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Although there were more than forty plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler, none came closer to success than the 20 July Plot of 1944. As part of Operation Valkyrie this was masterminded by a group of acting and retired Army officers and some civilians who wanted to remove Hitler in order to establish a new government in Germany. It was to be carried out by one of the key organisers, Count von Stauffenberg, a member of the German General Staff, who had been returned from Africa after losing his left eye and right hand. For his injuries, he had been decorated as a war hero.
Stauffenberg had become increasingly attracted by the approaches of the German resistance movement. After an attempt to assassinate Hitler in November 1943 failed, Stauffenberg developed a new plot to kill him at the Wolfsschanze, or Wolf’s Lair, the Führerhauptquartiere, or Führer’s headquarters, on the Eastern Front. Besides the Fuhrer’s assassination, Stauffenberg organised plans to take over command of the Germany forces and sue for peace with the Allies.
Though Stauffenberg’s bomb exploded as planned, in a conference room at the Wolf’s Lair on 20 July 1944, Hitler survived. His life was probably saved because the bomb, hidden in Stauffenberg's suitcase, had been placed behind a heavy table leg which reduced the impact of the blast.
In remarkable detail, with photographs, explanatory maps and diagrams, author Nigel Jones dissects the lead up to the attempt, the events of the day in minute-by-minute detail, and the aftermath in which the conspirators were hunted down. This is the full story of just how close the plan to assassinate Hitler came to success – and how the course of the Second World War might have been dramatically altered.
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