Assault and coup of July 20th, 1944

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Inhoudsopgave

The assassination attempt on Hitler and the subsequent coup of July 20th, 1944 are among the best known events of the Second World War. The history of the German Widerstand (resistance) is pretty well known meanwhile and the men involved have earned their recognition. Best known of them all is Schwabian aristocrat Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg. He was late in joining the resistance but he managed to inspire and stimulate the conspirators once more by his will power. It was Von Stauffenberg who took the initiatives, it was Von Stauffenberg who drafted the concrete plans for the coup, it was Von Stauffenberg who made the attempt and it was Von Stauffenberg who was in charge of the coup.

Considering the enormous consequences the attempt and the coup would entail, it was extremely remarkable how much depended on one man. Von Stauffenberg actually had to be in Rastenburg to make the attempt and simultaneously be in Berlin to take charge of the coup. Even more remarkable was the fact that Von Stauffenberg was disabled as a result of the grave injuries he had sustained in North-Africa in 1943 but Von Stauffenbergís presence was essential as he possessed an exceptional personality. No one fostered any hope: the chance of success was slim but it had to be tried. Von Stauffenberg said himself: "I could not look straight in the eyes of the wives and children of the fallen soldiers if I would do nothing to put an end to this senseless slaughter."

As Generalmajor Henning von Treschkov said in the summer of 1944: "The attempt must be made, whatever it takes. Should it fail, action must be taken in Berlin anyway. Then it does not come down to practical issues any more but to the fact that the German resistance has taken it upon itself to cast the first die before the world and history. Apart from that, anything else is unimportant"

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Hitler shows Mussolini the damaged chartroom in the afternoon of July 20th

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Translated by:
Arnold Palthe
Article by:
Auke de Vlieger
Published on:
13-12-2016
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