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The 79th anniversary of the July 20 1944 plot to kill Hitler


'Stauffenberg der 20.Juli 1944' a film by Jo Baer and played by Sebastian Koch in 2004 was replayed by Tom Cruise as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg in Valkyre 2008, 64 years after 1944, thereby bringing the most serious attempt by the German Army resistance against Hitler to the English speaking world.


The film title refers to Wagner's Valkure dispensing the will of God to his minions in German Gothic mythology. Valkure was a code word used to mobilise the Reserve Army to counter the SS (SchutzStaffeln) in the event of a coup. Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg was Chief of Staff Army Reserve.


Tunisia, North Africa finds Stauffenberg expressing his revulsion at the murderous Nazi regime. General von Tresckow's failed attempt at planting a bomb in Hitler's long range Condor plane prompted Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, severely injured in Tunisia, to take on the onerous task of assassinating Hitler personally. He had great difficulty in crushing the detonator for the briefcase bound plastique bomb with only three fingers remaining on his left hand, the result of a US P40 strafing attack on his 10th Panzer Army. Unfortunately, the meeting in the Wolfchanze (Wolf's Lair), Rastenburg, was moved to a wooden building and his briefcase was moved beside a strong wooden table leg. Colonel von Stauffenberg left to mobilise Valkure and did not see Hitler emerge shaken but uninjured from the bomb site.


Stauffenberg was doomed to high treason due to his personal oath to Hitler. Others vacillated. On return to Berlin Stauffenberg and General Albrecht mobilised Army Reserve to arrest Nazi officials, three hours too late. Reichs Minister Goebbels about to be arrested, handed the telephone to the arresting Major Remer, Grossdeutschland Division, Hitler asked 'Do you recognise my voice?' 'Yes, mein Fuhrer!' 'Take those men alive!' So ended the most serious attempt to remove Hitler and end the war. Colonel von Stauffenberg and Leutnant Hecken were shot by firing squad, 'Langen Leben, Heilige Deutschland!' his last words. General Friedrich Fromm at least did them this favour. At least 3,000 conspirators were arrested. Many were hanged from meat hooks with piano wire.


Colonel vonStauffenberg, an aristocrat, went against all his principles during this convoluted plot. Colonel von Stauffenberg will live long into European history for his monumental actions and personal heroism. The assassination attempt on Hitler, 20th July 1944, did not succeed because of the failure to destroy the telephone exchange at Rastenburg; the hesitation of the plotters in Bendlerstrasse; the failure to shoot Fromm and Major Remer and the failure to deploy the 'loyal' (i.e. disloyal) Berlin garrison immediately.

Stauffenberg, influenced by poet and mystic, Stefan George, sought to rescue Germany from a tyrant. He continued to elicit support from Bendlerstrasse HQ despite the failure to kill Hitler - to let the world know there were good Germans. Colonel von Stauffenberg is the linear successor to the larger than life heroic figure of 19th century history, a man whose capacity for action is equaled by by his capacity for thought. He reconciles political commitment with moral vision and with Goethe's ideal of dedication to culture and the spirit. He embodies what the German people at their best can be - and not just the German people, but all of us, and our civilisation as a whole.


C.G Jung in 1919, 'As the Christian view of the world loses its authority, the more menacingly will the blond beast be heard prowling about in its underground prison, ready at any moment to burst out with devastating consequences.' Hitler foretold.

Source: Secret Germany, Stauffenberg and the mystical crusade against Hitler, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, Penguin, 1995

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