Germany would retain all the areas of Poland that had been part of Germany prior to 1918, Austria, and the Sudetenland with independence being restored to Poland and Czechoslovakia with general disarmament, the restoration of global free trade and the ending of protectionism as the other major goals for the new regime.[82] On 3 November 1939, Goerdeler paid another visit to Sweden, where he met with Marcus Wallenberg, Gustav Cassell, and Dr. Sven Hedin.[83] Hedin worte in his diary that "he [Goerdeler] believed in Göring and thought that a speedy peace was the only thing to save Germany, but that peace was unthinkable so long as Hitler remained at the head of affairs".[83] At the same time, Goerdeler was deeply involved in the planning of an abortive putsch intended to be launched on 5 November 1939, and as such was in very high spirits prior to that day.[83] Hassell wrote in his diary that with worry that "He [Goerdeler] often reminds me of Kapp." (Wolfgang Kapp, the nominal leader of the Kapp Putsch was notorious for his irresponsibility)[83]

In early April 1940, Goerdeler met secretly with General Franz Halder, the Chief of the General Staff, and asked him to consider a putsch while the Phoney War was still on, while the British and French were still open to a negotiated peace.[84] Halder refused Goerdeler's request.[84] Goerdeler told Halder that too many people had already died in the war, and this refusal to remove Hitler at this point would ensure that the blood of millions would be on his hands.[84] During the winter of 1940–1941, Goerdeler spent much of his time discussing with Popitz, Beck and Hassell which of the Hohenzollerns would occupy the throne of Germany after the overthrow of the Nazis.[85] Goerdeler supported the claim of Prince Oskar of Prussia.[86] They developed a future constitution for Germany and even a list of potential ministers. Popitz favored a return to the pre-1918 political system. But Goerdeler argued with his fellow conspirators in favor of a British-style constitutional monarchy with an Emperor who was "...not meant to govern, but to watch over the Constitution and to represent the State"[87].

Goerdeler's proposed constitution called for a strong executive branch, a high degree of decentralisation, a Reichstag partially elected on the British style-"First-past-the-post" system instead of election by party lists, and partially elected by members of local councils, and a Reichsrat composed of representatives nominated by Christian Churches, trade unions, universities, and business groups.[88] To assist with the drafting of the future constitution, Goerdeler enlisted the help, through his friend Dietrich Bonhoeffer, of the so-called Freiburger Kreis (Freiburg Circle), an anti-Nazi discussion group of professors at Freiburg University founded in 1938 and which included Adolf Lampe, Erich Wolf, Walter Eucken, Constantin von Dietze, and Gerhard Ritter.[89] Had the July 20 Plot succeeded, Goerdeler would have served as Chancellor in the new government that would have been formed after Hitler's assassination and the overthrow of the Nazi regime. In August 1941, Goerdeler was most disappointed with the Atlantic Charter. He felt that the demands contained in Clause 8 calling the disarmament of Germany would make both the task of recruiting the German Army to overthrowing the regime more difficult, and were unacceptable since Goerdeler believed in maintaining a strong military.[90] Starting in 1941, Goerdeler expanded his network of anti-Nazi contacts to include Social Democrats like Wilhelm Leuschner and Hermann Maas.[91]

In 1941, under the impact of the news of the deportations of German Jews to the death camps in Eastern Europe, Goerdeler submitted a memo to the German government calling for all Jews who had been German citizens or were descended from Jews who been German citizens before 1871 to be classified as Germans, and those Jews who were descended from Jews who had not lived within the borders of Germany prior to 1871 to be considered citizens of Jewish state whose creation would occur later.[47] Some controversy has been attracted by this memo. Goerdeler's critics are offended by his suggestion that German Jews whose ancestors had not lived within the borders of the German Empire before July 1, 1871 should not be considered German citizens, whereas Goerdeler's defenders such as the historian Peter Hoffmann have argued that Goerdeler was trying to present the Nazi regime with an alternative to genocide.[47] In January 1942, Goerdeler submitted another memo to the German government protesting at the deportation of Leipzig Jews.[47] In May 1942, Goerdeler was much saddened when his son Christian was killed in action while serving on the Eastern Front.[92]

After the Battle of Stalingrad, the pace of Goerdeler's conspiratorial activities gathered speed.[3] Between November 1942-November 1943, Goerdeler was in regular contact with his friends, the Wallenberg family of Sweden whom he used as middle-men in his efforts to make contact with the Briitsh and American governments.[93] In March 1943, Goerdeler wrote a letter addressed to several German Army officers appealing to them to overthrow the Nazis and just one line should divide Germans "...that between decent and non-decent.".[94] Goerdeler went to write: "How is it possible that so basically decent a people as the Germans can put up for so long with such an intolerable system? Only because all offences against law and decency are carried out under the protection of secrecy and under the pressures of terror"[95] Goerdeler argued that if only a situation was created "in which, if only for twenty-four hours, it is possible for the truth to be spoken again", then the Nazi regime would collapse.[95] In May 1943, Goerdeler submitted a memo to the Wallenbergs, which he asked them to pass on to the Anglo-Americans outlining his thoughts on the German-Polish border.[93] In the same memo, Goerdeler called for a "European community" comprising a German-dominated confederation, which in turn was to be sub-divided into an Eastern European confederation consisting of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, a confederation of the Scandinavian states, a South European conderation, and a Balkan conderation.[96] The European confederation was to be one economic unit with one military ruled over by a Council consisting of two representatives from every state, who would elect a European President for a four year term.[96] Helping the Council and the President was to be a Federal Assembly to which each of the various confederations would send five to ten members based on their populations.[96] Finally, the European confederation was to serve as the nucleus of a "World Confederation of Nations" that would banish war everywhere, and promote peace and prosperity.[96]

During the spring of 1943, Goerdeler grew increasing impatient with the military end of the conspiracy, complaining that those officers involved in the plot were better at finding excuses for inaction than reasons for action.[97] Goerdeler had great faith in his idea that if only he could meet with Hitler and explain to him that his leadership was grossly inadequate on military and economic grounds, then Hitler could be persuaded to resign in his favor, thereby ending Nazi Germany through non-violent means.[98] It took considerable effort on the part of Goerdeler's friends to talk him out of this plan.[99]

Goerdeler was horrified by the damage caused by Allied bombing to western Germany. In September 1943, he appealed to Jacob Wallenberg to ask that the British suspend bombing attacks against Berlin, Stuttgart and Leipzig until the middle of October because "the oppositional movement has its centres there and the interruption of communications would make the putsch more difficult"[93] In a memo Goerdeler sent to the British and American governments in the fall of 1943, he called for a negotiated peace between the Allies and Germany once the Nazis were overthrown.[3] In the same memo, Goerdeler called for the "1914 frontier" to serve as the basis of Germany's borders both in Western and Eastern Europe, called for Austria and the Sudetenland remaining part of the Reich, and for the annexation of the south Tyrol region of Italy.[3] In the discussions within the German Opposition between the "Easterners" who favored reaching an understanding with the Soviet Union after the overthrow of Hitler and the "Westerners" who favored reaching an understanding with Britain and the United States, Goerdeler belonged to the "Westerners", considering Communism to be no different than National Socialism, and regarding the "Easterners" as being dangerously naive about the Soviets.[100]

Unlike the Kreisau Circle, Goerdeler was a strong champion of laissez-faire capitalism, and was very much opposed to what he saw as the socialism of the Kreisau Circle.[101] In Goerdeler's vision, this economic system was to serve as the basis of the "democracy of the Ten Commandments."[102] However, Goerdeler was heavily criticised by other members of the German resistance (for example by some members the Kreisau Circle) for objecting to killing Hitler (who Goerdeler wanted to see tried; Goerdeler had no objection to Hitler being executed after his conviction), for his sympathy for reintroducing monarchy, and for his extremely anti-communist ideology.[103] In 1944, Goerdeler told Kunrath von Hammerstein that "In those days your father stood at the helm of world history", by which Goerdeler meant that if General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord had carried out a putsch in 1933, then the present state of world troubles in 1944 might have been avoided.[104]

A latter-day controversy about Goerdeler concerns his attitude towards Anti-Semitism. Some historians such as Christof Dipper and Martin Broszat have argued that Goerdeler was just as much of an anti-Semite as the Nazis.[105] Dipper in his 1983 essay "Der Deutsche Widerstand und die Juden" (translated into English as "The German Resistance and the Jews") argued that the majority of the anti-Nazi national-conservatives such as Goerdeler were anti-Semitic[106]. Dipper wrote that for Gordeler and his social circle "the bureaucratic, pseudo-legal deprivation of the Jews practised until 1938 was still considered acceptable"[106] Through Dipper noted no-one in the Widerstand movement supported the Holocaust, he also claimed that the national-conservatives like Goerdeler did not intend to restore civil rights to the Jews after the overthrow of Hitler[106] By contrast, the German-Canadian historian Peter Hoffmann in his 2004 essay "The German Resistance and the Holocaust" has contended that Goerdeler was opposed to anti-Semitism in all forms, and that this opposition played a major role in motivating his efforts to overthrow the Nazi regime.[107]


In May 1944, Goerdeler revived his idea of 1943 of talking Hitler into resigning as a way of achieving a peaceful end to Nazi Germany.[99] Again, Goerdeler proposed to meet with Hitler, explain to him why his leadership was defective, and hoped that Hitler would resign and appoint Goerdeler his successor.[99] Again, it took considerable effort on the part of Goerdeler's friends to talk him out of this plan, which they considered to be as bizarre as it was impractical.[99] The British historian Ian Kershaw commented Goerdeler's plans to talk Hitler into resigning reflected a certain lack of realism on his part.[108] In June 1944, Goerdeler finished off his final Cabinet list. Had the putsch of 20 July 1944 succeeded, the Cabinet that would have taken power included the following:

The position of Minister of Foreign Affairs would have gone to either Ulrich von Hassell (former ambassador to Italy) or Count Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg (former ambassador to the Soviet Union) depending upon whether the Western powers or the Soviet Union signed an armistice with the new German government first[109].

On 16 July 1944 Goerdeler saw his wife and children for the last time in Leipzig, and then departed for Berlin to prepare for the putsch planned for later that month.[110] In the days preluding the putsch attempt of 20 July 1944, Goerdeler stayed at the home of General Beck in the Berlin suburb of Lichterfelde.[111] Unlike Beck, Goerdeler was very confident of the success of the planned putsch, and in a most optimistic mood.[111] On 17 July 1944, a warrant for Goerdeler's arrest was issued, causing him to go into hiding.[112] Following the failure of 20 July putsch, the Gestapo searched the room in which Goerdeler had been hiding at in the Anhalter Bahnhof hotel, in which they discovered a vast collection of documents relating to the putsch such as the text of Goerdeler's planned radio address to the German people as Chancellor.[113]

On trial at the People's Court.

Goerdeler managed to escape from Berlin, but he was apprehended on 12 August 1944 after being denounced by an innkeeper in Marienwerder (modern Kwidzyn, Poland) while visiting the grave of his parents.[3] After his arrest, eight members of Goerdeler's family were sent to the concentration camps under the Sippenhaft law[114], his brother Fritz was also sentenced to death and executed on 1 March 1945[115]. Under Gestapo interrogation and torture, Goerdeler claimed that the Holocaust was the major reason for his seeking to overthrow the Nazi regime.[116] On 9 September, after a trial at the People's Court, he was sentenced to death. He was tortured for months by the Gestapo, which hoped to find out the names of other conspirators. During his time in prison, Goerdeler, who had always been a highly devout Lutheran when confronted with the loneliness of imprisonment and the utter defeat of his cause became increasingly preoccupied with spiritual matters.[117] Goerdeler was overwhelmed with despair over what he considered to be the triumph of evil and the destruction of all that he loved.[117] While Goerdeler was on death row, he wrote a letter which called the Holocaust (Heb. Shoah) the very worst of Nazi crimes.[10] He was finally executed by hanging on 2 February 1945 at Plötzensee Prison in Berlin. While awaiting his death sentence, Goerdeler wrote a farewell letter, which ended with "I ask the world to accept our martyrdom as penance for the German people."[118]

Depiction in media


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  2. ^ a b Ritter, Gerhard The German Resistance page 17
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Encyclopaedia Britannica Volume 10 Garrison-Halibut, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969, page 521–522
  4. ^ Ritter, Gerhard The German Resistance page 19
  5. ^ Rothfels, page 84.
  6. ^ a b Tooze, page 22.
  7. ^ a b Wheeler-Bennett, page 246.
  8. ^ a b Rothfels, page 55.
  9. ^ Müller, Klaus-Jürgen "The Structure and Nature of the National Conservative Opposition in Germany up to 1940" pages 133-178 from Aspects of the Third Reich edited by H.W. Koch, Macmillan: London, United Kingdom page 148
  10. ^ a b c Hoffmann, Peter "The German Resistance and the Holocaust" pages 105-126 from Confront! edited by J.J. Michalczyk, Peter Lang Publishers, 2004, page 112
  11. ^ a b c d ,Müller page 148.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Hoffmann, page 113.
  13. ^ a b Hoffmann, pages 113-114.
  14. ^ Hoffmann, pages 112-115.
  15. ^ Tooze, page 108.
  16. ^ Tooze, page 704.
  17. ^ Kershaw, Ian Hitler Hubris, New York: Norton, 1998, 1999 page 578.
  18. ^ Kershaw, page 578
  19. ^ a b c d e Tooze, page 217.
  20. ^ a b c d e Kershaw, page 579
  21. ^ a b Kershaw, Ian Hitler Nemesis, New York: Norton 2000 pages 18-20.
  22. ^ a b c d e f Tooze, page 215.
  23. ^ Weinberg, Gerhard The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany Diplomatic Revolution in Europe, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970 page 352
  24. ^ a b c d e Tooze, page 216.
  25. ^ a b c Tooze, page 219.
  26. ^ Weinberg, Gerhard The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany Diplomatic Revolution in Europe page 353
  27. ^ Weinberg, Gerhard The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany Diplomatic Revolution in Europe page 355
  28. ^ a b c d Hoffmann, page 114.
  29. ^ a b c d e Wheeler-Bennett, page 386
  30. ^ Rothfels page 84
  31. ^ Rothfels page 55.
  32. ^ ,Müller page 113.
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  36. ^ Müller page 152.
  37. ^ Müller pages 152-153.
  38. ^ Müller pages 167-168.
  39. ^ ,Müller page 153.
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  42. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, page 374.
  43. ^ ,Müller page 154.
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  45. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, page 396.
  46. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, pages 399-400.
  47. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Hoffmann, page 115.
  48. ^ Weinberg, page 394.
  49. ^ Rothfels pge 58.
  50. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, pages 414-415.
  51. ^ Weinberg, page 396.
  52. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, page 420.
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  55. ^ Weinberg, page 457.
  56. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, The Nemesis of Power page 425
  57. ^ Rothfels, Hans The German Opposition To Hitler London: Oswald Wolff, 1961 pages 60-61.
  58. ^ a b Wheeler-Bennett, page 426.
  59. ^ Overy, Richard "Germany, 'Domestic Crisis" and the War in 1939" pages 97-128 from The Third Reich edited by Christian Leitz, London: Blackwell, 1999 page 124
  60. ^ a b Weinberg, page 525.
  61. ^ Rothfels, page 125.
  62. ^ Rothfels, pages 61-62.
  63. ^ ,Müller page 172.
  64. ^ Roberston, E.M. "Hitler Planning for War and the Response of the Great Powers (1938-early 1939" pages 196-234 from Aspects of the Third Reich edited by H.W. Koch, Macmillan: London, United Kingdom, page 204.
  65. ^ ,Roberston page 204.
  66. ^ a b ,Roberston page 231.
  67. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, page 436.
  68. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, pages 436-437.
  69. ^ Overy, Richard "Germany, 'Domestic Crisis" and the War in 1939" pages 97-128 from The Third Reich edited by Christian Leitz, London: Blackwell, 1999 page 103
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  71. ^ Murray, Williamson & Millett, Alan A War to Be Won, Belknap Press: Cambridge, MA, 2000 page 53.
  72. ^ Weinberg, page 574.
  73. ^ a b Wheeler-Bennett, pages 441-442.
  74. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, page 442.
  75. ^ ,Müller page 176.
  76. ^ a b c d ,Müller page 174.
  77. ^ Rothfels page 69.
  78. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, pages 450-451
  79. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, page 451
  80. ^ Weinberg, page 643.
  81. ^ Wheeler-Bennett page 462.
  82. ^ a b Wheeler-Bennett, page 485
  83. ^ a b c d Wheeler-Bennett, page 470
  84. ^ a b c Wheeler-Bennett, page 493.
  85. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, pages 502-503.
  86. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, pages 502.
  87. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, pages 509.
  88. ^ Rothfels, page 102.
  89. ^ Rothfels, page 99.
  90. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, page 519
  91. ^ Rothfels page 92
  92. ^ Ritter, Gerhard The German Resistance, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1958 page 243.
  93. ^ a b c Rothfels page 129
  94. ^ Rothfels, page 86.
  95. ^ a b Rothfels page 86
  96. ^ a b c d Rothfels page 140
  97. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, page 567
  98. ^ Kershaw, Ian Hitler Nemesis, New York: Norton, 2000 page 665.
  99. ^ a b c d Kershaw, Ian Hitler Nemesis page 665.
  100. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, page 619
  101. ^ Rothfels, page 106.
  102. ^ Rothfels, pages 103-104.
  103. ^ Rotfels, pages 77 & 119
  104. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, page 286
  105. ^ Dipper, Christof "Der Deutsche Widerstand und die Juden" pages 349-380 from Geschichte und Gesellschaft, Volume 9, 1983; Broszat, Martin "Plädoyer für Historisierung des Nationalsozialismus from Merkur, Volume 39, 1985 pages 382-383.
  106. ^ a b c Marrus, Michael The Holocaust In History, Toronto: Key Porter 2000 page 92.
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  108. ^ Kershaw, Ian Hitler Nemesis pages 664-665.
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  111. ^ a b Wheeler-Bennett, page 633
  112. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, page 634
  113. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, page 676
  114. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, page 686
  115. ^ Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand
  116. ^ Hoffmann, page 117.
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  118. ^ Rothfels, page 152


  • Dippler, Christoph "The German Resistance and the Jews" pages 51–93 from Yad Vashem Studies, Volume 16, 1984.
  • Hoffmann, Peter "The German Resistance and the Holocaust" pages 105-126 from Confront! Resistance in Nazi Germany edited by John J. Michalczyk, New York: Peter Lang Publishers, 2004, ISBN 0820463175.
  • Müller, Klaus-Jürgen "The Structure and Nature of the National Conservative Opposition in Germany up to 1940" pages 133-178 from Aspects of the Third Reich edited by H.W. Koch, Macmillan: London, United Kingdom, ISBN 0-333-35272-6.
  • Ritter, Gerhard The German Resistance: Carl Goerdeler's Struggle Against Tyranny, translated by R.T. Clark, Freeport, N.Y. : Books for Libraries Press, 1970.
  • Rothfels, Hans The German Opposition To Hitler London: Oswald Wolff, 1961
  • Tooze, Adam The Wages of Destruction The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy, New York: Viking, 2006, ISBN 978-0-670-03826-8.
  • Young, A.P. edited by Sidney Aster The "X" Documents, London : Deutsch, 1974, ISBN 0233965300.
  • Wheeler-Bennett, John The Nemesis of Power, London: Macmillan, 1967.
  • Weinberg, Gerhard The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany Starting World War II, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980.

Redirecting to Carl Friedrich Goerdeler


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