Skip to comments.Claus von Stauffenberg: The Nazi who tried to kill Hitler
Posted on 07/18/2004 4:36:24 AM PDT by Grzegorz 246
BERLIN, (AFP) - Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg made a dramatic turnaround from being an enthusiastic supporter of Adolf Hitler and his regime to carrying the bomb packed in a briefcase that was intended to kill him.
The 60th anniversary of Stauffenberg's failed assassination attempt of July 20, 1944, will be commemorated in Germany on Tuesday.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and President Horst Koehler will attend a ceremony at the Bendlerblock, the former Nazi war ministry in Berlin, where Stauffenberg and three fellow conspirators were executed by firing squad hours after the bomb went off.
Four years earlier, the young count was full of praise for Hitler after his armies chalked up military successes in Poland and France.
"Such changes in such a short space of time!" he wrote.
It was a description that fitted his own swing of opinion.
By 1942, he was complaining that "not a single officer in the Fuehrer's headquarters has killed that pig with their pistol."
It was the crushing defeat of the German army on the Russian front that same year that prompted Stauffenberg's radical shift of opinion.
By insisting on leading his troops into a battle they did not have a chance of winning, Hitler lost all credibility in the eyes of the brilliant young officer.
Stauffenberg was born on November 15, 1907 into an aristocratic family in southwest Germany.
When Hitler came to power in 1933, the young count had already joined the army. He admired the principle of a strong leader, a Fuehrer, for the shattered country, although he was quietly suspicious of the modest origins of many of the Nazi leaders.
Blue-eyed, with high cheekbones, Stauffenberg was an outstanding student at the military academy in Berlin and he rose rapidly through the ranks before taking part in the offensive on Poland.
He wrote to his wife, Nina, another aristocrat whom he had married in 1933, that Poland contained "many Jews, many people of mixed blood... who are only happy when they are dominated."
In May 1940, Stauffenberg was named to the army's chief of staff where he discovered that Hitler was planning to attack Russia.
He became increasingly vocal in his criticism of Hitler's tactics and in 1942 requested to be sent to the North African front where he was seriously injured, losing an eye, his left hand and two fingers on his right hand in fighting in Tunisia.
Back in Berlin in 1943, he was approached by General Friedrich Olbricht, head of the army's supply units and a central figure in the resistance against Nazism. Stauffenberg accepted immediately to take part in a coup against Hitler.
Stauffenberg was not originally intended to be the man who carried out the attack, but the circle of officers with access to Hitler was highly restricted and few had his courage.
On July 1, 1944, he was appointed Chief of Staff to the Army Reserve in Berlin, putting him in regular contact with Hitler.
He knew he must act. "There is only one solution: kill him," he said.
Having carried the bomb into Hitler's war headquarters in East Prussia, Stauffenberg flew immediately back to Berlin to organise the coup.
Instead, Hitler was only slightly injured in the blast and Stauffenberg was betrayed.
He was executed at the age of 36, crying "Long live holy Germany" as the shots rang out, according to several witnesses.
I agree that the man's opinions may be objectionable, but his actions were courageous.
Please research your facts: ***This man never joined the Nazi party***!!! This man was a German nationalist, and, yes, to be honest, a racist (as most Europeans were). But, as a traditional German and a Roman Catholic, he was disgusted and morally outraged by the way he saw the Jews and Slavic peoples being treated during Operation Barbarosa, and this was the seed of his opposition to Hitler. He was an anti-Nazi, not a “Nazi”, as you describe him. Your article should be entitled “The GERMAN Who Opposed Hitler.”
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