Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010

An Attempt on the Führer

Dozens of attempts were made on Hitler's life. The best-known — and most nearly successful — effort took place on July 20, 1944. On that day, Colonel Count Claus von Stauffenberg entered a conference room in East Prussia, left a briefcase containing explosives under a table near where Hitler was sitting and excused himself to make a phone call. Later, another person moved the suitcase to the far side of the table in order to read a map.

The bomb detonated, and the explosion killed four and injured 20. Hitler sustained nothing more than some arm injuries. Had Hitler been killed, Stauffenberg and his fellow plotters would have led 1,200 men to Berlin to begin Operation Valkyrie, which involved an uprising against the Nazis and a truce with Allied forces to end the war. After the assassination attempt, Hitler ordered the execution of Stauffenberg, his co-conspirators and anyone found to oppose Nazi policies. The plot was immortalized in the film Valkyrie, which starred Tom Cruise as Stauffenberg.