Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The July Plot (Operation Valkyrie)

Lieutenant Colonel
Claus von Stauffenberg
The July Plot (or Operation Valkyrie) was a plan to assassinate the leader of Germany and the Nazi party, Adolf Hitler. The plan was to kill Hitler and then seize the state and replace the government with a new one to prevent destruction by the Allies by ending the war. The plot was planned and executed by a group of German military leaders who saw that Hitler was driving Germany to defeat. Even if they failed they wanted to show history that not all German's and army officers followed Hitler's beliefs and views blindly.

The leaders of the plot were Colonel General Ludwig Beck, former chief of the army general stuff, Colonel General Friedrich Olbricht and Major General Henning von Tresckow. 

However since 1933, there had been many attempts of assassination of Hitler by various groups. So Hitler became suspicious and was heavily guarded and often changed his schedule at short notice. 

The Wolf's Lair after the July Plot.
During a meeting at the Wolf's Lair with Hitler and more then 20 German officers and stuff, a bomb in a briefcase under the table went off during the meeting on the 20th July 1944. The briefcase was planted by Lieutenant Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, the chief of staff of the reserve army. Stauffenberg said he had to make a phone call and left the room. Moments later the briefcase exploded which killed three officers. However, Hitler suffered only minor injuries.

After the bomb went off Stauffenberg believed Hitler was dead and flew to Berlin to start operation Valkyrie. Valkyrie was to use the reserve army to takeover the Nazi regime. Although, without confirmation of the death of Hitler the plan was at a standstill. General Friedrich Fromm, Commander of the reserve army and member of the plot, turned on his fellow conspirators to cover up his involvement, after he learned of the news that Hitler was still alive.

Stauffenberg and Olbricht
being shot on 21st July 1944.
Stauffenberg and Olbricht were arrested and shot on 21st July. Then hundreds of people who were suspected of being involved in the plot were arrested. Around 200 of them were executed. Tresckow committed suicide after he heard about the plot failed. Beck also committed suicide after he was arrested rather than stand trial. Erwin Rommel, a highly respected field marshal who was also linked to the plot, committed suicide to protect his family from facing a trial (as Rommel was a popular figure, the Nazis covered up the truth of his death and even gave him a state funeral). Fromm was shot in 1945 for his involvement. 

After the plot, Hitler believed it was fate he survived. "Having escaped death..." Hitler stated, "I am now more convinced that the great cause which I survive ... can be brought to a good end."   

On 30th April 1945, before Germany surrendered, Hitler committed suicide. The Wolf's Lair was blown up in January 1945 by the Soviet Army. I like to believe members of the July Plot ideas and beliefs to show not all Germans believed the same crazy views as Hitler.

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