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Claus Philipp Maria Justinian Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg[1]

Stauffenberg at the Kavallerieregiment 17 during 1936
Born Claus Philipp Maria Schenk
15 November 1907(1907-11-15)
Jettingen, Kingdom of Bavaria, Germany
Died 21 July 1944 (aged 36)
Berlin, Germany
Cause of death Execution by Firing Squad
Nationality German
Employer Wehrmacht Heer
Home town Albstadt, Germany
Known for 20 July plot coordinator
Title Oberst (Colonel)
Religion Catholic
Spouse(s) Nina Schenk Gräfin von Stauffenberg
Parents Alfred Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg
Caroline Schenk Gräfin
(von Stauffenberg family)
Relatives Gm Berthold Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (son), Franz-Ludwig Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (son)

Claus Philipp Maria Justinian Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg[1] (15 November 1907 – 21 July 1944) was a German army officer and Catholic aristocrat who was one of the leading members of the failed 20 July plot of 1944 to kill German Führer Adolf Hitler and remove the Nazi Party from power in World War II Germany. Along with Henning von Tresckow and Hans Oster, he was one of the central figures of the German Resistance movement within the Wehrmacht.

Contents

Early life

Stauffenberg was the third of four sons (the others being the twins Berthold and Alexander and his own twin brother Konrad Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, who died in Jettingen on 16 November, 1907) of Alfred Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, the last Oberhofmarschall of the Kingdom of Württemberg, and Caroline Schenk Gräfin (Countess) von Stauffenberg, née Gräfin von Üxküll-Gyllenband. Claus was born in the Stauffenberg castle of Jettingen between Ulm and Augsburg, in the eastern part of Swabia, at that time in the Kingdom of Bavaria, part of the German Empire. The Stauffenberg family is one of the oldest and most distinguished aristocratic Catholic families of southern Germany.[2] Among his maternal Protestant ancestors were several famous Prussians, including Field Marshal August von Gneisenau.

In his youth, he and his brothers were members of the Neupfadfinder, a German Scout association and part of the German Youth movement.[3][4][5][6]

Like his brothers, he was carefully educated and inclined toward literature, but eventually took up a military career. In 1926, he joined the family's traditional regiment, the Bamberger Reiter- und Kavallerieregiment 17 (17th Cavalry Regiment) in Bamberg. It was around this time that the three brothers were introduced by Albrecht von Blumenthal to poet Stefan George's influential circle, Georgekreis, from which many notable members of the German resistance would later emerge. George dedicated Das neue Reich ("the new Empire") in 1928, including the Geheimes Deutschland ("secret Germany") written in 1922, to Berthold.[7] The work outlines a new form of society ruled by a hierarchical spiritual aristocracy. George rejected any attempts to use it for mundane political purposes, especially Nazism.

Stauffenberg was commissioned as a Leutnant (second lieutenant) in 1930. He studied modern weapons at the Kriegsakademie in Berlin-Moabit, but remained focused on the use of the horse — which continued to carry out a large part of transportation duties throughout the Second World War - in modern warfare. His regiment became part of the German 1st Light Division under General Erich Hoepner, who had taken part in the plans for the September 1938 German Resistance coup, cut short by Hitler's unexpected diplomatic success in the Munich Agreement. The unit was among the troops that moved into the Sudetenland, the part of Czechoslovakia that had a German-speaking majority, as agreed upon in Munich. However, Stauffenberg disliked the method by which the Sudetenland was annexed and strongly disapproved of the invasion of Prague.

Pre-war misgivings

Although Stauffenberg agreed with some of the Nazi Party's nationalistic aspects, he found many aspects of its ideology repugnant and never became a member of the party. Moreover, Stauffenberg remained a practicing Catholic. The Catholic Church had signed the Reichskonkordat in 1933, the year Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power. Stauffenberg vacillated between a strong personal dislike of Hitler's policies and a respect for what he perceived to be Hitler's military acumen. On top of this, the growing systematic ill-treatment of Jews and suppression of religion had offended Stauffenberg's strong personal sense of Catholic religious morality and justice.[8][9]

World War II

Conquest of Poland, 1939

Following the outbreak of war in 1939, Stauffenberg and his regiment took part in the attack on Poland. He supported the occupation of Poland and its handling by the Nazi regime and the use of Poles as slave workers to achieve German prosperity[10] as well as German colonization and exploitation of Poland. The deeply-rooted belief common in the German aristocracy was that the Eastern territories, populated predominantly by Poles and mostly absorbed by Prussia in partitions of Poland, but taken from the German Empire after World War I, should be colonized as the Teutonic Knights had done in the Middle Ages. Stauffenberg said, "It is essential that we begin a systemic colonization in Poland. But I have no fear that this will not occur".[11] It is certain that in the early stages of the war, he still held the usual aristocratic beliefs typical of late imperial times.

Early appeals to join resistance, 1939

While his uncle, Nikolaus Graf von Üxküll-Gyllenband, had approached him before to join the resistance movement against the Hitler regime, it was only after the Polish campaign that Stauffenberg's conscience and religious convictions made him consider it. Peter Yorck von Wartenburg and Ulrich Schwerin von Schwanenfeld urged him to become the adjutant of Walther von Brauchitsch, then Supreme Commander of the Army, in order to participate in a coup against Hitler. Stauffenberg declined at the time, reasoning that all German soldiers had pledged allegiance not to the institution of the presidency of the German Reich, but to the person of Adolf Hitler, due to the Führereid introduced in 1934.

Battle of France, 1940

Stauffenberg's unit was reorganized into the 6th Panzer Division, and he served as an officer on its general staff in the Battle of France, for which he was awarded the Iron Cross First Class. Like many others, Stauffenberg was impressed by the overwhelming military success, which was attributed to Hitler.

Operation Barbarossa, 1941

Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, was launched in 1941. The mass executions of Russians, Ukrainians, Jews and others, as well as what he believed was an already apparent deficiency in military leadership (Hitler had assumed the role of supreme commander in late 1941 after sacking Hoepner and others), finally convinced Stauffenberg in 1942 to sympathize with resistance groups within the Wehrmacht, the only force that had a chance to overcome Hitler's Gestapo, SD, and SS. During the idle months of the so-called Phoney War, preceding the Battle of France (1939-40), he had already been transferred to the organizational department of the Oberkommando des Heeres, the German army high command, which directed the operations on the Eastern Front. Stauffenberg opposed the Commissar Order, which Hitler wrote and then cancelled after a year.[9] He tried to soften the German occupation policy in the conquered areas of the Soviet Union by pointing out the benefits of getting volunteers for the Ostlegionen which were commanded by his department. Guidelines were issued on 2 June, 1942 for the proper treatment of prisoners of war from the Caucasus region who had been captured by Heeresgruppe A. The Soviet Union had not signed the 1929 Geneva Convention. However, a month after the German invasion in 1941, an offer was made for a reciprocal adherence to the Hague Conventions. This 'note' was left unanswered by Third Reich officials.[12] Stauffenberg did not engage in any coup plot at this time. Hitler was at the peak of his power in 1942. The Stauffenberg brothers (Berthold and Claus) maintained contact with former commanders like Hoepner, and with the Kreisau Circle; they also included civilians and social democrats like Julius Leber in their scenarios for an administration after Hitler.

Being interrogated after his capture by the Red Army on September 2, 1944, Stauffenberg's friend, Major Joachim Kuhn stated that Stauffenberg had told him in August 1942 that "They are shooting Jews in masses. These crimes must not be allowed to continue"[13] After his arrest in July 1944, Stauffenberg’s older brother Berthold von Stauffenberg told the Gestapo that: “He and his brother had basically approved of the racial principle of National Socialism, but considered it to be exaggerated and excessive[14].

Tunisia, 1942

In November 1942, the Allies landed in French North Africa, and the 10th Panzer Division occupied Vichy France (Case Anton) before being transferred to the Tunisian Campaign, as part of the Afrika Korps.

In 1943, Stauffenberg was promoted to Oberstleutnant i.G.[15] (lieutenant-colonel of the general staff), and was sent to Africa to join the 10th Panzer Division as its Operations Officer in the General Staff (Ia). On 19 February, Rommel launched his counter-offensive against British, American and French forces in Tunisia. The Axis commanders hoped to break rapidly through either the Sbiba or Kasserine Pass into the rear of the British 1st Army. The assault at Sbiba was halted, so that Rommel concentrated on Kasserine Pass where primarily the Italians in the form of their 7th Bersaglieri Regiment and 131st Centauro Armoured Division had defeated the American defenders.[16] During the fighting, Stauffenberg drove up to be with the leading tanks and troops of the 10th Panzer Division.[17] The division, together with the 21st Panzer Division, took up defensive positions near Mezzouna on 8 April.

While he was driving from unit to unit, directing them,[18] his vehicle was strafed on 7 April, 1943 by British fighter-bombers and he was severely wounded. He spent three months in hospital in Munich, where he was treated by Ferdinand Sauerbruch. Stauffenberg lost his left eye, his right hand, and two fingers on his left hand. He jokingly remarked to friends never to have really known what to do with so many fingers when he still had all of them. For his injuries, Stauffenberg was awarded the Wound Badge in Gold on 14 April and for his courage the German Cross in Gold on 8 May.

In the resistance, 1943–1944

For rehabilitation, Stauffenberg was sent to his home, Schloss Lautlingen (today a museum), then still one of the Stauffenberg castles in southern Germany. Initially, he felt frustrated not to be in a position to stage a coup himself. But by the beginning of September 1943, after a somewhat slow recovery from his wounds, he was positioned by the conspirators and was introduced to Henning von Tresckow as a staff officer to the headquarters of the Ersatzheer ("Replacement Army" - charged with training soldiers to reinforce first line divisions at the front), located on the Bendlerstrasse (later Stauffenbergstrasse) in Berlin.

There, one of Stauffenberg's superiors was General Friedrich Olbricht, a committed member of the resistance movement. The Ersatzheer had a unique opportunity to launch a coup, as one of its functions was to have Operation Valkyrie in place. This was a contingency measure which would let it assume control of the Reich in the event that internal disturbances blocked communications to the military high command. Ironically, the Valkyrie plan had been agreed to by Hitler but was now secretly changed to sweep the rest of his regime from power in the event of his death.

A detailed military plan was developed not only to occupy Berlin, but also to take the different headquarters of the German army and of Hitler in East Prussia by military force after the suicide assassination by Axel von dem Bussche in late November 1943. Stauffenberg had von dem Bussche transmit these written orders personally to Major Kuhn once he had arrived at Wolfsschanze (Wolf's Lair) near Rastenburg, East Prussia. However, von dem Bussche had left the Wolfsschanze for the eastern front, after the meeting with Hitler was canceled, and the attempt could not be made. Kuhn hid these compromising documents under a watch tower of the OKW, located not far from the Wolfsschanze.

Kuhn became a prisoner of war of the Soviets after the 20 July plot. He led the Soviets to the hiding place of the documents in February 1945. In 1989, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev presented these documents to then-German chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl. These documents, produced by Stauffenberg and his fellow officers in 1943 in Berlin, evince the idealistic motivation of the resistance group. This had been doubted and was a matter of discussion for years in Germany after the war. Some thought the plotters wanted to kill Hitler in order to end the war and to avoid the loss of their privileges as professional officers and members of the nobility.[19]

On 6 June, 1944, the Allies had landed in France on D-Day. Stauffenberg, like most other German professional military officers, had absolutely no doubt that the war was lost. Only an immediate armistice could avoid more unnecessary bloodshed and further damage to Germany, its people, and other European nations. However, in late 1943, he had written out demands with which he felt the Allies had to comply in order for Germany to agree to an immediate peace. These demands included Germany retaining its 1914 eastern borders, including the Polish territories of Wielkopolska and Poznań.[20] Other demands included keeping such territorial gains as Austria and the Sudetenland within the Reich, giving autonomy to Alsace-Lorraine, and even expansion of the current wartime borders of Germany in the south by annexing Tyrol as far as Bolzano and Meran. Non-territorial demands included such points as refusal of any occupation of Germany by the Allies, as well as refusal to hand over war criminals by demanding the right of "nations to deal with its own criminals". These proposals were only directed to the Western Allies - Stauffenberg wanted Germany only to retreat from western, southern and northern positions, while demanding the right to continue military occupation of German territorial gains in the east.[21]

20 July plot

Office at Bendlerblock

From the beginning of September 1943 until 20 July, 1944, von Stauffenberg was the driving force behind the plot to assassinate Hitler and take control of Germany. His resolve, organizational abilities, and radical approach put an end to inactivity caused by doubts and long discussions on whether military virtues had been made obsolete by Hitler's behavior. With the help of his friend Henning von Tresckow, he united the conspirators and drove them into action.[22]

Stauffenberg was aware that, under German law, he was committing high treason. He openly told young conspirator Axel von dem Bussche in late 1943, "ich betreibe mit allen mir zur Verfügung stehenden Mitteln den Hochverrat..." ("I am committing high treason with all my might and means....").[23] He justified himself to Bussche by referring to the right under natural law ("Naturrecht") to defend millions of people's lives from the criminal aggressions of Hitler ("Nothilfe").

Stauffenberg decided, only after the conspirator General Helmuth Stieff on 7 July, 1944 had declared himself unable to assassinate Hitler on a uniforms display at Klessheim castle near Salzburg, to personally kill Hitler and to run the plot in Berlin. By then, Stauffenberg had great doubts about the possibility of success. Tresckow convinced him to go on with it even if it had no chance of success at all, "The assassination must be attempted. Even if it fails, we must take action in Berlin", as this would be the only way to prove to the world that the Hitler regime and Germany were not one and the same and that not all Germans supported the regime.

Stauffenberg's part in the original plan required him to stay at the Bendlerstrasse offices in Berlin, so he could phone regular army units all over Europe in an attempt to convince them to arrest leaders of Nazi political organizations such as the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and the Gestapo. Unfortunately, when General Helmuth Stieff, Chief of Operation at Army High Command, who had regular access to Hitler, backtracked from his earlier commitment to assassinate Hitler, Stauffenberg was forced to take on two critical roles: kill Hitler far from Berlin and trigger the military machine in Berlin during office hours of the very same day. Beside Stieff, he was the only conspirator who had regular access to Hitler (during his briefings) by mid-1944, as well as being the only officer among the conspirators thought to have the resolve and persuasiveness to convince German military leaders to throw in with the coup once Hitler was dead. This requirement greatly reduced the chance of a successful coup.

After several unsuccessful tries by Stauffenberg to meet Hitler, Göring and Himmler when they were together, he went ahead with the attempt at Wolfsschanze on 20 July, 1944. Stauffenberg entered the briefing room carrying a briefcase containing two small bombs. The location had unexpectedly been changed from the subterranean Führerbunker to Speer's wooden barrack/hut. He left the room to arm the first bomb with specially-adapted pliers, a task made difficult because he had lost his right hand and had only three fingers on his left. A guard knocked and opened the door, urging him to hurry as the meeting was about to begin. As a result, Stauffenberg was able to arm only one of the bombs. He left the second bomb with his aide-de-camp, Werner von Haeften, and returned to the briefing room, where he placed the briefcase under the conference table, as close as he could to Hitler. Some minutes later, he excused himself and left the room. After his exit, the briefcase was moved by Colonel Heinz Brandt.

When the explosion tore through the hut, Stauffenberg was convinced that no one in the room could have survived. Although four people were killed and almost all survivors were injured, Hitler himself was shielded from the blast by the heavy, solid-oak conference table and was only slightly wounded.

Stauffenberg and Haeften quickly left and drove to the nearby airfield. After his return to Berlin, Stauffenberg immediately began to motivate his friends to initiate the second phase: the military coup against the Nazi leaders. When Joseph Goebbels announced by radio that Hitler had survived and later, after Hitler himself personally spoke on the state radio, the conspirators realized that the coup had failed. They were tracked to their Bendlerstrasse offices and overpowered after a brief shoot-out, during which Stauffenberg was wounded in the shoulder.

Execution

Death certificate
Memorial at Bendlerblock

In what turned out to be a futile attempt to save his own life, co-conspirator Generaloberst Friedrich Fromm, Commander-in-Chief of the Replacement Army present in the Bendlerblock (Headquarters of the Army), charged other conspirators in an impromptu court martial and condemned the ringleaders of the conspiracy to death. Stauffenberg and fellow officers Colonel General Olbricht, Lieutenant von Haeften, and Oberst (Colonel) Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim were shot before 1:00 a.m. that night (21 July 1944) by a makeshift firing squad in the courtyard of the Bendlerblock, which was lit by the headlights of a truck.

Stauffenberg was third in line to be executed, with Lieutenant von Haeften after, however, when it was Stauffenberg's turn, Lieutenant von Haeften placed himself between the firing squad and Stauffenberg and received the bullets meant for Stauffenberg. When his final turn came, Stauffenberg spoke his last words, "Es lebe unser heiliges Deutschland!" ("Long live our sacred Germany!")[24][25] Others say the last words were: "Es lebe das geheime Deutschland"("Long live the secret Germany!")[25][26] Fromm ordered that the executed officers (his former co-conspirators) receive an immediate burial with military honors in the Matthäus Churchyard in Berlin's Schöneberg district. The next day, however, Stauffenberg's body was exhumed by the SS, stripped of his medals, and cremated.

Today, there is a stone in memorial of this event.

Another central figure in the plot was Stauffenberg's eldest brother, Berthold Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg. On 10 August 1944, Berthold was tried before Judge-President Roland Freisler in the special "People's Court" (Volksgerichtshof). This court was established by Hitler for political offenses. Berthold was one of eight conspirators executed by slow strangulation (reputedly with piano wire used as the garrote) in Plötzensee Prison, Berlin, later that day. More than two hundred[citation needed] were condemned in show trials and executed.

20th anniversary memorial service

In 1980, the German government established a memorial for the failed anti-Nazi resistance movement in a part of the Bendlerblock, the remainder of which currently houses the Berlin offices of the German Ministry of Defense (whose main offices remain in Bonn). The Bendlerstrasse was renamed the Stauffenbergstrasse, and the Bendlerblock now houses the Memorial to the German Resistance, a permanent exhibition with more than 5,000 photographs and documents showing the various resistance organizations at work during the Hitler era. The courtyard where the officers were shot on 21 July 1944, is now a memorial site, with a plaque commemorating the events and a bronze figure of a young man with his hands symbolically bound which resembles Count von Stauffenberg.

Family

Stauffenberg married Nina Freiin von Lerchenfeld on 26 September, 1933 in Bamberg. They had five children: Berthold, Heimeran, Franz-Ludwig, Valerie, and Konstanze, who was born in Frankfurt on the Oder after Stauffenberg's execution. Berthold, Heimeran, Franz-Ludwig and Valerie, who were not told of their father's deed,[27] were placed in foster home for the remainder of the war and were forced to use new surnames, as Stauffenberg was now considered taboo. Nina died at the age of 92 on 2 April, 2006 at Kirchlauter near Bamberg, and was buried there on 8 April. Berthold went on to become a general in West Germany's post-war Bundeswehr, and Franz-Ludwig became a member of both the German and European parliaments. In 2008, Konstanze von Schulthess-Rechberg wrote a best-selling book about her mother, Nina Schenk Graefin von Stauffenberg.

Describing her late husband, Nina von Stauffenberg said:

He let things come to him, and then he made up his mind ... one of his characteristics was that he really enjoyed playing the devil's advocate. Conservatives were convinced that he was a ferocious Nazi, and ferocious Nazis were convinced he was an unreconstructed conservative. He was neither.[28]

Assignments, promotions and decorations

A German stamp of Stauffenberg and Helmuth James Graf von Moltke in commemoration of their 100th birthdays.
Assignments
  • 1 January, 1926 - 17th (Bavarian) Cavalry Regiment, Bamberg
  • 17 October, 1927 - Infantry School, Dresden
  • 1 October, 1928 - Cavalry School, Hannover
  • 30 July, 1930 - Pioneer Course
  • 18 November, 1930 - Mortar Course
  • 1 October, 1934 - Cavalry School, Hannover / Adjutant
  • 6 October, 1936 - War Academy, Berlin
  • 1 August, 1938 - 1st Light Division (renamed 6th Panzer Division 18 October, 1939) / Second Staff Officer (Ib)
  • 31 May, 1940 - OKH / General Staff / Organization Branch / Section Head II
  • 15 February, 1943 - 10th Panzer Division / Senior Staff Officer (Ia)
  • 7 April, 1943 - Seriously wounded in Tunisia, assigned to Officer Reserve Pool
  • 1 November, 1943 - OKH / General Army Office / Chief of Staff
  • 20 June, 1944 - OKW / Chief of Replacement Army / Chief of General Staff
  • 4 August, 1944 - (Posthumous) Expelled from Wehrmacht by the Führer at the recommendation of the Army Court of Honour
Promotions
  • 18 August, 1927 - Fahnenjunker-Gefreiter
  • 15 October, 1927 - Fahnenjunker-Unteroffizier
  • 1 August, 1929 - Fähnrich
  • 1 January, 1930 - Leutnant
  • 1 May, 1933 - Oberleutnant
  • 1 January, 1937 - Rittmeister (Hauptmann i.G. from 1 November, 1939)
  • 1 January, 1941 - Major i.G.
  • 1 January, 1943 - Oberstleutnant i.G.
  • 1 April, 1944 - Oberst i.G.
Decorations and awards
  • 17 August, 1929 - Sword of Honor
  • 2 October, 1936 - Distinguished Service Badge, IVth Class
  • 1 April, 1938 - Distinguished Service Badge, IIIrd Class
  • 31 May, 1940 - Iron Cross, Ist Class
  • 25 October, 1941 - Royal Bulgarian Order of Bravery, IVth Class
  • 11 December, 1942 - Finnish Liberty Cross, IIIrd Class
  • 14 April, 1943 - Wound Badge in Gold
  • 20 April, 1943 - Italian-German Remembrance Medal
  • 8 May, 1943 - German Cross in Gold

In popular culture

Stauffenberg memorial site in Altes Schloss in Stuttgart

German films

American films

German television

American television

Additionally, the TV series Hogan's Heroes paid homage to Stauffenberg in an episode entitled "Operation: Briefcase", where a case with a bomb was dropped with a British agent for Hogan's men to retrieve; they delivered the briefcase to "General Stauffen", who came to "inspect Stalag 13." General Stauffen was played by actor Oscar Beregi Jr.

Also Stauffenberg is mentioned in the hit British comedy Red Dwarf in the episode Timeslides

Related movies

Notes

  1. ^ a bSchenk von Stauffenberg 5,” Genealogy.eu (Retrieved 2009-12-28.)
  2. ^ The family's original name was Stauffenberg, and they held the noble titles of Schenk and Graf (Count). After 1918, when the Weimar Republic abolished all noble titles, the Stauffenberg family, like the other formerly noble German families, added the words Schenk and Graf to their surname. Stauffenberg's formal surname was thus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, though by convention he is usually referred to in English simply as Count von Stauffenberg.
  3. ^ Löttel, Holger (2007-07-22) (in German) (PDF), Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (1907–1944): Leben und Würdigung- Vortrag anläßlich der Gedenkveranstaltung zum 100.Geburtstag von Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, Ketrzyn/Rastenburg, 22.Juli 2007, http://www.forschungsgemeinschaft-20-juli.de/downloads/vortraege/Loettel%20zu%20Stauffenberg.pdf, retrieved 2008-02-07 
  4. ^ Kiesewetter, Renate (in German) (PDF), Im Porträt: Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg, http://www.br-online.de/wissen-bildung/collegeradio/medien/geschichte/stauffenberg/manuskript/stauffenberg_manuskript.pdf, retrieved 2008-02-07 
  5. ^ Bentzien, Hans (2004) (in German). Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg-Der Täter und seine Zeit. Berlin: Das Neue Berlin Verlagsgesellschaft mbH. pp. 24-29. 
  6. ^ Zeller, Eberhard (2008) (in German). Oberst Claus Graf Stauffenberg. Paderborn-Munich-Vienna-Zürich: Ferdinand Schöningh. pp. 7-10. 
  7. ^ Herbert Ammon: Vom Geist Georges zur Tat Stauffenbergs — Manfred Riedels Rettung des Reiches, in: Iablis 2007 at www.iablis.de
  8. ^ Ibid.; page 151
  9. ^ a bClaus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg,” German Resistance Memorial Center. 2009. (Retrieved 2009-12-28.)
  10. ^ Housden, Martyn (1997). Resistance and Conformity in the Third Reich. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-12134-5.  page 100: "He was endorsing both the tyrannical occupation of Poland and the use of its people as slave labourers"
  11. ^ Peter Hoffman Stauffenberg: A Family History, 1905–1944; page 116; 2003 McGill-Queen's Press
  12. ^ Beevor, Stalingrad . Penguin 2001 ISBN 0141001313 p60
  13. ^ Hoffmann, Peter "The German Resistance and the Holocaust" pages 105-126 from Confront! edited by John Michalczyk, Peter Lang: New York, 2004 page 110
  14. ^ Noakes, Jeremy Nazism, Volume 4, University of Exeter Press, 1998 page 633
  15. ^ im Generalstab
  16. ^ "Murphy in America in WWII Magazine". Americainwwii.com. http://www.americainwwii.com/stories/facingthefox.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  17. ^ "Hoffmann (2003), p. 171". Books.google.com. http://books.google.com/books?id=ry0J9XqD7I8C&pg=PA171&dq=bersaglieri+kasserine+pass&sig=C5rs8y9vhTL7dNIZsXGCAwOJnNs#PPA171,M1. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  18. ^ Stauffenberg: A Family History, 1905-1944: Third Edition by Peter Hoffmann (2009)
  19. ^ Peter Hoffmann, "Oberst i. G. Henning von Tresckow und die Staatsstreichpläne im Jahr 1943"
  20. ^ "Review of 'Claus Graf Stauffenberg. 15. November 1907–20. Juli 1944. Das Leben eines Offiziers. by Joachim Kramarz, Bonn 1967' by : F. L. Carsten International Affairs, Vol. 43, No. 2 (April 1967). "It is more surprising that, as late as May 1944, Stauffenberg still demanded for Germany the frontiers of 1914 in the east, i.e., a new partition of Poland."
  21. ^ Martyn Housden,"Resistance and Conformity in the Third Reich";Routledge 1997;page 109–110
  22. ^ Joachim Fest; "Hitler — Eine Biographie"
  23. ^ Joachim Fest; Hitler — Eine Biographie; Propyläen, Berlin; 2. Auflage 2004; Page 961; ISBN 3 549 07172 8
  24. ^ Knopp, Guido (2004) (in German). Sie wollten Hitler töten-Die deutsche Widerstandsbewegung. Munich: Bertelsmann Verlag. p. 263. 
  25. ^ a b Eugen Georg Schwarz (1994-07-18). "20.JULI 1944-Das „geheime“ Deutschland" (in German). FOCUS 29/1994. http://www.focus.de/kultur/medien/20-juli-1944-das-geheime-deutschland_aid_147843.html. 
  26. ^ Fest, Joachim (2004) (in German). Staatsstreich der lange Weg zum 20.Juli. btb-Verlag. p. 280. 
  27. ^ Stauffenberg's eldest son has said, however, that the children were told of the assassination attempt and their father's role in it by their mother.
  28. ^ Quoted from Burleigh (2000).
  29. ^ "Oberst Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg (Character)". Imdb.com. http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0031768/. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 

Literature

  • (German) Christian Müller: Oberst i.G. Stauffenberg. Eine Biographie. Droste, Düsseldorf 1970, ISBN 3-7700-0228-8. (First great biography)
  • Hoffman, Peter (1995). Stauffenberg : A Family History, 1905-1944. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 978-0-7735-3544-2. Translation of the German-language original, Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg und seine Brüder.
  • Roger Moorhouse (2006), Killing Hitler, Jonathan Cape, ISBN 0-224-07121-1
  • Wheeler-Bennett, John; Overly, Richard (1968). The Nemesis of Power: German Army in Politics, 1918–1945. New York: Palgrave Macmillan Publishing Company (New Impression edition). ISBN 0-333-06864-5.
  • (German) Hoffmann, Peter (1998). Stauffenberg und der 20. Juli 1944. München: C.H.Beck. ISBN 3-406-43302-2.
  • Burleigh, Michael (2000). The Third Reich: A New History. Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-64487-5.
  • Stig Dalager, "Zwei Tage im Juli", documentary novel dealing with the 20th of July. Aufbau Taschenbuch-Verlag 2006.
  • Gerd Wunder, "Die Schenken von Stauffenberg". Stuttgart 1972, Mueller und Graeff
  • Claus Von Stauffenberg, the 20 July plot, and its aftermath are the subject of Paul West's novel The Very Rich Hours of Count von Stauffenberg, New York: Harper & Row, 1980, First Edition. (ISBN 0060145935).
  • Von Stauffenberg and other participants in the 20 July uprising are seen planning and executing the assassination attempt in Ethan Mordden's novel The Jewcatcher, published in 2008.
  • Claus Von Stauffenberg featured as a character in Justin Cartwright's 2007 novel, The Song Before It Is Sung
  • Herman Wouk: "War and Remembrance" chronicles the attempted assassination of Hitler and von Stauffenberg's subsequent execution in his epic novel, which was also made into a television mini-series.
  • Christopher Ailsby: "The Third Reich: Day by Day"

External links


Claus Philipp Maria Justinian Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg[1]
Born Claus Philipp Maria Schenk
15 November 1907(1907-11-15)
Jettingen, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire
Died 21 July 1944 (aged 36)
Berlin, Nazi Germany
Cause of death Execution by firing squad
Nationality German
Employer Wehrmacht Heer
Known for 20 July plot coordinator
Home town Albstadt, Germany
Title Oberst (Colonel)
Religion Roman Catholicism
Spouse Nina Schenk Gräfin von Stauffenberg
Parents Alfred Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg
Caroline Schenk Gräfin
(von Stauffenberg family)
Relatives Gm Berthold Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (son), Franz-Ludwig Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (son)

Claus Philipp Maria Justinian Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg[1] (Template:IPA-de; 15 November 1907 – 21 July 1944) was a German army officer and Catholic aristocrat who was one of the leading members of the failed 20 July plot of 1944 to kill Adolf Hitler and remove the Nazi Party from power in World War II Germany. Along with Henning von Tresckow and Hans Oster, he was one of the central figures of the German Resistance movement within the Wehrmacht. For his involvement in the movement he was shot shortly after the failed attempt known as Operation Valkyrie.[2]

Contents

Family name

Claus Philipp Maria Justinian was the given name with the noble title at the end. Claus was born in the Stauffenberg castle of Jettingen between Ulm and Augsburg, in the eastern part of Swabia, at that time in the Kingdom of Bavaria, part of the German Empire. He was the third of four sons including the twins Berthold and Alexander and his own twin brother Konrad Maria, who died in Jettingen one day after birth on 16 November 1907. His father was Alfred Klemens Philipp Friedrich Justinian who was the last Oberhofmarschall of the Kingdom of Württemberg. His mother was Caroline Schenk Gräfin von Stauffenberg, née Gräfin von Üxküll-Gyllenband and was the daughter of Alfred Richard August Graf von Üxküll-Gyllenband and Valerie Grafin von Hohenthal. The word Graf was equal to a count, Gräfin was equal to a Countess, and was a title of nobility and could be appointed to anyone. Schenk was a hereditary title of nobility and thus superior in rank. Someone with the title of Schenk would not actually have to use Graf but almost always did. The castle thus location of the nobility was the last part of the title which would be Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and used as part of the name. The Stauffenberg family is one of the oldest and most distinguished aristocratic Catholic families of southern Germany. Among his maternal Protestant ancestors were several famous Prussians, including Field Marshal August von Gneisenau.

On 11 November 1919, a new Constitutional law as part of the Weimar Republic, abolished the privileges of nobility and Article 109 also stated, "Legal privileges or disadvantages based on birth or social standing are to be abolished. Noble titles form part of the name only; noble titles may not be granted any more."[3] After this titles of nobility were incorporated as part of a surname.

Members having the pre-1919 surname Maria:[4]

  • Berthold Franz Maria
  • Alfred Fedorico Maria
  • Philipp Friedrich Maria
  • Alexander Clemens Juan Maria
  • Elisabeth Caroline Margarete Maria
  • Alexander Franz Clemens Maria

Early life

In his youth, he and his brothers were members of the Neupfadfinder, a German Scout association and part of the German Youth movement.[5][6][7][8]

Like his brothers, he was carefully educated and inclined toward literature, but eventually took up a military career. In 1926, he joined the family's traditional regiment, the Bamberger Reiter- und Kavallerieregiment 17 (17th Cavalry Regiment) in Bamberg. It was around this time that the three brothers were introduced by Albrecht von Blumenthal to poet Stefan George's influential circle, Georgekreis, from which many notable members of the German resistance would later emerge. George dedicated Das neue Reich ("the new Empire") in 1928, including the Geheimes Deutschland ("secret Germany") written in 1922, to Berthold.[9] The work outlines a new form of society ruled by a hierarchical spiritual aristocracy. George rejected any attempts to use it for mundane political purposes, especially Nazism.

Stauffenberg was commissioned as a Leutnant (second lieutenant) in 1930. He studied modern weapons at the Kriegsakademie in Berlin-Moabit, but remained focused on the use of the horse — which continued to carry out a large part of transportation duties throughout the Second World War - in modern warfare. His regiment became part of the German 1st Light Division under General Erich Hoepner, who had taken part in the plans for the September 1938 German Resistance coup, cut short by Hitler's unexpected diplomatic success in the Munich Agreement. The unit was among the troops that moved into the Sudetenland, the part of Czechoslovakia that had a German-speaking majority, as agreed upon in Munich. However, Stauffenberg disliked the method by which the Sudetenland was annexed and strongly disapproved of the invasion of Prague.

Pre-war misgivings

Although Stauffenberg agreed with some of the Nazi Party's nationalistic aspects, he found many aspects of its ideology repugnant and never became a member of the party. Moreover, Stauffenberg remained a practising Catholic. The Catholic Church had signed the Reichskonkordat in 1933, the year Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power. Stauffenberg vacillated between a strong personal dislike of Hitler's policies and a respect for what he perceived to be Hitler's military acumen. On top of this, the growing systematic ill-treatment of Jews and suppression of religion had offended Stauffenberg's strong personal sense of Catholic religious morality and justice.[10][11]

World War II

Conquest of Poland, 1939

Following the outbreak of war in 1939, Stauffenberg and his regiment took part in the attack on Poland. He supported the occupation of Poland and its handling by the Nazi regime and the use of Poles as slave workers to achieve German prosperity[12] as well as German colonization and exploitation of Poland. The deeply-rooted belief common in the German aristocracy was that the Eastern territories, populated predominantly by Poles and partly absorbed by Prussia in partitions of Poland, but taken from the German Empire after World War I, should be colonized as the Teutonic Knights had done in the Middle Ages. Stauffenberg said, "It is essential that we begin a systemic colonization in Poland. But I have no fear that this will not occur".[13] It is certain that in the early stages of the war, he still held the usual aristocratic beliefs typical of late imperial times.

Early appeals to join resistance, 1939

While his uncle, Nikolaus Graf von Üxküll-Gyllenband, had approached him before to join the resistance movement against the Hitler regime, it was only after the Polish campaign that Stauffenberg's conscience and religious convictions made him consider it. Peter Yorck von Wartenburg and Ulrich Schwerin von Schwanenfeld urged him to become the adjutant of Walther von Brauchitsch, then Supreme Commander of the Army, in order to participate in a coup against Hitler. Stauffenberg declined at the time, reasoning that all German soldiers had pledged allegiance not to the institution of the presidency of the German Reich, but to the person of Adolf Hitler, due to the Führereid introduced in 1934.

Battle of France, 1940

Stauffenberg's unit was reorganized into the 6th Panzer Division, and he served as an officer on its general staff in the Battle of France, for which he was awarded the Iron Cross First Class. Like many others, Stauffenberg was impressed by the overwhelming military success, which was attributed to Hitler.

Operation Barbarossa, 1941

Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, was launched in 1941. The mass executions of Russians, Ukrainians, Jews and others, as well as what he believed was an already apparent deficiency in military leadership (Hitler had assumed the role of supreme commander in late 1941 after sacking Hoepner and others), finally convinced Stauffenberg in 1942 to sympathize with resistance groups within the Wehrmacht, the only force that had a chance to overcome Hitler's Gestapo, SD, and SS. During the idle months of the so-called Phoney War, preceding the Battle of France (1939–40), he had already been transferred to the organizational department of the Oberkommando des Heeres, the German army high command, which directed the operations on the Eastern Front. Stauffenberg opposed the Commissar Order, which Hitler wrote and then cancelled after a year.[11] He tried to soften the German occupation policy in the conquered areas of the Soviet Union by pointing out the benefits of getting volunteers for the Ostlegionen which were commanded by his department. Guidelines were issued on 2 June 1942 for the proper treatment of prisoners of war from the Caucasus region who had been captured by Heeresgruppe A. The Soviet Union had not signed the 1929 Geneva Convention. However, a month after the German invasion in 1941, an offer was made for a reciprocal adherence to the Hague Conventions. This 'note' was left unanswered by Third Reich officials.[14] Stauffenberg did not engage in any coup plot at this time. Hitler was at the peak of his power in 1942. The Stauffenberg brothers (Berthold and Claus) maintained contact with former commanders like Hoepner, and with the Kreisau Circle; they also included civilians and social democrats like Julius Leber in their scenarios for an administration after Hitler.

Being interrogated after his capture by the Red Army on September 2, 1944, Stauffenberg's friend, Major Joachim Kuhn stated that Stauffenberg had told him in August 1942 that "They are shooting Jews in masses. These crimes must not be allowed to continue"[15] After his arrest in July 1944, Stauffenberg’s older brother Berthold von Stauffenberg told the Gestapo that: “He and his brother had basically approved of the racial principle of National Socialism, but considered it to be exaggerated and excessive”.[16]

Tunisia, 1942

In November 1942, the Allies landed in French North Africa, and the 10th Panzer Division occupied Vichy France (Case Anton) before being transferred to the Tunisian Campaign, as part of the Afrika Korps.

In 1943, Stauffenberg was promoted to Oberstleutnant i.G.[17] (lieutenant-colonel of the general staff), and was sent to Africa to join the 10th Panzer Division as its Operations Officer in the General Staff (Ia). On 19 February, Rommel launched his counter-offensive against British, American and French forces in Tunisia. The Axis commanders hoped to break rapidly through either the Sbiba or Kasserine Pass into the rear of the British 1st Army. The assault at Sbiba was halted, so that Rommel concentrated on Kasserine Pass where primarily the Italians in the form of their 7th Bersaglieri Regiment and 131st Centauro Armoured Division had defeated the American defenders.[18] During the fighting, Stauffenberg drove up to be with the leading tanks and troops of the 10th Panzer Division.[19] The division, together with the 21st Panzer Division, took up defensive positions near Mezzouna on 8 April.

While he was driving from unit to unit, directing them,[20] his vehicle was strafed on 7 April 1943 by British fighter-bombers and he was severely wounded. He spent three months in a hospital in Munich, where he was treated by Ferdinand Sauerbruch. Stauffenberg lost his left eye, his right hand, and two fingers on his left hand. He jokingly remarked to friends never to have really known what to do with so many fingers when he still had all of them. For his injuries, Stauffenberg was awarded the Wound Badge in Gold on 14 April and for his courage the German Cross in Gold on 8 May.

In the resistance, 1943–1944

For rehabilitation, Stauffenberg was sent to his home, Schloss Lautlingen (today a museum), then still one of the Stauffenberg castles in southern Germany. Initially, he felt frustrated not to be in a position to stage a coup himself. But by the beginning of September 1943, after a somewhat slow recovery from his wounds, he was positioned by the conspirators and was introduced to Henning von Tresckow as a staff officer to the headquarters of the Ersatzheer ("Replacement Army" - charged with training soldiers to reinforce first line divisions at the front), located on the Bendlerstrasse (later Stauffenbergstrasse) in Berlin.

There, one of Stauffenberg's superiors was General Friedrich Olbricht, a committed member of the resistance movement. The Ersatzheer had a unique opportunity to launch a coup, as one of its functions was to have Operation Valkyrie in place. This was a contingency measure which would let it assume control of the Reich in the event that internal disturbances blocked communications to the military high command. Ironically, the Valkyrie plan had been agreed to by Hitler but was now secretly changed to sweep the rest of his regime from power in the event of his death.

A detailed military plan was developed not only to occupy Berlin, but also to take the different headquarters of the German army and of Hitler in East Prussia by military force after the suicide assassination by Axel von dem Bussche in late November 1943. Stauffenberg had von dem Bussche transmit these written orders personally to Major Kuhn once he had arrived at Wolfsschanze (Wolf's Lair) near Rastenburg, East Prussia. However, von dem Bussche had left the Wolfsschanze for the eastern front, after the meeting with Hitler was canceled, and the attempt could not be made. Kuhn hid these compromising documents under a watch tower of the OKW, located not far from the Wolfsschanze.

Kuhn became a prisoner of war of the Soviets after the 20 July plot. He led the Soviets to the hiding place of the documents in February 1945. In 1989, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev presented these documents to then-German chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl. These documents, produced by Stauffenberg and his fellow officers in 1943 in Berlin, evince the idealistic motivation of the resistance group. This had been doubted and was a matter of discussion for years in Germany after the war. Some thought the plotters wanted to kill Hitler in order to end the war and to avoid the loss of their privileges as professional officers and members of the nobility.[21]

On 6 June 1944, the Allies had landed in France on D-Day. Stauffenberg, like most other German professional military officers, had absolutely no doubt that the war was lost. Only an immediate armistice could avoid more unnecessary bloodshed and further damage to Germany, its people, and other European nations. However, in late 1943, he had written out demands with which he felt the Allies had to comply in order for Germany to agree to an immediate peace. These demands included Germany retaining its 1914 eastern borders, including the Polish territories of Wielkopolska and Poznań.[22] Other demands included keeping such territorial gains as Austria and the Sudetenland within the Reich, giving autonomy to Alsace-Lorraine, and even expansion of the current wartime borders of Germany in the south by annexing Tyrol as far as Bolzano and Meran. Non-territorial demands included such points as refusal of any occupation of Germany by the Allies, as well as refusal to hand over war criminals by demanding the right of "nations to deal with its own criminals". These proposals were only directed to the Western Allies - Stauffenberg wanted Germany only to retreat from western, southern and northern positions, while demanding the right to continue military occupation of German territorial gains in the east.[23]

20 July plot

]]

From the beginning of September 1943 until 20 July 1944, von Stauffenberg was the driving force behind the plot to assassinate Hitler and take control of Germany. His resolve, organizational abilities, and radical approach put an end to inactivity caused by doubts and long discussions on whether military virtues had been made obsolete by Hitler's behavior. With the help of his friend Henning von Tresckow, he united the conspirators and drove them into action.[24]

Stauffenberg was aware that, under German law, he was committing high treason. He openly told young conspirator Axel von dem Bussche in late 1943, "ich betreibe mit allen mir zur Verfügung stehenden Mitteln den Hochverrat..." ("I am committing high treason with all my might and means....").[25] He justified himself to Bussche by referring to the right under natural law ("Naturrecht") to defend millions of people's lives from the criminal aggressions of Hitler ("Nothilfe").

Stauffenberg decided, only after the conspirator General Helmuth Stieff on 7 July 1944 had declared himself unable to assassinate Hitler on a uniforms display at Klessheim castle near Salzburg, to personally kill Hitler and to run the plot in Berlin. By then, Stauffenberg had great doubts about the possibility of success. Tresckow convinced him to go on with it even if it had no chance of success at all, "The assassination must be attempted. Even if it fails, we must take action in Berlin", as this would be the only way to prove to the world that the Hitler regime and Germany were not one and the same and that not all Germans supported the regime.

Stauffenberg's part in the original plan required him to stay at the Bendlerstrasse offices in Berlin, so he could phone regular army units all over Europe in an attempt to convince them to arrest leaders of Nazi political organizations such as the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and the Gestapo. Unfortunately, when General Helmuth Stieff, Chief of Operation at Army High Command, who had regular access to Hitler, backtracked from his earlier commitment to assassinate Hitler, Stauffenberg was forced to take on two critical roles: kill Hitler far from Berlin and trigger the military machine in Berlin during office hours of the very same day. Beside Stieff, he was the only conspirator who had regular access to Hitler (during his briefings) by mid-1944, as well as being the only officer among the conspirators thought to have the resolve and persuasiveness to convince German military leaders to throw in with the coup once Hitler was dead. This requirement greatly reduced the chance of a successful coup.

After several unsuccessful tries by Stauffenberg to meet Hitler, Göring and Himmler when they were together, he went ahead with the attempt at Wolfsschanze on 20 July 1944. Stauffenberg entered the briefing room carrying a briefcase containing two small bombs. The location had unexpectedly been changed from the subterranean Führerbunker to Speer's[which?] wooden barrack/hut. He left the room to arm the first bomb with specially-adapted pliers, a task made difficult because he had lost his right hand and had only three fingers on his left. A guard knocked and opened the door, urging him to hurry as the meeting was about to begin. As a result, Stauffenberg was able to arm only one of the bombs. He left the second bomb with his aide-de-camp, Werner von Haeften, and returned to the briefing room, where he placed the briefcase under the conference table, as close as he could to Hitler. Some minutes later, he excused himself and left the room. After his exit, the briefcase was moved by Colonel Heinz Brandt.

When the explosion tore through the hut, Stauffenberg was convinced that no one in the room could have survived. Although four people were killed and almost all survivors were injured, Hitler himself was shielded from the blast by the heavy, solid-oak conference table and was only slightly wounded.

Stauffenberg and Haeften quickly left and drove to the nearby airfield. After his return to Berlin, Stauffenberg immediately began to motivate his friends to initiate the second phase: the military coup against the Nazi leaders. When Joseph Goebbels announced by radio that Hitler had survived and later, after Hitler himself personally spoke on the state radio, the conspirators realized that the coup had failed. They were tracked to their Bendlerstrasse offices and overpowered after a brief shoot-out, during which Stauffenberg was wounded in the shoulder.

Execution

]]

In what turned out to be a futile attempt to save his own life, co-conspirator Generaloberst Friedrich Fromm, Commander-in-Chief of the Replacement Army present in the Bendlerblock (Headquarters of the Army), charged other conspirators in an impromptu court martial and condemned the ringleaders of the conspiracy to death. Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, his aid 1st Lieutenant Werner von Haeften, Colonel General Fredrich Olbricht,and Colonel Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim were executed by a firing squad before 1:00 a.m. that night (21 July 1944) by a makeshift firing squad in the courtyard of the Bendlerblock, which was lit by the headlights of a truck.

Stauffenberg was third in line to be executed, with Lieutenant von Haeften after. However, when it was Stauffenberg's turn, Lieutenant von Haeften placed himself between the firing squad and Stauffenberg, and received the bullets meant for Stauffenberg. When his turn came, Stauffenberg spoke his last words, "Es lebe unser heiliges Deutschland!" ("Long live our holy Germany!")[26][27] Others say the last words were: "Es lebe das geheime Deutschland!" ("Long live the secret Germany!")[27][28] Fromm ordered that the executed officers (his former co-conspirators) receive an immediate burial with military honors in the Matthäus Churchyard in Berlin's Schöneberg district. The next day, however, Stauffenberg's body was exhumed by the SS, stripped of his medals, and cremated.

Another central figure in the plot was Stauffenberg's eldest brother, Berthold Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg. On 10 August 1944, Berthold was tried before Judge-President Roland Freisler in the special "People's Court" (Volksgerichtshof). This court was established by Hitler for political offenses. Berthold was one of eight conspirators executed by slow strangulation (reputedly with piano wire used as the garrote) in Plötzensee Prison, Berlin, later that day. More than two hundred[29] were condemned in show trials and executed. Hitler used the July 20 Plot as an excuse to destroy anyone he feared would oppose him. The traditional salute was replaced with the Nazi Sieg Heil. Eventually 20,000 were killed or sent to concentration camps in the purge.[30]

Other views

The fact that Claus Philipp Maria Justinian Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg was a soldier and German nationalist cannot be disputed.[who?] The fact that he was an elitist from a historically aristocratic family cannot be disputed.[who?] He was a decorated military soldier and leader, an aristocrat by birth, and professed Christianity. At a point he did not believe in the direction of the National Socialist regime, although he did support it in the beginning, along with the appointment of Hitler as Chancellor. He supported the invasion of Poland and the lessening of Jewish influence, but not the atrocities inflicted on them or others. Professor Richard J. Evans, Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University, wrote three books on Third Reich[31] and covers many such aspects. He wrote an article originally published in Süddeutsche Zeitung, 23 January 2009[32] entitled "Why did Stauffenberg plant the bomb?" which states, "Was it because Hitler was losing the war? Was it to put an end to the mass murder of the Jews. Or was it to save Germany's honour? Whatever his motives, he was no role model for future generations." Maybe he also had a desire to try to restore and preserve his hereditary nobility?[original research?] The facts that he was considered a hero (by many) and a traitor by the government in power must be noted.[who?] The "overwhelming support, toleration, or silent acquiescence" from the people of his country for Hitler, that was also being heavily censored and constantly fed propaganda, must also be noted.[who?] Evans writes, "Had Stauffenberg's bomb succeeded in killing Hitler, it is unlikely that the military coup planned to follow it would have moved the leading conspirators smoothly into power."

Karl Heinz Bohrer is a cultural critic, literary scholar, and publisher.[33] He is also visiting professor for German and Comparative Studies at Stanford University. He also wrote an article originally published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, January 30, 2010.[34] His opinion of Evan's views, although agreeing that he is historically correct in much of his writing, is that he twists time lines and misrepresents certain aspects. He wrote of Evans, "In the course of his problematic argument he walks into two traps: 1. by contesting Stauffenberg's "moral motivation"; 2. by contesting Stauffenberg's suitability as role model." He further writes, "If then, as Evans notes with initial objectivity, Stauffenberg had a strong moral imperative - whether this stemmed from an aristocratic code of honour, Catholic doctrine or Romantic poetry - then this also underpinned his initial affinity for National Socialism which Stauffenberg misinterpreted as 'spiritual renewal.' "

Ultimately was Claus a hero or a traitor? Today, there is a memorial of this event. In 1980, the German government established a memorial for the failed anti-Nazi resistance movement in a part of the Bendlerblock, the remainder of which currently houses the Berlin offices of the German Ministry of Defense (whose main offices remain in Bonn). The Bendlerstrasse was renamed the Stauffenbergstrasse, and the Bendlerblock now houses the Memorial to the German Resistance, a permanent exhibition with more than 5,000 photographs and documents showing the various resistance organizations at work during the Hitler era. The courtyard where the officers were shot on 21 July 1944 is now a memorial site, with a plaque commemorating the events and a bronze figure of a young man with his hands symbolically bound which resembles Count von Stauffenberg.

Family

Stauffenberg married Nina Freiin von Lerchenfeld on 26 September 1933 in Bamberg. They had five children: Berthold; Heimeran; Franz-Ludwig; Valerie; and Konstanze, who was born in Frankfurt on the Oder after Stauffenberg's execution. Berthold, Heimeran, Franz-Ludwig and Valerie, who were not told of their father's deed,[35] were placed in a foster home for the remainder of the war and were forced to use new surnames, as Stauffenberg was now considered taboo. Nina died at the age of 92 on 2 April 2006 at Kirchlauter near Bamberg, and was buried there on 8 April. Berthold went on to become a general in West Germany's post-war Bundeswehr, and Franz-Ludwig became a member of both the German and European parliaments. In 2008, Konstanze von Schulthess-Rechberg wrote a best-selling book about her mother, Nina Schenk Graefin von Stauffenberg.

Describing her late husband, Nina von Stauffenberg said:
He let things come to him, and then he made up his mind ... one of his characteristics was that he really enjoyed playing the devil's advocate. Conservatives were convinced that he was a ferocious Nazi, and ferocious Nazis were convinced he was an unreconstructed conservative. He was neither.[36]

Assignments, promotions and decorations

in commemoration of their 100th birthdays.]]
Assignments
  • 1 January 1926 - 17th (Bavarian) Cavalry Regiment, Bamberg
  • 17 October 1927 - Infantry School, Dresden
  • 1 October 1928 - Cavalry School, Hannover
  • 30 July 1930 - Pioneer Course
  • 18 November 1930 - Mortar Course
  • 1 October 1934 - Cavalry School, Hannover / Adjutant
  • 6 October 1936 - War Academy, Berlin
  • 1 August 1938 - 1st Light Division (renamed 6th Panzer Division 18 October 1939) / Second Staff Officer (Ib)
  • 31 May 1940 - OKH / General Staff / Organization Branch / Section Head II
  • 15 February 1943 - 10th Panzer Division / Senior Staff Officer (Ia)
  • 7 April 1943 - Seriously wounded in Tunisia, assigned to Officer Reserve Pool
  • 1 November 1943 - OKH / General Army Office / Chief of Staff
  • 20 June 1944 - OKW / Chief of Replacement Army / Chief of General Staff
  • 4 August 1944 - (Posthumous) Expelled from Wehrmacht by the Führer at the recommendation of the Army Court of Honour
Promotions
  • 18 August 1927 - Fahnenjunker-Gefreiter
  • 15 October 1927 - Fahnenjunker-Unteroffizier
  • 1 August 1929 - Fähnrich
  • 1 January 1930 - Leutnant
  • 1 May 1933 - Oberleutnant
  • 1 January 1937 - Rittmeister (Hauptmann i.G. from 1 November 1939)
  • 1 January 1941 - Major i.G.
  • 1 January 1943 - Oberstleutnant i.G.
  • 1 April 1944 - Oberst i.G.
Decorations and awards
  • 17 August 1929 - Sword of Honor
  • 2 October 1936 - Distinguished Service Badge, IVth Class
  • 1 April 1938 - Distinguished Service Badge, IIIrd Class
  • 31 May 1940 - Iron Cross, Ist Class
  • 25 October 1941 - Royal Bulgarian Order of Bravery, IVth Class
  • 11 December 1942 - Finnish Liberty Cross, IIIrd Class
  • 14 April 1943 - Wound Badge in Gold
  • 20 April 1943 - Italian-German Remembrance Medal
  • 8 May 1943 - German Cross in Gold

In popular culture

in Stuttgart]]

German films

American films

German television

American television

Additionally, the TV series Hogan's Heroes paid homage to Stauffenberg in an episode entitled "Operation: Briefcase", where a case with a bomb was dropped with a British agent for Hogan's men to retrieve; they delivered the briefcase to "General Stauffen", who came to "inspect Stalag 13" as a ruse for getting the case and bomb. He was to take the case to a meeting with Hitler in an attempt to assassinate the Fuerer. As in the real event, Hitler survived the attempt. General Stauffen was played by actor Oscar Beregi, Jr.

Notes

  1. ^ a bSchenk von Stauffenberg 5,” Genealogy.eu (Retrieved 2009-12-28.)
  2. ^ [1] -Stauffenberg biography
  3. ^ [2] -Abolishment of noble titles
  4. ^ [3] -Previous surname
  5. ^ Löttel, Holger (2007-07-22). "Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (1907–1944): Leben und Würdigung- Vortrag anläßlich der Gedenkveranstaltung zum 100.Geburtstag von Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, Ketrzyn/Rastenburg, 22.Juli 2007" (in German) (PDF). http://www.forschungsgemeinschaft-20-juli.de/downloads/vortraege/Loettel%20zu%20Stauffenberg.pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-07 
  6. ^ Kiesewetter, Renate. "Im Porträt: Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg" (in German) (PDF). http://www.br-online.de/wissen-bildung/collegeradio/medien/geschichte/stauffenberg/manuskript/stauffenberg_manuskript.pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-07 
  7. ^ Bentzien, Hans (2004) (in German). Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg-Der Täter und seine Zeit. Berlin: Das Neue Berlin Verlagsgesellschaft mbH. pp. 24–29. 
  8. ^ Zeller, Eberhard (2008) (in German). Oberst Claus Graf Stauffenberg. Paderborn-Munich-Vienna-Zürich: Ferdinand Schöningh. pp. 7–10. 
  9. ^ Herbert Ammon: Vom Geist Georges zur Tat Stauffenbergs — Manfred Riedels Rettung des Reiches, in: Iablis 2007 at www.iablis.de
  10. ^ Peter Hoffman (2003). Stauffenberg: A Family History, 1905–1944. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 151. 
  11. ^ a bClaus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg,” German Resistance Memorial Center. 2009. (Retrieved 2009-12-28.)
  12. ^ Housden, Martyn (1997). Resistance and Conformity in the Third Reich. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-12134-5.  page 100: "He was endorsing both the tyrannical occupation of Poland and the use of its people as slave labourers"
  13. ^ Peter Hoffman (2003). Stauffenberg: A Family History, 1905–1944. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 116. 
  14. ^ Beevor, Stalingrad . Penguin 2001 ISBN 0141001313 p60
  15. ^ Hoffmann, Peter "The German Resistance and the Holocaust" pages 105-126 from Confront! edited by John Michalczyk, Peter Lang: New York, 2004 page 110
  16. ^ Noakes, Jeremy Nazism, Volume 4, University of Exeter Press, 1998 page 633
  17. ^ im Generalstab
  18. ^ "Murphy in America in WWII Magazine". Americainwwii.com. http://www.americainwwii.com/stories/facingthefox.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-13. [dead link]
  19. ^ Hoffmann, Peter (2003-10-03). Hoffmann (2003), p. 171. Books.google.com. ISBN 9780773525955. http://books.google.com/?id=ry0J9XqD7I8C&pg=PA171&dq=bersaglieri+kasserine+pass. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  20. ^ Stauffenberg: A Family History, 1905-1944: Third Edition by Peter Hoffmann (2009)
  21. ^ Peter Hoffmann, "Oberst i. G. Henning von Tresckow und die Staatsstreichpläne im Jahr 1943"
  22. ^ "Review of 'Claus Graf Stauffenberg. 15. November 1907–20. Juli 1944. Das Leben eines Offiziers. by Joachim Kramarz, Bonn 1967' by : F. L. Carsten International Affairs, Vol. 43, No. 2 (April 1967). "It is more surprising that, as late as May 1944, Stauffenberg still demanded for Germany the frontiers of 1914 in the east, i.e., a new partition of Poland."
  23. ^ Martyn Housden,"Resistance and Conformity in the Third Reich";Routledge 1997;page 109–110
  24. ^ Joachim Fest; "Hitler — Eine Biographie"
  25. ^ Joachim Fest; Hitler — Eine Biographie; Propyläen, Berlin; 2. Auflage 2004; Page 961; ISBN 3 549 07172 8
  26. ^ Knopp, Guido (2004) (in German). Sie wollten Hitler töten-Die deutsche Widerstandsbewegung. Munich: Bertelsmann Verlag. p. 263. 
  27. ^ a b Eugen Georg Schwarz (1994-07-18). "20.JULI 1944-Das „geheime“ Deutschland" (in German). FOCUS 29/1994. http://www.focus.de/kultur/medien/20-juli-1944-das-geheime-deutschland_aid_147843.html. 
  28. ^ Fest, Joachim (2004) (in German). Staatsstreich der lange Weg zum 20.Juli. btb-Verlag. p. 280. 
  29. ^ [List of members of the 20 July plot] -July conspirators
  30. ^ [4] -Opposing Hitler
  31. ^ "The Coming of the Third Reich" (Penguin, 2003), "The Third Reich in Power" (Penguin, 2005) and "The Third Reich at War" (Penguin, 2008
  32. ^ [5] -Reprinted; 10/02/2009, -Retrieved 10-08-2010
  33. ^ [of the monthly Merkur magazine]
  34. ^ [6] -Reprinted 13/02/2009, -Retrieved 10-08-2010,
  35. ^ Stauffenberg's eldest son has said, however, that the children were told of the assassination attempt and their father's role in it by their mother.
  36. ^ Quoted from Burleigh (2000).
  37. ^ "Oberst Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg (Character)". Imdb.com. http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0031768/. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 

Literature

  • (German) Christian Müller: Oberst i.G. Stauffenberg. Eine Biographie. Droste, Düsseldorf 1970, ISBN 3-7700-0228-8. (First great biography)
  • Hoffman, Peter (1995). Stauffenberg : A Family History, 1905-1944. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 978-0-7735-3544-2. Translation of the German-language original, Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg und seine Brüder.
  • Roger Moorhouse (2006), Killing Hitler, Jonathan Cape, ISBN 0-224-07121-1
  • Wheeler-Bennett, John; Overly, Richard (1968). The Nemesis of Power: German Army in Politics, 1918–1945. New York: Palgrave Macmillan Publishing Company (New Impression edition). ISBN 0-333-06864-5.
  • (German) Hoffmann, Peter (1998). Stauffenberg und der 20. Juli 1944. München: C.H.Beck. ISBN 3-406-43302-2.
  • Burleigh, Michael (2000). The Third Reich: A New History. Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-64487-5.
  • Stig Dalager, "Zwei Tage im Juli", documentary novel dealing with the 20th of July. Aufbau Taschenbuch-Verlag 2006.
  • Gerd Wunder, "Die Schenken von Stauffenberg". Stuttgart 1972, Mueller und Graeff
  • Claus Von Stauffenberg, the 20 July plot, and its aftermath are the subject of Paul West's novel The Very Rich Hours of Count von Stauffenberg, New York: Harper & Row, 1980, First Edition. (ISBN 0060145935).
  • Von Stauffenberg and other participants in the 20 July uprising are seen planning and executing the assassination attempt in Ethan Mordden's novel The Jewcatcher, published in 2008.
  • Claus Von Stauffenberg featured as a character in Justin Cartwright's 2007 novel, The Song Before It Is Sung
  • Herman Wouk: "War and Remembrance" chronicles the attempted assassination of Hitler and von Stauffenberg's subsequent execution in his epic novel, which was also made into a television mini-series.
  • Christopher Ailsby: "The Third Reich: Day by Day"

External links


Simple English

Claus Philipp Maria Justinian Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg
File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-C0716-0046-003, Claus Schenk Graf v.
Stauffenberg at the Kavallerieregiment 17 during 1936
Born Claus Philipp Maria Schenk
15 November 1907(1907-11-15)
Jettingen, Kingdom of Bavaria, Germany
Died 21 July 1944 (aged 36)
Berlin, Germany
Cause of death Execution by Firing Squad
Nationality German
Employer Wehrmacht Heer
Known for 20 July plot coordinator
Home town Albstadt, Germany
Title Oberst (Colonel)
Religion Catholic
Spouse Nina Schenk Gräfin von Stauffenberg
Parents Alfred Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg
Caroline Schenk Gräfin
(von Stauffenberg family)
Relatives Gm Berthold Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (son), Franz-Ludwig Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (son)

Claus Philipp Maria Justinian Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (15 November 1907  – 21 July 1944) was a German army officer and Catholic aristocrat. He was one of the leading members of the failed 20 July plot of 1944 to kill the German dictator Adolf Hitler and remove the Nazi Party from power in Nazi Germany. Along with Henning von Tresckow and Hans Oster, he was one of the central figures of the German Resistance movement within the Wehrmacht.








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