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Elisabeth Gloeden on trial for her involvement in the July Plot, Jul-Nov 1944. After being caught by the Gestapo she was executed by beheading on November 30th, 1944. Photo: ww2db United States Library of Congress.

Elisabeth Gloeden on trial for her involvement in the July Plot, Jul-Nov 1944. After being caught by the Gestapo she was executed by beheading on November 30th, 1944. Photo: United States Library of Congress.

July Plot

The attempt on Hitler’s life on 20 July 1944, was the seventeenth known occasion that someone had tried to kill Hitler. Unlike other attempts however this, the 20 July Bomb Plot, was the most intricate, and involved plans for a new Germany following the successful accomplishment of the mission.

Elizabeth Charlotte Lilo Gloeden was a 31 year old Berlin housewife, and opponent of the Nazi regime, who with her mother and husband, helped shelter those who were persecuted by the Nazis, by hiding them for weeks at a time in their flat.

Alongside her husband Erich Gloeden, she helped German Jews escape from Nazi Germany and hid General Erich Gloeden after he took part in the attempted coup against Hitler in 1944.

Also, among those they took in was resistance leader, Dr. Carl Goerdeler and the Mayor of Leipzig. Elizabeth, her mother and husband, were all arrested by the Gestapo, and subjected to torture under interrogation. On November 30th, 1944, all three were guillotined at two-minute intervals.

Attempts on Adolf Hitler’s life were made even prior to this assassination attempt that would later be dubbed the July Plot. For instance, Operation Flash on 13 Mar 1943 had Hans von Dohnanyi set up a time bomb on Hitler’s plane as he flew over Minsk; the altitude of the plane froze the fuse and the bomb failed to detonate. Another such attempt actually took place only a week after Operation Flash. Colonel Rudolf von Gersdorff wanted to carry explosives in his own overcoat, sacrificing himself to kill Hitler as he toured an exhibition of captured Russian equipment in Berlin; that attempt failed because Hitler decided to shorten the visit to a mere two-minute one, leaving Gersdorff drenched in cold sweat afterwards trying to disarm the bomb and flush it down a toilet before he gathered too much suspicion.

A handful of German officers, including many who planned the previous assassinations, drew up another attempt for 20 Jul 1944. By this time, the conspirators were rather desperate as the Gestapo was on the verge of identifying them while the Allies were tightening their grip on Nazi Germany with the initial (and eventual) success of the Normandy invasion. Lieutenant Heinrich Graf von Lehndorff-Steinort, aide to another conspirator Henning von Tresckow, wrote to Claus von Stauffenberg that:

The assassination must be attempted, coûte que coûte. Even if it fails, we must take action in Berlin, for the practical purpose no longer matters. What matters now is that the German resistance movement must take the plunge before the eyes of the world and of history. Compared to that, nothing else matters.

Stauffenberg was named the assassin that was to make the next attempt on Hitler in July 1944. Some of the others directly involved in the planning include General Ludwig Beck, General Friedrich Olbricht, Carl Goerdeler, Alfred Delp, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bernardis, Carl Szokoll, Count Hans-Jürgen von Blumenthal, Adam von Trott zu Solz, Gottfried von Bismark, and Princess Marie Vassiltchikov. Colonel General Friedrich Fromm of the Reserve Army was in contact with the conspirators, but did not fully commit himself to the operation. Many other high-ranking officers in the German Army such as Erwin Rommel and Günther von Kluge were also implicated with this plot. The plan called for Stauffenberg to utilize a briefcase containing explosives rigged with a timed fuse as the weapon to eliminate Hitler.

Stauffenberg and Puttkamer greeting Hitler at Wolf's Lair, Rastenburg, East Prussia, Germany, 15 Jul 1944; note Keitel at right. Photo: German Federal Archive.

Stauffenberg and Puttkamer greeting Hitler at Wolf’s Lair, Rastenburg, East Prussia, Germany, 15 Jul 1944; note Keitel at right. Photo: German Federal Archive.

On 11 Jul Stauffenberg made his first attempt. The conspirators set the condition that he was to detonate the bomb when it was possible to kill Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Hermann Göring altogether; the assassination was aborted because Himmler did not show. On 15 Jul he tried yet again, this time without regard to the presence of Himmler or Göring, but the mission was likewise aborted either because Hitler concluded the meeting early or due to reasons left unknown.

Finally, Stauffenberg got his chance on 20 Jul 1944. At 1210 that day, Stauffenberg entered a conference room atWolfsschanze, Wolf’s Lair, in Rastenburg in East Prussia where Hitler was to hold a meeting with military leaders. As Hitler leaned over a heavy oak table as he and his staff discussed the latest news from the Russian front, Stauffenberg stood next to Hitler and slipped the briefcase under the table without gathering any suspicion from the others. After slipping out of the room with an excuse to make a phone call, a sudden deafening explosion shook the room at 1242; the heavy table flew into the air, knocking back everyone in the room. Four men died immediately after the explosion, but Hitler escaped death after receiving very light injuries.

Outside, Werner von Haeften drove Stauffenberg away from Wolfsschanze under the cover of the immediate chaos. He firmly believed that Hitler had died and his objective completed. He was airborne for Berlin by 1300; he thought by the time he reached Berlin, he would learn the news that Operation Walkuere would progress nicely.

Inside the Wolf's Lair after the bomb went off. At first it was unclear whether Hitler had survived the assassination attempt. "Everyone was shouting: 'Where's the Führer?' And then Hitler got out of the building, supported by two men. The assassination plot failed. The meeting with Hitler was moved to a wooden building instead of the usual bunker. If it had been a solid bunker with concrete walls, or the case had not been moved, or if both explosives had been used, "Hitler would have been killed in the attack for sure.

Inside the Wolf’s Lair after the bomb went off. At first it was unclear whether Hitler had survived the assassination attempt. “Everyone was shouting: ‘Where’s the Führer?’ And then Hitler got out of the building, supported by two men. The assassination plot failed. The meeting with Hitler was moved to a wooden building instead of the usual bunker. If it had been a solid bunker with concrete walls, or the case had not been moved, or if both explosives had been used, “Hitler would have been killed in the attack for sure.

As originally planned, Operation Walkuere (“Valkyrie”) was to take place immediately after the assassination of Hitler; the plan called for the conspirators to use the reserve army (which was under the command of conspirator Colonel General Fromm with staff officer Stauffenberg) to seize control of the major branches of the SS, the SD, and the Gestapo during the brief power vacuum. Radio and signal stations controlled by the Nazi regime were on the target list as well. However, uncertainty of the success delayed the launch of the operation.

At 1500, Stauffenberg reached Berlin. The first thing he did was make a phone call to Bendlerstrasse, the seat of the General Office of the Army, to announce Hitler’s death. But around the same time, conspirator General Erich Fellgiebel at Rastenburg called Fromm at Bendlerstrasse and informed him that Hitler had survived with only minor injuries. The conspirators did not know who to believe, and further delayed Operation Walkuere. The truth was that Fellgiebel was right, Hitler did indeed survive the blast; Fromm confirmed that after calling Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel at Rastenburg. By a stroke of luck, after Stauffenberg had left the conference room, Colonel Heinz Brandt moved the briefcase to the far side of one of the oak table’s wide legs, thus just enough force from the blast was deflected away from Hitler. Brandt, however, would not survive the explosion; it was interesting to note that Brandt had been involved in another assassination attempt against Hitler, having unknowingly carried bombs (which failed to detonate) aboard a plane that he and Hitler traveled aboard in 1943.

Finally at 1600, Olbricht gave the order to launch the operation regardless of the failed assassination. Squads of reserve troops arrested key Nazi Party leaders. With a working phone line, which was a failure on the part of the conspirators, Minister of Propaganda Goebbels remained in charge of the media and used it to disseminate the news of Hitler’s survival. When regimental commander Major Otto Remer came to arrest Goebbels, Goebbels arranged a phone call with Hitler, convincing Remer that it was a Coup d’etat. Over the phone, Hitler promoted Remer to the rank of colonel, and instructed his troops to strike down the conspirators.

Adolf Hitler showing Benito Mussolini the wreckage after the unsuccessful assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler, Wolfsschanze, Rastenburg, Germany, late Jul 1944. In 1929, Mussolini managed to reach an agreement with the Vatican. The Papal State was given independence, and in exchange the Vatican recognized Mussolini's government as the legitimate government over Italy. Photo: German Federal Archive.

Adolf Hitler showing Benito Mussolini the wreckage after the unsuccessful assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler, Wolfsschanze, Rastenburg, Germany, late Jul 1944. In 1929, Mussolini managed to reach an agreement with the Vatican. The Papal State was given independence, and in exchange the Vatican recognized Mussolini’s government as the legitimate government over Italy. Photo: German Federal Archive.

Then, the leadership of the assassination began to fall apart. Fromm decided that that the plot stood no chance, and switched sides by issuing the order to have Stauffenberg arrested. Olbricht and Stauffenberg were able to counter that move by arresting Fromm and those who wished to give up, but that process wounded several leaders who were still pressing on with the operation, including Stauffenberg. But it was all too late. Knowing that the German leader was not dead, many of the reserve army soldiers simply refused to carry out their orders. At 2240, Remer’s troops besieged the Bendlerstrasse building complex and ended Operation Walkuere.

Knowing the cruelty the Nazi Party was capable of, Beck was the first to commit suicide to avoid worse fate. As the conspirators lost control of Bendlerstrasse, Fromm once again turned on his once comrades, court marshaling the others on the spot and sentenced them to immediate execution, probably to silence the others so he could save himself. Stauffenberg, Haeften, Olbricht, and Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim were executed in the courtyard at 0010 on 21 Jul 1944. At 0030, Otto Skorzeny arrived at Bendlerstrasse with SS men, stopping further executions. Fromm boldly went to see Goebbels to establish his own loyalty, but he was immediately arrested. Tresckow, so far free, knew his chances were slim and took his own life with a grenade.

All remaining conspirators were nearly without exception arrested, cross-examined, and tortured. The discovery of letters and diaries at the homes of the conspirators led to the exposure of the entire conspiracy which dated back to 1938. New pursuits aimed at breaking all military and civilian resistance against the regime began with the final goal to not only eliminate the resistance but also to completely destroy its roots. Men suspected of being a part of the resistance were brought to court presided by the notorious judge of the People’s Court Richter Roland Freisler. Hitler said he wanted to see the leaders hung “like slaughtered cattle”, and so they did at the Plötzensee prison, hanging by piano wire or hemp rope from meat hooks. Because of the lack of scaffolding at Plötzensee, the men endured agonizing strangulation before they died. The deranged Hitler even sent cameramen to film the executions for his enjoyment later, but the cameramen refused to continue after only filming the first two executions.

Adolf Hitler showing Benito Mussolini the wreckage after the unsuccessful assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler, Wolfsschanze, Rastenburg, Germany, late Jul 1944.On 8 Apr 1926, Mussolini survived an assassination attempt by Violet Gibson. Later, he again survived another assassination attempt, this time by American anarchist Michael Schirru. Photo: German Federal Archive.

Adolf Hitler showing Benito Mussolini the wreckage after the unsuccessful assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler, Wolfsschanze, Rastenburg, Germany, late Jul 1944.On 8 Apr 1926, Mussolini survived an assassination attempt by Violet Gibson. Later, he again survived another assassination attempt, this time by American anarchist Michael Schirru. Photo: German Federal Archive.

High ranking figures were not excluded in the prosecutions. Men such as Rommel and Kluge who were in the know were driven to commit suicide.

For Stauffenberg’s family, an ancient Teutonic punishment of Sippenhaft was enacted, holding them liable for imprisonment for Stauffenberg’s betrayal because Heinrich Himmler believed that the blood of treason flowed through the veins of Stauffenberg’s entire family. Himmler even went as far as announcing that “the family Stauffenberg will be extinguished to the last member”; fortunately for the Stauffenberg family, Himmler was unable to carry out this plan before the fall of Germany.

In total, it was estimated that 4,980 were arrested and 200 of them executed as a direct result of this failed assassination. Some of those arrested were not connected with the plot; the SS took the opportunity to eliminate some potential threats under the guise of their investigation.

The failed assassination attempted had great consequences. With the anti-Semitic policies still in effect, between Jul 1944 and May 1945 countless more people were murdered at concentration and extermination camps, and thousands upon thousand more would continue to die on the frontlines. It had also made Hitler a very cautious leader within his country, a sign of a Germany in disharmony.

Adolf Hitler visiting the injured Karl-Jesco von Puttkamer in a hospital, late Jul 1944. In Sep 1943, he was promoted to the rank of Konteradmiral. He was injured during the failed 20 July 1944 assassination of Adolf Hitler. On 23 Apr 1945, near the end of the war, he was sent to the Berghof near Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, Germany to destroy documents. After the war, he was captured by the Allies and remained imprisoned until May 1947. He passed away in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. Photo : German Federal Archive.

Adolf Hitler visiting the injured Karl-Jesco von Puttkamer in a hospital, late Jul 1944. In Sep 1943, he was promoted to the rank of Konteradmiral. He was injured during the failed 20 July 1944 assassination of Adolf Hitler. On 23 Apr 1945, near the end of the war, he was sent to the Berghof near Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, Germany to destroy documents. After the war, he was captured by the Allies and remained imprisoned until May 1947. He passed away in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. Photo : German Federal Archive.

Many believed Hitler was one-quarter Jewish or Czechoslovakian Slav. Many studies also found suppressed homosexual tendencies in Hitler. The strongest evidence came from his close working relationship with the early Nazi Party founders such as Ernst Röhm, who were homosexuals. Röhm, in fact, was a man who Hitler addressed with the affectionate German pronoun du, a practice he did not continue with anyone else after Röhm’s death in 1934. His interest in the opposite sex also was rather intriguing. Although he had many female companions, he was never married. His earlier relationships showed signs of a perverse sexual nature, especially illustrated with his relationship with his niece, Geli, who was either killed (purposefully or otherwise) by Hitler in the heat of passion, or was sexually abused so harshly that she committed suicide. These theories, though none ever proven completely, painted a picture of Hitler that, if true, seemed to explain the Holocaust as a twisted extension of his own unbalanced psyche.

Another interesting observation on Hitler, which perhaps could also be described as rather unbalanced, was his hatred for Berlin as a city. He disliked Berlin the first time he stepped on its grounds. In 1928, he denounced the city as “a melting pot of everything that is evil – prostitutes, drinking houses, cinemas, Marxism, Jews, strippers, dancing, and all the vile offshoots of so-called ‘modern-art’.” This was not difficult to understand.

Where Paris used to be known as the sin city, Berlin had now taken over the title. Prostitution was rampant, some even featured young teenage girls; gay bars opened up one after another, visited by financial executives and ordinary citizens alike; with the influx of Hollywood films, gangsters like Al Capone and Lucky Luciano became role models. It was not hard to see why Hitler, who believed in the purity of the German people and culture, hated Berlin. Throughout his entire reign, he never stayed in Berlin longer than what he had to, preferring to remain in his remote headquarters such as Wolfsschanze(the Wolf’s Lair) in Rastenburg, East Prussia or aboard special armored trains such as Amerika. Perhaps the previously mentioned Marxist-backed munitions workers strike Hitler witnessed in 1918 had much to do with it, too: Berlin had, despite the Nazi regime, a strong liberal mentality that could never be taken away from its citizens.

Hitler was examined – contusion on the left arm, damage to his eardrums and wooden splinters in his legs from the floorboards. (His trousers were torn to shreds, as seen in the photograph). Considering his proximity to the bomb his survival was miraculous. So superficial his injuries he was able to keep an appointment that afternoon with Italian leader, Benito Mussolini, meeting him in person at the local railway station and shaking Il Duce’s hand with his left. Hitler himself put his survival down to the hand of providence. Germany, the fates dictated, would win the war and Hitler’s life had been spared to ensure it. Others had been more seriously injured and taken to hospital. The movements of all were scrutinised and it soon became apparent that Stauffenberg, seen leaving hurriedly in his car, was the culprit. “Arrest him immediately!” bellowed Hitler.

Hitler was examined – contusion on the left arm, damage to his eardrums and wooden splinters in his legs from the floorboards. (His trousers were torn to shreds, as seen in the photograph). Considering his proximity to the bomb his survival was miraculous. So superficial his injuries he was able to keep an appointment that afternoon with Italian leader, Benito Mussolini, meeting him in person at the local railway station and shaking Il Duce’s hand with his left. Hitler himself put his survival down to the hand of providence. Germany, the fates dictated, would win the war and Hitler’s life had been spared to ensure it. Others had been more seriously injured and taken to hospital. The movements of all were scrutinised and it soon became apparent that Stauffenberg, seen leaving hurriedly in his car, was the culprit. “Arrest him immediately!” bellowed Hitler.

In 1943, as Mussolini’s government fell in Italy, Mussolini became imprisoned. To save his ally, Hitler commissioned commandos under Otto Skorzeny to rescue him; the operation was to become a great success. During the planning process, Skorzeny attended several meetings with Hitler; Skorzeny observed: “All I heard was the Führer’s deep voice as he put his curt questions… What struck me at the time was the unmistakeable soft Austrian accent, even when he was emphatic.” In a later meeting, Skorzeny observed how much Hitler valued his friendship with Mussolini. “There was such a warm, human inflection in his voice when he spoke of his loyalty to his Italian friend that I was deeply moved”, recalled Skorzeny.

In Sep 1944, Skorzeny met with Hitler again at Wolfsschanze, and noted that the war had placed apparent strain on Hitler. Skorzeny wrote:

I was deeply shocked at the appearance of the Supreme Commander, remembering how he looked when I last saw him only the previous autumn. He stooped and seemed years older, and there was a weary tone in his deep base voice. I wondered whether he had been smitten by some insidious disease. His left hand trembled so violently that he had to steady himself with his right when he got up.

Despite having no training in higher levels of military leadership, Hitler enjoyed micro-managing the operations. While this practice frequently disadvantaged the German military, the biggest negative consequence from this lack of delegation came from Hitler’s indecisiveness during moments of need. For example, Hitler’s delay in deploying armor in counterattacking the Allied Normandy invasion gave the Allies the critical hours necessary to secure the weak beachhead. During the Ardennes Offensive (The Battle of the Bulge as it was known to the western Allies) in Dec 1944, Hitler’s insistence that the 6th SS Panzer Army report back to Berlin, instead of reporting to the field generals, caused the group to sit idle for the first crucial days of the offensive; it was often attributed by German commanders as the biggest reason for the German failure at the Ardennes. A major reason for this behaviour was Hitler’s distrustful nature toward others, especially after the 20 July 1944 assassination attempt on his life. German General Heinz Guderian made an observation of the post-20 Jul Hitler:

After the July 20th attempt, Hitler was a sick man. Even before the assassination attempt, he had been very nervous, and not in complete possession of his faculties. His left side trembled. His mind was not clear enough to appreciate the real situation of Germany. He was a man of energy and will; his will outweighed his sense. He hypnotized his entourage. He had a special picture of the world, and every fact had to fit in with that fancied pictured. As he believed, so the world must be. But, in fact, it was a picture of another world.

Another trait of Hitler’s that made it difficult for military commanders to work with him was his stubbornness. Once an idea got into his head, it was nearly impossible for anyone to change his mind, even if his most trusted advisors recommended against it. “He always had his way,” recalled Wilhelm Keitel. Whenever Hitler was at fault, he found a scapegoat so that he remained blameless. First-class officers were often sacrificed with dismissal so that he could remain the perfect leader atop the German military hierarchy.

The assassination attempt took place at the Wolf’s Lair, Hitler’s command quarters in East Prussia. While meeting with his commanders, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg placed a bomb under the table which Hitler stood next to, reviewing maps. The sturdy construction of the table and the design of the room saved Hitler from serious injuries. Hitler purged many military leaders and placed Nazi Party members in the positions left vacant by the purge. Many inept leaders, characterized by men like Josef Dietrich, rose to power; it was under Dietrich’s command that the 6th SS Panzer Army sat un-utilized during the Battle of the Bulge.

Those who had been at Hitler’s side in the conference room on 20 July were awarded a specially-made ‘Wounded Medal’, either in black, silver or gold, that bore Hitler’s signature and the date (pictured). It was, for the remaining months of the war, the ultimate badge of loyalty and honour.

Those who had been at Hitler’s side in the conference room on 20 July were awarded a specially-made ‘Wounded Medal’, either in black, silver or gold, that bore Hitler’s signature and the date (pictured). It was, for the remaining months of the war, the ultimate badge of loyalty and honour.

Many researchers attributed part of Hitler’s psychotic behaviour to a possible dependency on various substances, including methamphetamine. He was known to have received various shots, some nutritional and some narcotic, on a regular basis. One must take in this fact with a critical eye, however, as some substances we know today as narcotic were not considered so and were widely accepted in upper social circles. Hitler, however, had most likely grown dependent on methamphetamine. During his last days in Berlin he was known to be lifeless and struggled even to stand from a seated position when his personal physician Dr. Theodore Morell did not provide him with his daily regiment of needles. Eventually, Hitler dismissed Morell for fear that the doctor might be convinced by other top Nazi officials to drug him and forcibly transport him away from Berlin as the Russians closed in on the city. Beyond the use of drugs, Hitler lived a rather healthy lifestyle, restraining from alcohol and tobacco, which was unlike the norm of the German influential figures at the time. The only weakness he had in terms of food was with sweets and desert, which he consumed in large quantities at times.

With the Russian army pressuring Berlin, Hitler committed suicide alongside of his companion Eva Braun beneath the Berlin Chancellery on 30 Apr 1945. Earlier that morning, Hitler married Braun in a small ceremony. That afternoon, at about 1530, Hitler pulled the trigger of a pistol against his right temple, while Braun swallowed cyanide. SS Oberscharfuehrer Rochus Misch, who was Hitler’s bodyguard, courier, and telephone operator, was in Hitler’s bunker during his final days, as he noted during a 2009 interview with BBC journalist Steven Rosenberg. He was working as a telephone and teletype machine operator when others in the bunker realized Hitler had pulled the trigger. He recalled:

Suddenly I heard somebody shouting to Hitler’s attendant: ‘Linge, Linge, I think it’s happened.’ They’d heard a gunshot, but I hadn’t. At that moment Martin Bormann, Hitler’s private secretary, ordered everyone to be silent. Everyone began whispering. I was speaking on the telephone and I made sure I talked louder on purpose because I wanted to hear something. I didn’t want it to feel like we were in a death bunker…. Then Bormann ordered Hitler’s door to be opened. I saw Hitler slumped with his head on the table. Eva Braun was lying on the sofa, with her head towards him. Her knees were drawn tightly up to her chest. She was wearing a dark blue dress with white frills. I will never forget it…. I watched as they wrapped Hitler up. His legs were sticking out as they carried him past me. Someone shouted to me: ‘Hurry upstairs, they’re burning the boss!’ I decided not to go because I had noticed that Mueller from the Gestapo was there – and he was never usually around. I said to my comrade Hentschel, the mechanic: ‘Maybe we will be killed for being the last witnesses.’

Hitler left behind a battered Europe and countless millions of broken families.

July Plot – Facts & Summary – HISTORY.com

Germany remembers the plot to kill Hitler | German history …

Operation Valkyrie – The “July Plot” to Assassinate Hitler …

Stauffenberg Bomb (July) Plot – Spartacus Educational

The 20 July Bomb Plot – the attempt on Hitler’s lifeHistory in …

The Families who tried to kill Hitler

 


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  • cows4me

    Imagine a thousand years of this evil, the devil would have had to build on additions to accommodate that lot.

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