Assassination attempt on July 20, 1944
The assassination on 20 July 1944 was the most significant coup attempt of military resistance in the era of National Socialism . The conspirators considered the killing of Adolf Hitler as a prerequisite for a change of power, also from the point of view of the " oath on the Führer " . However, Hitler survived the explosion of the explosive charge deposited by Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg on July 20, 1944 in the Wolfsschanze Fuehrer's headquarters with minor injuries.
This failure, as well as the gaps in preparation and the hesitation in triggering Operation Valkyrie , the plan for the coup , made the attempted coup fail. Those involved in the conspiracy , the people of July 20, 1944 , came primarily from the former nobility , the armed forces and the administration. They had many contacts with the Kreisau circle around Helmuth James Graf von Moltke . Among the more than 200 who were later executed for the uprising were Field Marshal Erwin von Witzleben , 19 generals , 26 colonels , two ambassadors , seven diplomats , a minister , three state secretaries and the head of the Reich Criminal Police Office ; furthermore several senior presidents , police presidents and government presidents .
The relationship between the traditionalist elements at the top of the military and the state leadership was already characterized by various crises in the first few years after the Nazi " seizure of power " in 1933, although most of these militaries ultimately subordinated themselves to the primacy of politics . In the spring of 1938 there was for the first time considerable tension between Hitler and the top of the Wehrmacht. The occasion was the dismissal of the Reich Minister of War General Werner von Blomberg and the Commander-in-Chief of the Army Werner von Fritsch in the course of the Blomberg-Fritsch crisis . Hitler used this to disempower the Wehrmacht leadership, which had previously opposed targeted war preparation by saying goodbye to several high-ranking generals or had them transferred to other positions, and to install the Wehrmacht High Command (OKW) in place of the Reich Ministry of War . In August, the Chief of the General Staff of the Army, Colonel General Ludwig Beck , resigned in view of the worsening Sudeten crisis . Beck, who had been informed of Hitler's plans to occupy Czechoslovakia (" Fall Grün ") since autumn 1937 , had asked Hitler to clarify his foreign policy goals. Thereupon he was told by Hitler that he (Beck) “had to wield the sword wherever and whenever” he, the “ Führer ”, ordered him to do so.
In September 1938 this first resistance in the circles of the highest ranking officers in the Wehrmacht resulted in the so-called September conspiracy . This was run by Beck's successor, Franz Halder , who, unlike Beck, was ready, if necessary, to bring about a coup to depose Hitler. Erwin von Witzleben , Commander in Military District III ( Berlin ), and Walter von Brockdorff-Ahlefeldt , Commander of the 23rd Infantry Division in Potsdam , were to carry out this in the event of war broke out. A tank division under Lieutenant General Erich Hoepner stood by in case the SS Leibstandarte would intervene. A military action and the capture of Hitler were planned by Halder. In addition, Major Hans Oster of the Abwehr decided to cooperate with State Secretary Ernst von Weizsäcker in the Foreign Office . The brother of his confidante Erich Kordt , Theodor Kordt , was counselor in London . His job was to liaise with the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax . However, the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain surprisingly traveled to Munich in September 1938, where in the Munich Agreement the cession of the Sudetenland by Czechoslovakia to the German Reich was agreed. In this way Hitler received a territory that he had originally intended to take by force, without war. “The population, which had initially become hesitant in view of the impending danger, was now able to give free rein to their enthusiasm for the Führer.” Thus the coup d'état of 1938 had already failed before it had even begun, and this “group disintegrated with Hitler's foreign policy success in Munich."
Before the attack on Poland in September 1939, there was another attempt to thwart Hitler's plans. Gerhard Graf von Schwerin , head of the England / America group in the Foreign Armies department of the General Staff, was sent to London . He conveyed the message: “Send a squadron of navies to Danzig: Advance the military pact with the Soviet Union. The only thing that can keep Hitler from further adventures is an impending two-front war. ”He succeeded just as little as the politician Carl Friedrich Goerdeler , who shortly after him tried to persuade the British side to take the desired measures.
In the winter of 1939/40, preparations for a coup d'etat were made again in advance of the planned attack on France . Hitler actually wanted to attack France as early as November 1939. The top of the Wehrmacht considered this project to be absolutely impracticable. Initially, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Walther von Brauchitsch, and his Chief of Staff Halder agreed to have Hitler arrested as soon as he gave the order to attack. Brauchitsch went to see Hitler and presented him with the concerns of the General Staff. Hitler, however, disgraced him and threatened to exterminate the "spirit of Zossen". (The headquarters of the High Command of the Army and the High Command of the Wehrmacht were bunkered in the Zossen district of Wünsdorf .) Thereupon von Brauchitsch broke off the connection to the resistance, and Halder destroyed all incriminating documents. The commanders of the three army groups in the west, with the exception of Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb , also refused to take part in a coup. The unsuccessful bomb attack by resistance fighter Georg Elser on November 8, 1939 in Munich's Bürgerbräukeller then ended the coup plans for the time being. At the same time, Colonel Hans Oster of the Abwehr announced the dates of the attack known to him to the Western powers through Bert Sas , a Dutch military attaché in Berlin who was friends with him . However, since the attack was postponed more than twenty times due to the unfavorable weather conditions, the information provided by Sas and that of his informant increasingly lost credibility.
After the victory over France in June 1940, the skepticism widespread in the leadership of the Wehrmacht gave way to enthusiasm for Hitler. "What change in what time!", The later Hitler assassin Stauffenberg enthused about Hitler's victories over Poland and France in 1939/1940. “This man's father was not a petty bourgeois. This man's father is the war. ”That was Stauffenberg's initial idea:“ First we have to win the war. But then, when we get home, we will clean up the brown plague. ”Only the knowledge of the mass killings of civilians behind the Eastern Front, the murder of three and a half million Soviet prisoners of war and, above all, the shooting of hundreds of thousands of Jews allowed him to overthrow during the Try war.
It was only when the Russian campaign during the Battle of Moscow in the winter of 1941 increasingly exposed the limits of the German armed forces that there were renewed plans for resistance. In June 1942 Adam von Trott zu Solz brought a memorandum to London at risk of death. However, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden declined to respond to the people he believed were traitors. He described cooperation as impossible "as long as they do not agree and give a visible sign of their intention to participate in the disempowerment of the Nazi regime".
Also in mid-1942, a group for which the names Henning von Tresckow and Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg stand today began to realize plans that had Hitler's death as their goal. Several attempts by this group to kill Hitler failed. On March 13, 1943, Henning von Tresckow and Fabian von Schlabrendorff smuggled a bomb disguised as a Cointreau bottle package into Hitler's plane while the dictator was visiting Smolensk , who was on the return flight from Vinnitsa to East Prussia . However, their ignition mechanism failed. The explosives for it were from Admiral Canaris , the chief of the Abwehr, and Colonel i. G. Erwin Lahousen . Eight days later, Rudolf-Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff wanted to blow himself up with Hitler on the occasion of an exhibition of looted weapons in the Berlin armory. But Hitler left the armory shortly before the timer, which was already armed and set to ten minutes, could trigger the bomb explosion. At the last moment Gersdorff managed to defuse the bomb.
Until the summer of 1943, these initiatives came from Tresckow, who was deployed on the Eastern Front; from September 1943, Stauffenberg prepared for an assassination attempt and a putsch. He was by no means an opponent of the regime from the start. Initially, for example, he welcomed Hitler's termination of the Versailles Treaty . However, he refused to join the NSDAP . After the Reichspogromnacht in 1938, he gradually distanced himself from the Nazi regime . In the summer of 1940 he succumbed briefly to the national euphoria that had been triggered by the successful French campaign . The final rethinking began a year later with the attack on the Soviet Union . Stauffenberg was outraged about the systematic and mass murders of the SS and the SD - Einsatzgruppen behind the front.
This and the early conviction that the war had long been lost were, as with many resistance members from the Wehrmacht, significant motives for the murder of tyrants .
Among other things, Stauffenberg expressed his motivation as follows:
“It is time something was done now. However, he who dares to do something must be aware that he will go down in German history as a traitor. However, if he fails to act, then he would be a traitor in front of his conscience. "
"I couldn't look the women and children of the fallen in the eyes if I didn't do everything I can to prevent this senseless human sacrifice."
The plan was initially to have the assassination carried out by another person who, because of the higher chances of success, was willing to self-sacrifice, while Stauffenberg's main responsibility should be to conduct the putsch from the " Bendler block " after the successful assassination . The building at Bendlerstrasse 11-13 (since 1955: Stauffenbergstrasse, Berlin-Tiergarten ) was the seat of the General Army Office and the commander of the reserve army in the Wehrmacht High Command .
In autumn 1943, Stauffenberg won over the young officer Axel von dem Bussche to carry out the assassination attempt in November 1943. In October 1942, von dem Bussche happened to witness a mass shooting of over 3,000 Jews by the SD near Dubno , Ukraine . This experience had made him a bitter opponent of the regime. At the suggestion of Stauffenberg, he declared himself ready to commit a suicide bombing. During a demonstration of new winter uniforms at the Fuehrer's headquarters in Wolfsschanze , he wanted to kill Hitler with a self-made bomb, the detonation of which was to be triggered by a hand grenade . But on November 16, 1943, the railroad car with the uniforms was destroyed in a British air raid on Berlin. In January 1944 another demonstration was thwarted because his superior (who was not informed about the plans), Major General Paul Gurran, forbade the demonstration, saying: "My officers are not mannequins". An attack finally planned for February 1944 could not be carried out because von dem Bussche had been seriously wounded on the Eastern Front at the end of January 1944.
Stauffenberg himself planned an assassination attempt for December 26, 1943 in the Wolfsschanze headquarters for the first time. It was not carried out because Hitler canceled the meeting while Stauffenberg was already waiting in the anteroom because he had decided at short notice to fly to Berchtesgaden that day.
In February 1944, von Stauffenberg approached Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist . On the advice of his father (“Yes, you have to do that!”) Von Kleist made himself available for a suicide bombing that was to follow the pattern of the planned Bussche attack. The project failed because Hitler postponed the date for the demonstration of the uniforms several times.
Stauffenberg's orderly officer, Oberleutnant von Haeften , rejected Stauffenberg's suggestion that he should kill Hitler on religious grounds.
Rittmeister von Breitenbuch , Ordonnanzoffizier of the General Field Marshal Ernst Busch , wanted to shoot Hitler with a pistol during a situation lecture scheduled for March 11, 1944 on the Obersalzberg . But on the day in question, he was surprisingly denied access to the conference room. Hitler had ordered, an SS man told him, that the meeting would exceptionally be held without orderly officers.
On July 7, 1944, at the suggestion of Stauffenberg, the co-conspirator Major General Hellmuth Stieff decided to kill Hitler in Kleßheim Palace near Salzburg on the occasion of a demonstration of new uniforms. Stieff's nerves failed, however. He felt unable to carry out the assassination attempt. Thereupon, as in December 1943, Stauffenberg made the momentous decision to personally carry out the assassination attempt against Hitler and at the same time against Himmler and Göring and then to direct the uprising from Berlin.
Since July 1, 1944, Stauffenberg, as the newly appointed "Chief of Staff" at the Chief of Army Armament and Commander of the Replacement Army, Colonel General Friedrich Fromm had regular access to Hitler's briefings. A few days after the Allies landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944, he had Heinrich Graf von Lehndorff-Steinort inquired of Tresckow whether it still made sense to stick to the assassination plan, for which a practical purpose was no longer apparent . Tresckow asked Lehndorff to convey the following to Stauffenberg:
“The assassination must take place, coûte que coûte. Should it not succeed, action must nevertheless be taken in Berlin. For it no longer depends on the practical purpose, but on the fact that the German resistance movement dared to make the decisive throw before the world and before history at the stake of life. Everything else is irrelevant. "
The conspirators had initially planned to kill Hitler, Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler together with a bomb. Stauffenberg refrained from making a corresponding attempt on July 11, 1944 on the Obersalzberg and on July 15 in the Wolfsschanze Fuehrer's headquarters due to the absence of Himmler and / or Göring on the recommendation of officers from Berlin's Bendlerstrasse. Under no circumstances did he want to miss the next opportunity to attack Hitler. He wanted to go into the briefing room as soon as the briefing had started - with the bomb under his arm.
On the early Thursday morning of July 20, 1944, Stauffenberg and his adjutant Oberleutnant Werner von Haeften flew from Rangsdorf Airport near Berlin with an He 111 provided by Eduard Wagner to the Führer headquarters at Wolfsschanze near Rastenburg in East Prussia . Haeften carried in a briefcase two packages with chemical time fuses (" pencil fuses ") each containing one kilogram of plastic explosives (C1) from British manufacture, which Colonel Wessel Freiherr von Freytag-Loringhoven had procured.
It is often wrongly claimed that the meeting should actually have taken place in one of the underground bunkers at Wolfsschanze. The explosion of one kilogram of explosives in a bunker would certainly have killed everyone present. The briefings had been held in a barracks at Wolfsschanze since July 1944, which Stauffenberg was already aware of due to his participation in the briefings on July 6 and 15, 1944. Stauffenberg had therefore not counted on the much greater damming in the bunker, but rather relied on the effect of the additional second kilogram of explosives.
The briefing had been brought forward by half an hour because Hitler expected Benito Mussolini to visit that afternoon . The planned assassination attempt threatened to fail because initially there seemed to be no opportunity to activate the time fuses of the two explosive devices by then. Therefore, before giving his report to Hitler, Stauffenberg pretended to have to change his shirt on the hot summer day. He went to an adjoining room, where he, assisted by Haeften with one hand, began arming the explosive charges. But because they were disturbed by Sergeant Werner Vogel, who urged Stauffenberg to hurry, he was only able to activate one of the two packages with one kilogram of explosives. Then he made a crucial mistake: Instead of putting the second parcel unsharpened with the first in the briefcase, he handed over the second parcel of Haeften, which had no access to the conference room. "Because of this failure, the effect of the explosion remained limited."
Stauffenberg deposited the briefcase with the explosives under the card table next to the massive foot on the side facing Hitler and left the room a few minutes later under the pretext of an important call from Berlin. After the chemical detonator's acid capsule was destroyed, there were only about 10 minutes left before the firing pin detonated.
At 12:42 p.m. the bomb detonated, killing four people and seriously injuring another nine. However, the other people present were not injured or only slightly injured, including Hitler, because there was no noteworthy containment in the light conference barracks. The pressure wave from the explosives, which had already been reduced to 1 kg, was able to escape mainly downwards through the wooden floor and through the windows, which were wide open due to the summer heat. Hitler also benefited from two circumstances: After Stauffenberg had left the conference room, another conference participant had moved the briefcase to the side of the heavy table base facing away from Hitler in order to be able to reach the table more easily. In addition, Heusinger was just telling Hitler about the situation far north of the Soviet Union; so both men were almost over the large map on the thick tabletop when the detonation occurred. The table base and the solid oak table top largely shielded Hitler from the direct effects of the detonation. He suffered only minor injuries in the form of bruises, abrasions and injuries to the eardrums.
After the failed assassination attempt, Hitler regained confidence. He took it as a mark of "providence" that he survived the attack. Just a few minutes after the explosion, the news that Hitler had survived reached Berlin: The co-conspirator General Erich Fellgiebel had tried, as agreed, to cut off all communications from Wolfsschanze after the bomb had exploded by switching off the telephone system belonging to the barracks . However, this was revoked after a few minutes. In addition, this interruption did not affect separately existing communication links of the SS and a replacement center in blocking zone 2. Therefore, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels received knowledge of the attack around 1 p.m. in Berlin, albeit without any further details. When Fellgiebel found out around the same time that Hitler had survived, he called General Thiele in the Bendlerblock , the center of the resistance group, where the conspirators were waiting for a message, and reported ambiguously: “Something terrible has happened, the Führer is alive. “The co-conspirator Colonel Hahn explicitly confirmed to Thiele in another phone call from Wolfsschanze that Hitler had survived the assassination attempt. Thiele informed Generals Friedrich Olbricht and Hoepner of the long-distance calls, and they agreed not to trigger Valkyrie for the time being.
Himmler, who had not participated in the meeting, called the head of the Reich Criminal Police Office and co-conspirator Arthur Nebe from Wolfsschanze at around 2 p.m. in Berlin and requested an investigation. The head of Office IV ( Gestapo ) in the Reich Main Security Office , Heinrich Müller , who was also informed , was to have Stauffenberg arrested.
First, however, Stauffenberg and his adjutant Haeften managed to escape from Wolfsschanze, which was in the highest alarm state, as planned. The person on watch let them pass at a first barrier, but at the second checkpoint they were initially denied access to the current situation. In a telephone call, Stauffenberg was able to persuade an officer he knew to order the guard on duty to open the barrier. During the drive to the airfield, Haeften threw the unused explosives package from the car. On the tarmac, Stauffenberg was waiting for the He 111, which had been parked for him personally for that day . Although Stauffenberg had not been able to see with his own eyes whether Hitler had actually died in the explosion, he still noticed the force of the detonation. He and Haeften therefore flew to Berlin firmly convinced that Hitler was dead.
While the two conspirators were still on the return flight to Berlin, Colonel Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim had already signed and dispatched some initial alarm orders at around 2 p.m., contrary to the decision of his superior Olbricht. It stayed that way for the time being.
Landing at Rangsdorf airfield around 3:45 p.m., Stauffenberg asked Olbricht, as Fromm's representative, by telephone to start “ Operation Walküre ”. The Valkyrie plan was an official one, but by von Tresckow, Lieutenant Colonel i. G. Robert Bernardis and Stauffenberg adapted plan for the needs of the coup in case of civil unrest. Above all, this meant that all important Gestapo, NSDAP and SS offices should be occupied by the Wehrmacht.
In the Bendler Block, however, they remained unsettled by further indications that Hitler, contrary to Stauffenberg's assurances, had not perished. When Olbricht made a long-distance call to Wolfsschanze, Keitel confirmed to Fromm that Hitler had only been slightly injured.
Therefore, from around 4 p.m., only a few parts of the Valkyrie operation were tackled; the troop leaders on the side of the conspirators often failed to carry out their orders, which meant that valuable time was wasted. The keyword Valkyrie went out to all military districts, teaching and replacement troops. One of the telexes was accidentally sent to Wolfsschanze. As a result, the first telex immediately went out from there that commands from the Bendler block were invalid.
The occupation of the broadcasting house and of the telecommunication centers in Berlin could not be carried out due to a lack of troops. Only in Paris under General von Stülpnagel and in Vienna under the direction of the Chief of Staff in the Military District, Colonel i. G. Heinrich Kodré , managed to implement the orders of Operation Valkyrie. SS members were arrested in these two cities in large-scale operations.
When Stauffenberg arrived at the Bendlerblock around 4:30 p.m., nothing had been done to date except for alerting the troops of the replacement army, which was supposed to take over the military and executive powers in Germany. He revealed to Fromm that he had detonated the bomb himself and claimed that he had also seen Hitler being carried out dead from the barracks and that when he told Fromm about Hitler's survival, Keitel had "lied as always". Fromm was arrested. Other parts of the Valkyrie operation, such as notifying the military districts , have now been processed.
However, several co-conspirators who were decisive for the time after the overthrow were poorly involved in the process after the assassination: Colonel-General Ludwig Beck , after all intended as head of state, did not arrive at the Bendler block until around 5 p.m. When he found out about the dubious outcome of the assassination attempt, he agreed with Stauffenberg's attitude: "This man is dead for me, I let that determine my further actions." Erwin von Witzleben, however, intended as commander in chief of the entire armed forces, decided at the time of the attack even in East Prussia. Without reliable information about the progress so far, he did not arrive at Bendlerstrasse until around 7:30 p.m. When Stauffenberg gave him a report on what had happened so far, Witzleben sharply criticized the inadequacies of the measures taken so far, especially the fact that the troops had not been energetically deployed, and remarked “Nice mess, that!” He left the Bendler block at around 8:45 pm and drove to his country estate outside Berlin, where he was arrested the following day. Other co-conspirators, such as Nebe and Canaris, who were also designated for important positions by the subversives, remained passive in the hours after the attack.
A serious mishap occurred when telexes were sent out which were supposed to make the reason for the Valkyrie operation clear to those not initiated into the conspiracy (“internal unrest”). Stauffenberg's adjutant Friedrich Karl Klausing had the telex classified as a "secret matter of command". As a result, it could not be forwarded to 30 recipients at the same time, but first had to be encrypted and then sent individually and page by page. In addition, there were only four teleprinters available instead of about twenty . It took about three hours for the last telex to trigger Valkyrie to reach all recipients, starting around 4:45 p.m. Further telexes with details of the execution, for example, arrived later than 9 p.m. In the meantime, however, the population between 6:28 and 6:42 p.m. had been informed by three special reports from the German broadcaster that Hitler had suffered only minor injuries, and Keitel's telex had arrived at 8:20 p.m. at the military offices, in which he declared orders from the Bendler block to be invalid and communicated: “The Führer is alive! Completely healthy! "
In addition, the cordoning off of the government district around Wilhelmstrasse in Berlin, the switching off of the Deutschlandsender in the Haus des Rundfunks in Berlin-Charlottenburg, the arrest of the SS leadership and the occupation of the Gestapo headquarters in Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse : around 6 p.m. was convincing The commander of the guard battalion “Greater Germany” , Major Otto Remer , who was believed to be a fanatical National Socialist and was supposed to secure the government district and arrest Goebbels, spoke of the survival of the “Major Remer, do you recognize my voice?” through a telephone conversation mediated by Goebbels. Leader ”. He was given command of the entire capital from him.
Stauffenberg, however, tried to avert a failure of the conspiracy by making numerous long-distance calls. Repeatedly he insisted that Hitler was dead. Nevertheless, the regime increasingly put the conspirators on the defensive. Quite a few officers in the Bendler Block changed sides, withdrew or thwarted orders from the conspirators. At around 8 p.m., General Wolfgang Thomale gave the order to suppress the putsch to the replacement tank brigade that had arrived at Fehrbelliner Platz in Berlin-Wilmersdorf. Around 11 p.m. the Bendler block was occupied by these troops. Most of the conspirators were arrested after an exchange of fire. Only Captain Klausing and a few younger officers (von Hammerstein, von Oppen, von Kleist) were able to escape from the building.
When asked to keep the service weapon "for his own use", Fromm, once his subordinate, gave Colonel General Beck the opportunity to kill himself beforehand. After Beck was only able to inflict a graze on himself on the first attempt and only a not immediately fatal head injury on the second attempt, he was killed by a sergeant's coup de grace on Fromm's orders .
A few minutes after midnight in the courtyard of the Bendlerblock, Stauffenberg, Haeften, Olbricht and Mertz von Quirnheim were shot individually by soldiers in front of a pile of sand in the headlights of a truck. The shooting of the conspirators was ordered by Colonel General Friedrich Fromm , citing a court martial that allegedly took place. After the four shot officers and Ludwig Beck had been buried in uniform with medals and decorations in uniform with medals and decorations on the order of Fromm in the Old St. Matthew Cemetery , Himmler had the corpses exhumed, cremated and their ashes spread over sewage fields of the Berlin sewage treatment plants the next day .
Fromm was keen to cover up his own involvement in the assassination plans. Nonetheless, after a planned government list was found in his safe, he was later charged, sentenced to death and executed on March 12, 1945.
1 am of July 21 1944 met at the Wolf's Lair consisting of the 90 km distant Konigsberg requested OB vans of the Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft and was made operational, Hitler so on broadcasting to the public call was: "A tiny clique ambitious, unscrupulous and at the same time unreasonable, criminally stupid officer has forged a plot to get rid of me and with me to practically exterminate the staff of the German Wehrmacht leadership. "
Major General Henning von Tresckow , Chief of Staff of Army Group Center, suspected that a show trial was imminent. On July 21, 1944, he allowed himself to be driven near the front and detonated a rifle grenade at the edge of the forest . He died instantly.
In Paris the resistance against Hitler was successfully carried out. On July 20, 1944, the commandant of Greater Paris, Lieutenant General Hans Freiherr von Boineburg-Lengsfeld , carried out the arrest of leading Gestapo and SS officers, including the Higher SS and Police Leader in France, SS-Gruppenführer Carl Oberg , and their units in Paris. The arrest of the approximately 1200 SS and SD men stationed in Paris was carried out by Security Regiment 1 of the 325th Security Division under Lieutenant Colonel d. R. Kurt von Kraewel carried out. When the failure of the attack was reported a few hours later and those arrested in Paris were released, Boineburg explained the action to them as an "exercise". He was extremely lucky and was not recognized as a co-conspirator, because General von Stülpnagel (the military commander in France ) was silent, Lieutenant General Hans Speidel (Chief of Staff of the West Commander-in-Chief , Field Marshal Günther von Kluge ) covered him and SS-Gruppenführer Oberg made no fuss. Under increasing pressure from investigations by the regime, von Kluge was deposed and died by suicide in August 1944. Von Stülpnagel tried in vain to take his own life - he was executed at the end of August 1944.
Reasons for failure
In summary, there were three main reasons why the Hitler regime was not overthrown despite the assassination attempt:
- The previous numerous attempted attacks against Hitler had to be postponed or broken off again and again for various reasons. When Stauffenberg's attempt on July 15, which was not carried out, was incorrectly assumed that the attack had succeeded, parts of the Valkyrie plan had already started. Only with great effort and with a lot of luck succeeded in covering up these operations. Except for the core of the resistance, some supporters were no longer willing to risk their lives without absolutely reliable news of Hitler's death.
- The preparation for the seizure of power by the conspirators was utterly inadequate in many respects. In particular, no provision had been made to make it impossible for those loyal to the regime to access radio and telecommunications after the attack. There was a lack of reliable military forces in Berlin to occupy and secure political centers such as the Propaganda Ministry , the Reich Security Main Office, important NSDAP offices and the Gestapo headquarters. Telexes from the conspirators did not reach the recipients quickly enough and at the same time. In any case, the conspirators did not manage to use the radio stations .
- In addition, Claus von Stauffenberg, the central figure of this plan, was not available in the Bendlerblock until 4:30 p.m. because he was still on the flight back to Berlin. No doubt his personal presence there in the minutes and hours after the attack would have been of great benefit. Stauffenberg had a great deal of determination. It was in contrast to the fickle demeanor of many who could only be drawn to the side of the conspirators with the greatest reservations. These people wavered now and could not bring themselves to any activity.
Furthermore, it was not agreed which measures should be taken if, in spite of the initially successful overthrow, there had been a long-term civil war in Germany in addition to the Second World War .
Proceedings before the People's Court
The Gestapo investigation dragged on until May 1945. It is estimated that there were around 700 arrests and more than 110 executions. The family members of the assassins were taken into kin custody. About 5,000 more arrests were made during the grating action in August 1944. In addition to the conspirators, numerous other opposition members of the Nazi judiciary who had long aroused the displeasure of the National Socialist regime but were not involved in the assassination fell victim.
In the wake of the assassination, the so-called “ Ehrenhof der Wehrmacht ” was built on August 2, 1944 , the task of which was to expel officers who might have been involved in the assassination from the army. For those officers who were dismissed from the armed forces as “dishonorable” (downgraded to “riflemen”), the military criminal law was not applicable and therefore the Reich Court Martial was not competent. Because of this formality, they could be tried in show trials before the People's Court , chaired by Roland Freisler . The defendants were subjected to massive humiliation in the courtroom - for example, Erwin von Witzleben had to hold on to his pants during the trial because the Secret State Police had taken his belt off. At the same time he was insulted by Roland Freisler as "a dirty old man who messes with his pants".
A Nazi propaganda film was made about the trials from secret recordings of the negotiations under the title Traitor before the People's Court . However, this was not shown publicly and could only be seen with special permission from Reich Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels , and classified as a secret matter within the meaning of § 88 RStGB in the version of April 24, 1934. Letting outsiders know about the content of the film and its showing was therefore punishable by death.
The execution of the death sentences for high treason usually took place only a few hours after their announcement. The victims were hung from meat hooks with steel cables in Berlin-Plötzensee . A camera filmed the death throes of the condemned, the recordings were forwarded directly to the Führer headquarters. These films are lost today.
Executions and deaths on the part of the assassins
Shortly after the assassination attempt, around 200 people were killed or driven to their death by Hitler's followers as (alleged) assassins or accomplices.
Participants in the briefing in Wolfsschanze
Starting from Hitler to the right there were in the barracks:
- Adolf Hitler (slightly injured)
- Lieutenant General Adolf Heusinger : Chief of the Operations Department of the General Staff of the Army and Deputy of the Chief of the General Staff of the Army (slightly injured)
- General der Flieger Günther Korten : Chief of the General Staff of the Air Force (†)
- Colonel i. G. * Heinz Brandt : First General Staff Officer ; Heusinger's deputy (†)
- General der Flieger Karl-Heinrich Bodenschatz : Liaison officer of the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force in the Führer Headquarters (seriously injured)
- Lieutenant Colonel i. G. * Heinz Waizenegger : Adjutant Keitels
- Lieutenant General Rudolf Schmundt : Chief Adjutant of the Wehrmacht to Hitler and Chief of the Army Personnel Office (†)
- Lieutenant Colonel i. G. * Heinrich Borgmann : Hitler's adjutant (seriously injured)
- General of the Infantry Walter Buhle : Chief of the Army Staff at the High Command of the Wehrmacht
- Rear Admiral Karl-Jesko von Puttkamer : Hitler's naval adjutant (slightly injured)
- Stenographer Heinrich Berger (†)
- Sea captain Heinz Assmann : Admiral staff officer in the Wehrmacht command staff
- Major Ernst John von Freyend : Adjutant Keitels
- Major General Walter Scherff : Hitler's special representative for military historiography (slightly injured)
- Rear Admiral Hans-Erich Voss : Representative of the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy at the Führer Headquarters
- SS-Hauptsturmführer Otto G possibly : Hitler's adjutant (slightly injured)
- Colonel i. G. * Nicolaus von Below : Hitler's air force adjutant
- SS-Gruppenführer Hermann Fegelein : Representatives of the Waffen-SS in the Fuehrer's headquarters
- Stenographer Heinz Buchholz
- Major i. G. * Herbert Büchs : Adjutant Jodls
- Ministerialdirigent Franz Edler von Sonnleithner : Representative of the Foreign Office in the Führer Headquarters
- General of the Artillery Walter Warlimont : Deputy Chief of the Wehrmacht Command Staff
- Colonel General Alfred Jodl : Chief of the Wehrmacht Command Staff (slightly injured)
- Field Marshal General Wilhelm Keitel : Chief of the High Command of the Wehrmacht
- (†) = killed immediately or succumbed to his injuries later
- i. G. * = in the General Staff
The Nazi propaganda reviled Count von Stauffenberg and the July 20th conspirators as cowardly traitors who had stabbed the German Reich in the back in times of greatest need. This (National Socialist) interpretation of the attack continues to have an impact today.
With the heterogeneous and large group of resistanceists of July 20, 1944, it is difficult to name motives that were equally relevant for all participants. Ethical and general religious questions or more personal questions of conscience , in particular the experiences of the crimes committed behind the front in the east, should not be underestimated as “motivating”, especially not in the case of the failed early assassination attempts. Today's German historiography predominantly emphasizes what it calls "national interest" as a decisive incentive for most of the opposing military. In the language of these scholars, the “national interest” is an abbreviation for the unity of the conspirators in the negative assessment of Hitler's dilettantism in questions of war strategy and the hopeless military situation that has arisen on most fronts since 1942. The looming defeat must be prevented in the national interest. For this the elimination of Hitler's person is necessary and high treason is justified.
From 1938 to 1940 the “national interest” in the officer corps was apparently the decisive factor anyway. This assumption is particularly supported by the fact that the military opposition had melted down to a small core after the French campaign in 1940, also due to the unexpectedly quick and easy victory over the “hereditary enemy” who declared war on Germany in 1939. In 1941, on the other hand, the German Reich attacked the allied Soviet Union, achieved no decisive success despite large gains in land, and mass executions took place behind the fronts. Since a victory against the Soviet Union had become unlikely with the defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad at the beginning of 1943, it became easier again to win new men for the resistance.
During the war years, many of the men of July 20 had a growing need to resist the dictatorial policies of Hitler and his party, especially the crimes of the SS behind the front. Increasingly, they had witnessed systematic mass killings of innocents, which they could not reconcile with their conscience and their officer's honor. Many feared long-term damage to Germany's reputation and the imposition of moral guilt on future generations. With this argument, Tresckow had already tried in vain after the announcement of the commissioner's order to induce his superior to make an official protest to Hitler.
Other interpretations place the ever-approaching and inevitable military collapse of Germany in the foreground as the motive for the coup attempt. Marxist-oriented historians in particular see the putsch as an attempt by some "Hitler officers" of aristocratic origin to occupy Germany, to spare the aristocrats the loss of their land holdings in the east and the officer caste from losing their privileges. The real resistance came from the KPD and the Rote Kapelle . Other historians, such as Andreas Hillgruber , consider the failed assassination attempt by Georg Elser on November 8, 1939 and the White Rose's leaflet campaigns at the University of Munich on February 18, 1943 to be more important than the July 20, 1944 conspiracy, because both had a democratic character . Stauffenberg, on the other hand, was a monarchist and therefore not a democrat. Joachim Fest and others, on the other hand, have expressed their opinion that Stauffenberg may be a monarchist and thus not a republican, but was definitely a democrat.
It should be noted that some radical anti-Semites and war criminals were involved in the conspiracy of July 20, for example the Quartermaster General Eduard Wagner , who shared responsibility for the deaths of millions of Soviet prisoners of war and who, for fear of the revenge of the Red Army, resisted the resistance had connected. Arthur Nebe , who was executed in 1945 and who, as commander of Einsatzgruppe B, was responsible for numerous massacres of Jews and other civilians and, as head of the Reich Criminal Police Office at the RSHA, was one of the main people responsible for the genocide of the Roma , also belonged to the inner circle . Another member of the group of co-conspirators was the Berlin police president , Wolf-Heinrich Graf von Helldorff , who had already distinguished himself as an old party member before 1933 in attacks against Jews.
In contrast, there is evidence that 20 participants before the People's Court named the crime of exterminating the Jews ( Holocaust ) as the main motivation for their actions. Most historians assume that some of the men of July 20, under the influence of the brutal and criminal violence policies of Hitler and his party, went through a learning process that led from initial approval to decisive rejection - also at the cost of their own lives. None of the defendants allowed themselves to be broken mentally before Freisler's People's Court or tried to save their own heads by making excuses. In the opinion of some, the resistance members from the officer corps in particular gain particular historical significance through the ethical justification of their approach, as, for example, Henning von Tresckow put it on July 21, 1944 when Fabian von Schlabrendorff said goodbye:
“If God once promised Abraham that he would not destroy Sodom if there were only ten righteous people in it, I hope that God will not destroy Germany for our sake. [...] The moral value of a person only begins where he is ready to give his life for his convictions. "
Abroad, the attempted overthrow was initially belittled: the enemy at the time was portrayed as morally inferior and in the process of breaking. Winston Churchill , who was informed of the assassination plans in advance, declared on August 2, 1944 in the British House of Commons that it was merely "a fight for extermination among the dignitaries of the Third Reich". He further commented on the assassination attempt: “The leading personalities of the German Reich kill each other, or they seek to kill each other; but their days are numbered. "
The United States repeated Churchill's interpretation of the event. The New York Times wrote on August 9, 1944 that the assassination was more reminiscent of an account settlement in the "atmosphere of a dark criminal world". It is not a behavior as one would "normally expect from the officer corps of a civilized state".
Ilja Ehrenburg wrote in the Krasnaya Zvezda that National Socialist Germany was not being brought to its knees by mutinous officers, but by the Red Army and its allies. "Our armies are faster than the conscience of the 'Fritzen'."
The journalist and co-editor of the weekly newspaper Die Zeit , Marion Countess Dönhoff , pointed out that despite the efforts of Carl Friedrich Goerdeler and Adam von Trott zu Solz for support abroad, a “wall of silence” was the result. Dönhoff saw this as "failure to provide assistance": Against their better judgment, the Western powers had followed Hitler's interpretation and described the assassination as the act of "ambitious officers".
Germany after 1945
In divided post-war Germany , attitudes towards the July 20, 1944 assassination attempt were mixed. In West Germany , the men of July 20, 1944 were slowly elevated to “heroes” in the mid-1950s as a result of the Remer trial , whereas the population in the GDR had little to do with this date. For many Germans in the West and the East, the Nazi propaganda accusations of treason continued to have an effect, and there were fears that a new “ stab in the back ” might be encouraged. In memory of the conspirators in West Germany, it was soon said that Churchill had spoken to the British House of Commons about the German resistance as follows:
“In Germany lived an opposition that was becoming weaker and weaker in quantitative terms through its victims and an unnerving international policy, but which is one of the noblest and greatest that has been brought about in the political history of all peoples. These men fought without help from within or without, driven only by the restlessness of their conscience. As long as they lived, they were unrecognizable to us because they had to camouflage themselves. But resistance has become visible in the dead. These dead are unable to justify everything that happened in Germany. But their deeds and sacrifices are the indestructible foundation of the new construction. We hope for the time when the heroic chapter of inner German history will only find its fair appreciation. "
This alleged declaration was published for the first time in 1946 in the magazine Deutsche Rundschau , where its editor Rudolf Pechel presented it with this simple introduction at the end of his essay entitled “Facts” on German resistance activities against Hitler:
"It was Winston Churchill who spoke the following words in the British House of Commons: [...]"
In issue 1/2 of the 1950 year, the Deutsche Rundschau reprinted these "words" under the heading "A confirmation from Churchill". This time it was said that the “words of Winston Churchill” published in the December 1946 issue “on the basis of a newspaper note” had “caused a sensation all over the world” ...
“The source from which we took the alleged quote from a speech by Churchill in the House of Commons was accidentally lost. There was no evidence of Churchill's words in the shorthands of the House of Commons. Members of the German resistance movement have now tried everything to create clarity and induced an English friend to turn to Winston Churchill himself for information. Churchill replied to this request on November 19, 1949: 'Since the receipt of your letter I have had a search made through my speeches for the passage to which you and Count Hardenberg refer; but so far no record can be found of any such pronouncement by me. But I might quite well have used the words you quote, as they represent my feelings aspect of German affairs. I am sorry I cannot be more precise or helpful, but if we are able to identify the speech I will of course be pleased to send you a copy for your friend, as you request. '"
Churchill's alleged declaration to the House of Commons was included in a special publication on July 20 (Ed. Hans Royce) in the newspaper Das Parlament , published by the Federal Agency for Civic Education , in 1952 and also in Eberhard Zeller's standard work Geist der Freiheit , but with the restrictive preface: "Churchill [...] is said to have spoken like this once before the British House of Commons in 1946" (p. 487). The Federal Agency for Civic Education itself calls the text "undocumented", and Peter Steinbach described it in 1999 as "definitely not authentic". As before, nothing is known of an English-language version, and, as in 1950, there are no documents or witnesses to confirm the presentation of the Deutsche Rundschau .
In the Soviet occupation zone and the GDR , the SED regime unequivocally provided the generally binding point of view by initially calling the men of July 20 “reactionary agents of US imperialism”. According to Kurt Finker, “the conspiracy in its entirety and in its essence was a radically reactionary undertaking to save German imperialism and the power of the monopolies from being smashed”. Later, according to the Marxist theory of history, they were classified more in the category of “useful idiots”, that is, as originally anti-working class elements, which, however , had unconsciously supported the victorious Soviet army in its fight against fascism . Around 1980 the SED leadership reflected on its Prussian tradition and assessed the participants of July 20 cautiously positive. In the international multi-part film Liberation , which was produced under the direction of the Soviet Union from 1969 to 1972, the assassination takes a large space and is clearly portrayed positively.
Immediate post-war period in West Germany
The assassination attempt of July 20, 1944, despite its failure after the end of the war, had a considerable impact. While this date prevailed among former and future soldiers through violent conflicts as the essential root of the Inner Leadership concept for a new type of army, for the majority of the population it initially remained an unpopular legacy that was mainly kept alive through memorial speeches. Joachim Fest explains the initial rejection within the civilian population after the war by the former National Socialists who had taken on important positions in the Federal Republic of Germany . The following generations that had moved to the left, especially the 68ers , were reluctant to accept the given point of view, according to which the (allegedly) decisive resistance to German fascism was not from workers, peasants, housewives, prisoners and deserters, but from counts and generals, fascists and war criminals.
Media and memorial speeches
In the media and in the commemorative speeches on July 20 that have been taking place since 1946, there is a tendency to assess July 20 as positive. This tendency took hold after the licensing practice of the media was discontinued in 1949. Even if the term " political correctness " was not yet in use at the time, within the Federal Republican elite any statement against July 20, 1944, especially after the Remer trial in 1952, was increasingly perceived as a violation of what is now called political correctness, and accordingly sharply criticized. From the beginning, in addition to a defense against the manifold allegations against the men and women of July 20, 1944, July 20 was functionalized in the memorial speeches: outwardly to refute the collective guilt thesis , inwardly to establish a new identity in a tradition of freedom . In view of the Germans' inability to deal with their own involvement in National Socialist injustice, the resistance was in some places also assigned a catharsis function. B. in 1958 with Carlo Schmid , a prominent SPD member - culminated in a pseudo-Christian victim rhetoric : “You, those under the ax, those on the gallows, those who died in the gas chambers, on the stake, acted on our behalf ; the hard laurel, which they pressed into their foreheads like a crown of thorns, has taken the guilt that weighed down on us. ”From 1953 onwards, many memorial speakers linked July 20, 1944 with June 17, 1953 as successive beacons of one’s desire for freedom German population in a dictatorship.
As for the political debate on the topic of “20. July ”is concerned, the examination of the plenary minutes of the German Bundestag reveals nuances of different attitudes, although there were no tangible negative statements in the debates throughout the period under investigation - even from members of the KPD or the right-wing Socialist Reich Party (SRP). However, clear and signal-like statements - for example within the framework of the reparation legislation - were completely omitted in the Bundestag and on the part of the federal government. The fact that 20 July was never considered to be a national commemorative or public holiday should be mentioned, but hardly to be seriously criticized ex post. On July 20, public buildings in West Germany were flagged nationwide from 1963, and in 1964 the Federal Post Office issued a stamp to commemorate the German resistance on the 20th anniversary.
Majority opinion of the West German population
The most detailed older survey on July 20th dates from 1951 and shows the picture of a tripartite picture: One third did not associate the date July 20th with any event or had no opinion on it. Another third were positive, the last third were critical of the attack. The latter also publicly denounced and defamed the men and women of the resistance as “cowards” and “traitors” . Contemporaries found the difference of opinion within the population to be problematic. Concerned statements on the reception of July 20 - like the following - were the order of the day, especially until 1952: “It must be the top duty of every responsible German [...], this one to bridge the unfortunate rift that goes through the thinking of our people as far as possible and gradually to close it completely. ”The reasons for a“ not-wanting to deal ”with large parts of the German population lay on the one hand in the prejudices that turned out to be As a result of the National Socialist propaganda against the resistance fighters of July 20, the basic disposition of the population tended to suppress their personal political past.
The critical attitude of the population reached a climax in the context of the strengthening of the Socialist Reich Party (SRP) and the establishment of the soldiers' associations shortly before the Remer trial in the spring of 1952, so that during this period the public opinion increasingly warned that “the assassination represents the center of active political legend formation on Hitler ”. As a reaction to the intensive reporting of the process and the failure of the SRP, the proportion of critics of July 20 decreased, at least temporarily, which is why the published opinion no longer warned of a new stab-in-the-back legend . The topic “20. From then on, July “had lost its explosive character - at least in the civilian sector.
A dilemma ran through all institutions, including political groups. “The following applied to all parties: They wanted to open up to all Germans - for former National Socialists as well as for those who were persecuted, for followers as well as for the victims of the Nazi regime. A one-sided highlighting of the men and women in the resistance would certainly have had a polarizing effect and scared off some followers. ”In this respect, the ambivalence in the attitude of the political public also explains the ambivalence in the attitude of the political public: Even some politicians only had to“ make friends with July 20th ". Many of them came from the democratic tradition of the Weimar Republic , but with a few exceptions they did not belong to the resistance. One representative of this group was Konrad Adenauer . In 1946, as a member of the British Zone Council, he fiercely opposed the application by members of the July 20th resistance fighters for financial support ( survivor's pension ). Eight years later, the Chancellor paid tribute to the resistance fighters in a radio address: "Anyone who undertook to break tyranny out of love for the German people, as the victims of July 20th did, is worthy of everyone's appreciation and admiration."
Others made no secret of their rejection of the assassination attempt and did not change this view. This group included, for example, member of the Bundestag Wolfgang Hedler from the German Party (DP), which had formed a government coalition with the CDU / CSU in Adenauer's first legislative period. In 1949, in a campaign speech riddled with anti-Semitic attacks, he insulted the assassins of July 20 so severely that he was tried after the German Bundestag had lifted his immunity after a heated debate with a majority vote. The fact that Hedler , who had meanwhile converted to the right-wing extremist DRP, was acquitted in the first instance and only sentenced to a nine-month suspended sentence by the appellate court, shows that an ambivalent attitude towards July 20 was also widespread in the West German judiciary at the time.
Further reception history up to the present
When the right of resistance was incorporated into the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany in 1968, July 20, 1944, played an important role in the political debate. The generation of the student movement of 1968 was bothered by the origin and political orientation as well as the profession of the majority of the resistanceists: aristocratic origins, conservative sentiments, professional soldiers. The members of the resistance thus corresponded to the antitype of an ideal typical member of the student movement: pseudo-proletarian origin, anarcho-left orientation and pacifist sentiments. However, this did not prevent the examination of the motives and courage of the resistance, who had been prepared to risk their lives for their convictions.
In the GDR , after 1989, people began to see July 20 from a new perspective: With conscious recourse to history, the People's Chamber , which was freely and democratically elected for the first time , fixed the swearing-in of the NVA on July 20, 1990. The Bundeswehr repeatedly held vows on this historic and symbolic day of remembrance. On the 60th anniversary of the unsuccessful assassination attempt in 2004, an intensive discussion of July 20 took place in the media - including through detailed articles in the news magazines Stern and Der Spiegel as well as the film adaptation of Stauffenberg by Jo Baier . In surveys on the topic, it was found that there is often respect and admiration for the resistance people. Only a small percentage of respondents said that they despise the conspirators. On the occasion of Stauffenberg's 100th birthday in November 2007 and at the end of the shooting of the film Operation Walküre - The Stauffenberg Assassination , Der Spiegel wrote , "Only now is the astonishing climax of a posthumous career that seemed anything but natural".
Speeches, wreath-laying ceremonies and commemorative ceremonies have been used since 1952, primarily in Berlin on July 20, to commemorate the resistance movement of July 20, 1944 and highlight its role model function for the present. The July 20, 1944 Foundation and the German Resistance Memorial Center are in charge of this . Since 1999, recruits of the Bundeswehr have made their solemn pledge in Berlin on July 20 . Initially this happened in the Bendlerblock , and since 2008 in front of the Reichstag building .
- 1964: Revolution on the phone - a documentary for July 20th - Director: Karl Gass , DEFA
- 1971: Geheime Reichssache , documentation with original film excerpts from the proceedings against the defendants on July 20 at the People's Court
- 2004: What Really Happened on July 20th, 1944? , Documentation
- 2008: Stauffenberg's attack on Hitler
- 2009: Stauffenberg - The true story , two-part documentary by Guido Knopp
- 1955: July 20th - Director: Falk Harnack . The film received the German Film Prize in 1956 in the category "Films that contribute to promoting democratic thought".
- 1955: It happened on July 20th - Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
- 1971: Liberation . In the third part of the monumental international co-production, preparations for the assassination, the assassination and the consequences take up a lot of space.
- 1971: Operation Valkyrie
- 1990: Stauffenberg - conspiracy against Hitler
- 2003: The Officer's Hour , docu-drama
- 2004: Stauffenberg
- 2008: Operation Walküre - The Stauffenberg assassination attempt
- List of attacks on Adolf Hitler
- Persons of July 20, 1944
- Beck / Goerdeler shadow cabinet
- Foundation July 20, 1944
- Felicitas von Aretin: The grandchildren of July 20th. Leipzig 2004.
- Tobias Baur: The unloved legacy. A comparison of the civil and military reception of July 20, 1944 in West Germany after the war. Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-631-56468-4 . (= Military historical studies. Volume 8).
- Philipp von Boeselager , Hans Sarkowicz : July 20, 1944 . Conversation. Audiobook, Freiburg 2004, ISBN 3-89964-046-2 .
- Günter Brakelmann : The Kreisau Circle: Chronology, short biographies and texts from the resistance. Münster 2003, ISBN 3-8258-7025-1 . (= Publication series of the research community July 20, 1944. ).
- Ulrich Cartarius : Opposition to Hitler. German resistance 1933–1945. Berlin 1984, ISBN 3-88680-110-1 .
- Marion Countess Dönhoff : "For the sake of honor" - memories of the friends of July 20th. Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-88680-532-8 (first edition), ISBN 3-442-72009-5 (paperback edition).
- Marion Countess Dönhoff: Axel von dem Bussche. Von Hase and Koehler, Mainz 1994, ISBN 3-7758-1311-X .
- Allen Welsh Dulles : Conspiracy in Germany . Harriet Schleber, Kassel 1949/1947; engl .: Germany's Underground .
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- Hans Bernd Gisevius : Until the bitter end . Volume II, Fretz & Wasmuth, Zurich 1946.
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- Ludwig Jedlicka : July 20, 1944 in Austria. Herold, Vienna 1965.
- Kaltenbrunner reports to Bormann and Hitler about the assassination attempt of July 20, 1944. In: Hans-Adolf Jacobsen (Ed.): Mirror image of a conspiracy. Stuttgart 1961.
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- See Joachim Fest: Coup. The long way to July 20th. Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-88680-539-5 , p. 102.
- Peter Longerich: Hitler. Biography. Siedler, Munich 2015, p. 964.
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- Bodo Scheurig: Henning von Tresckow. A biography. Stalling, Oldenburg 1973, pp. 138-140.
- Stauffenberg shortly before July 20, 1944 in a conversation with the wife of his Bamberg regimental comrade Bernd von Pezold (Joachim Kramarz: Claus Graf Stauffenberg. November 15, 1907 - July 20, 1944. The life of an officer. Frankfurt am Main 1965, p . 201).
- Kramarz: Count Claus Stauffenberg. 1965, p. 132.
- Stefan Wolter, Pastor's Children in World War I (series Denk-MAL-Prora, Vol. 6), Halle 2014, p. 353.
- Amputation May Have Saved Soldier From Hitler's Vengeance
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- See Peter Hoffmann: Resistance against Hitler and the assassination attempt of July 20, 1944. Universitätsverlag, Konstanz 1994, p. 134.
- Peter Longerich: Hitler. Biography. Siedler, Munich 2015, p. 968.
- Peter Longerich : Hitler: Biography. Siedler, Munich 2015, p. 818 (e-book); see also verbatim from the investigation report by Hitler's personal physician Theo Morell with Hans-Joachim Neumann , Henrik Eberle : Was Hitler sick? A final finding. Lübbe, Bergisch Gladbach 2009, p. 200 (e-book).
- Guido Knopp: You wanted to kill Hitler. 1st edition. 2004, ISBN 3-570-00664-6 , p. 222 ff.
- Gerd R. Ueberschär : Stauffenberg - July 20, 1944. 2004, ISBN 3-10-086003-9 , p. 16 ff.
- Heinrich Fraenkel, Roger Manvell: July 20 . Ullstein, 1964, p. 126.
- Karl Balzer: July 20 and the treason: a documentary about acts of treason in the German resistance. Verlag Oldendorf, KW Schütz, 1971, p. 60.
- Kurt Finker: July 20, 1944. Dietz Verlag, 1994, p. 271.
- Bundeszentrale für Heimatdienst (Ed.), Erich Zimmermann, Hans-Adolf Jacobsen: July 20, 1944 . Berto-Verlag, Bonn, 3rd edition, 1960, p. 124 ff.
- Wolfgang Benz : The military resistance - July 20, 1944. Information on political education (issue 243), Federal Center for Political Education .
- Hans-Adolf Jacobsen (Ed.): "Mirror image of a conspiracy". The opposition to Hitler and the coup d'état of July 20, 1944 in the SD reporting. Secret documents from the former Reich Security Main Office. 2 volumes. Seewald, Stuttgart-Degerloch 1984, ISBN 3-512-00657-4 , p. 757.
- Complete text of Hitler's radio address to the German people of July 21, 1944 ; ( Youtube original audio document ).
In contrast to the dictator, two weeks later in Posen , Himmler no longer spoke of a very small clique, but identified the entire army with the resistance and explained it with the traditional opposition of the officers to the National Socialist movement.
See Himmler's speech to the Gauleiter on August 3, 1944 . In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte . Munich 4/1953, pp. 357-394 (PDF; 5.27 MB).
- Later Colonel a. D. and owner of the paper mill in Zell am Harmersbach.
- by Aretin: The grandchildren of July 20. 2004.
- Lisa Erdmann: Assassination attempt of July 20, 1944: blood revenge on the children of the conspirators Der Spiegel , July 13, 2004.
- Bengt von zur Mühlen , Andreas von Klewitz : The defendants of July 20 before the People's Court . Berlin, Chronos-Verlag 2001. ISBN 3-931054-06-3 .
- Traitors before the People's Court archive.org, accessed on March 3, 2019.
- Law amending criminal law and criminal procedure. Dated April 24, 1934. dokumentarchiv.de, accessed on March 3, 2019.
- Torsten Hampel: July 20, 1944: Pictures of an execution. In: Tagesspiegel.de. July 16, 2004, archived from the original on September 10, 2012 ; accessed on January 20, 2020 . More than ten years after the war, the historian Karl Otmar von Aretin saw the film and later reported on it as part of the Gedächtnis der Nation project : youtube.com
- Johannes Tuchel : "... and the rope is waiting for all of you.": The cell prison Lehrter Strasse 3 after July 20, 1944 . Lukas Verlag 2014. ISBN 9783867321785 . P. 38.
- The numbers and the ratio of those arrested to those who were executed differ greatly in the literature - even though these are often based on estimates that go back to the Gestapo statistics by Kiesel (1947) . He assumed a ratio of 7000 to 700, other authors such as Mittler (1985) from 7000 to 5000! - The information in English scripts is often similar. Steinbach and Tuchel (1994) point out that Peter Hoffmann had already corrected the number of arrested people downwards around 1970 , so that 700 arrested can be assumed. Even if the total number of people murdered was greater than 200, no information can be given because the names of the victims are not known.
- See e.g. B. Hans Rothfels: The German opposition to Hitler - an appreciation. Fischer library, new edition 1957.
- Fabian von Schlabrendorff: Officers against Hitler. Zurich 1946/51. P. 195 books.google .
- Marion Countess Dönhoff : New documents (zeit.de) , DIE ZEIT 30/1995.
- Frank Brendle: We are Stauffenberg (jungle.world) July 19, 2006.
In the lower house debate on August 2, 1944 , Churchill declared at the end of his speech: " Not only are those once proud German armies being beaten back on every front […], but, in their homeland in Germany, tremendous events have occurred which must shake to their foundations the confidence of the people and the loyalty of the troops. The highest personalities in the German Reich are murdering one another, or trying to, while the avenging Armies of the Allies close upon the doomed and ever-narrowing circle of their power . We have never based ourselves on the strength of our enemy but only on the righteousness of our cause. Therefore, potent as may be these manifestations of internal disease, decisive as they may be one of these days, it is not in them that we should put our trust, but in our own strong arms and the justice of our cause. Let us go on then to battle on every front. Thrust forward every man who can be found. Arm and equip the forces in bountiful supply. Listen to no parley fr om the enemy. Vie with our valiant allies to intensify the conflict. Bear with unflinching fortitude whatever evils and blows we may receive. Drive on through the storm, now that it reaches its fury, with the same singleness of purpose and inflexibility of resolve as we showed to all the world when we were all alone. "(c 1487)
Arthur Greenwood agreed," that the Nazi Party and the military leaders are now at daggers drawn. "(Sp. 1488)" [...] two partners who have now parted company. Neither of them can be trusted by this country. It would be a fatal mistake if, having broken the Nazi Party, although they are temporarily on top, we were to present any better terms to the militarists of Germany than we have done to the discredited Nazis. "(c 1490)
George Strauss , however, said:" I suggest that, now we know that there is an element in the German army which probably is strong and which thinks that the continuation of the war is foolish and suicidal, we should change our whole policy and tell the people of Germany what is the alternative to continuing the war, so that they will know what they are risking if they do not take steps to bring it to an end. "(cc 1518-9)
- Christian Graf von Krockow: A question of honor. Rowohlt, Berlin 2002, p. 119.
- Haug von Kuehnheim: Marion Dönhoff. Rowohlt Reinbek 1999, p. 36.
- December issue, pp. 173, 180.
- With reference to Lothar Kettenacker: The attitude of the Western Allies towards the Hitler attack and resistance after July 20. In: Gerd R. Ueberschär: July 20, 1944. 1998, p. 29 (note 4) online .
- Resistance and the Wehrmacht. In: The Wehrmacht. Myth and Reality. Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich 1999, p. 1156 f.
- Kurt Finker: Stauffenberg and July 20, 1944. Union Verlag, Berlin 1973, p. 280.
- Tobias Baur: The unloved legacy. A comparison of the civil and military reception of July 20, 1944 in West Germany after the war. Frankfurt am Main 2007.
- Tobias Baur: The unloved legacy. Frankfurt am Main 2007, p. 134 f.
- Cf. Britta Morf: The resistance against Hitler as reflected in the commemorative speeches for July 20, 1944 (licentiate thesis). Zurich 1994 [Library of the German Resistance Memorial Center], p. 75 f.
- Carlo Schmid (Berlin 1958), cit. n .: Britta Morf: The resistance against Hitler as reflected in the commemorative speeches for July 20, 1944 (licentiate thesis). Zurich 1994 [Library of the German Resistance Memorial Center], p. 76.
- Tobias Baur: The unloved legacy. Frankfurt a. M. 2007, p. 136.
- Regina Holler: The function of the resistance 1933-1945 against National Socialism for the political culture of the Federal Republic from 1945 to today. In: 50 years July 20, 1944 . Documentation of the conference on July 14, 1994 in Hanover. Published by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Culture, Hanover 1995, p. 98. - In 1957 the public buildings were flagged at half-mast for the first time "in numerous German cities". (In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . July 20, 1959, p. 3.)
- The mood in Germany . August 1951. No. 15: Heroes or Traitors? Review of July 20, 1944. Ed. By the Institute for Demoscopy. Allensbach 1951, p. 4 f.
- Johannes Tuchel: July 20: "Feiglinge" and "Verräter" . In: Zeit Online , January 8, 2009.
- Eduard Hermann: July 20 seen from the political point of view. Self-published, Isny 1952 [Library of the German Resistance Memorial Center]. P. 1.
- The mood in Germany . August 1951. No. 15: Heroes or Traitors? Review of July 20, 1944. Ed. By the Institute for Demoscopy. Allensbach 1951, p. 1.
- Holler: Function of the resistance. 1995, p. 7.
- For a confidential British report on a meeting of the British Zone Advisory Board ( Control Commission for Germany / British Element ) , British Liaison Staff / Zonal Advisory Council, Confidential Report No. 5 (Public Record Office, London, FO 371 / 5562.1). October 3, 1946.
- Broadcasting August 6, 1954, quoted in: Negotiations of the German Bundestag, II. Electoral period. Meeting of September 16, 1954, p. 1956.
- Norbert Frei: The Hedler case. In: Politics of the Past. The beginnings of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Nazi past. Munich 1996, pp. 309-325.
- Cf. “Divided” opinion of a representative on the gassing of Jews. In: Frankfurter Rundschau. December 12, 1949, p. 2.
- See negotiations of the German Bundestag, 1st electoral period. 25th meeting of December 16, 1949, p. 765 and 773 ff.
- Malte Herwig: The good German . In: Der Spiegel . No. 46 , 2007, p. 179 ( online ).
- About the Foundation , Foundation website July 20.
- Vow before the Reichstag. In: The world . July 11, 2008.
- cf. Peter Trummer: In the focus of the camera: July 20 and the Stauffenberg brothers in the feature film State Center for Civic Education Baden-Württemberg , accessed on March 3, 2019.