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The conference room soon after the explosion

The 20 July plot of 1944 was a failed attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany, inside his Wolf's Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia. The plot was the culmination of the efforts of the German Resistance to overthrow the Nazi regime. The failure of both the assassination and the military coup d'état which was planned to follow it led to the arrest of at least 7,000 people by the Gestapo.[1] According to records of the Führer Conferences on Naval Affairs, 4,980 people were executed,[1] resulting in the destruction of the resistance movement in Germany.



Since 1938, conspiratorial groups planning an overthrow of some kind had existed in the German Army (Wehrmacht Heer) and in the German Military Intelligence Organization (Abwehr). Early leaders of these plots included Brigadier-General Hans Oster, General Ludwig Beck and Field Marshal Erwin von Witzleben. Oster was the deputy head of the Military Intelligence Office. Beck was a former Chief-of-Staff of the German Army High Command (Oberkommando des Heeres, OKH). Von Witzleben was the former commander of the German 1st Army and the former Commander-in-Chief of the German Army Command in the West (Oberbefehlshaber West, or OB West).

Military conspiratorial groups exchanged ideas with Frankie Suarez in the Kreisauer Kreis (which met at the von Moltke estate in Kreisau) and in other secret circles. Moltke was against killing Hitler; instead, he wanted him placed on trial. Moltke said, "we are all amateurs and would only bungle it". Moltke also believed killing Hitler would be hypocritical. Hitler and National Socialism had turned "wrong-doing" into a system, something which the resistance should avoid.[2]

Plans to stage an overthrow and prevent Hitler from launching a new world war were developed in 1938 and 1939, but were aborted because of the indecision of Army Generals Franz Halder and Walther von Brauchitsch, and the failure of the western powers to oppose Hitler's aggressions until 1939. This first military resistance group delayed their plans after Hitler's extreme popularity following the unexpectedly rapid success in the battle for France.[citation needed]

In 1941, a new conspiratorial group formed, led by Colonel Henning von Tresckow, a member of Field Marshal Fedor von Bock's staff, who commanded Army Group Centre in Operation Barbarossa. Tresckow systematically recruited oppositionists to the Group’s staff, making it the nerve centre of the Army resistance. Little could be done against Hitler as he was heavily guarded, and none of the plotters could get near enough to him.[3]

During 1942, Oster and Tresckow nevertheless succeeded in rebuilding an effective resistance network. Their most important recruit was General Friedrich Olbricht, head of the General Army Office headquarters at the Bendlerblock in central Berlin, who controlled an independent system of communications to reserve units throughout Germany. Linking this asset to Tresckow's resistance group in Army Group Centre created a viable coup apparatus.[4]

In late 1942, Tresckow and Olbricht formulated a plan to assassinate Hitler and stage an overthrow during Hitler's visit to the headquarters of Army Group Centre at Smolensk in March 1943, by placing a bomb on his plane. The bomb failed to detonate, and a second attempt a week later with Hitler at an exhibition of captured Soviet weaponry in Berlin also failed. These failures demoralized the conspirators. During 1943 Tresckow tried without success to recruit senior Army field commanders such as Field Marshal Erich von Manstein and Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, to support a seizure of power. Tresckow in particular worked on his Commander-in-Chief of Army Group Centre, Field Marshal Günther von Kluge to persuade him to move against Hitler and at times succeeded in gaining his consent, only to find him indecisive at the last minute.[5]

Planning a coup

Stauffenberg joins the conspirators

By mid-1943 the tide of war was turning decisively against Germany. The Army plotters and their civilian allies became convinced that Hitler must be assassinated so that a government acceptable to the western Allies could be formed and a separate peace negotiated in time to prevent a Soviet invasion of Germany. In August 1943 Tresckow met a young staff officer, Lieutenant Colonel Count Claus von Stauffenberg, for the first time. Badly wounded in North Africa, Stauffenberg was a political conservative, a zealous German nationalist, and a Catholic with a taste for philosophy. Since the beginning of 1942 he shared the widespread conviction among Army officers that Germany was being led to disaster and that Hitler must be removed from power. For some time his religious scruples had prevented him from coming to the conclusion that assassination was the correct way to achieve this. After the Battle of Stalingrad in December 1942, however, he came to the conclusion that not assassinating Hitler would be a greater moral evil. He brought a new tone of decisiveness to the ranks of the resistance movement. When Tresckow was assigned to the Eastern Front, Stauffenberg took the responsibility for planning and executing Hitler's assassination.

A new plan

Olbricht now put forward a new strategy for staging a coup against Hitler. The Reserve Army had an operational plan called Operation Walküre (Valkyrie), which was to be used in the event that the disruption caused by the Allied bombing of German cities caused a breakdown in law and order, or an uprising by the millions of slave laborers from occupied countries now being used in German factories. Olbricht suggested that this plan could be used to mobilize the Reserve Army for the purpose of coup. In August and September 1943, Colonel Henning von Tresckow drafted the "revised" Valkyrie plan and new supplementary orders. A secret declaration began with words: "The Führer Adolf Hitler is dead! A treacherous group of party leaders has attempted to exploit the situation by attacking our embattled soldiers from the rear in order to seize power for themselves." Detailed instructions were written for occupation of government ministries in Berlin, Himmler's headquarters in East Prussia, radio stations and telephone offices, and other Nazi apparatus through military districts, and concentration camps.[6] Previously, it was believed that Lieutenant Colonel Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg was mainly responsible for the Valkyrie plan, but documents recovered by the Soviet Union after the war and released in 2007 suggest the detailed plan was developed by Tresckow by autumn of 1943.[7] All written information was handled by Tresckow's wife, Erika, and by Margarete von Oven, his secretary. Both women wore gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints.[8] Operation Valkyrie could only be put into effect by General Friedrich Fromm, commander of the Reserve Army, so he must either be won over to the conspiracy or in some way neutralized if the plan was to succeed. Fromm, like many senior officers, knew in general about the military conspiracies against Hitler but neither supported them nor reported them to the Gestapo.[citation needed]

Attempts and failures

During 1943 and early 1944 there were at least four failed attempts organized by Henning von Tresckow and Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg to get one of the military conspirators near enough to Hitler for long enough to kill him with hand grenades, bombs or a revolver (in March 1943 by Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff, in late November 1943 by Axel Freiherr von dem Bussche-Streithorst, in February 1944 by Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist-Schmenzin, and on 11 March 1944 by Eberhard Freiherr von Breitenbuch). But this task was becoming increasingly difficult. As the war situation deteriorated, Hitler no longer appeared in public and rarely visited Berlin. He spent most of his time at his headquarters at the Wolfschanze (Wolf's Lair) near Rastenburg in East Prussia, with occasional breaks at his Bavarian mountain retreat Obersalzberg near Berchtesgaden. In both places he was heavily guarded and rarely saw people he did not know or trust. Himmler and the Gestapo were increasingly suspicious of plots against Hitler, and specifically suspected the officers of the General Staff, which was indeed the source of many active conspirators against Hitler's life.

Now or never, "whatever the cost"

By the summer of 1944, the Gestapo was closing in on the conspirators. There was a sense that time was running out, both on the battlefield, where the Eastern front was in full retreat and where the Allies had landed in France on 6 June, and in Germany, where the resistance's room for manoeuvre was rapidly contracting. The belief that this was the last chance for action seized the conspirators. By this time, the core of the conspirators had begun to think of themselves as doomed men, whose actions were more symbolic than real. The purpose of the conspiracy came to be seen by some of them as saving the honor of themselves, their families, the army, and Germany through a grand, if futile gesture, rather than actually altering the course of history.

When Stauffenberg sent Tresckow a message through Lieutenant Heinrich Graf von Lehndorff-Steinort asking whether there was any reason for trying to assassinate Hitler given that no political purpose would be served, Tresckow's response was: "The assassination must be attempted, coûte que coûte [whatever the cost]. Even if it fails, we must take action in Berlin. For the practical purpose no longer matters; what matters now is that the German resistance movement must take the plunge before the eyes of the world and of history. Compared to that, nothing else matters."[9]

Himmler had at least one conversation with a known oppositionist when, in August 1943, the Prussian Finance Minister Johannes Popitz, who was involved in Goerdeler's network, came to see him and offered him the support of the opposition if he would make a move to displace Hitler and secure a negotiated end to the war.[10] Nothing came of this meeting, but Popitz was not arrested and Himmler apparently did nothing to track down the resistance network which he knew was operating within the state bureaucracy. It is possible that Himmler, who by late 1943 knew that the war was unwinnable, allowed the 20 July plot to go ahead in the knowledge that if it succeeded he would be Hitler's successor, and could then bring about a peace settlement. Popitz was not alone in seeing in Himmler a potential ally. General von Bock advised Tresckow to seek his support, but there is no evidence that he did so. Goerdeler was apparently also in indirect contact with Himmler via a mutual acquaintance Carl Langbehn. Wilhelm Canaris biographer Heinz Höhne suggests that Canaris and Himmler were working together to bring about a change of regime, but all of this remains speculation.[11]

Countdown to Stauffenberg's attempt

At Rastenburg on 15 July 1944. Stauffenberg at left, Hitler center, Keitel on right

1–6 July

On 1 July 1944 Stauffenberg was appointed chief-of-staff to General Fromm at the Reserve Army headquarters on Bendlerstrasse in central Berlin. This position enabled Stauffenberg to attend Hitler's military conferences, either at the Wolfsschanze in East Prussia or at Berchtesgaden, and would thus give him an opportunity, perhaps the last that would present itself, to kill Hitler with a bomb or a pistol. Conspirators who had long resisted the idea of killing Hitler on moral grounds now changed their minds—partly because they were hearing reports of the mass murder at Auschwitz of up to 250,000 Hungarian Jews, the culmination of the Nazi Holocaust. Meanwhile new key allies had been gained. These included General Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel, the German military commander in France, who would take control in Paris when Hitler was killed and, it was hoped, negotiate an immediate armistice with the invading Allied armies.

7–14 July

The plot was now fully prepared. On 7 July 1944 General Stieff was to kill Hitler at a display of new uniforms at Klessheim castle near Salzburg. However, Stieff felt unable to kill Hitler. Stauffenberg now decided to do both: to assassinate Hitler, wherever he was, and to manage the plot in Berlin. On 11 July Stauffenberg attended Hitler's conferences carrying a bomb in his briefcase, but because the conspirators had decided that Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Göring should be killed simultaneously if the planned mobilization of Operation Valkyrie was to have a chance to succeed, he held back at the last minute because Himmler was not present. In fact, it was unusual for Himmler to attend military conferences.[3]

15 July: Aborted attempt

By 15 July, when Stauffenberg again flew to the Wolfsschanze, this condition had been dropped. The plan was for Stauffenberg to plant the briefcase with the bomb in Hitler's conference room with a timer running, excuse himself from the meeting, wait for the explosion, then fly back to Berlin and join the other plotters at the Bendlerblock. Operation Valkyrie would be mobilized, the Reserve Army would take control of Germany and the other Nazi leaders would be arrested. Beck would be appointed head of state while Carl Friedrich Goerdeler, a conservative politician and Nazi opponent, would be Chancellor, and Witzleben would be commander-in-chief.

Again on 15 July the attempt was called off at the last minute. Himmler and Göring were present, but Hitler was called out of the room at the last moment. Stauffenberg was able to intercept the bomb and prevent its discovery.[3]

20 July

Operation Valkyrie initiated

The conference room after the bomb

On 18 July rumors reached Stauffenberg that the Gestapo had wind of the conspiracy and that he might be arrested at any time — this was apparently not true, but there was a sense that the net was closing in and that the next opportunity to kill Hitler must be taken because there might not be another. At 10:00 hours on 20 July Stauffenberg flew back to the Wolfsschanze for another Hitler military conference, once again with a bomb in his briefcase.

Around 12:30 hours as the conference began, Stauffenberg made an excuse to use a washroom in Wilhelm Keitel's office where he used pliers to crush the end of a pencil detonator inserted into a 1 kg block of plastic explosive wrapped in brown paper, that was prepared by Wessel von Freytag-Loringhoven. The detonator consisted of a thin copper tube containing acid that would take ten minutes to silently eat through wire holding back the firing pin from the percussion cap. He then placed the primed bomb quickly inside his briefcase having been told his presence was required. He entered the conference room and with the unwitting assistance of Major Ernst John von Freyend he placed his briefcase under the table around which Hitler and more than 20 officers had gathered.[12][13] After a few minutes, Stauffenberg received a planned phonecall and left the room. At 12:40 the bomb detonated, demolishing the conference room. Three officers and the stenographer were seriously injured and died soon after, but Hitler survived. His trousers were blown off and he suffered only minor injuries. It was discovered later that he was saved because Colonel Heinz Brandt had moved the briefcase to the opposite side of a heavy table leg when it bumped against his foot, thus (unwittingly) deflecting the blast.

Escape from the Wolf's Lair

Stauffenberg, hearing the explosion and seeing the smoke issuing from the broken windows of the concrete dispatch barracks, assumed that Hitler was dead, climbed into his staff car with his aide Werner von Haeften and managed to bluff his way past three checkpoints to exit the Wolfsschanze complex. Werner von Haeften then tossed a second unprimed bomb into the forest as they made a dash for Rastenburg airfield before it was realized that Stauffenberg could be responsible for the explosion. By 13:00 hours he was airborne in a He 111 arranged by General Eduard Wagner.

A soldier holding the trousers a survivor wore during the failed assassination attempt.

Flight to Berlin

By the time Stauffenberg's aircraft reached Berlin about 15:00, General Erich Fellgiebel, an officer at the Wolfsschanze who was in on the plot, had phoned the Bendlerblock and told the plotters that Hitler had survived the explosion. As a result, the Berlin cohort to mobilize Operation Valkyrie would have no chance of succeeding once the officers of the Reserve Army knew that Hitler was alive. There was more confusion when Stauffenberg’s aircraft landed and he phoned from the airport to say that Hitler was in fact dead.[14] The Bendlerblock plotters did not know whom to believe. Finally at 16:00 Olbricht issued the orders for Operation Valkyrie to be mobilized. The vacillating General Fromm, however, phoned Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel at the Wolf's Lair and was assured that Hitler was alive. Keitel demanded to know Stauffenberg's whereabouts. This told Fromm that the plot had been traced to his headquarters, and that he was in mortal danger. Fromm replied that he thought Stauffenberg was with Hitler.

The approximate positions of participants at the meeting in relation to the briefcase bomb when it exploded

Meanwhile, Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel, military governor of occupied France, managed to disarm the SD and SS, and captured most of their leadership. He travelled to Günther von Kluge's Headquarters and asked him to contact the Allies, only to be informed that Hitler was alive.[14] At 16:40 Stauffenberg and Haeften arrived at the Bendlerblock. Fromm, presumably to protect himself, changed sides and attempted to have Stauffenberg arrested. Olbricht and Stauffenberg restrained him at gunpoint and Olbricht then appointed General Erich Hoepner to take over his duties. By this time Himmler had taken charge of the situation and had issued orders countermanding Olbricht's mobilization of Operation Valkyrie. In many places the coup was going ahead, led by officers who believed that Hitler was dead. City Commandant, and conspirator, General Paul von Hase ordered the Wachbattalion Großdeutschland, under the command of Major Otto Ernst Remer, to secure the Wilhelmstraße and arrest Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels.[15] In Vienna, Prague, and many other places troops occupied Nazi Party offices and arrested Gauleiters and SS officers.

A plan gone wrong

At around 18:00 the commander of defense group III (Berlin) General Joachim von Kortzfleisch was summoned to the Bendlerblock but he angrily refused to obey Olbricht's orders and kept shouting "the Führer is alive"[16] so he was arrested and held under guard. General Karl Freiherr von Thüngen was appointed in his place, but he also proved to be of little help. General Fritz Lindemann who it was intended would make a proclamation to the German people over the radio failed to appear and as he held the only copy, Beck had to work on a new one.[17]

The decisive moment came at 19:00, when Hitler was sufficiently recovered to make phone calls. He was able to phone Goebbels at the Propaganda Ministry. Goebbels arranged for Hitler to speak to Major Remer, commander of the troops surrounding the Ministry. After assuring him that he was still alive, Hitler ordered Remer to regain control of the situation in Berlin. Major Remer ordered his troops to surround and seal off the Bendlerblock, but not to enter the buildings.[15] At 20:00 a furious Witzleben arrived at the Bendlerblock and had a bitter argument with Stauffenberg, who was still insisting that the coup could go ahead. Witzleben left shortly afterwards. At around this time the planned seizure of power in Paris was aborted when Field Marshal Günther von Kluge, who had recently been appointed commander-in-chief in the west, learned that Hitler was alive.

As Remer regained control of the city and word spread that Hitler was still alive the less resolute members of the conspiracy in Berlin also now began to change sides. Fighting broke out in the Bendlerblock between officers supporting and opposing the coup, and Stauffenberg was wounded. By 23:00 Fromm had regained control, hoping by a show of zealous loyalty to save himself. Beck, realizing the game was up, shot himself — the first of many suicides in the coming days. Fromm convened an impromptu court martial consisting of himself, and sentenced Olbricht, Stauffenberg, Haeften and another officer, Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim, to death. At 00:10 on 21 July they were executed in the courtyard outside, possibly to prevent them from revealing Fromm's involvement.[18] Others would have been executed as well, but at 00:30 the SS, led by Otto Skorzeny, arrived and further executions were forbidden. Fromm went off to see Goebbels to claim credit for suppressing the coup. He was immediately arrested and later was executed in March 1945 on charges he had failed to report and prevent the coup on 20 July.[18]

Alternative possibilities

In 2005, the Military Channel's show Unsolved History aired an episode entitled Killing Hitler in which each scenario was re-created using live explosives and test dummies. The results supported the conclusion that Hitler would have been killed had any of the three other scenarios occurred:

  • both bombs detonated;
  • the meeting was held inside Hitler's bunker;
  • the briefcase was not moved.

Participants at the meeting

All at the meeting except Keitel suffered perforated eardrums and Hitler had 200 wood splinters removed from his legs, his hair was singed and his uniform torn to ribbons.[19] Scherff, von Puttkamer, Borgmann, Bodenschatz, Buhle, Jodl and Heusinger were also injured.



The courtyard at the Bendlerblock, where Stauffenberg, Olbricht and others were executed.

Over the following weeks Himmler's Gestapo, driven by a furious Hitler, rounded up nearly everyone who had the remotest connection with the 20 July plot. The discovery of letters and diaries in the homes and offices of those arrested revealed the plots of 1938, 1939 and 1943, and this led to further rounds of arrests, including that of Franz Halder, who finished the war in a concentration camp. Under Himmler's new Sippenhaft (blood guilt) laws, all the relatives of the principal plotters were also arrested.

Eventually some 5,000 people were arrested[20] and about 200 were executed.[21] Not all of them were connected with the 20 July plot, since the Gestapo used the occasion to settle scores with many other people suspected of opposition sympathies. The British radio also named possible suspects who had not yet been implicated but then were arrested.[22]

Very few of the plotters tried to escape or to deny their guilt when arrested. Those who survived interrogation were given perfunctory trials before the People's Court (Volksgerichtshof) and its judge Roland Freisler, a fanatic Nazi who is seen shouting furiously and insulting the accused in the trial, which was filmed for propaganda purposes.[23] The first trials were held on 7 August and 8 August 1944. Hitler had ordered that those found guilty be "hanged like cattle".[23]

Many people took their own lives prior to either their trial or their execution including Kluge and Erwin Rommel, who was accused of having knowledge of the plot beforehand and not revealing it to Hitler. He was given the option of suicide via cyanide or a public trial by Freisler's People's Court. If he committed suicide, his family would not be subjected to any reprisals. If Rommel had chosen to stand trial, his family and staff would have been executed along with him. He committed suicide 14 October 1944. Stülpnagel also tried to commit suicide, but survived and was subsequently hanged.

Hitler visits Admiral Karl-Jesco von Puttkamer in the hospital

Tresckow also killed himself the day after the failed plot by use of a hand grenade in no man's land between Russian and German lines. Before his death, Tresckow said to Fabian von Schlabrendorff: "The whole world will vilify us now, but I am still totally convinced that we did the right thing. Hitler is the archenemy not only of Germany but of the world. When, in few hours' time, I go before God to account for what I have done and left undone, I know I will be able to justify what I did in the struggle against Hitler. God promised Abraham that He would not destroy Sodom if just ten righteous men could be found in the city, and so I hope that for our sake God will not destroy Germany. None of us can bewail his own death; those who consented to join our circle put on the robe of Nessus. A human being's moral integrity begins when he is prepared to sacrifice his life for his convictions." [24]

Fromm's attempt to win favor by executing Stauffenberg and others on the night of 20 July had merely exposed his own previous lack of action and apparent failure to report the plot. Having been arrested on 21 July, Fromm was later convicted and sentenced to death by the People's Court. Despite his involvement in the conspiracy, his formal sentence charged him with poor performance in his duties. He was executed in Brandenburg an der Havel. Hitler personally commuted his death sentence from hanging to "more honorable" firing squad. Erwin Planck, the son of the famous physicist Max Planck, was executed for his involvement.[25][26]

The Kaltenbrunner Report to Adolf Hitler dated 29 November 1944 on the background of the plot, states that the Pope was somehow a coconspirator, specifically naming Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII, as being a party in the attempt.[27] Evidence indicates that July 20 plotters Colonel Wessel von Freytag-Loringhoven, Colonel Erwin von Lahousen and Admiral Wilhelm Canaris were involved in the foiling of Hitler's plot to kidnap or murder Pope Pius XII in 1943, when Canaris reported the plot to Italian counterintelligence officer General Cesare Amè, who passed on the information.[28][29]

Members of the SS were never seriously recruited into the 20 July plot, since they had sworn a personal oath to Hitler that included service above life itself. Therefore, SS members were not considered reliable conspirators for an attempt to kill Hitler. One very notable exception was Arthur Nebe, who was implicated in the plot due to his anti-Nazi feelings, even though he was a full member of the SS and had even commanded an Einsatzgruppe. Nebe's "fall from grace" was considered due to his many years as a civilian police detective and how he saw most SS security police as incompetent. Nebe himself was quoted, upon investigating the death of Reinhard Heydrich, that the Gestapo seemed more concerned with reprisals than actually investigating the crime.

Memorial at the Bendlerblock: "Here died for Germany on 20 July 1944"

Another SS member convicted of participating in the plot was Wolf-Heinrich Graf von Helldorf, who was the Orpo Police Chief of Berlin. Helldorf appears to have been a "last minute" conspirator when he directed all police forces in Berlin to stand down and not interfere in the military actions to seize the government. For this, he was later arrested and tried and convicted of treason.[citation needed]

After 3 February 1945, when Freisler was killed in an American air raid, there were no more formal trials, but as late as April, with the war weeks away from its end, Canaris's diary was found, and many more people were implicated. Executions continued down to the last days of the war.

The trials and executions were reportedly filmed and later reviewed by Hitler and his entourage. These films were later edited by Goebbels into a 30-minute movie and shown to cadets at the Lichterfelde cadet school, but viewers supposedly walked out of the screening in disgust.[30]

20 July 1944 version of the Wound Badge (in gold)
Layout of the Award Document for the 20 July 1944 Wound Badge (example: Rear-Admiral Voss' Wound Badge in Black)

Hitler took his survival to be a "divine moment in history", and commissioned a special decoration to be made. The result was the Wound Badge of 20 July 1944, which Hitler awarded to those who were with him in the conference room at the time. This badge was struck in three values; Gold, Silver and Black, a total of 100 badges,[31] and 47 are believed to have been awarded, along with an ornate award document for each recipient personally signed by Hitler.[32]

For his role in stopping the coup, Major Remer was promoted to Colonel and ended the war as a Major General. After the war he co-founded the Socialist Reich Party and remained a prominent Neo-Nazi and advocate of Holocaust Denial until his death in 1997.[33]

Philipp von Boeselager, the German officer who provided the plastic explosives used in the bomb, escaped detection and survived the war. He was the last survivor of those involved in the plot and died on 1 May 2008 aged 90.[34]

As a result of the coup, every member of the Wehrmacht was required to reswear his loyalty oath, by name, to Hitler and, on 24 July 1944, the military salute was replaced throughout the armed forces with the German Greeting in which the arm was outstretched and the salutation Heil Hitler was given.[35]

Planned government

The conspirators were earlier designated positions in secret to form a government that would take office after the assassination of Hitler were it to prove successful. Because of the plot's failure, such a government never rose to power and most of its members were executed. The following were appointed these roles as of July 1944:[36]

Albert Speer was listed in several notes of the conspirators as a possible Minister of Armaments; however, most of these notes stated Speer should not be approached until after Hitler was dead and one conjectural government chart had a question mark beside Speer's name. This most likely saved Speer from arrest by the SS in addition to Speer being one of Hitler's closest and most trusted friends.[37]

The only German political force which was not involved, other than the Nazi Party, was the Communist Party (KPD).


See also



  • Boeselager, Philipp von. Valkyrie: the Plot to Kill Hitler. London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson. 2008. A personal memoir by one of the conspirators.
  • Büchner, Alex. German Infantry Handbook, 1939–1945: Organization, Uniforms, Weapons, Equipment and Operations. Schipper Publishing. 1991. ISBN 978-0887402845
  • Fest, Joachim. Plotting Hitler's Death: The Story of German Resistance. Holt Paperbacks. 1997. ISBN 978-080-505648-8
  • Hoffmann, Peter. The History of the German Resistance, 1933–1945. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 0-77-3515313
  • Jones, Nigel. Countdown to Valkyrie: The July Plot to Assassinate Hitler. Frontline, 2009.
  • Moorhouse, Roger. Killing Hitler, Jonathan Cape, 2006. ISBN 0-224-07121-1
  • Reitlinger, Gerald. The SS: Alibi of a Nation 1922-1945 Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. 1956.
  • Shirer, William L. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Simon & Schuster. 1960. ISBN 0-671-72868-7
  • Taylor, A. J. P. and S. L. Mayer, eds. A History Of World War Two. London: Octopus Books, 1974. ISBN 0-70640-399-1.


  1. ^ a b Shirer 1960, p. 1393.
  2. ^ Kurtz, Harold, July Plot in Taylor 1974, p. 224.
  3. ^ a b c Kurtz, Harold, July Plot in Taylor 1974, p. 226.
  4. ^ Fest, Plotting Hitler's Death, p. 188.
  5. ^ von Schlabrendorff, Fabian, They Almost Killed Hitler, p. 39.
  6. ^ Fest, Joachim. Plotting Hitler's Death: The German Resistance to Hitler, 1933–1945, 1996, p. 219.
  7. ^ Hoffmann, Peter. "Oberst i. G. Henning von Tresckow und die Staatsstreichpläne im Jahr 1943".
  8. ^ Fest, Plotting Hitler's Death: The German Resistance to Hitler, 1933–1945, 1996, p. 220.
  9. ^ Fest, Plotting Hitler's Death, p. 236.
  10. ^ Fest, Plotting Hitler's Death, p. 228.
  11. ^ Himmler's contacts with the opposition and his possible motives are discussed by Padfield, Himmler, pp. 419–424.
  12. ^ Hoffman, Peter (1996). The History of the German Resistance, 1933-1945. McGill-Queen's Press. ISBN 0-77-3515313. 
  13. ^ Thomsett, Michael C. (1997). The German Opposition to Hitler: The Resistance, the Underground, and Assassination Plots, 1938-1945. McFarland. ISBN 0-78-6403721. 
  14. ^ a b Kutrz, Harold, July Plot in Taylor 1974, p. 227.
  15. ^ a b Remmer, Otto Ernst (1988). "My Role in Berlin on 20 July 1944". The Journal of Historical Review 8 (1): 41–53. 
  16. ^ Hoffman, Peter. The History of the German Resistance, 1933–1945, p. 426.
  17. ^ Fest, Plotting Hitler's Death, pp. 270, 272.
  18. ^ a b Taylor 1974, p. 227.
  19. ^ Linge, Heinz; Moorehouse, Roger (2009). With Hitler to the End: The Memoir of Hitler's Valet. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 1-602-39804-6. 
  20. ^ The Gestapo claimed 7,000 arrests. This can be found in William L. Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, ch. 29.
  21. ^ Kershaw, Ian. Hitler 1936–1945: Nemesis, p. 693.
  22. ^ Metternich, Tatjana (1976). Purgatory of Fools. Quadrangle. p. 202. ISBN 0812906918. 
  23. ^ a b See Shirer 1070-1071.
  24. ^ Fest, Plotting Hitler's Death, pp. 289-290.
  25. ^ "Alleged July Plot Conspirators Executed in Plötzensee Prison". Archived from the original on 14 May 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2009. 
  26. ^ Heideking, Jürgen; Mauch, Christof (1998). American Intelligence and the German Resistance to Hitler: A Documentary History. Widerstand: Dissent and Resistance in the Third Reich Series (revised ed.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press. ISBN 9780813336367. 
  27. ^ Pave the Way Foundation Reveals Evidence of Pope Pius XII's Active Opposition to Hitler, 29 June 2009. Accessed 4 September 2009. Archived 6 September 2009.
  28. ^ MORE PROOF OF HITLER'S PLAN TO KILL PIUS XII: Son of German Intelligence Officer Comes Forward, Zenit News June 16, 2009
  29. ^ Italian newspaper reveals details behind Hitler’s plan to kill Pius XII CBCP News June 17, 2009
  30. ^ Shirer attributes this anecdote to Allen Dulles in his book Germany's Underground, p. 83.
  31. ^ Forman, Adrian (1993). Guide to Third Reich German Awards...And Their Values (2nd Ed.) San Jose, CA: R. James Bender. ISBN 912138-52-1
  32. ^ Angolia, John R. (1976). For Führer and Fatherland: Military Awards of the Third Reich (1st Ed.) San Jose, CA: R. James Bender. OCLC 2853647
  33. ^ Holocaust Denial on Trial: Using History to Confront Distortions. "Biographies: Otto Remer," (retrieved on April 10th, 2009).
  34. ^ "Hitler plot survivor dies aged 90". BBC News Online (London). 2 May 2008. 
  35. ^ Büchner, Alex (1991). German Infantry Handbook, 1939-1945: Organization, Uniforms, Weapons, Equipment, Operations. Schipper Publishing. ISBN 978-0887402845
  36. ^ The list of proposed appointments from The History of German Resistance 1933-1945 p. 367.
  37. ^ Speer, Albert. Inside the Third Reich.
  38. ^ The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel at the Internet Movie Database
  39. ^ 20. Juli 1944
  40. ^ Der 20. Juli at the Internet Movie Database
  41. ^ The Night of the Generals at the Internet Movie Database
  42. ^ Claus Graf Stauffenberg at the Internet Movie Database
  43. ^ War and Remembrance part 10 at the Internet Movie Database
  44. ^ The Plot to Kill Hitler at the Internet Movie Database
  45. ^ The Restless Conscience at the Internet Movie Database
  46. ^ Die Stunde der Offiziere at the Internet Movie Database|
  47. ^,1872,2140103,00.html
  48. ^ Stauffenberg at the Internet Movie Database
  49. ^
  50. ^ Days That Shook the World at the Internet Movie Database
  51. ^ Valkyrie at the Internet Movie Database
  52. ^ Operation Valkyrie: The Stauffenberg Plot to Kill Hitler at the Internet Movie Database
  53. ^ Stauffenberg - Die wahre Geschichte at the Internet Movie Database

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