Assassination Attempts: Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Nazi Germany Part 2
About the assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler Chancellor of Nazi Germany, the history of the attempt by Claus von Stauffenberg.
The Victim: ADOLF HITLER, Chancellor of Nazi Germany.
In spite of the altered circumstances, Stauffenberg was able to gain access to the conference room without arousing suspicion. Three minutes went by. As he entered the room, General Heusinger was expounding on the overall military situation. The small room was almost filled by a massive oak table which was supported by 2 huge oak slabs. Seated around the table were Hitler and 23 important Nazis. Additional conferees stood about the room.
Stauffenberg took his place, perhaps 5' to 6' to the right of Hitler and set his briefcase down against the inner side of one of the oak supports. Muttering about a telephone call, Stauffenberg abruptly left the room. General Heusinger's report continued. Colonel Brandt, sitting 3 chairs to Hitler's right, moved Stauffenberg's briefcase to the outer side of the oak support, probably because it was in his way. Field Marshal Keitel, one of Hitler's top aides, became concerned that Stauffenberg would not return in time to give his report and dispatched a subordinate to search for Stauffenberg. The runner returned to report that he could not locate the colonel.
As Hitler leaned across the table to look at a map, the bomb exploded. Bodies were thrown about as the walls and ceiling blasted apart. Four people were killed, several were badly hurt. The Fuhrer suffered from shock, minor burns, and injury to the eardrums, but escaped major harm due to the protection of the heavy oak table. He recovered sufficiently to meet Mussolini 2 hours later. Stauffenberg viewed the explosion from 100 yards away, then managed to get out of the compound and onto an airplane. Assuming that he had succeeded in killing Hitler, Stauffenberg and his conspirators set into motion their plans to take over the Government.
The Would-Be Assassins: Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, who was 37, was a "liberal"--within the context of wartime Germany. He despised Hitler as early as 1936, and is said to have called him "the buffoon" and "the enemy of the world." Stauffenberg drew up a peace program which provided for a freely-elected Government, and he proposed socialist leader Julius Leber as a candidate for Minister of the Interior.
The conspiracy in which Stauffenberg was involved consisted mainly of aristocratic or high-minded military officers who held middle-rank staff positions. These officers were bound together by their class status as well as their distrust of the Nazis. Much of the motivation for their resistance was right-wing patriotism. They felt that Hitler was destroying the country, and some of them were plainly disgusted by the immorality of Hitler's actions.
A few of the principal long-term conspirators, however, were highly placed. Col.-Gen. Ludwig Beck was chief of the Army's general staff until he resigned in 1938 in protest against Hitler. Beck was formerly the effective head of the resistance against the Fuhrer. Adm. Wilhelm Canaris was chief of Military Intelligence from 1935 to 1944. Canaris, along with his collaborators Hans von Dohnanyi (legal adviser) and Maj.-Gen. Hans Oster (chief of staff) were key organizers of the conspiracy.
Other resistance kingpins included Colonel-General Olbricht, who worked closely with Stauffenberg; Lieutenant Schlabrendorff and Major-General Tresckow, who themselves attempted unsuccessfully to bomb Hitler; and scores of other military officers and civilians who participated in or supported the opposition.
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