The July 20, 1944 Attempt on the Life of Adolf Hitler
During the period of Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, few people were aware of the opposition to him and his party within Germany. During this period of time the world believed that Hitler had the total support of the German people. This was not entirely true; within Germany there was opposition to Hitler. Between 1921 and his death in 1945, there were at least forty five attempts made on Hitler’s life. This opposition to Hitler came from within Germany. Operation Valkyrie
Generals Henning von Treschow and Frederick Olbricht devised a plan called Operation Valkyrie in 1942. The codename “Valkyrie” was chosen because the Valkyrie were maidens of Norse- Germanic mythology who selected who would be slain in battle. In this case it was Hitler who would be the victim. The irony of the plan was that Hitler had been shown part of the plan and approved it. Hitler was told that Operation Valkyrie would enable the Home Army to take over the security of Berlin and other German cities in case of a revolt by foreign workers in these cities. This type of revolt was unlikely, but Hitler, was suspicious of conspiracies and was paranoid about danger lurking everywhere. It was easy for Hitler to support the idea of the Home Army protecting the internal safety of Germany because most of the regular Army was on the front lines. This helped Olbricht and von Treschow cover their plans and openly show the plans for the Home Army to take over Berlin, Vienna, Munich and Cologne. The first phase of the plan was the assassination of Hitler in his Wolfschanze headquarters in Rastenburg. When Hitler’s death was confirmed, it would be the duty of the conspirators to cut off all communications to the outside world. For part two of the plan to be successful, Operation Valkyrie had to be executed with great speed. Anti – Hitler army commanders in Berlin, Munich and Vienna had to move quickly and arrest all SS troops and high level Nazi officials. In addition, all important communication and transportation centers had to be controlled by the conspirators. Local governments, as well, had to be seized by Anti-Hitler officials. Speed had to be used to surprise the Nazis in control to prevent any counter moves by loyal Nazis. If this was not done it could give the Nazis time to recover and cause a civil war in Germany. Berlin would be the biggest problem for the conspirators because the Home Army was outnumbered by the SS troops and there were also a considerable number of Luftwaffe units that would remain loyal to Hermann Goering. The first two hours would be crucial to the success of the plan. During this time period, the Home Army would have to occupy and control the National Broadcasting Headquarters, the telegraph and telephone centers, the Reich Chancellery, the Ministries and the Headquarters of the SS and Gestapo. The conspirators had to have the support of the Berlin Police including Count von Helldorf, the Chief of the Berlin Police. The planners of Valkyrie also had to consider possible moves by Hitler’s supporters. Goering, Himmler and Goebbels could counter the plans of the conspirators with swift action which could lead to the maintenance of the Nazis Regime. This was a concern because these leaders were not often together in one location. The only Nazi leader who stayed in Berlin was Goebbels, who insisted on being near the seat of power. He also wanted to be near the Ministry of Propaganda, from which he could convince the German people that Germany was winning the war. The conspirators knew that the arrest of Goebbels and the control of his Ministry were important if their plan was to succeed. The last phase of the plan was to replace Hitler’s government with a provisional government. It would be announced...