The assassination attempt on July 20

Article

October 17, 2021

The coup on July 20 - an unsuccessful coup d'état aimed at, inter alia, the killing of Adolf Hitler, carried out on July 20, 1944 by Wehrmacht officers under the leadership of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. The attempt on Hitler's life was the culmination of the efforts of the German resistance movement to overthrow the Nazi regime and seize power in Germany. The death of the Führer was to facilitate a military coup and the installation of a new government under Carl Friedrich Goerdeler as chancellor and Ludwig Beck as head of state. The preparations for the attack were attended by conspirators from military circles (Wehrmacht), who remained in close contact with civil circles, including with oppositionists concentrated in the Kreisau Circle. Among the more than 200 executed for participating in the attack were: field marshal Erwin von Witzleben, 19 generals (including Ludwig Beck), 26 colonels, 2 ambassadors, 7 diplomats, 1 minister, 3 secretaries of state, as well as the head of the criminal police, many presidents and prime ministers of federal governments, regional police presidents. Field marshals Erwin Rommel and Günther von Kluge may have been participants in the conspiracy and for this reason they were probably forced to commit suicide. The attempt on Hitler's life was carried out personally by von Stauffenberg, who planted the bomb in the situational council room at the Führer's Wolf's Lair headquarters near Rastenburg (now Kętrzyn) in East Prussia. After placing the cargo, von Stauffenberg immediately returned to Berlin to command the putsch. The strategic plan to seize power after Hitler's death was known as Operation Valkyrie. Due to unforeseen circumstances by the conspirators, Hitler survived the outbreak. The conspirators failed to start a German uprising. It was not possible to take control of the radio stations, so news that Hitler survived the attack reached Berlin. The soldiers who originally carried out von Stauffenberg's orders refused to do so. Troops loyal to Hitler began contracting. On the orders of the commander of the Reserve Army, General Ernst Friedrich Fromm, the leaders of the plot: Claus von Stauffenberg, Friedrich Olbricht, Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim and Stauffenberg's adjutant Werner von Haeften were arrested and shot by firing squad on the night of July 20-21. Hitler began the purges, which resulted in the execution of nearly five thousand opponents of Nazism under the judgments of the People's Tribunal under the leadership of Roland Freisler.

Historical background

Anti-Nazi resistance movement

Individuals (Georg Elser), groups in military circles (in the Wehrmacht centered around Ludwig Beck or in the Abwehr around Hans Oster), civil groups (Kreisau Circle, Biała Róża), as well as groups associated with churches ( Confessing Church), trade unions or political parties (Red Orchestra, German Rote Kapelle). Most of them were concentrated around charismatic individuals and did not maintain formal contacts with each other. The first resistance groups in the Wehrmacht officer circles were formed as early as 1938. Many officers were outraged by the fact that General Werner von Blomberg was removed from the army in January 1938 and General Werner von Fritsch was dismissed in February 1938 (the so-called Blomberg-Fritsch scandal). Von Blomberg was removed from the Wehrmacht after the Gestapo discovered that his wife had a record of posing for pornography by the Berlin police and punished for prostitution. A few days later, General Werner von Fritsch, who had been accused of homosexual inclination and forced to resign, was also removed. Hitler took advantage of the turmoil to fire 16 generals and transfer a further 44, introducing himself loyal commanders and weakening

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